Media: Double Standards - Giving up a life of luxury to 'make a difference'

The founders of two planning start-ups reveal the challenges in media and what they miss the most about working for big agencies and media owners.

PHIL NUNN - FOUNDER, TRINITY COMMUNICATIONS

- What is the proposition of your business?

We are a media planning agency. We unify digital, brand and direct disciplines. The consumer doesn't silo the channels and, therefore, nor should we. Building the right communication shape, we can deliver better results.

- Why did you and your partners decide to launch?

We want to make a difference. We want to lead the way in unifying communication channels. We want to be masters of our own destiny. We want to make some money ... and we want to have fun.

- What has been the most difficult thing about getting it up and running?

The amount of time taken to get our business up and running. Now I find it's the fiddling with all the things a new business has to worry about. Most importantly, I had to prepare my partners for the nightmare of sitting next to me for hours on end!

- Does your business execute media as well as providing communications consultancy?

We ourselves will never do the media buying. But we will work really closely with our buying partners. We've seen how this type of planner/buyer model can work well and more often how it can work badly. We are determined that we get it to work with our partners. We do not take charge, nor instruct, nor own the relationship. We work in partnership for our client's goals and will never exclude our partners from any of our meetings. We do need to understand how the media buying delivers because we care so passionately about the end results.

- What is the biggest project you've worked on so far?

We are ten weeks old. Everything we look at seems big! We have all come from working with very, very big clients. The New Look work has been quite immense, unifying press and digital to launch its autumn/winter collection. The next pitch we do, always seems the biggest project.

- What do you miss most about big agency/media owner life?

PA, expenses, my brilliant teams, parking space, holidays, my last set of great clients ... but my new ones are great, too.

- What do you hope your business will look like in three years' time?

We want to be really respected as "the" agency that unifies channels. We want to have built some great businesses through a non-siloed approach to planning. We want to be delivering brilliant media solutions, with a company full of talented people who love coming into work every day.

- How would you describe your relationships with ad, media and other agencies?

Really good, I hope. We have some really great mates around town. Some have been incredibly generous. Everybody has been brilliant to us. It is a great industry.

- How possible is it to maintain a good work/life balance when launching a start-up?

Always struggled with the concept ... but then even my partners think it's odd when I want a 7am meeting! Ask me in three years' time ...

ANDY ROBERTS - FOUNDER, VILLAGE GREEN

- What is the proposition of your business?

The world of media has never been more exciting. People love what media provides, the content, and they demonstrate their love by consuming more of it. But they find the bits in between the content, the ads, increasingly irritating, and they are finding more and more ways of avoiding them. Village Green believes "Involving Brands in Content" is the way to address this real and growing challenge to brand communications. We provide a one-stop shop for clients to gain value from content strategies through a range of media channels.

- Why did you and your partners decide to launch?

We believe there is a real opportunity for a new style of business in this area. Superficially badging content is easy. The real value gains come from the multichannel extension of content strategies so they really impact on consumers. Achieving this isn't easy. It requires imagination, expertise and experience - ingredients that the Village Green founders have in abundance, and we enjoy doing it as well. Why not get paid for something you enjoy doing?

- What has been the most difficult thing about getting it up and running?

The difficult things - banks, phone companies, internet service providers, banks, VAT, buying IT equipment, setting up IT equipment, banks - are balanced by all the fantastic support and advice that has been given by so many people which restores our faith in the humanity of our business. Did I mention banks?

- Does your business execute media as well as providing communications consultancy?

Yes

- What is the biggest project you've worked on so far?

The relaunch of Fox's Confectionery. At its heart is a six-month sponsorship of the best of family comedy on UKTV, and an online game all brilliantly brought to life by Bish [Trinity's Adam Bishop], strategy by Edwards Groom Saunders and creative work by Hooper Galton.

- What do you miss most about big agency/media owner life?

All the things we took for granted, the IT department, finance and all the wonderful PAs.

- What do you hope your business will look like in three years' time?

Thriving. Twenty-plus people and created a reappraisal of traditional agency structures.

- How would you describe your relationships with ad, media and other agencies?

Without exception, everyone we have met has been very supportive. There is genuine goodwill and belief that we are on to something.

- How possible is it to maintain a good work/life balance when launching a start-up?

Is the BlackBerry a good thing? You never stop working or thinking about the business - then again, it's our baby. I'm in Spain this week - I'm on the mobile if anyone needs to be in touch.

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Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).