My Media Week: Steve Parker

This week, Steve Parker, managing director, MediaVest, lunches with Google, is inspired by Maurice Levy and gets reading tips from Twitter's Bruce Daisley.

Steve Parker: managing director at MediaVest
Steve Parker: managing director at MediaVest


The start of a long short week as the industry rushes towards a well-deserved Easter break. Each week is a balance of ensuring that the experience you create for your clients is brilliant, whilst being relentless in the pursuit of growth, whether through developing a broader talent and capability base, or entering the right new-business conversations. 

A rushed early breakfast with my wife and youngest allows me to get the faster, earlier train from our village on the outskirts of Guildford. (If I wrote this next week I am sure that I would have cycled in as I have committed to two, rather long, charity rides across the summer and training is not going to plan).

Before the day really begins, 'Team More Than' meet to review the launch of the new creative by VCCP. The multi-channel performance is reviewed and plans for pushing harder and smarter over the coming weeks are agreed. The drive and ambition coming from our client partners at More Than such as Dominic Grounsell and Hannah House is relentless.

My MediaVest management group meets formally every other Monday. I am proud of the talent around me and we use this time together to take a breath and agree the focus for the coming weeks and months. The team is great at sharing and you sense that together they feel they can crack any challenge.

Straight after, I am standing in front of 40 of our youngest and brightest, chairing a learning and development session as part of the Human Experience Diploma that each colleague at SMG completes every year. Great to spend an hour listening and sharing experiences and ideas with such a broad group of talent.

A working lunch is spent mapping out communication priorities with the new media manager at Heineken UK, part of a newly organised and highly ambitious marketing team. We are totally immersed in their business and this partnership fuels conversations that you just know will lead to the very best work over the coming months.

In the afternoon, amidst numerous client and media owner calls, I find time to sit down with our group marketing director to finalise our entry into the Talent Awards for the next Oystercatchers Club event. Hot on the heels of our Sunday Times and Mumsnet Awards, we are hopeful of getting the opportunity to share our unique talent story.


Tuesday starts with a catch-up with Pippa Glucklich, managing director of our sister agency Starcom. Less than two months in and the force that is Pippa is a pleasure to see and to partner with. We align on key SMG group initiatives and reflect on how fast moving everything is. 

We both then join a meeting alongside Stewart Easterbrook, our group CEO, and Rachel Forde, the inspiring MD of our P&G business, with Tim Bleakley, CEO of Ocean Outdoor, to discuss and agree how to exploit the digital out-of-home opportunity. The advancements that all the major OOH media owners are making in this space are unparalleled.

Lunch is spent at the Mandarin Oriental as guests of the International Advertising Association, to listen to our Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy, share, in his own inspiring way, thoughts on topics as wide-ranging as content, privacy, mobile, talent and economic growth. 

A pleasure as always to spend time with Roisin Donnelly, corporate marketing director and head of marketing at P&G, and over a coffee, I am given the very best advice by the legendary Richard Eyre, adviser to our UK board.

The afternoon includes a catch-up with Bruce Daisley at Twitter UK. As usual he is operating at 100mph. We agree three big client actions, discuss the importance of flexible working and agree the next book I should read ('To Sell is Human' by Daniel H Pink). 

I then meet members of my management team to start planning our next Experience session to follow on the successful media partner events we have created recently for Heineken, More Than and P&G. We are walking the walk when it comes to being open and collaborative and it is great to see.


Highlights from Wednesday include a partnership meet with senior members of our Google and Squared team. We are busy designing the next stages of our Squared partnership involving a Squared session for senior managers, as well as plans for maintaining the momentum that our younger talent bring to the business following their experiences on the IPA/Squared course.

A quick update with our head of talent to regroup on several candidates I have met in the last week, is followed by a session to sign off the final versions of this year's Cannes Media Lions entries.

I then join a meeting as our multi-channel DMGT team gets together to agree the next stages of the development of a ground-breaking data and insight strategy. The direction from the irrepressible Roland Agambar, CMO of A&N Newspapers is clear and not surprisingly, full of ambition. 


Thursday morning includes several client check-ins and the review of two draft new business requests for information.

A whirlwind 30 minutes with the inspiration that is Chris Locke sets me straight on a few ideas I had for an existing client. I leave the discussion clear that Chris has made those ideas bigger and smarter. I also know he will make them happen.

I spend time with our global marketing director, sharing our corporate communications plan and aligning on some major initiatives for Q3 and Q4 alongside UK marketing director, Gill Huber. A brilliant working lunch is next at the Google offices with their key vertical sector leaders and members of our leadership team. We discuss trends and agree client specific plans.

A coffee with Mark Trinder, sales director at ITV fills my head with half a dozen significant content opportunities and reinforces to me the diversity of offering that ITV brings to the table.

Quick one-to-one catch-ups with my management team to regroup before Easter and then home to a well-deserved (I think) glass of wine with Mrs P, before setting off bright and early on Friday for a long weekend with our extended family near Nottingham. Lots of children, bike riding and Easter Egg eating – perfect.

Age: 39
Favourite media: Outdoor
My biggest inspiration: My mum
Dream job: British Lion
Not a lot of people know this about me: I am half Irish


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