Careering at King Content: Ruth, GM

April 6, 2016Uncategorized
Ruth Haffenden, GM Sydney

Ruth Haffenden, GM Sydney

Recently King Content has had immense growth and an internal restructure late last year which saw five new GM roles established globally. Here we speak to our resident GM at Sydney HQ.

How did your working life lead you to King Content?

Before falling for the charms of sunny Sydney, I spent six years in London cutting my teeth in the PR world. I planned integrated social strategies for global travel brands at Four Communications before the lure of media land’s flashing lights led me to join Mindshare UK four years later.

My role at Mindshare was all about planning innovative content programs across paid, owned and earned formats. Charged chiefly with driving digital and social content campaigns for the likes of Mazda and Three mobile, it was a pretty exhilarating balancing act between strategy, creativity and hands-on execution. I credit a huge amount to my time at Mindshare, but the lure of an agile independent agency with the world at its feet was too much to resist, and I joined King Content in late 2014.

What was your first role at KC?

I started out at King Content as the Global Head of Social Media, a role I absolutely loved. Leading a team of brilliant people here in Sydney to execute cutting-edge social campaigns for our roster of global clients, while also driving new business, leading product innovation and scaling our social teams in King Content’s six other global offices kept me continually on my toes! (And well-inducted in Australia’s coffee offering.)

Where did you see yourself heading when you first joined KC? How does that compare to where you are now?

I’m not really one for a five-year plan; in this game you couldn’t possibly anticipate what the next month will bring, let alone five years. All I’ve ever set out to do at King Content (and anywhere else) is be good at my job. Be good at my job and continually find ways to be better at my job.

Even as head of social, I never wanted to plan social-only campaigns. In my mind, insights should drive a holistic strategy, strategy drives content decisions and then, and only then, you plan channel selection and execution tactics. It was this defiant curiosity to think bigger and better that quickly expanded my role at King Content from a social media remit into leading the Sydney strategy team, and more recently leading the direction of the Sydney business itself as the GM at HQ.

What’s the most exciting or rewarding thing about working at KC?

The people. We’re a bunch of geeks and I love it! Everybody genuinely lives and breathes what they do, and nobody is prepared to stop until it’s exceptional. There’s this unabated curiosity for the new, the different, the next, the better way. Whether I’m embroiled in an impassioned debate on ‘the impact of instant articles on the value of the content hub’ with a strategist in the kitchen or guffawing at our video producer trying out one-liners for a comedy sketch show format we’re testing for a client, it’s the people that make my day, every day.

Do you have any mentors or people who have deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to?

Big question! So many people! I’m big on leadership. A good leader is a total game changer no matter what role you’re in. The MD of my first agency, Debbie Hindle, really set the benchmark for me. I joined her PR agency as a very green PR junior (following an impassioned and, in hindsight, a bit mental email to her, pleading for a chance at my first industry role). To her it didn’t matter that I was fresh out of uni; my ideas were heard like everyone else’s and my curiosity encouraged at every turn.

I left there four years later as social media director, and with a belief that anything is possible if you work hard and aren’t afraid to do things a little differently. It’s a belief in people and a passion for throwing out the rulebook that I still carry with me to this day. Now leading my own office here at KC, I constantly catch myself thinking, “What would Debbie Hindle do?!”

Is there a project that you’ve found especially inspiring or forward thinking?

I could talk until the cows come home about innovative marketing campaigns, but you guys have AdNews and the like for all that jazz. The thing that has inspired me the most recently is meeting the team at UnLtd: a not-for-profit foundation representing the media, marketing and advertising community. They provide support to charity partners who specialise in working with young people at risk, by partnering charities with media and marketing specialists willing to give their time and expertise to help drive forward the charity’s marketing objectives.

If we all, as an industry, put just one per cent of the time we spend trying to sell more things to more people towards mentoring some of these charities’ marketing and media teams, we could make some incredible things happen! At King Content, we’ve just signed up to be involved and I can’t wait to get stuck in with the team… Watch this space!


Join Ruth at upcoming #nxsyd bootcamp: Secrets to thumb stopping content.