Ensuring the public knows all about a client’s brand
Kirsty Bisset is the MD of Have You Heard (Durban)
What is Have You Heard?
After almost nine years of owning my own digital agency, STIR, I was invited to merge it with Have You Heard, a full-service brand and strategic agency with a network that already spanned Cape Town, Johannesburg and London. I am now the MD of Have You Heard in Durban.
What do you do at work each day?
We conceptualise, implement and manage campaigns driven by insights and innovation for clients in SA, the UK and the United Arab Emirates. We apply these across radio, print, digital, TV and in-store broadcasting, in line with client objectives.
What are your four main tasks?
1. I liaise with clients to determine their needs and objectives.
2. I brief and manage my team to ensure we develop creative, meaningful, unique and results-driven campaigns and strategies.
3. I identify opportunities for new business for the agency.
4. I tie this all in with finance and operations to ensure we’re performing optimally and efficiently and growing the agency.
What do you love most about your work?
I learn so much every day because so much of what we do for our clients is driven by insights, trends and culture. We work across various industries around the world, so no two days are ever the same. I also work with talented, experienced and kind people who believe in innovation and collaboration.
What about your work keeps you awake at night?
If my work keeps me awake, I’m not complaining because I am usually feeling inspired by new trends, tools and markets, and trying to figure out ways to apply these to our clients’ businesses to ensure their goals are being met and exceeded. Having been an entrepreneur my entire career, I’m used to a somewhat skewed sleeping pattern at times.
How did lockdown affect your work and your company?
Initially, lockdown hit the bottom line quite hard but we knew we weren’t alone, and current and potential clients would be leaning even more on marketing to survive, especially digital. We’ve remained agile and managed to come up with new products and services as well as approaching new clients to ensure we help them grow, which, in turn, ensured we continued to grow.
What are your lockdown takeaways?
There are more clients and opportunities available than ever before. People no longer feel restricted by geographical boundaries.
What big work mistake taught you an important lesson?
A common lesson is to get everything in writing — and to dot all the Is and cross all the Ts. I’ve been burnt by previous business partners, clients or suppliers due to agreements that weren’t airtight. A good motto is: “Plan for the worst, and hope for the best.”
What did you want to be as a child?
My fascination with the human body, animals and justice had me oscillate between being a geneticist, a vet and a lawyer. However, when it came to studying, I knew having a broader overview would do me well, so I chose a bachelor’s degree in business administration, followed by a postgraduate diploma in management. I didn’t ever imagine owning my own business so young, nor heading an agency, but I couldn’t have imagined a more fulfilling journey.