My Media Week: Ian Edwards

Ian Edwards: head of strategy at Vizeum
Ian Edwards: head of strategy at Vizeum

We take a peek into the diary of Ian Edwards, the head of strategy at Vizeum, where the guiding principle is "simple strategy, brilliantly activated".


My week starts as I drop my daughter at nursery at 7.30am before cycling into work. I've recently moved out to Wallington, which has added six miles onto a ride that was already too long and this makes me fully appreciate the skill and endurance of Chris Froome et al.

Some 14 miles and 55 minutes later, I arrive and make it to the sixth floor at Dentsu Aegis HQ. Monday starts with our management "huddle". We've recently been working with PwC to review our working practices and find ways to refine our business and make it more effective.

One key initiative that has been introduced is the daily huddle, which is a 15-minute meeting that runs through key aspects of the agency's performance. It is a marked improvement from the old three-hour management meetings! Every team in the agency huddles each morning and it is great to see everyone really embracing the new ways of working.

Also in the diary is a meeting with our recruitment team. With the recent arrival of Camelot and Intersnack, we are recruiting for no less than 14 roles at the moment.

The afternoon is a mix of client calls, emails and writing a presentation for Tuesday.


Today I leave the bike at home and have a more straight-forward, if less healthy, trip into work on the train. My focus for the first half of the day is on a lunchtime meeting with Hiscox about analysing the profile of the customer base. The digital world is making media much more precise and Hiscox has a very specific target audience. The challenge is identifying the right moment to be precise and when to go broad with messaging.

I spend the afternoon with Camelot. It's been just over a month since we started working together. Having worked solidly on the pitch for three months, it great to see that some of the ideas we put forward on the day might actually come to fruition, which certainly isn't always the case.


Today is all about science as I meet up with Dr Jack Lewis to discuss the next edition of our whitepaper, Brand Science. The first was published last year and looks at human psychology, its impact on behavioural decisions, and what this means for advertisers. We are exploring the possibility of creating a scoring system for client campaigns that evaluate how many of the seven key principles it uses and then correlates that with how successful the campaign was.

Another one of our recent client wins, Intersnack, keeps the rest of my day busy. Since winning the business earlier this month, we’ve been tasked with producing five responses for 2015 planning for the brands Hula Hoops, McCoys, KP, Phileas Fogg and Pom Bear.

With the holiday season in full flow, we are sharing the work across the agency and I meet with one of our strategy directors, Charlie Ebdy and the business lead Farhann, to look at how the work is progressing. The focus for the presentations is to deliver on our mantra of "simple strategy brilliantly activated" and this is really coming across in the work.


First task of the day is to round up the Vizeum culture club committee to review how we keep our staff engaged and retain the agency's reputation as a great place to work.

Alex Gardner, one of the business directors, has suggested that company meetings now take the format of the 10 o'clock News. The host would sit behind a desk with the Vizeum jacket and tie, and each section would be delivered as though it was a report. "Terrible idea or genius?" We will see. The other great news is that Alex has started street-dance classes and shared his latest video with the agency – inspiring to see a man in his mid-thirties move so well.

The afternoon is spent with The Trainline which has set us an incredible challenge: to look at how it can be bolder with its media and really create "talkability". To get us inspired, we start by reviewing campaigns from other markets – "guilt ticket" from Australia is a real touch of genius.

I manage to get a quick gym session with James Hankins, the head of integrated planning, and Dilshan Swaris, a colleague [media director from Carat]. Both make comments on how it is incredible that with all this cycling, I haven't lost any weight. I point out that it's because I prefer crisps and beer to protein shakes and seeds. Unsurprisingly, we all agree my life is more fun than theirs!


Reviewing the first cut of our video entries for the Media Week Awards with our marketing department is a great way to finish the week. Our work for Mini, Ikea, BMW and 20th Century Fox’s 'X-Men' have all been recognised and there’s a real sense of positivity in the office about our chances of success. Our in-house creative team has done a great job on the video case studies and they really bring the work to life. I think it's really important for us to celebrate all the hard work in this way.

The videos don’t stop there either, as a copy of a short video interview I did for an exciting new piece of technology from Ocean Outdoor shows. It delivers targeted OOH advertising and we tested it with BMW… I can’t reveal any more details, but keep your eyes peeled for the official launch soon.

A quick pint in the pub with Facebook and my team rounds the week off.

Age: 36
Favourite Media: ITV4 cycling and Spotify
My biggest inspiration: Chetan Murthy's guns
Dream Job: Head of strategy at Vizeum, clearly
Not a lot of people know this about me... I have an extensive coin and stamp collection  

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