I initially began my professional life working as a graphic designer – with a passion for print and paper. That’s still a big love of mine. It wasn’t long before my managerial colours started to shine through and the Melbourne design agency I was with, offered me the chance to run their Sydney design studio. It was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse. I packed my bags and relocated – my main responsibility was managing a national retail account – and I stayed up there for four fantastic years before having my daughter.
Becoming a mum changed my priorities, but I wasn’t ready to stop working. I wanted the best of both worlds. A colleague in marketing suggested we join forces. I made my first leap into business ownership and it was the best thing I could’ve done. End to End Creative & Marketing provided me the flexibility to both work and have a family, which worked brilliantly for both of us for four years.
It was the perfect time for my next challenge when Jon Ellis, Principal of Extension (a property marketing agency) and I started talking. Jon was looking for the kind of creative direction I provided with my business and I was keen to join forces with another strong business lead. The match was made and our businesses merged. I did it all – from hiring to finances to pitching creative – it was here where I really cut my teeth in property marketing.
I recently joined the team at Cornwell as their new Senior Account Director. They are the creative leader in property marketing, with local, national and offshore projects. Our latest project (and the most talked about) is Cbus Property’s ‘pantscraper’ building in Collins Street, Melbourne. Set to be an iconic destination with of course first-class creative to match.
My creative working style is very hands on. Whether it’s choosing paper stocks, directing photoshoots or jumping ‘on the tools’ – I like to be involved where I can. The team’s workload fluctuates depending on the size of each project and what phase of the cycle we’re in (property marketing tends to be quite cyclical), but that’s all part of the fun. You just run with the excitement of it, and celebrate your wins!
There’s such an emotional pull with property. Customers need to ‘buy-in’ emotionally, so you have to really work to win their hearts. This isn’t just the case with residential – it’s also true for commercial. Tapping into a property’s unique selling point is just so important. It’s a saturated market, so you have to find that real point of difference.
It doesn’t matter if you’re selling an Audi or a box of tissues, to me, good design is all about knowing both your client and your target audience. Understanding and getting to know both is such a crucial part of delivering a successful campaign. Everyone wants to dream. That’s especially true for the property market. Each brief that lands on my desk presents a challenge to create something different. Every detail matters – the name, the brand, the story, the graphics, the photos, the printed brochures. You only have to look through the pages of Domain on the weekend to see how important it is to stand out.
Creative work in Melbourne is pretty competitive. Of all the jobs I’ve worked on in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, I feel like the bench is set high. Melbourne has a bit of a ‘boutique’ reputation and is often seen as being a creative catalyst. It creates expectations and it pushes us to produce some really great work in a very competitive industry. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My best career advice is to be passionate about what you do. That passion shows itself in your work and other people can always see that. As long as you give your best shot, you should always be proud of what you do. When it comes to a creative pitch, if you walk out feeling you gave it everything you could, win or lose, you know you’ve done everything you can.
I think I’m a better person for having a work and family life. Every woman is different, but for me balance is important (and it helps having a supportive partner). I’ve been lucky to be in a position to create my own flexibility through running my own business, but having a great team around me with similar values has also been key to making it work.
I like to think I’m a positive role model for my daughter. Grace, who is 7, already gets it. She sees me head off to work and she knows that it means I get to make decisions about how my life plays out. I think it means she’ll grow up with a really good work ethic and a sense of independence. At least, that’s all I can hope for. I’m living my dreams out in front of her so that she knows she can too. Of course, at this point all she really cares about is if we’re having chicken parmigiana for dinner!
We met with Nicole several times over the last few months. At every point she has been a complete wealth of real and creative ideas, gumption (loads of it) and knowledge. She has been a fantastic supporter of the project and each time we chat with her we learn a little bit more about the ‘other side of the fence’, that is; the developer/marketing world. Nicole is chilled. She is grounded. And sometimes it’s easy to forget that she is so amazingly successful and has basically done it all! What strikes us the most, is her passion for her job. And her passion to be creative. She lives and breathes her work, with an enviable balance. We feel very fortunate to have her posted on the blog and can’t wait to keep up our ideas sessions!