He’s straight-talking, a self-confessed data nerd and always brings a heavy sprinkle of sarcasm with him. This week, we (virtually) sat down with Kier Humphreys, Hallam’s new Experience Director, to hear all about life as an agency native, the importance of honesty and his vision for the future.
Hi Kier – welcome to Hallam! Tell us a bit about your background.
I started out as a Philosophy graduate in the Corporate Banking world – an odd choice in itself – and, after working through the financial crisis, moved into a marketing role. Since then, I’ve worked across client services, consultancy and experience, most recently at Sagittarius where I launched their CRO offering, eventually running the UX, Creative, Content and CRO areas of the business.
Wow, so quite varied then!
Exactly – I’m a proud generalist. I have a good working knowledge of everything ‘agency’ and genuinely enjoy problem-solving and working with teams to deliver better results for, well, everyone.
Joining a new company whilst in lockdown isn’t always ideal… How have you found it so far?
It took me about two hours to get over that issue. I think we’re all so used to working remotely now, and with Hallam’s approach to hybrid working and a genuine commitment to work from anywhere, I don’t feel distant or out of the loop. If anything, it saves that awkward walk around the office, learning (and forgetting) the names of half the company and the health and safety talk that makes you question your life choices.
So, a fairly smooth process so far then?
The onboarding actually started months ago and the whole team – from the CEO and MD through to my own team – have been welcoming and bloody helpful at all times. I’ve even enjoyed the inductions because the team a) know their stuff and b) actually like working here.
Anyone who knows me well knows I am a pessimist at least four days a week, so me saying this sort of thing is a) rare and b) not said lightly.
Other than Hallam’s approach to hybrid working, what initially drew you to working here?
I knew a couple of people at Hallam before the opportunity to work here materialised: I trust them both, and their view of the agency was enough for me to interview and join.
So far, it’s living up to what I expect, even if Jake does keep telling me not to believe the hype! And I think that’s what I like the most: Jake and Julio are both incredibly down to earth and have a clear vision for what Hallam can and should be.
As Experience Director, what does your role entail?
My main purpose in life is to ensure the agency delivers exceptional creative, and experiences that combine solid research and design flair. I’m a bit of a data nerd, a storyteller and the person who questions everything. Ideal dinner party guest.
Away from outcomes though, I’m here to develop my team – and the wider agency – and help everyone that works at Hallam now and in the future to progress and enjoy the work they do.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I still really, really enjoy seeing creative that is everything a brief demands, and more. I’m like a child with a shiny thing when we deliver a line that is spot on, or a concept that blows a brief apart. But my role allows me to be part of that, while also working on optimisation projects and really focusing on the user to make life easier for them. Do I save lives? No. But we save people time and remove friction from their lives, one experience at a time.
It’s still early days, but what’s your favourite thing about working at Hallam so far?
Asking me this after several weeks is a real test of the quality of the induction…
Whilst it’s still early days, I feel like I belong in the agency and I have the genuine scope and freedom to mould my department – and even the wider agency – to my vision. And that’s on top of the values-based approach to business, remote working and hugely engaged workforce.
I really want to ask about your vision, both for the department and how that relates to Hallam as a whole. What can we look forward to seeing?
My vision is pretty straightforward: I want to deliver experiences that brands are proud of and that prospects and customers interact with intuitively. That starts with acquisition and awareness campaigns, all the way through to service and returns.
It would be easy to say, ‘oh, I want us to deliver experiences that make customers smile and become passionate advocates worldwide’. But that’s a fantasy, and the industry does itself a disservice when it dresses up customer experience with superlatives that just don’t describe the way people feel about brands.
So, a straightforward vision – and an honest one to match.
While the vision may be straightforward, doing it is just a tiny bit harder than that. But that’s what we’re aiming for – there are some seriously talented people here, people who care about the way they work and their impact on the world. It’s my job to empower the teams and deliver them the environment to produce the work that will underpin Hallam’s future growth.
And to make a lot of sarcastic comments. That’s also in the job description.
If you would like to learn more about Kier and his role at Hallam, don’t hesitate to get in touch.