Meet the MD: PUNK

Jane Strachan

Meet the MD: PUNK

Jane Strachan is, quite literally, PUNK. She tells BQ about life as a ‘media agnostic’ creative agency, and not being magnolia.

What is it the company does?

PUNK is a creative agency where ideas come first.

We’re a new model creative advertising agency, set up to work in an agile way, crewing up with bespoke teams tailor-made to meet the needs of each unique project. This allows us to provide the best talent for each individual job, and means our creative solutions are not dictated by or limited to in-house capability.

Media agnostic, we find the creative solution for each client and the smartest way to deliver it, whether through traditional ‘paid for’ media, or more disruptive, engaging activity. For us it’s all about the power of the idea, something which we feel has become lost in the race to digital supremacy.

Describe your role in no more than 100 words

As managing partner of PUNK I am responsible for the day to day running of the business. I’m also the main point of contact for clients with whom I work closely to develop strategy and deliver creative campaigns. My role also encompasses developing relationships with collaborators and running cross-discipline project teams.

Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?

My career in marketing started in sales promotion, working with brands such as Dr Pepper, Fosters, Anheuser Busch and Kronenbourg 1664.  

I’d always wanted to work in advertising, and my next move took me to London and M&C Saatchi. After a couple of years honing my skills in account management running large scale advertising accounts I moved back to Scotland and a job at Leith Agency, working with clients such as Irn-Bru, Tennent’s Lager, Bass, CR Smith and Atlantic Telecom.

A break away from Leith took the Tennent’s account and I went with it as part of the founding Newhaven agency team, remaining there for 10 years or so as Director of Client Service. This time was interspersed with 1 child and 2 secondments to Scottish Government, latterly as Head of Smarter, Wealthier and Fairer Marketing, working with Ministers, policy makers and a range of communications and creative agencies delivering behaviour change and public information campaigns. I subsequently took the plunge and went out on my own, setting up marketing consultancy firm, Blackbird Pie.

I love advertising and absolutely believe in the power of great creative work, and when the chance arose in early 2016 to team up with the hugely talented writer and Creative Director Paul Mason (ex Red Brick Road, Ogilvy & Mather, Publicis) I took it with both hands. We were brought together by a shared feeling that the traditional agency model was no longer fit for purpose. We knew we could offer a unique proposition – ‘Class A’ creative and experience, plus an agile approach to delivery.

What do you believe makes a great leader?

Emotional intelligence, enthusiasm, passion and the ability to listen. A sense of humour helps too.

What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

Managing growth. We’re now almost a year in and so far so good; winning projects for Whyte & Mackay and Great Western Railway, as well as three nominations for The Drum’s Roses Creative Awards. And we’re proud to be the first regional agency to join the prestigious IPA Accelerator program, a new scheme set up by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising designed to nurture and support start-up communications agencies.

How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

For me, it’s a combination of yoga, walking, meditation, and being able to bring the dog to work!

Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?

I really dislike old fashioned views on traditional ways of working. Proud to say that we do it differently here at PUNK.

What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Stick to your guns, vision and beliefs. Not everyone will like what you’re doing, but… who wants to be magnolia?

What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?

Everyone else is making it up as they go along!