Marketing And Media Matters

Issue 79

In the latest of these popular series of features we talk to... TONY HARDY A

Did you always envisage a career in the Media industry?

Tony: My background is in branding, design, and marketing. I didn’t envisage a career in the media industry, more the design industry. But as I started to follow agency owners and founders online, I started to enjoy learning about the business and marketing side of things more than the design stuff. By the time I was midway through University, I’d decided I wanted to setup my own agency. I just didn’t think I’d end up doing it as soon as I left University.

What has been your career path so far?

Adrienne: When Tony left University and started Canny, I was working as a waitress. When we setup the business, even though Tony was doing the majority of the design work and dealing with clients, there was a gaping big hole in the business and operations side of things. Tony: And every night when I was stressing about things, Adrienne always had the answers. “Do this, do that.” And it worked a treat. She was the brains of the operation, and it was obvious that she needed to step into the business full time too.

What have been the biggest challenges you have faced so far?

Adrienne: Definitely that first hire! We had whiteboards full of financial calculations and “if this happens, then what?” type scenarios drawn up. That was probably the biggest challenge we faced. But once you’ve done it once, it gets much easier moving forward!

Who do you most respect in your industry?

Tony: Honestly the media and marketing industry has such a (perceived) low barrier to entry that anyone doing it, and doing it successfully, I can’t help but respect. There’s so many scheisters and tricksters out there, that if you’ve built a reputable company in the industry, then fair play. Specifically, I massively admire Peep Laja from Wynter and CXL, Chris Walker from Refine Labs, Jonathan Dane from Klientboost, and Carrie Rose/Stephen Kenwright from Rise at Seven. And for my sins, I do enjoy a bit of Gary Vee too.

Which fictional media character can you most relate to?

Adrienne: The Tasmanian Devil. Every day working in the industry is an absolute whirlwind – haha!

How did you adapt your business during the coronavirus crisis and support clients?

Tony: Luckily we win and connect with our clients through our blog. Therefore, the Covid crisis didn’t effect our lead flow, website traffic, or work too much. We actually managed to turn it into a positive and we’re winning more international work than ever before. Adrienne: Marketing was one of the key areas that people spent a lot of time and focus on during Covid. So just being on hand, and able to help our clients in the same we we’ve always done took us from strength to strength.

What is your greatest strength?

Tony: It’s the partnerships and relationships we build by being truly “us.” It’s the authenticity. Working in marketing can be intimidating, and just by being normal, approachable people, we manage to build relationships that last for years and years. Adrienne: There’s no suits or sharp presentation decks with us. We’re always just there, present, in the room, listening and working with our clients to help them achieve their goals.

What is your biggest weakness?

Tony: Honestly, having no real business training has been a bit of hinderance at times. But I’ve fixed that lately by joining the Goldman Sachs 10KSB programme and that has taught me a lot of things that I probably should have known from the start!

What has been your proudest achievement?

Adrienne: Getting to work with clients on every single continent is huge. We love that! Tony: Except Antartica. Penguins don’t need marketing support.

What are your future career aspirations?

Tony: I’d imagine over the next few years for sure, we start to open up “hubs” in different locations. We’re building some workshop events that we’re delivering in Belfast and Texas later this year, then if that goes to plan, we’ll do the same around the world next year. Hopefully that’s the start of us having a physical presence in other countries.

How do you see your industry evolving in the next 10 years?

Adrienne: I think software is going to replace a lot of the “easy bits” of our job. You’re already seeing that with different website builders, and branding-by-numbers type software coming out left, right, and centre. And that’s why building real relationships with our clients, and working with them as people rather than treating them as “another customer” is going to be vital as the world changes.

How do you like to unwind?

Tony: Travel. We get to travel a lot with our job which is amazing, but there’s nothing like a few days away, be it in a hot tub, or a city break, to totally refresh and reset the mind.

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