#Behind the Selfie with… Vanessa Baard

BY: LEIGH ANDREWS (bizcommunity)

 

1. Where do you live, work and play?

Baard: I’m a Joburg girl through and through. My two favourite times of living in Johannesburg are now, Jacaranda season; and in December when everyone flocks to the seaside. Joburg becomes a treasure chest of interesting places to eat, drink and be merry.

2. What’s your claim to fame?

Baard: I pride myself on my relationships, whether it be my personal or professional relationships. This is even more important as an entrepreneur! I focus on building strong relationships with clients, media and influencers. Clients demand and deserve high-quality, experienced communications counsel. There is no substitute for a high-touch service offering in this industry.

3. Describe your career so far.

Baard: I would describe my career as one hell of an adventure! I started as a communications intern in 2001 at an international communications agency, some 15 years later, I left this same company as a director and partner. Let’s not forget there was a short break in those 15 years, when I worked at a management consulting firm for about a year. I’ve always loved communications and the pace of agency life – so returned to the realm of agency life.

I’ve recently started a new strategic communications firm, ByDesign Communications, with a long-time friend and respected colleague, Kevin Welman. We are a couple of months in and I know this is one of the best decisions I’ve made – to embrace entrepreneurship!

4. Tell us a few of your favourite things.

Baard: As I’m all about relationships, I love spending time with people – professionally or in my downtime. The cycling bug (both mountain bike and on-road) has bitten and I enjoy time out riding (trying most of the time to stay on the bike and not in the bushes)!

But above all, my two favourite things are my little people. I’m absolutely privileged to have Jessica (7) and Ethan (4) call me mom – #BestJobOnEarth.

5. What do you love about your industry?

Baard: When things go wrong, I love to help clients fix them! Some people shy away from dealing with a crisis, not me. I’m usually first in line to roll up my sleeves – a communication triage nurse of some sorts, maybe.

One of the very first projects I worked on as an intern was the Ellis Park Stadium Disaster, which is recorded as one of South Africa’s worst sporting accidents. On 11 April 2001, spectators poured into the Ellis Park Stadium for the local Soweto derby association football match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. Overcrowding resulted in a stampede where 43 people were crushed to death. I will never forget that event, and I will never forget 43 people who tragically lost their lives that night. My agency at the time was assisting stadium management in handling crisis communication and my role was to send out the media statements (via fax, nogal… it’s hard to believe email wasn’t such a thing back then). There was something that happened in that process that I think rewired by work-DNA.

6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.

Baard: As an entrepreneur, I’m finding my day is filled with many cappuccinos at coffee shops (which seems to be my new office space), meeting with new contacts and connecting with old colleagues and business networks.

I love that I wake up and no two days in the communications industry are ever the same. It’s a fast-paced environment and you have to have the ability to multitask.

An average workday starts with trawling news sites (Daily Maverick, Rand Daily Mail and Business Day are my starting point). Then it’s a quick review of what’s happening on my social networks (which continues throughout the day, in between meetings and events).

7. What are the tools of your trade?

Baard: Curiosity is at the top of my list!

8. Who is getting it right in your industry?

Baard: As a business owner of a small agency, of course I’m going to say the small agencies are getting it right. But, here’s my argument: Clients want to be challengers and often small agencies have fearless leaders. There are many consultants at big agencies, they win awards, they get paid, they go home. Someone who is brave enough to start a business is more likely to have an edge, and I believe clients want that. Smaller agencies are aggressively seeking more business outside of their geography and expertise and larger agencies are going after smaller opportunities in order to keep growing. Specialists will continue to broaden their service offerings to go after new prospects while generalists will add services to keep up with the evolving needs of their clients.

Why does everyone love craft beer? We love the little guy, the underdog – we want the small guy to win, the ‘homebrewer’ to conquer the global mega brewer. This analogy seems very relevant in the South African media and marketing industry. Over the last five years we’ve seen many global players enter the market by acquiring an established local agency. The market is now experiencing a major influx of smaller owner-run agencies, the new marketing ‘craft brewers’.

9. What are the biggest pain points/challenges/areas for improvement?

Baard: Companies spend millions of rands every year in building a brand or protecting the reputation of their organisation. In recent years, many companies have opted for a myriad of communication agencies from above-the-line, digital, activation and corporate communications – offering a little bit of this and that, rather than having all their communication needs met by just one agency.

But, clients will only realise the value of many agencies through integration – having an impeccable conductor who can pull it all together – a chief communication integration officer of some sorts. The importance of integration does not only refer to different agencies servicing a client. Integration of the marketing and communication departments remains a real problem.

Unfortunately, added to this, there is still a culture amongst agencies of protecting their own turf and fighting for the piece of the pie as opposed to doing great work, even if that means working along-side other agencies, for the best benefit of the client.

10. What are you working on right now?

Baard: I’m working on some really amazing projects at the moment. At the end of October 2016, the ByDesign Communications team worked with Libresse SA and Net#work BBDO to launch #VaginaVarsity. Many girls and women feel uncomfortable and even ashamed to talk about vaginas. Libresse realises that women blush to even say the word ‘vagina’, which leads to shame, silence and possible health problems – and so we wanted to do something about it. Vagina Varsity aims to spark some important discussions around female health in South Africa and be a starting point for girls and women to better understand and love their bodies.

I’m also working on a number of change management and issues management programmes – but those are a little more internally focused, so can’t share too much on these. What’s really exciting to see is how communications is increasingly taking a seat at the CEO table.

11. Tell us some of the buzzwords floating around in your industry at the moment, and some of the catchphrases you utter yourself.

Baard: Collab (although this is one I try to avoid as much as possible)!

12. Where and when do you have your best ideas?

Baard: There must be something about water and my ability to problem solve or come up with ideas when surrounded by water. I love swimming and it’s my morning ritual after I drop the kids off at school to try swim a mile. I love the quietness of swimming – time to think. Maybe it’s the rhythmic breathing, or the melody of hearing myself blow bubbles during every stroke. That or the cliché of great ideas in the shower… but hey, that’s sometimes where some creative-goodies come from.

13. What’s your secret talent/party trick?

Baard: I’ve been known to introduce tequila, tomato and tobacco to a few people in my lifetime.

14. Are you a technophobe or a technophile?

Baard: Definitely a technophile. My husband often says I should be married to my phone.

15. What would we find if we scrolled through your phone?

Baard: Selfies my kids have taken while I’m not looking! And probably way too many emails – I’m an email hoarder! Although I never have unread emails – I can’t handle unread emails.

16. What advice would you give to newbies hoping to crack into the industry?

Baard: Don’t be afraid to fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not learning. Allon Raiz, CEO of Raizcorp, has a great tweet that goes to his community most Sundays: “Same question as every Sunday: ‘What have you tried and failed at this week?’ Nothing = Bad #takeashot.” As an entrepreneur, I’m finding this thinking even more relevant – embrace change and failure and learn from it.

The second thing for newbies is read, read, read! Pick up a newspaper and read. Don’t just check social media feeds for news, but get varying opinion and analysis of what’s happening in the industry. Yes, I love consumer magazines… but its perhaps because I’ve predominantly been financial services/corporate focused for most of my career that I lean towards media outlets such as Business Day, Daily Maverick and Rand Daily Mail for my daily news fix – and varying analysis.

Simple as that. Click here for more on ByDesign Communications, visit their website, follow ByDesign on Twitter, as well as Baard’s personal account. You can also email her at v.baard@bdcomms.co.za or call 082 331 8158.

*Interviewed by Leigh Andrews.

62 Responses

  1. Buy Tamoxifen Europe [url=http://cialicheap.com]cialis for sale in usa[/url] Cialis 10mg Nebenwirkungen Ou Acheter Du Viagra Forum
  2. Amoxicillin Red Eyes [url=http://buyciali.com]cialis no prescription[/url] Kamagra Order Online Viagra 28 Ans
  3. <a href="http://canadianonlinepharmacyhd.com/" rel="nofollow">no 1 canadian pharcharmy online</a>
  4. <a href="http://canadianpharmaciesrxbest.com/" rel="nofollow">canadian pharmacy uk delivery</a>
  5. <a href="http://canadianonlinepharmacysl.com/" rel="nofollow">international pharmacies that ship to the usa</a>
  6. <a href="http://canadianonlinepharmacywell.com/" rel="nofollow">legitimate canadian mail order pharmacies</a>
  7. <a href="http://canadianonlinepharmacyoffer.com/" rel="nofollow">legitimate canadian mail order pharmacies</a>
  8. <a href="http://canadianhealthypharmacyrx.com/" rel="nofollow">canadian online pharmacies</a>
  9. <a href="http://canadianonlinepharmacygen.com/" rel="nofollow">highest rated canadian pharmacies</a>
  10. <a href="http://canadianpharmaciesgen.com/" rel="nofollow">canadian pharmacies shipping to usa</a>
  11. <a href="http://canadianpharmaciesshippingsl.com/" rel="nofollow">canadian mail order pharmacies to usa</a>
  12. <a href="http://canadianonlinepharmacybsl.com/" rel="nofollow">canadian drug store</a>
  13. now <a href="http://buyviagramdf.com/" / rel="nofollow"> buy viagra online </a> here [url="http://buyviagramdf.com/"] 25mg, 50mg, 100mg viagra tablets available [/url] today buyviagramdf.com
  14. <a href="http://canadianpharmacieslink.com/" rel="nofollow">canadian pharmacies mail order</a>
  15. <a href="http://cialisnrx.com/" / rel="nofollow">buy cheap cialis online</a> here [url="http://cialisnrx.com/"]cialis online[/url] generic cialis cialisnrx.com
  16. <a href="http://cialischchx.com/" / rel="nofollow">buy cheap cialis online</a> here [url="http://cialischchx.com/"]cialis online[/url] generic cialis cialischchx.com
  17. <a href="http://canadianonlinepharmacydr.com/" rel="nofollow">best canadian pharmacies</a>
  18. <a href="http://canadianpharmaciescenter.com/" rel="nofollow">reputable mexican pharmacies online</a>
  19. Just beneath, are many entirely not connected sites to ours, on the other hand, they're surely really worth going over.
  20. To determine internal swelling is difficult enough, therefore, consequently, they influence the body for a long time, which threatens the normal fetus. Fluids are dangerous because they break blood circulation. Such picture leads to worsening feeding and the breath baby, created hypoxia. Fighting such a pathology should be done with the help of correction feeding and special exercises so that fluid does not stay tissues. If the woman is resting, then under the feet preferably put a cushion or pillow to improve the blood circulation of tired legs. Do not long time to sit or stand, as this leads to stagnation in the body. It is recommended that the knee-elbow position several times a day in order to increase blood flow. [url=http://pregnancyplus.info/why-do-you-have-swollen-feet-after-pregnancy]swollen feet after pregnancy[/url]
  21. I seldom create remarks, however i did some searching and wound up here . And I do have a few questions for you if it's allright. Is it just me or does it look like a few of the remarks come across as if they are coming from brain dead individuals? :-P And, if you are posting at additional places, I would like to follow everything new you have to post. Would you make a list of all of all your shared pages like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?
  22. we came across a cool website that you just may delight in. Take a appear should you want
  23. below you will uncover the link to some sites that we assume you ought to visit
  24. the time to read or visit the material or web-sites we've linked to below the
  25. always a large fan of linking to bloggers that I enjoy but dont get a good deal of link like from
  26. we like to honor numerous other world-wide-web web-sites on the internet, even when they arent linked to us, by linking to them. Beneath are some webpages worth checking out
  27. Sites of interest we've a link to
  28. Here is an excellent Blog You may Discover Interesting that we Encourage You
  29. check below, are some absolutely unrelated web sites to ours, having said that, they are most trustworthy sources that we use
  30. I hardly comment, but i did a few searching and wound up here . And I actually do have a few questions for you if it's allright. Is it simply me or does it look like a few of these comments appear as if they are written by brain dead people? :-P And, if you are writing at additional online sites, I'd like to keep up with everything fresh you have to post. Could you make a list of every one of your community pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?
  31. usually posts some incredibly intriguing stuff like this. If youre new to this site
  32. Every once inside a even though we select blogs that we read. Listed beneath are the most current web sites that we choose
  33. the time to read or go to the content or internet sites we have linked to beneath the
  34. please check out the web pages we adhere to, which includes this 1, because it represents our picks through the web
  35. one of our visitors a short while ago proposed the following website
  36. very few web sites that occur to be comprehensive beneath, from our point of view are undoubtedly effectively really worth checking out
  37. below you will locate the link to some internet sites that we feel you need to visit
  38. Every once in a though we choose blogs that we study. Listed below would be the newest websites that we opt for
  39. one of our visitors not too long ago proposed the following website
  40. Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a few unrelated data, nonetheless truly worth taking a look, whoa did 1 learn about Mid East has got far more problerms too
  41. The info talked about in the post are a few of the best offered
  42. Here are a number of the web sites we suggest for our visitors
  43. usually posts some extremely fascinating stuff like this. If you are new to this site
  44. please stop by the web sites we adhere to, like this 1, because it represents our picks through the web
  45. Every after inside a whilst we pick out blogs that we study. Listed below are the latest web pages that we pick
  46. we like to honor lots of other web internet sites on the internet, even if they arent linked to us, by linking to them. Beneath are some webpages worth checking out
  47. The details mentioned within the post are several of the ideal readily available
  48. I think that everything published was very logical. However, what about this? suppose you composed a catchier post title? I am not suggesting your content is not solid., but what if you added a headline that grabbed a person's attention? I mean is a little plain. You ought to look at Yahoo's front page and note how they create news titles to get viewers to click. You might try adding a video or a pic or two to get readers excited about what you've got to say. Just my opinion, it could bring your blog a little livelier.
  49. I hardly drop remarks, however after browsing a few of the remarks here. I do have 2 questions for you if it's allright. Is it only me or does it appear like some of the responses look as if they are coming from brain dead people? :-P And, if you are writing at other sites, I would like to follow anything new you have to post. Could you make a list of all of all your social networking pages like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?
  50. Here is an excellent Weblog You might Find Intriguing that we Encourage You
  51. Sites of interest we've a link to
  52. EiL
    we like to honor numerous other online web sites on the net, even when they arent linked to us, by linking to them. Underneath are some webpages really worth checking out
  53. Here is a good Blog You may Locate Intriguing that we Encourage You
  54. the time to read or take a look at the subject material or web pages we've linked to beneath the
  55. the time to study or stop by the subject material or web sites we've linked to beneath the
  56. one of our guests not long ago advised the following website
  57. usually posts some pretty interesting stuff like this. If youre new to this site
  58. Sites of interest we have a link to
  59. Here is a great Blog You might Locate Exciting that we Encourage You
  60. below youll obtain the link to some internet sites that we feel it is best to visit
  61. Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine several unrelated information, nevertheless actually really worth taking a search, whoa did 1 master about Mid East has got far more problerms too
  62. very handful of websites that transpire to become in depth below, from our point of view are undoubtedly effectively worth checking out

Leave a comment