Bastion Collective, one of Australia’s largest independent communications agency groups, which has 13 businesses and close to 250 staff across Australia and the United States, is experiencing strong growth, with 20 new roles in market and 14 new hires in recent months.
The skills and experience that Bastion are hiring are varied, in order to match Bastion’s service offering which gives clients access to the full breadth of communications disciplines. These include brand strategy, strategic communications, senior stakeholder management, corporate positioning, complex project management, customer experience design, market research, data analytics, as well as digital and social expertise.
Says Jack Watts, Bastion Collective’s newly promoted global CEO: “What has held us in good stead through COVID from day 1 is that we have had the benefit of being independent with the ability to make quick decisions, while having the scale of 250 people globally and a completely integrated offering in house.
“This has meant that we have been able to quickly shift client campaigns from one channel or discipline to another and have staff work across multiple parts of our business as demand has changed.”
“Like most business owners, I have to be honest and say the first 6 weeks of COVID were terrifying. I will always be incredibly grateful to our staff who dug in, came on the journey with us and put our clients’ problems ahead of their own.”
“It was a similar story for our clients, most of whom I was talking to their CEOs 2-3 times a week, understanding the impact on them and how we could help protect their businesses.”
“The support of our clients and the actions of our people have set our business up to not only recover but accelerate out of COVID and experience the tremendous growth that we are seeing now. As a result, we are actively in market and making multiple new hires every week to add more incredible talent to the Collective and cater to our clients’ evolving needs.”
Recent hires include Peter Trevaskis as senior communications strategist at strategic communications, corporate affairs and issues management firm, Bastion Reputation Management. Trevaskis comes to Bastion with more than 15 years’ experience in communication, marketing and commercial strategy across elite sport and agencies, most recently holding senior management roles within Gymnastics Australia and Ford’s motorsport program.
Bastion recently announced the appointment of Savannah Zhang to the role of account director at Chinese marketing agency, Bastion China, ahead of peak Chinese shopping holidays kicking off next month.
Another key hire followed last month within integrated PR and consumer communications arm, Bastion Effect. Lizi Oldham has joined in the newly created role of social account director to support a raft of new clients signed this year within their social media division. Oldham has 10 years’ experience in social, digital, creative and content roles having worked with a number of boutique and mid-sized agencies previously including GROUND, Channel T and The 6am Agency.
Other recent hires include Gemma Mejer as social account director at Bastion Effect, who came from WE Communications Australia; Jamie Driver joined as group business director at Bastion Banjo, previously head of sales and marketing at Powershop; Sam Laidlaw as video creative joining the Bastion Films team, previously Qantas’ video producer and Stephen Cuff, previously with Saatchi & Saatchi as senior social manager.
Bastion Collective has invested a lot of time recently in adapting its new staff onboarding process to accommodate a remote working model, given the fact that all staff in Victoria are still working 100% remotely, along with a portion of the NSW team.
Says Edwina Webb, general manager, people and culture: “Since we’ve moved to remote working, we have done a huge amount of work on our induction process ensuring that new starters have as close to the same first day / first week / first month experience, as they would have if their first day was in the office. This involves the whole team, not just the hiring line manager. Client and business onboarding is incredibly important, but connecting with teammates is critical, so virtual lunches and bonding sessions are key.”
This has involved Bastion’s global internship program across each of the ten specialist businesses going online as well.
Says Webb: “In its 9th year, the Bastion Bridge program accounts for 99% of our junior hires. They are exposed to real briefs, real strategies and real clients; and see first hand what working in a multi disciplined marketing agency is like, across a 6 week period.
“While we know that working remotely can not provide the same immersive agency experience, the demand for our program has actually increased throughout the COVD period. Our current program ensures that each of our interns have regular check-ins with their teams each day, career guidance sessions at the beginning of their placement, and take part in all growth and development and cultural activities.”
Another senior appointment within Bastion Effect is soon to be announced in November, as group account director. Other senior roles in market currently include group client director – strategic communications at Bastion Reputation Management; research manager at strategic research and customer experience consultancy, Bastion Insights; and senior creative strategist at sponsorship and experiential agency, Bastion EBA.
All up, there are currently 20 new roles in market across Bastion Collective.