Armed with the war cry ‘Imagination is everything. It’s the preview to life’s forthcoming attractions,’ courtesy of Albert Einstein, Cumming focuses on maintaining a happy and healthy company which he says is one that retains both its clients and its staff. Responsible for new business, his role is also to future-safe the agency which he does by plotting it on a course that ensures it will remain relevant and compelling five years from now.
Comments Cumming about that course, “Digital is here. It’s been here for some time. It’s everywhere, it’s all around us. Let’s stop talking, tweeting and blogging about the subject and start executing strategic, world-class, highly-effective brand communication through the multitude of mediums we have at our disposal. Although evolved, the basic principles of marketing remain. There will always be a need for brave, creative ideas that move people. Whether these ideas live on the internet or on the shelf in the supermarket aisle is less important than the brilliance of the idea itself.”
With some 15 years of experience in the field at some of the country’s most respected names in the business, Cumming is no stranger to success. After a four year stint abroad, he started as an account manager with BesterBurke D'Arcy in Johannesburg before moving across to PentaMark BBDO as an account manager on Daimler Chrysler.
Ogilvy then convinced him to join the team on the Volkswagen account in Cape Town as an account director in 2003 where stayed until branching out to You There! in 2007. He was lured back into employment by Lowe Bull with an offer of business unit director. He got to flex his natural entrepreneurial muscle again a year later at the Habari Group (now called Machine) when he co-founded Big Wednesday, an integrated below-the-line agency, securing the Motorola account in the process. He went on to fulfill the role of business director and managing director before joining Leftfield as business development director in 2011.
“Over the past 12 years, I've had the privilege of working with a number of incredible teams of talented people and have managed marketing campaigns for all types of business across almost every sector: from automotive to mobile, confectionary to finance, alcoholic beverages, toys and more. And, I’ve learnt one important lesson as a marketer. It’s no longer about us but about them, the consumer. Now, it’s about how we are going to become a part of their conversation. More than ever, the consumer truly is king and as marketers, we have our work cut out for us. Nothing is more exciting and significant right now than the second Internet revolution - the ‘mobilisation’ of consumers through their hand-held devices,” says Cumming about his experience.
“It’s difficult to be successful in advertising if you expect to live it only during office hours,” he offers to anyone keen on a career in the advertising field. “Be prepared to keep your eyes and ears open every waking hour wherever you are, whatever you’re doing. Be a sponge and absorb the world around you. We’re in the communication business. Our job is to pass on a message about a product or service to a group of people that may be in the market for that product or service,” he says.
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