Paul Murphy on returning to indie agency roots with Kookaburra Riot

“I found that working in larger agencies, I often felt further away from working directly on client challenges.”

Paul Murphy returned to the market this week with the launch of his independent media agency, Kookaburra Riot.

Murphy, who was among the senior redundancies made at Dentsu late last year, said that starting up his own business has been on the cards for a long time.

“This is really a return to my heritage. I started indie side in Adelaide with KWP and then was lucky enough to be a part of Cummins&Partners,” he told Mediaweek.

With close to 30 years in the industry, he said that leading an independent allows him to be close to every aspect of the agency, from the product to culture.

“I found that working in larger agencies, I often felt further away from working directly on client challenges.

“I was definitely able to connect with clients, and they have always been generous with their time, but I had many conflicting priorities that took me away from some of the day-to-day tasks that I love.”

Murphy said he noticed a gap in what was being delivered to clients due to the fragmentation of channels, the complexity of technology, and the different specialisations needed.
“Clients often face off with discipline specialists at agencies, but they need to lead the dance when it comes to pulling the long-term communications vision together.”

Making the move

Since leaving a holding company and starting up his own shop, Murphy noted that the most significant change has been cash flow. He said, “Going from a salary to my own business is an adjustment.”

However, he highlighted that the payoff as an indie in a fast-paced industry has been freedom and the ability to be agile for clients.

“Everyone in the business knows that we work for our clients and have a role in delivering a product for them. Given how fast the industry is moving, agility is important.

“We can work with different tech and partners and adjust quickly as things change.”

Murphy said that Kookaburra Riot (riot being the collective noun for a group of kookaburras) is putting its most experienced people in “direct connection” with its clients’ businesses.

“This has simple and profound impacts on the client business and relationships.

“From engaging in long-term planning, continually evolving tech needs, adjusting process to context and relating campaign and media metrics back to business, just to name a few,” he added.

Looking ahead, Murphy said that developing clients’ brands and people is important. “I want to see people passionate about their craft and clients leaning into their ability to grow their business through the implementation of media-led solutions.”

Top image: Paul Murphy

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