‘This period of time will forever be a career highlight’: Rory Heffernan on the key to Atomic 212°’s new business growth

Mediaweek Next of The Best - Rory Heffernan

“I want to continue the effort and momentum here to solidify A212’s reputation as the best media agency in the industry.”

Rory HeffernanAtomic 212°’s national managing director and Mediaweek’s Next of the Best winner in the New Business Growth – Agency category – has told Mediaweek the “hard work and focus” of the independent agency’s 160-strong team is the key to its new business growth.

In the past 12 months, the agency has won brands such as BMW Australia and New Zealand, Tourism Northern Territory, Entain, My Muscle Chef, Victoria University, Craveable Brands, Sydney Water, and most recently, Darrell Lea. It had $43 million in new business billings in 2023.

As chief digital officer James Dixon recently told Mediaweek, the agency has billings of $300 million, and is aiming to crack the top five in the next three years by cracking $500 million. The goal this year is to break into the top 10 (last year, it came in at #11).

Heffernan spoke to Mediaweek about his trust in the Atomic team and what the industry can expect next.

The awards have been judged by an all-star line-up, what does it mean to you to be recognised by this group?

Thanks again to everyone involved in the process. As someone who has been part of the one business for so long, it can be more challenging to get an external viewpoint. I think the team and product we’ve got is the best in the business. Having a panel of all-stars agree is nice validation that what we’re doing at Atomic right now is as special as we think it is.

What has been the key to Atomic 212º’s new business growth?

Hard work and focus. Our success has always been a result of driving results for our clients. We’ve also got the 160 best people in the industry – across data, strategy, planning, performance, trading, SEO, you name it. Over the past 12-24 months in particular, we’ve focused our efforts and found more ways to form data-driven recommendations that drive results and clearly articulate this process back to each client’s business.

What is your philosophy to approach new business?

I don’t have one – every challenge, brief, category, and client is different and requires a unique response and support system. But I do have an incredible amount of trust in our team to deliver on this.

If you weren’t Atomic 212º’s national managing director, what do you think you would be doing instead?

Honestly? I have no idea. The ride we’re on at the moment is amazing – I love the people I work with every day, team and clients alike, and I know this period of time will forever be a career highlight.

Being Next of the Best – what can the industry expect next from you?

The focus we’ve put into our people and product over the last two years has been so rewarding. I want to continue the effort and momentum here to solidify A212’s reputation as the best media agency in the industry.

Top image: Rory Heffernan

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