Rufus Powered by Initiative’s Sarah Moore discusses bringing positive change to the industry with the MFA

MFA - Rufus - Sarah Moore

Moore also spoke about changing the perception of the media and advertising industry

The Media Federation of Australia (MFA), established in 1997, is an alliance representing media agencies to the government, industry, media owners and the general public.

The industry body’s purpose – We Are The Changers – is to remind the industry that it is at the dynamic epicentre of commerce and society and to inspire its professionals to take pride in their work.

In this series, industry figures from MFA member agencies share their thoughts on their agency’s performance in the last year, the benefits of being part of the industry body, embodying its purpose, and their outlook for the year ahead.

Sarah Moore – client director at Rufus, powered by Initiative – spoke to Mediaweek about the agency’s culture, the positive impact media agencies bring clients, and the advertising industry’s image.

Moore revealed that her start in the industry was far from traditional, starting at The Walt Disney Company in London.

“After a fulfilling four years, I made the classic leap to Sydney with no job and ‘fell’ into media with the help of a friend who assured me it would be a good move. And it was.

“Not only have I learned a lot more about media and advertising, but also skills that are not industry-specific, including leadership, personal brand building, producing meaningful work, and pitching,” she added.

Moore on Rufus’ performance and highlights of 2022 

Rufus was awarded 2022 Employer of the Year; an achievement Moore and her team are proud of.

“The Rufus team love being a part of the Initiative family. We’ve built a cohesive environment that provides perfect cross-pollination conditions for idea development, problem-solving, and career progression,” she said.

Moore noted that their clients have also seen the benefit of their connected teams, with ongoing new business wins and strong client retention.

“They spend valuable time in our office, immersing themselves into our day-to-day and developing trust, which has only heightened the production of incredible work and enabled us to dominate the awards scene,” she said.

“Most recently, we were proud to take home Media Agency of the Year, 11 Festival of Media APAC awards, and we’re maintaining the momentum with the recent announcement that we are shortlisted for 10 Festival of Media Global awards,” she added.

Moore also noted Rufus’ culture as a highlight. She said: “Everyone talks about it, but when you get it right, it’s something to be proud of.

“Our people champion each other’s work, skills, and differences, and we have a huge emphasis on leaning in to support each other to get the job done,” she added.

Collaboration and community with the MFA

On being part of the MFA committee, Moore noted that it was an opportunity to collaborate with like-minded people passionate about bringing positive change and a sense of togetherness into our industry.

“I have the privilege to be included in the small but mighty agency community whose diverse thoughts and opinions ensure that, as a group, we spearhead impactful changes relevant to the whole industry.

“Our role within the committee provides support in the form of consistent and standardised training which aligns with the expected internal and client outputs.

Moore added that the committee organises events for senior industry members that inspire thought leadership on various topical subjects that project beyond the day-to-day.

“The MFA committee has empowered me to combine forces with other agency members to delve deeper into areas for improvement and bring together a passion for change to deliver tangible results,” Moore concluded.

Guiding clients through an ever-evolving landscape 

Moore shared that having a media agency to guide clients through the ever-evolving landscape is vital.

“The breadth of specialist skills that media agencies can offer across the whole spectrum of advertising is our biggest hook, but we offer so much more than that,” she said.

Moore noted that agencies developed a thorough understanding of their client’s business and worked as a specialised extension of their team. She said: “Their goals are our goals. We make informed media decisions based on a combination of objectives, market and industry knowledge, and prior experience.”

Moore continued: “Naturally, we drive efficiencies and generate financial value for our clients, but beyond that, we have the collective influence to drive market, and global-wide impact, whether it be through a recommended strategic shift, a change in creative messaging, or offering new, innovative formats.”

“We pride ourselves on being drivers of provocation and building client confidence, obviously not to the extent of saving lives, but certainly having a positive impact on them!” she added.

Changing the perception of the media and advertising industry

Moore shared that she hopes the advertising industry’s image can be overhauled as a place people strive to be involved. 

Moore explained: “There’s a discrepancy between what the media industry is renowned for externally (fun, nurturing, and boozy) and internally (stressful, pressured, underpaid), and we have a big PR job ahead of us to change this perception.

“I’m passionate about setting agency teams up for success, ensuring they’re prepared, not only to manage themselves but also to lead junior team members to achieve fulfilling careers,” she said.

Moore noted that among the things that can change this perception is leading by example, setting clear boundaries and guardrails, teaching people skills beyond interrogation of CPMs, and educating schools and universities about the industry.

“The advertising industry should be one that people strive to be involved in, rather than luckily ‘falling’ into it (unlike me!) We’re the best in the business at addressing awareness, consideration, and conversion for our clients, but what about potential candidates?

“We need to broaden our outreach in promoting a positive attitude towards career changes to bring in the best from industries outside our own. 

Moore concluded: “I would love to see us [the industry] appearing in the top 25 most in-demand jobs list. I believe that is where we truly belong.”

To Top