Talent Corp MD Mark Noakes reflects on the agency’s talent-led approach and impressive performance growth

TALENT CORP - Mark Noakes

Plus: Specialising the agency’s range of well-known clients and exciting plans for the year ahead

Talent Corp was established in 2020 during the first Covid lockdown. 

Managing director and co-founder of the independent media agencyMark Noakes, recalled: “Everyone around us thought we were crazy. Maybe we were.” Three years on, Talent Corp has proven itself in the industry, growing from strength to strength.

Noakes spoke to Mediaweek about specialising in talent-led marketing solutions and campaigns, its range of well-known clients, impressive performance over the last year and exciting plans for the year ahead.

Noakes, who spent 17 years of his career with Nine Radio, said he met with his former colleagues Ruth ThompsonMike O’Regan and Ross Greenwood in his garage to sketch a unique selling point and plan for the agency.

“We outgrew the garage pretty quickly and setup up shop in Crows Nest,” he said.

Leading Talent Corp and its talent-led approach

As managing director of Talent Corp, Noakes explained he is hands-on with client strategy and new business pitches, among the many aspects he oversees.

Noakes noted that the agency specialises in talent-led marketing solutions and campaigns. He explained that he and his team learnt over the years working in radio that trust in delivering a message was vital to driving ROI.

“When a commercial is delivered by someone who is trusted by an audience group, that drives over 15% more ROI than a message delivered by someone who isn’t known to the audience. That was the seed of the idea for Talent Corp,” Noakes added.

TALENT CORPThriving clients and impressive performance

Clubs NSW and the New Zealand health brand, Nature Bee, are two foundation clients that have continued working with Talent Corp. “Both are still with us and thriving,” Noakes said.

Noakes added: “Clubs NSW use the Talent Corp model with great effect. We have employed a range of trusted talent for them, including celebrity chefs Colin Fassnidge and Manu Feildel and Nine Radio’s Ben Fordham.”

Noakes was proud of Talent Corp’s performance last year. He noted that they doubled their billings in 2022, and while they expect to do the same this year, he pointed out that the agency was coming off a low base at the start-up stage.

“That said, we have plans to double again in 2024. If we can keep growing our client’s business, our business will keep growing. It’s that simple,” he added.

Talent Corp’s talent measurement system

Looking ahead, Noakes shared that the Talent Corp team are excited about their talent measurement system, The Australian Talent Index.

“In the beginning, we found that brands were using social media followers and likes as a way to measure talent value. We thought this was grossly inadequate,” he said. “What do followers tell you about how a consumer is going to respond to a brand or commercial message? Nothing, that’s what!”

Noakes noted that the Index is the “first of its kind in Australia” and combines positive and negative responses into a single metric that demographic, geographic and psychographic filters can dissect.

The Australian Talent Index can look at consumer attitudes toward talent and predict emotional responses through an AI developed in Canada. The Index is also able to measure measures talent against key industry sectors.

Talent Corp - Talent Index Scale

“We can see which celebrity or sports star is the best fit for a financial services brand or health and wellness brand, for instance,” he said.

There are approximately 300 Australian talents in the Index, and Talent Corp is always looking to continue its growth.

The Index began with trusted talent, but Noakes said that a number of their media personalities and sports personalities have a substantial following on social media platforms. He noted that the Talent Corp initially intended not to enter the influencer space but has somewhat had to as “the influencer market is a lot larger than initially understood.”

“It’s clear the Index will prove to be a valuable tool for both clients seeking to inform their choice of a brand ambassador and for studios and media outlets in casting,” Noakes said.

Benefits of being part of the IMAA

Noakes shared that he began his career with a big multinational agency and that the IMAA succeeded in providing similar educational experiences and opportunities to them.

“They are doing a great job with that,” he praised.

“It’s also been great to re-engage with so many other agency heads I have worked with over the years to share war stories and compare notes,” Noakes added.

Top image: Mark Noakes


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