Employee Spotlight: Emma Talbot on over a decade at Hybrid

Where did you first start out when working at Hybrid?



It was a really nice office in Bristol, UK.

I don’t know if we really had official positions at that point, but I was a Sales Executive for Study International basically. I was pitching into universities and selling them international recruitment services. 

It taught us a lot about the sector and about what it takes to be a student recruitment agent in international marketing. And that’s a pretty hard job, to try and convert students into full fee paying tuition students who are going to be paying 50K a year or something like that to come to university. Understanding that you need multiple touch points in order to convince someone that this is the university for them and to make them feel an emotional connection, is really important. Students need to trust the brand if they are to move countries and set up a whole new life just to go to this university… you realise how much of a big decision that is and how important good marketing is. 


What’s one thing you wish you knew when you first started working here/in the industry?



I’d have to say just put in some hard yards to start with, but it’s all rewarded in the end. You learn so much from listening to your colleagues in terms of what they’re talking to clients about and hearing them in client meetings, but also just how they talk to each other. I feel like you learn quite a lot as a 21 year old in that environment. Having a bit of stamina to get through that, that’s the hard yards to start with. And that’s the case for any industry you’re in. 


Who has been your mentor along the journey?



In the early days it was definitely Jim Craven – the founder of the business. He was definitely a ‘go-to’ for advice. But then in the last five years, I’d say it has been Chris Camman and Joe Craven, the CEO and COO. They’ve been pretty instrumental in setting up the Sydney office and getting the Sydney office to where it is, as well as getting me to where I am today.


What were your biggest learnings from these mentors?



Jim has always said that getting a company from 0 to 100 is his forte and I would agree with that. From Chris I would say learning new things is always at the front of mind, if you don’t know the answer, go and find it out.


Can you share some of your favourite moments and milestones from your 10 years?



Whenever I think of my most memorable moments, it’s always after a really hard challenge or after something that’s been particularly difficult. I know that’s kind of weird because you wouldn’t think that that would be a happy moment, but it’s something to do with coming through the other side of a challenge. I just find that so satisfying – having a result at the end of it. For example, a pitch presentation in order to try and impress the client and trying to convince them that you know you’re the right agency for the job. 


Over the course of your career, what are the most noticeable changes in the advertising needs of clients?



So if you go back maybe six years, universities were solely focused on China and India and they would be focused on traditional marketing and recruitment methods in order to get the students in. For instance, physically going to events and visiting places like Shanghai. Now a lot of focus is on South East Asia, South America, countries in Africa. So far more diversity, which is how it should be.


We used to get asked all the time, “Ohh, I’m not sure that social media is going to get me the results that I want”. That was something that we got asked constantly, but you would never get asked that question now, it would just never come into someone’s mind.


Which campaigns and client work are you most proud of?



There’s loads of them that I’m proud of. Over here in Australia, we’ve got a few really amazing clients that we work with, like Federation University for example. I’m constantly really happy to work with them because they’re so agile. They move very quickly and they’re constantly on the ball in terms of responding to what’s happening in the market. And so I think that that’s a really fun client to work with.

We’ve got great clients with Study International as well, like Jerudong International School, for example. I think they are on their 12th campaign and it’s always a pleasure to work with them and smaller brands that are doing a lot with very lean budgets.


When did you feel like Hybrid was going to reach the heights that it has?



I think maybe post COVID we realised that it probably was going from strength to strength. Alot of different industries were struggling a lot during that time, but hybrid grew by about 70% that year because all of our campaigns were digital. There was a lot of spend going on and as a result there was a significant amount of campaigns. So I feel like that was a moment which made me realise okay we’ve got this.


How would you describe the DNA of Hybrid?



I hate the word fast paced – but, fast paced! The DNA really is people who are dedicated to the client experience and that client interaction. But everyone is pretty down to Earth as well to be honest. There isn’t anybody who I don’t enjoy working with which is rare.


What has been the best part of the growth journey?



Because we have the expertise that we do and we’re the size that we are, we aren’t too big to be a small cog in a wheel. It’s much more about each person actually having a genuine impact on the company overall. So I feel like one of the main reasons why I find it such a great place to be is because from all of the activity that you put in, you can see the output. You see the kind of revenue that you know you’ve brought in as a sales person or the editorial that you’ve worked on as a writer or the ins and outs of a campaign as a digital marketer.


Where do you think Hybrid is headed?



Definitely a bigger office here in Sydney and heading towards more achievements in the Philadelphia office. We are heading towards becoming the largest higher education agency in the UK in terms of the volume of clients that we have, beating out the competition over there. 

There’s been more office travel and inter department mixing, obviously since COVID we’ve been able to get out and see each other a lot more. So that’s been really positive. So yeah, there’s a lot more collaboration between the global teams, I think as well.