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Strength in Numbers (And Measurement)

Strength in Numbers (And Measurement)

Patricia Murphy

Patricia Murphy

February 19, 2020

Global Head of Mx Measurement Neala Brown chats about the power of analytics in advertising and why she’s ready to “Let It Go” when it comes to Frozen.

"There’s a ton of value in what we learn from data and analytics – and we learn through both our success and lack of success"

Data-enthusiast Neala Brown, Global Head of Mx Measurement, talks about how analytics fit into Group’s meaningful methodology and the career path that led her to Havas.

 

How did you get your start in the industry, and what led you to Havas?

I worked as a media planner right out of college at this small integrated agency in Chicago that focused on biotech firms. We started doing more digital and I got more exposed to data through digital. I really liked that I had numbers on a more near-term basis to inform my decisions. I did some coursework on analytics and the rest is kind of history.

Tell us about your role.

I’ve been with Havas for almost five years and have been a part of the global team part-time since last October, and full-time since January. Prior to this, I led the Boston Analytics team and was also the account lead for Choice Hotels. In my new role as the Global Lead on Mx Measurement, I’m working to define what the philosophy, ambition, and components of Mx Measurement are as well as how it integrates into the overall Mx system. We’re working hard to elevate the language of media effectiveness and how it is that we measure this in a best in class way. I’m excited to help set the tone for how we can reposition measurement as a strategy driver (that doesn’t just sit at the end of the process) and also create collaboration around the process and components.

In your previous role with Havas, you grew client investment in analytics by more than 200%. What role do analytics and measurement play in creating meaningful and effective work?

Analytics and Measurement help us in a number of ways. Most importantly, they help us prove the effectiveness of the media investment decisions we’ve made. They provide clients with the data and facts that are needed to inform decision-making, and to feel confident in the decisions that they are making. There’s also a ton of value in what we learn – and we learn through both our success and lack of success. To me, this is the real value of measurement – it’s the mechanism that helps us get smarter and to learn. These learnings helps power strategic conversations and decision making.

How do you lead effective teams?

I think one thing that’s important is to recognize that people are different – and individuals bring different talents, skills, backgrounds, and perspectives to the table, even if they have similar capability. I think effective team leadership comes from learning how to recognize the unique skills that people have and how these can be best leveraged to both create better output but also to complement and learn from what other members of the team are good at. I’ve found that a team is at its best when people feel valued both as individuals and in terms of their contributions and as though they’re being given opportunities to grow and learn.

You’re based in Boston, Massachusetts. What do you love the most about the city?

On Boston Common there is a Make Way Ducklings statue (if you haven’t read the children’s book – go do it now!) and the ducks are usually dressed for the season. They wear hats in the winter, Red Sox gear in baseball season, and rain gear if it’s been particularly rainy. This was my favorite book as a kid, and I’ve always loved that those statues were there and that people have fun with them. My kids now love them and my dad loves to send them updates on how the ducks are currently outfitted.

What is important to you outside of work? What is your passion?

I’m in the thick of raising small kids and the truth is that my main focus outside of work is spending as much time with them as I can and enjoying the moments I get with my husband, family, and friends. My husband and I are lucky that both of our families are local to the Boston area and we have a lot of support, so we try to go away just the two of us for a few days at least once a year, and my passion lately has been planning the best trip possible knowing the time away won’t be quite as long as it was before we had kids. We went to Iceland this past fall since we had both always wanted to see the Northern Lights and it was amazing. We had the perfect mix of time outside, relaxation, and great food (another passion!). I’m looking forward to figuring out where we’re going to go this year. Other than that, getting back to having three small kids, my main passion right now outside of work is sleep.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

“Don’t listen to the gremlins.” Like a lot of women, I have a bit of imposter syndrome at times and someone told me not to let the thoughts of self-doubt creep in, and instead to use that energy to remind myself of my talents and strengths. I can’t say I’m always successful, but it’s been a useful tool for me to at least try to repivot my internal monologue in a positive direction. When I pivot to more positive thinking I have found that I ultimately have more positive outcomes.

What are you reading, watching and listening to?

So right now, given that our house is overrun with small kids, we read, watch and listen to a LOT of Frozen. Frozen, Frozen 2, in the car, in the bathroom, on the TV, on Google Home, books read at bedtime – you name it, Frozen is likely being consumed in some form as we speak. My older son is also very into all of the Marvel (but Captain America is the all-time favorite) recently, and my husband and I both love the MCU movies – so Disney + has been a bit of a gift for all of us. We also just binged Schitt’s Creek after about a year of being told to watch it by all of our friends and family (with Frozen hogging the TV and all!).

"There’s a ton of value in what we learn from data and analytics – and we learn through both our success and lack of success"

Data-enthusiast Neala Brown, Global Head of Mx Measurement, talks about how analytics fit into Group’s meaningful methodology and the career path that led her to Havas.

 

How did you get your start in the industry, and what led you to Havas?

I worked as a media planner right out of college at this small integrated agency in Chicago that focused on biotech firms. We started doing more digital and I got more exposed to data through digital. I really liked that I had numbers on a more near-term basis to inform my decisions. I did some coursework on analytics and the rest is kind of history.

Tell us about your role.

I’ve been with Havas for almost five years and have been a part of the global team part-time since last October, and full-time since January. Prior to this, I led the Boston Analytics team and was also the account lead for Choice Hotels. In my new role as the Global Lead on Mx Measurement, I’m working to define what the philosophy, ambition, and components of Mx Measurement are as well as how it integrates into the overall Mx system. We’re working hard to elevate the language of media effectiveness and how it is that we measure this in a best in class way. I’m excited to help set the tone for how we can reposition measurement as a strategy driver (that doesn’t just sit at the end of the process) and also create collaboration around the process and components.

In your previous role with Havas, you grew client investment in analytics by more than 200%. What role do analytics and measurement play in creating meaningful and effective work?

Analytics and Measurement help us in a number of ways. Most importantly, they help us prove the effectiveness of the media investment decisions we’ve made. They provide clients with the data and facts that are needed to inform decision-making, and to feel confident in the decisions that they are making. There’s also a ton of value in what we learn – and we learn through both our success and lack of success. To me, this is the real value of measurement – it’s the mechanism that helps us get smarter and to learn. These learnings helps power strategic conversations and decision making.

How do you lead effective teams?

I think one thing that’s important is to recognize that people are different – and individuals bring different talents, skills, backgrounds, and perspectives to the table, even if they have similar capability. I think effective team leadership comes from learning how to recognize the unique skills that people have and how these can be best leveraged to both create better output but also to complement and learn from what other members of the team are good at. I’ve found that a team is at its best when people feel valued both as individuals and in terms of their contributions and as though they’re being given opportunities to grow and learn.

You’re based in Boston, Massachusetts. What do you love the most about the city?

On Boston Common there is a Make Way Ducklings statue (if you haven’t read the children’s book – go do it now!) and the ducks are usually dressed for the season. They wear hats in the winter, Red Sox gear in baseball season, and rain gear if it’s been particularly rainy. This was my favorite book as a kid, and I’ve always loved that those statues were there and that people have fun with them. My kids now love them and my dad loves to send them updates on how the ducks are currently outfitted.

What is important to you outside of work? What is your passion?

I’m in the thick of raising small kids and the truth is that my main focus outside of work is spending as much time with them as I can and enjoying the moments I get with my husband, family, and friends. My husband and I are lucky that both of our families are local to the Boston area and we have a lot of support, so we try to go away just the two of us for a few days at least once a year, and my passion lately has been planning the best trip possible knowing the time away won’t be quite as long as it was before we had kids. We went to Iceland this past fall since we had both always wanted to see the Northern Lights and it was amazing. We had the perfect mix of time outside, relaxation, and great food (another passion!). I’m looking forward to figuring out where we’re going to go this year. Other than that, getting back to having three small kids, my main passion right now outside of work is sleep.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

“Don’t listen to the gremlins.” Like a lot of women, I have a bit of imposter syndrome at times and someone told me not to let the thoughts of self-doubt creep in, and instead to use that energy to remind myself of my talents and strengths. I can’t say I’m always successful, but it’s been a useful tool for me to at least try to repivot my internal monologue in a positive direction. When I pivot to more positive thinking I have found that I ultimately have more positive outcomes.

What are you reading, watching and listening to?

So right now, given that our house is overrun with small kids, we read, watch and listen to a LOT of Frozen. Frozen, Frozen 2, in the car, in the bathroom, on the TV, on Google Home, books read at bedtime – you name it, Frozen is likely being consumed in some form as we speak. My older son is also very into all of the Marvel (but Captain America is the all-time favorite) recently, and my husband and I both love the MCU movies – so Disney + has been a bit of a gift for all of us. We also just binged Schitt’s Creek after about a year of being told to watch it by all of our friends and family (with Frozen hogging the TV and all!).

Patricia Murphy joined Havas Group in October 2019 as a Senior Editor and Writer. She has a background in digital journalism and content creation.

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