DREW BENVIE

Back in 2006, Drew Benvie sat down and wrote the first ever Wikipedia page on ‘social media’. He hasn’t stopped leading the way since.

He remains one of the principle voices when it comes to digital technologies in marketing and, over an impressively short period of time, he has built an agency that is now one of the top rated in the country (winning 14x Agency of the Year awards in just seven years!).


He is a public speaker, an early adopter, a researcher, a champion on the importance of company culture and an advocate for how social media can be a force for good.

How does he do it?

Let's take a peek inside and see what we can find out.

If you were guaranteed the correct answer to one question, what would you ask?

I’ve thought long and hard about this, and I’ve decided that I just don’t like having all the answers. The fun is in the journey.


Have you ever had a mentor?

I took a lot from everyone I’ve worked under, both to emulate good traits and how to improve. Nobody’s perfect, but if you work hard, if you strive for perfection, and know your own faults, you can do great things.


What’s the one thing you look for in every hire?

We look for ‘T-shaped’ people here at Battenhall. That means a depth of skills and expertise in social media, digital and technology, complemented by a breadth of experience. We always look for this in people when interviewing for future talent.


What would be your perfect client brief?

It would be a brand that I’m a huge fan of, coming to our company to ask us for help, simple as that. I consider myself incredibly lucky that this has happened a few times in my career.


Worst marketing buzzword?

Double-click (on an idea).

When you are gone, what would you like people to write for your obituary?

Family man.


What is your most used, ‘couldn’t live without’ phone app?

I graze through a dozen or more communications apps, from work to social media. No one app stands alone any more. Each does its job. Apps that work fast work best, as I have to be able to skim through information quickly to keep on top of everything.


What do you spend way too much money on?

Gadgets of all kinds. I tell myself they help keep me top of my game when it comes to innovation at work.


What’s the most difficult part of running an agency?

It’s hard work if you want to make a success of starting your own business, and even more if you want to be the best. But in all honesty, if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.


What’s your favourite part of running your own agency?

Every little success you experience when building up a company gives you tingles. And not just successes for Battenhall - client successes are just as great.


But before we had a brand, any team members or clients, when Battenhall was just me with a laptop in an empty office, I created a blueprint for a new way of working, that I hoped would attract the best people in the industry, allow them to deliver the most innovative work, and gain us recognition that would then grow our brand. Seeing that plan work, and achieve recognition in itself, that has been really special. Because doing great work is one thing, but creating new ways of working that shift the needle is really special.


How do you unwind?

Family time. Work is fast paced so just slowing down with my family is the perfect way to unwind.


What is something that I could learn right now, that will be useful for the rest of my life?

Teach yourself how to code, even if it’s just a little. Technology has enormous potential to change the world for the better. If you know how to make it work for you, you will think differently and see opportunities you’d never have seen before.


Most played song on iTunes/Spotify? (no cheating)

Right now it’s the new London Grammar stuff.


There are 5 empty seats at your table, who are your dream dinner party guests - from any time or place?

My father and my grandparents.


How do you define success?

To have made a difference.


Quick fire….

Early bird or night owl? Early bird.

Book or boxset? Book.

Call or text? Text.

Introvert or Extrovert? Extrovert.

Netflix or YouTube? YouTube.

Library or museum? Museum.

Classic or modern? Classic.


Finally – who would you like to see answer these questions in the spotlight?

Demis Hassabis.

Battenhall operates a ‘Total Flexible Working’ policy, so our team can choose to work from home or our London office, or a mix of the two. This is my desk at home.


Some items from it to talk through…


Have you ever had a mentor?

I took a lot from everyone I’ve worked under, both to emulate good traits and how to improve. Nobody’s perfect, but if you work hard, if you strive for perfection, and know your own faults, you can do great things.


Family things

Photos of my wife and children and some of the kids’ school work from when they were smaller.


Google smart speaker

Just ask Google to “talk to Battenhall” and the rest will be self-explanatory.


Paper weights

On my desk are some ladybird paperweights that my children made for me... for all those papers flying around my desk.


Green shoots

The small plant in a green pot is actually a cutting from the office that I took on the last day the office was full before lockdown. Since I took this photo it’s tripled in size.

Battenhall is a new kind of communications agency, named 14x as agency of the year in seven years.


We’re hiring at all levels. If you are looking for a career in digital communications, take a look here.

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OFF TOPIC

2020