My Journey: Bryan Wilmot, senior strategist, Leo Burnett

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My Journey: Bryan Wilmot, senior strategist, Leo Burnett

Monday, 8 May 2017

Bryan WilmotMeet Bryan Wilmot, senior strategist at Leo Burnett Sydney and a B&T 30 Under 30 star who we are proud to call a graduate of our IPA Campaign Planning course in 2016 and Strategic Planning Principles in 2013.

TCC: How long have you been in the industry and in your current role?

BW: I’ve been in advertising for 4.5 years and have spent the past year and two months in my role in the strategy department.

TCC: What degree did you complete?

BW : Commerce (Finance and Marketing).

TCC: What is the best thing about your job and being in the industry?

BW: Strategy is a little 'How-Stuff-Works-esq' in its discipline and I love that about my work - thinking about and uncovering the below-the-surface mechanics of people and categories. But what I love about advertising more generally is how it creates these iconic things that can become part of a culture’s identity. Things like The Bundy Bear, C’mon Aussie C’mon or Shrimp on the Barbie (for better or for worse on this one when you meet Americans). How many people can say they have the ability to be a part of something like that?

TCC: What made you want to get into the industry?

BW: I studied marketing at university but also in my early years I had studied, and really enjoyed, psychology. I’ve also got a bit of a creative streak and to me advertising, and in particular strategy, appeared to be this harmonious balance of psychology and creativity. This felt perfect for me.

TCC: What are your wider career goals?

BW: For me success is about making an impact. I have ambitions to lead an agency one day - not for seniority’s sake but rather to be able to use that standing as a platform to be part of positive impact on the world. That doesn’t only mean social good, I’d love to one day be a part of creating a piece of work that becomes iconic in this country. 

TCC: Who do you look up to in the industry?

SDW: It’s hard to say one person in particular. I’ve spent my entire career so far at Leo Burnett, from intern to where I’m at now. So basically everything that I know is an amalgamation of the knowledge from all the amazing people I’ve worked with in this office over the years, across every department.

If I have to name one person though, it will be Graham Alvarez. He’s a legitimate strategy genius but also has real sensibility to reality and doesn’t get too planner-y on things. I think this is a really important quality to have in the industry to make sure we’re always creating work for the consumer, not ourselves. And although he exclusively eats kale-soaked quinoa, he’s also an all-round legend.

TCC: What are your main sources of career inspiration?

BW: I know it sounds weird but TV and movies are a source of insight. It’s not like I watch for that purpose but sometimes I’ll be watching a show and something will strike me as interesting. Maybe it’s something the writer wrote or a way the actor played something out but it just makes me realise something about human psyche or behaviour.

TCC: What motivates you on both a daily basis and to keep striving towards your goals?

BW: I have a philosophy that nothing is ever achieved. I don’t mean that there aren’t wins to celebrate or things to be proud of, I more mean that there’s no such thing as a finish line. There’s no point where I think ‘ok, job's done, well done.’ I’ll only think ‘that was good, now what’s next?’ This gives me a future-facing perspective and an ambition to push forward everyday.

TCC: What made you want to do IPA Campaign Planning?

BW: I took the IPA Campaign Planning course because I had just moved over from the social media department into strategy. I came into a pretty senior department full of many intimidating strategists and I just wanted to play catch-up as fast as I could.

TCC: How would you describe it in a nutshell?

BW: Highly informative but truly engaging.

TCC: What was the best thing about it?

BW: The line-up of presenters was a list of legitimate industry heavyweights (sans Neil Duncan). Being able to hear from people who have and are responsible for some of the most creative and most effective work going around was pretty humbling.

TCC: What was the number one thing you were able to apply in your day to day work?

BW: There were plenty of things that I took back to my day-to-day, but probably what stood out for me most was that strategy is as much about problem identifying as it is about problem solving.

TCC: What is your favourite project/campaign you’ve worked on to date?

BW: I’m really excited about a project I’m currently working on for Captain Morgan, however I can’t talk too much about that just yet. In the past though, I’ve got to say the Earth Hour campaign of 2017 was a real career highlight. Being part of the team that increased national participation year on year for the first time in the initiatives history is something I’m really proud of.

TCC: What’s your passion outside of work?

BW: I write and sing satirical songs.


Our next IPA residential on Business and Agency Leadership is taking place from July 23 in Sydney and July 30 in Melbourne. Find out more here.

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