How I made it: Jon Clark, European President, Evoke
For our latest inspiring stories series, 'How I made it', we're interviewing the cream of the crop across all facets of communications and marketing. This is where you'll learn about how the best in the industry got to where they are today and hopefully pick up some tips along the way to help your own career progress.
We sat down with Jon Clark, European president of health & wellness communications agency Evoke.
An early champion of multi-channel delivery systems, Jon has been with Evoke for the long haul, starting with the firm in the year 2000. Drawing on his years of experience in market research and his experience on many successful global, regional, and local campaigns, Jon now works to expand Evoke's services across Europe and around the world.
He remains passionate about synthesising skills and knowledge to create tailored solutions for clients across the globe, while developing powerful brand stories that resonate with target audiences and inspire behaviour change in healthcare. We spoke to him about learning from everyone as part of the journey, making sure your never get anything wrong twice and why working to music is just so much better…
How did you get into communications?
It was the year 2000 and after studying Chemistry undergrad and Business postgrad I wanted a career that combined science and marketing. I ended up working for a small independent company as a healthcare market researcher. Like many people the job found me, and I threw myself into the role learning about the industry, across many therapeutic areas and clients.
The organisation at the time was split into research and advertising, and my big break was when the CSD recognised my skillset might be better placed on the advertising side of the business.
They were right! Since that decision I’ve set up new companies, relocated offices, launched global products, travelled the world and worked with 100’s of great people.
What keeps you sane on those crazy days? Do you have a daily routine?
Honestly. I don’t! It’s the crazy days that I love, the fact that every day is different is what keeps me motivated and excited. If I had to do the same thing every day I don’t think I’d be able to handle it.
Do you or did you have a mentor?
I haven’t had a mentor per se, but I am lucky enough to have worked with some phenomenal people in the industry from planners to marketeers and creatives to strategists. I feel I have taken a little piece of advice, or learning, from each one of them. And that doesn’t stop, it still happens every day from interactions with the board to new graduates just entering the industry.
What are the three words that best describe you as a communicator or leader?
Curious, Honest & Committed.
Knowing what you know now, what career advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
Throw yourself into everything with passion, enthusiasm and vigour; don’t leave anything on the table. Don’t be concerned about failure. Getting things wrong is part of the learning journey, just don’t get it wrong twice.
For me the two most important things are to surround yourself with people more talented than you and build and retain the best possible relationships with clients and staff.
What changes have you seen during your time in this industry?
I think in the last 20 years, there’s been a lot of change. The world in general is much more complex, especially healthcare: science, channels, access and connectivity to name a few areas.
At Evoke we ensure we hire healthcare specialists and provide a platform to connect across our global group to harness the power and knowledge of everyone – all 550 of us!
This also plays another important role around insight gathering. You never know where a great insight might come from. The market access team talking to a payer about a patient might end up uncovering an insight that drives the HCP campaign!
What top three things do you think the industry should do to improve diversity?
I’m proud that the Evoke team is incredibly diverse and we have achieved this by ensuring positive recruitment practices are in place to reach a diverse talent pool. We train our hiring managers and those with people management responsibilities, so they are aware of best practice as it relates to diversity and inclusion.
Having flexible working policies and the right benefits mix have also been very successful.
Could we do more? Absolutely and it continues to be a focus in 2019. The entire industry needs to look at new ways of encouraging new and exciting talent.
Name one piece of technology you can’t do without…
Trying desperately to not say my iPhone… I’ll go for wireless music streaming. Sonos + Spotify – I work my best when I’m listening to music. Accepting that my iPhone is the controller!
Great music is like a great campaign. Both should evoke an emotion, something that makes you feel (and maybe act) differently!