Ri5 Profile: Chris Le'cand-Harwood

Ri5 Profile: Chris Le'cand-Harwood


Chris recently joined SMRS to lead content marketing strategy across their education, employer and youth markets. This follows his time as Head of Social & Content at TI Social, part of TI Media (formerly known as Time Inc. UK). He also has 15 years sector experience and was Head of Social Media at Havas People.

Tell us a bit about your new role?

Content marketing is such an important discipline for brands. It was part of my previous roles at TI Media and Havas People and a big part of my new role at SMRS.

Brands need to add value to their target audiences through truly integrated content, especially in education, employer and youth marketing. This is why I joined SMRS. With our insight, brand, content, media and digital expertise we’re primed to lead the content marketing space and I’m looking forward to working with a great bunch of people in the agency and a great group of clients.

Why is content marketing important?

Advertising creates a huge amount of noise as brands try and grab the attention of their target audiences. There are various studies into how much noise this is: a person can see anything between 4,000 and 10,000 brand messages a day depending on what research you read. That’s not to mention messages from news, friends and family. And there are those all-important algorithms on social: the more relevant and valuable your content the more platforms such as Facebook and Instagram will serve your content to their users.

So, the competition for attention is fierce and brands have a responsibility to add value to people’s lives through content.

For universities this means drawing upon their wealth of knowledge and stories to help potential customers make a truly informed decision with confidence.

For employers this means doing the same to help potential employees make the first, or next step, in their career with confidence.

In both instances missing out on the right talent, or worse getting the wrong talent in, can be costly. Important stuff.

How did you first get into the industry?

I got a job in career events marketing through my university’s careers service after I graduated. I worked closely with Riley in campus marketing for Fast Track Teaching. I made the move over to the agency soon after that and went on to work in resourcing, campus marketing, research and integrated marketing. I had set up the social media function by the time the agency became Havas People.

What would you do if you didn’t do this?

I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. My dad was an ad man and I spent a lot of hours in his agency, so I was always interested in the agency world.

What piece of advice would you give somebody starting out in the sector?

Be curious about different parts of the agency. It means you can find what you’re most passionate about while gaining a bag load of invaluable experience.

What’s your favourite recruitment ad?

It’s not an ad but a documentary: It’s a while ago but I loved Gordon Behind Bars on Channel 4. Gordon Ramsay and his Bad Boys Bakery gave a great insight into prison life. This kind of documentary has become popular over recent years and gives people a real feel for the purpose of a job. And recruitment marketing can learn a lot from this documentary style content. It’s no longer about one ad these days, brands need more to influence a customer or candidate.

And what’s your favourite non-recruitment ad?

Fearless Girl: the bronze statue of a girl that appeared in front of the Charging Bull on Wall Street the night before International Women’s Day 2017. It was commissioned by State Street Global Advisors around the issue of gender diversity in the workplace at board level. Just one statue was enough to inspire over 200,000 pieces of content on Instagram within the first 12 weeks. That statue is now a permanent installation in New York and continues to attract attention. Inspirational.

What are you reading at the moment?

A recent paternity leave gift: Raising Girls, by Steve Biddulph (we’ve two girls under two). I also read loads about marketing and social media on my mobile.

And what are you listening to?

I love listening to TED Talks Radio and That Peter Crouch Podcast.

What are your top three on Netflix?

Better Call Saul. The Good Place. House of Cards.

Something or someone for Room 101

Donald Trump. Please.

What items do you never leave home without?

My mobile phone.

What’s your biggest achievement – career or otherwise?

Marrying my wife and starting a family.

What is your ideal holiday?

A beach house in Santa Monica with the family.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

It was Love Island and The Circle during the summer.

What single fact would surprise people the most about you?

I’ve run 13 marathons in the past 9 years.

Thanks Chris. If you would like to nominate someone for an Ri5 Profile, or participate yourself, please contact the Ri5 Editorial team at editorial@ri5.co.uk

Thursday, 15 November 2018

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