An Interview with the CMA’s Content Person of the Year

The International Content Marketing Awards continues to grow, not just in terms of entries and the quality of these entries, but the categories we now offer. We’ve celebrated ‘Editor of the Year, Designer of the Year, and Rising Star’ categories for a number of years and our members expressed interest in a new category that would celebrate a ‘Content Person of the Year’. This could be awarded to someone who not only works across content creation, but may work closely with other areas of the business.

2021 saw the launch of our ‘Content Person of the Year’ and we were delighted to see a number of incredible entries come through, entries from a wide variety of sectors and locations. Our inaugural Content Person of the Year was awarded to Michelle Galluzzo, Creative Director at The Precinct.

I caught up with Michelle to discuss her award-winning work, and what it means to win an award at The International Content Marketing Awards.

Michelle Galluzzo, The Precinct

How long have you been at The Precinct and how did you first get involved? 

I joined The Precinct by accident really, almost 10 years ago. I’d just left my job at a big advertising agency with a plan to go freelance, and whilst on holidays with my husband who ran a small production company, an opportunity came our way to pitch for a creative account. We spent the rest of the trip working on the pitch and two weeks later, found out we won. So, we joined forces and transformed The Precinct into a content agency which is what it is today.

What is your role within the agency, and what does a typical day look like for you? 

The work we do at The Precinct is wildly diverse, so most days are busy, unpredictable and multifaceted. Currently we’re in pre-production on a newly commissioned TV series, developing a branded feature documentary, producing multiple TVCs and content campaigns as well as working on a range of creative briefs for our current clients.

Day to day, I’m a fairly hands-on Creative Director, so the majority of my time is spent working with our team on creative briefs, pitches and proposals whilst overseeing current jobs during production and post.

I’m also constantly thinking about new ways to improve or evolve our business, which currently includes a goal to become B Corp certified, hiring new talent and finding ways to improve our internal processes and culture.

You’re the first to win our Content Person of the Year award, what did it mean to win this award? 

We’re based in Sydney, Australia so the CMA awards ceremony fell at the unfortunate time of 5am. I’d had a particularly eventful night with my newborn, so my husband and toddler got up early to watch the event. When my name popped up on the screen as the winner of Content Person of the Year, my daughter was so excited she cried, saying how much she wanted to ‘win an award like mummy one day’. So, on a personal level, it made me incredibly proud to be a role model for my daughter during the most influential years of her life.

Professionally, being selected by a panel of industry leaders has definitely boosted my confidence and reinvigorated my passion for the industry. It’s always nice to be rewarded for your work and our success at this year’s awards as a whole lifted our entire team’s morale.

Your entry mentioned ways in which you’ve grown beyond a creative director to become an accomplished film director and editor. Is this something you always wanted to do, or a hidden talent which you discovered more recently? 

I’ve always had directing in the back of my mind, since my days as an Art Director on TVCs. My passion though lies in documentary filmmaking. I love the raw nature of docos, the art of discovery and piecing together a series of seemingly unrelated events over time to construct an emotionally compelling story.

Editing was purely out of necessity. We’re a small agency which often means wearing multiple hats, so I jumped on the tools one day and got addicted. Editing for me is all about story and rhythm so I often start with key emotional moments and music to set the scene, then I just let my intuition guide me. 

The past two years has been a turbulent time for many people across the world, however you began working with a number of new clients, such as Virgin Australia, Australian Lamb and Takeda Pharmaceuticals. What do you put this recent success down to? 

The initial lockdowns were challenging, but we managed to retain all our staff and used the downtime as an opportunity to pitch new work, which really paid off.

We also found that the pandemic changed what clients were looking for in an agency and that our flexible model was a great fit. Other new business wins were based on recommendations from existing clients which we then went on to win via competitive pitch. This is how we’ve acquired most new business over the years, which we’re very grateful for.

Takeda, 5-part documentary

One of the pieces of work entered was a 5-part documentary series for pharmaceutical brand Takeda, where you worked with their team in Kenya and Singapore to tell the story behind their plans for Innovative Healthcare Access. How difficult was this to achieve whilst covid restrictions were in play? 

We were lucky to have filmed the series in Kenya just before international borders closed. When we were back in Australia and in the early stages of story editing, the project was paused for obvious reasons which left us in an interesting position where our post schedule had been pushed out indefinitely. Instead of stopping work on the series, we used the time to really craft the edits. It was an enviable and unprecedented position to be in, which ultimately resulted in a beautiful content series that went on to win gold at this year’s CMA Awards and recently at the inaugural Anthem Awards.

Looking at your submission, it looks like you work across various sectors, from the humorous work with Virgin Australia with VA-X & WIN, to the longer documentary style seen in the work with Takeda. Do you have a favourite style of brief to work with? 

For me, the idea always comes first. If it’s a great idea, it doesn’t matter what the medium, format, style or genre is. I think the key to great work is making sure that the execution supports the idea first and foremost. If it’s a good story and well crafted, people will engage with it regardless of the format.

Our judges also commented on the part in your entry which explained that alongside the usual day-to-day tasks, you helped to oversee the renovation and expansion of Precinct’s studios and recently given birth to a new baby. What are your plans for 2022, or are you looking for a more relaxed year? 

Well first of all, I’m an avid renovator so that was a no brainer. And after celebrating two major life events in the space of a few months—being the birth of my second child and my 40th birthday—I seem to have more drive and determination than ever before. I think having children has been portrayed as a hindrance for women returning to work in senior positions for far too long, so I’m determined to change that.

2022 is also shaping up to be a big year at The Precinct. We’ve just hired three new staff, have a number of exciting projects on the go and can already feel a buzz of excitement so I can’t wait to see everyone back in our fresh new space soon.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of entering a solo award, such as Content Person, Editor, or Designer of the year? 

Do it for yourself and don’t worry about anybody else. When you’re juggling a demanding work schedule, it’s easy to let your own goals fade into the background. Entering a solo award really allows you to pull the focus back onto yourself for a moment. So, use it as an opportunity to stop and think about your work, be proud of what you’ve achieved and set goals for the future. Plus, who knows, you might just win.

Finally, where will your trophy sit when it arrives in Australia later this month?

Probably in my daughter’s bedroom.

About The Precinct

A creative content agency based in Sydney, servicing clients worldwide. Passionate about creating content-led campaigns.

Find out more about The Precinct

Precinct Australia

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