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"And so, it is about meaning, it is about purpose, and it is about knowing that the work that we're all involved in this industry has the ability to affect people in a really powerful way with regard to how they live their lives or the spaces that they enjoy.

Episode 16

On using genuine emotion as a catalyst for ingenious ideation, creating more of absolutely everything and how to make good old fashioned aussie gravy.

Andrew Hoyne | Founder & Principal | Hoyne

Andrew is the Founding Principal of Hoyne – Australia’s largest place & property marketing agency, which he built from scratch 30 years ago. During that time Andy has helped major Australian & International developers, Councils & government to create highly recognisable landmarks across Australia, generating some of the country’s most memorable brand & marketing campaigns in the process. He’s seen first hand how the power of effective placemaking can completely transform communities and is passionate in his belief that we can do more to create meaningful places. This led him to publish The Place Economy – a series of resource books that look at the social and economic impact of best-practice placemaking around the globe. At home Andy is lucky enough to have a loving wife and three beautiful daughters that keep him on his toes when he’s not on the front foot realising his purpose. In this episode Andy shares his vast wisdom on an array of different subjects including (but certainly not limited to) using genuine emotion as a catalyst for ingenious idea creation, creating more of absolutely everything and how to make good old fashioned Aussie gravy. Enjoy.

Transcript

Anthony Denman:
Andy, welcome to the Property Marketing Podcast.

Andrew Hoyne:
Anthony, thanks for having me. I feel honoured to be invited given the list of esteemed people you’ve had, you’ve interviewed on this Podcast to date. I’ve listened to a number of those interviews and I’ve actually learned quite a lot. They’ve been really insightful. So, I just hope that I’m able to step up and share as much insight and people could walk away from listening to this today, knowing something new about the way they could improve things that they do in their business, because the reality is that when we’re all running businesses, we’re all just sharing and learning.

Anthony Denman:
Great. No, thank you. I’m certain – I’m very excited actually about today’s conversation. I’ve got to say, I love my darling wife. Well, she’s not my wife, she’s my partner, but we’ve been together 15 years. She’s also the mother of my two beautiful children, but fuck, there’s so many rules. She has just, I think, probably because I’m the annoying teenage son that we’re up to sort of rule 8,895. I’ve got one rule, right? One rule, which is don’t move my bottle opener. Don’t move it. Keep it in the same spot. I know you’ve got three rules at home. They are, that each of her children has to swim proficiently. That is a certain distance. Learn a musical instrument and number three, learn a new language other than English. Now is there a musical instrument you prefer? I’m guessing it’s not drum.

Andrew Hoyne:
Oh look, I don’t mind what musical instruments the kids play. In fact, I would allow them to get drums. And two of them have asked for drums only after they’ve become proficient in some other instruments first, just to get a better sense of rhythm. I mean, every parent hates the idea of drums, but I’m cool with it so long as they’re good at piano and or guitar and at the moment they’re doing pretty well. So, I don’t know what that’s all about. I think partly it’s when I was a kid, I think I had skills in nothing, maybe BMX riding and skateboarding. So, I have a really strong desire for my children to have certain bits of knowledge and experience and sort of forced into them as kids. I don’t want them to dislike the process, but I’m also not giving them options either. My wife, Senta she’s German, she was born and brought up in Berlin. She’s very soft and easygoing and super friendly, but her Germanis that’s can definitely come out when it comes to creating a set of rules and groundwork for the kids and the family.

Andrew Hoyne:
So, that’s a really good thing. And I think like, I think my kids will complain about doing their regular swimming or other things like learning Mandarin, but I’ve said, “Suck it up and you’re going to be doing it for another decade or so. So, try and enjoy it and make as much fun out of that as we can.” But yeah, look, I don’t know if I’m big on rules in life, but certainly being a good dad is probably one of the single most important things to me.

Anthony Denman:
Me too. No doubt. Is there a particular language other than English, German or Mandarin that you’ve placed the most importance on?

Andrew Hoyne:
It doesn’t bother me what languages they learn or what musical instruments they play. However, having said that, I do think that for anyone in the Western world to learn an Asian language, particularly say Mandarin or Cantonese is going to be incredibly helpful in their future adult life. Although, one of my kids has been doing a bit of basic Spanish. Certainly, given that half the world speaks Spanish, that is not going to hurt either. My wife speaks fluent German and a number of other languages, that hasn’t been forced upon them, but maybe they’ll choose to do that at some point.

Anthony Denman:
I love this quote. “I dropped out of university…” This is a quote from you, of course, for those people who are unclear about that. “I dropped out of university in my first year…” So, I’m assuming you were studying graphic design?

Andrew Hoyne:
Correct.

Anthony Denman:
“I was too busy working in a nightclub five nights a week. When all my friends graduated, I realized all I had, was 15 medallions, which allows you for entry and free drinks. But when I sobered up and realized I was broke and and useless, I decided I would become a designer. I printed a business card and shazam!”…God I love that word, shazam. “Off I went in complete naivety. What I severely lacked initially in skill and knowledge, I made up for over time with perseverance and passion.” I assume you weren’t a bouncer at the the night club.

Andrew Hoyne:
Wow. I don’t know where you got that from. You’ve done some deep research there because that’s now going back over 30 years ago. I initially got a job in a nightclub before I started university. When I was 17, I did actually fib about my age a bit and I was just picking up glasses and I think we were called bus pigs. And then, I got a job as a barman. And then I got a job as a promoter, actually running my own nights in different nightclubs. So, I would get a percentage of the door money. And it seemed like a pretty cool hip thing to do at the time at that age. And it was super fun, but yeah, I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody from a health point of view.

Anthony Denman:
Why didn’t you work for anyone else? And was that an advantage or a disadvantage?

Andrew Hoyne:
I actually did work for a small firm for about six months and they were great bunch of guys. And they gave me a lot of scope to do some interesting work on my own, but I just felt… I just wanted to focus on the sort of clients that I thought would be a better fit for the way I wanted to approach work. And I probably had a little bit of a chip on my shoulder that all my friends had finished their university degrees and were out working for these well-known firms. And I needed to fast track things. I just needed to get moving. I kind of felt that I maybe mucked about too much, had too much fun if that’s possible. And I just needed to get serious real quick and really kind of focus and pour some energy into creating something of value.

Anthony Denman:
So, your first clients, understandably given your background when you were in the venue business, and then you did a bit of hotel stuff, I guess, it was always that destination marketing, but then you also looked at doing work in the fashion industry, which didn’t have a lot of money, banks, finance, packaging. You had a good business in packaging and then full circle again, back to property and place, which we’ll get into later. But I just like to know, is there like a noticeable difference between creating brands for non-property clients versus property clients?

Andrew Hoyne:
I think the most important thing is to have deep expertise in any category that you work in. And while, there might be a belief that from a creative point of view, that you can apply that skill to any sector or any industry, that’s only true to a point because you need to understand the nuances of an industry or how it operates or the people who work within it and how they’re going to use the tools that you create and who those audiences are and what their fears are and how you overcome those fears through a creative solution. So, while I think it’s great to have that background, whether… And I’ve worked with a lot of cultural institutions, finance businesses, fashion brands, retailers, and venues. And property, I think has always played a role in that work that I started doing in those early ’90s, but ultimately I don’t believe that you can be really successful in an industry like property development and property marketing, unless you have deep expertise.

Andrew Hoyne:
And I don’t just mean from a marketing point of view. I could have a conversation with a CFO, with a DM, with anyone in any part of the industry and really be able to hold my own, I believe. And I think that someone who is just coming from a creative perspective doesn’t have that ability.

Anthony Denman:
Can you remember your first major project?

Andrew Hoyne:
The first time we did a complete marketing campaign for a substantial development was actually for a firm in Melbourne called Broad Land. And we called that development, the Polaris North Star apartments, and that was in ’99. And about the same time we did a project for Jeff Provan, at Neo Metro also in Melbourne. And I think it was in hardware lane. We called that one Bianca. And so, that was the first time we’d really done pure proper property marketing, sales orientated for off the plan. So, from there, it kind of really grew into a whole range of different types of projects.

Anthony Denman:
Can you remember why you called it Bianca?

Andrew Hoyne:
The funny thing about the work that we all do is the thing that’s the most difficult to get across the line is naming. It’s so subjective and yes, you can have a rationale and some scientific thinking about how you get to an outcome. And I love it when the name is obvious. I love it when it’s the name of the area or there’s something heritage on site or there’s something really meaningful that it would be a no brainer to call it anything but that. But sometimes calling a project, something like Bianca, I honestly can’t recall. I do know that Neo Metro, has fantastic architects in Melbourne, always had a sense of a progressive stylistic kind of feminine nature about the work that they did. So, I’m sure that it was the Neo Metro influence that resulted in that name. But I don’t recall all those years ago to be honest.

Anthony Denman:
Okay. So, I’ve got another quote, which I love every quote if there’s not too many. There’s a few. Everyone I’ve included I really like. “As a kid, I liked drawing, but as I got older, I got worse. Not better. I had no patience.” I can really relate to that one. “And I liked the ideas more than the idiosyncrasies of execution.” I’m with you on that as well. “Plus there were tons of people who were better illustrators and craftspeople than me. So, I turned to design and found that through good ideas. I had more ability to create something meaningful, to be dynamic and communicate in an engaging way is what really excited me.” Okay, that’s the end of quote. So, by meaningful, is this by meaningful, did you mean memorable? And is that how you arrived at your original positioning, which was creating memorable brands?

Andrew Hoyne:
Definitely. I really felt that my role, whether it’s a creative director or is in some ways a bit of a conductor about getting the right people around me, the right team, the right thinking. And actually the key thing with all good creativity is collaboration. But I think one of the things that has evolved in my career and my approach to work and life is that purpose has become really important. And it’s probably more so having kids, but even before then, I love the idea that we could actually have an impact on communities and not just do marketing for the sake of marketing, that it could actually be more than that. And I felt that with some of the areas that I was working when I was younger, it was just pretty pictures or style or aesthetics. And it’s interesting because my wife said to me, I don’t know, about a dozen years ago.

Andrew Hoyne:
She said, “Wow, you know what? I love with the work that you’re doing now in property and place visioning.” She’s, almost like, “All that work that you did working with charitable organizations for the last few decades, whether we were on the board or doing pro bono or fundraising…” She’s like, “Place visioning is kind of bringing together all those worlds. You’re trying to create economic outcomes for organizations, but you’re trying to create great experiences for people.” And she was right. It’s interesting that I was working for organizations in the past that were just purely profit driven with no other agenda. And I was on the side working for lots of not-for-profits, for free. And now I feel the work that I do, even though people wouldn’t believe that that’s possible in development, but the reality is that actually creating communities is actually bringing together the best of those two worlds.

Andrew Hoyne:
And so, it is about meaning, it is about purpose, and it is about knowing that the work that we’re all involved in this industry has the ability to affect people in a really powerful way with regard to how they live their lives or the spaces that they enjoy.

Anthony Denman:
That was a really good answer. I just love the way you’ve transitioned from… Because I really liked that positioning, creating memorable brands. I thought that was really good, really insightful and really kind of gave you a strong point of differentiation amongst your competitors, but to go deeper on that and to manifest it through places is great. And I’m really looking forward to exploring that later on. Why did you name your business after yourself?

Andrew Hoyne:
I tell everybody that I meet not to make that mistake. It’s quite funny how often I’m having meetings with organizations that might be doing a startup. And I say, “Do not name it after yourself.” And I know that will seem hypocritical coming from me, who’s masthead is my name. However, I think, when you’re 23 years old and you’re starting a business, it feels a bit wanky to actually give it a brand name. There have been many times over the last 30 years that I’ve said to my team, we should rebrand. We should rename our organization because it’s actually not all about me. And I’m just one person, but they’re the ones that have talked me out of it and said, “You’re crazy. You’re too far gone. You’re too far deep into this business that you’ve built a reputation around that name.” So, I like to think that the name whilst it’s Hoyne, it’s actually not me. There’s a clear separation between who I am as an individual and who we are as a company, because it’s so much greater than just one person.

Anthony Denman:
I’d like to talk about pitching as quite often is the case. Clients have this idea that if they just email us a brief, and then, when I say us, I mean, maybe two, three, four who knows five, who knows how many agencies. And then go, “Hey guys, you’ve got a couple of weeks and whoever has the best idea will win.” And I think that they’re thinking if they make us compete at that level, it will bring out our best work or at the very least give them a whole bunch of free ideas.

Andrew Hoyne:
Look, free pitching is a great way to destroy an industry because the reality is that agencies like ours put our best people on paying work. We’re not going to put the most experienced senior people onto a pitch. The reality is that we made a statement, probably 15 years ago that we don’t do free pitching. There have been rare exceptions that we have made for a number of reasons over that 15 years that we’ve done it. We’ve usually regretted it. It’s interesting because the examples made are that big advertising agencies pitch the work. Sure. Let’s assume that a pitch costs the firm 30 or $50,000 in costs, but when your goal is a million dollars or two or $3 million, the risk reward ratio is pretty reasonable. But if you’re going to spend 50 grand for maybe, a project that’s worth 200, the risk reward ratio makes absolutely no commercial sense whatsoever.

Andrew Hoyne:
And in fact, if you’re a firm who hasn’t been lucky to win a number in a row, you probably going to yourself into bankruptcy. So, architects will often pitch, but they will get paid a fee. Whereas, some firms in the property development industry would only really choose someone who pitches the work for free, but it’s really not the best way to get a sense of how they are going to create the right solution for their development, because it’s all done behind closed doors. They might given a bit of information and I think a lot of the work would be guesswork when the reality is that real collaboration occurs between a developer and their consultants working together to develop the idea together, not in isolation.

Andrew Hoyne:
So, the idea of free pitching doesn’t really work most of the time because it’s very rare that someone’s going to just land on the best possible solution without actually having worked alongside the other ideators, such as the architect, the landscape architect, the interior designers, and most importantly, the developer, because you really have to kind of get inside the heads of other people to see the potential of what’s possible as opposed to just having a guesswork approach. I think the other thing that people often forget about this idea of free pitching is that it is really commercially unhealthy and somebody is paying for it. If people are doing a lot of free pitching, they’re either not a very sustainable business, their staff aren’t earning reasonable wages and the paying clients are being short changed because the agency’s not spending time focusing on them, which is the reason they exist in the first place.

Anthony Denman:
Ideator. I love that word. I’ve got to say I’m so with you on the collaboration thing. Honestly, I felt like I needed to compete with everyone else who… because you’re the exception to the rule, right? Pretty much everyone else is throwing ideas on the table. And it’s for us, it got to a point where if we didn’t throw ideas on the table, then we just didn’t have enough opportunity. So, I think, our most recent one, which was late last year and the brief was really good, right? The brief was really thorough. I thought it well considered, and it was a kind of a high profile client and I’d worked with them before. So, I knew a lot of people there. So, I thought we’d have a crack at it. The ideas were great, they really resonated with the team and we all felt like that we produced some really beautiful work. And what was interesting and to become even probably more despondent about the process than I was before is that, through the process of the pitch, there was an inner circle of collaborators.

Anthony Denman:
And through the sort of two weeks that we were asked to respond, they actually changed the brief. So, originally, it was about sort of place and property, without getting too deep into it. And then, they’d sort of decided through the two weeks that it wasn’t just about the property. And interestingly enough, one of the agencies who knew one of the collaborators had responded more on that level, which is why they got the gig. But if you went back to the original brief and our response to it, it would have been hard to argue that we hadn’t really cracked that brief wide open, which is really frustrating.

Andrew Hoyne:
My experience with the process of free pitching and not from actually doing it, but just from understanding the way the industry works, is that often it is a bit of a foregone conclusion. There’s an existing relationship that somebody has the inside track because they have more insight about the project than others might. And the rules that a developer might provide to themselves, meaning they might say, “We’re only going to approach three firms.” Often at the last minute, gets thrown out the window and they might go and approach five. And I think that’s unreasonable for those poor firms who have opted to do it because their reward risk ratio has just increased exponentially. And you’ve got to remember that this is a commercial endeavor. We’re not artists, we’re businesses that have high overheads, big salaries for employees, payroll tax… God, you name it.

Andrew Hoyne:
We would never expect a developer to do anything that didn’t have a good reward risk ratio attached to it. That’s what we do. We’re here to support them on achieving the best financial outcome, but I don’t think it’s reasonable that much smaller firms consultancies that really don’t have the sort of financial backing comparatively are asked to take far bigger risks as a ratio of their business. And look, the reality is that there are some incredibly good developers and organizations in our industry who really understand how to manage the process of choosing collaborators and consultants well. And I think part of it is always going to have to do with personality. And I think we just need to acknowledge that upfront, that who you are, the way that you do things, the way that you articulate yourself is a component of why you might be chosen.

Andrew Hoyne:
But it’s also the work that you’ve done, the experience you have, the rapport you have. And there’s nothing wrong with talking about the insights on a site or an audience or a product category. And they’re all strengths that you should use as tools to engage a prospective client on a prospective opportunity. But I think that in itself should be enough for an organization to make a decision about who the right fit is. Because I think a lot of the times some firms will go out there and think, “Well, it’s not costing me anything. And enough people have said, yes, they’ll do it because they need the work or whatever.” And so, I think that some firms just take advantage of that, but we’re seeing a lot more professionalism in this industry from all ends of the spectrum, particularly over the last decade. So, generally speaking, I think that a lot of organizations are conducting themselves-

Andrew Hoyne:
really well, but there will always be firms that try and get as much as they can for free or just information that really, they were only ever really looking to use to their benefit and there was really never an opportunity for a consultant to be engaged in the first place.

Anthony Denman:
I want to talk about the creation of ideas. Do you have to have clearly resolved strategy to develop your best possible ideas?

Andrew Hoyne:
For me everything starts with strategy. You can’t approach a project with the intent of developing a visual solution if you haven’t clearly understood the opportunity with regard to audiences, competitor differentiation, how you might mitigate challenges, and all of that is part of a robust strategic process. So really regardless of the scale of the job, regardless of which sector it’s in, if you don’t actually have a resolved strategy, you have no platform to develop creative ideas.

Anthony Denman:
How do ideas occur to you? Do they pop into your head I mean, after the strategy’s been resolved, do they pop in your head as a story like words or do they occur to you as a picture, as a visual?

Andrew Hoyne:
For me, ideas primarily come from experiences about thinking of how you enjoyed a space or a destination or a feeling that you had when you engaged with an organization or an opportunity. And so it’s from those feelings or those emotions that you actually try to actually build up a way to articulate that that is in line with a strategic framework.

Andrew Hoyne:
And for me, what I love doing and what I love about the creative industry is sharing that ideation approach. Brainstorming is one of the most fun things you can do because it usually results in great outcomes. And I generally find that ideas aren’t from one person, they’re from a group of people.

Andrew Hoyne:
Somebody has an idea, somebody adds to it, somebody adds to that again, it takes a left turn, somebody adds something else to it and you find yourself at a point that you’ve got a great solution, but it’s never really one person, it’s always a collaboration. Certainly it occurs in situations that someone will just come up with something fantastic and the team will continue to sort of build on that.

Andrew Hoyne:
So it’s not that it can’t happen in isolation. And you can have a great idea in the shower, you can have a great idea walking to work through the park, ideas can come from everywhere. But the idea isn’t just something that just turned up, it’s usually based on the fact that you’re constantly thinking about the problem, whether you’re at work or not, whether you’re focusing on that particular project or not, it’s just rumbling around in your head and you’re looking for an answer and you’re trying to look at it from 10 different ways.

Andrew Hoyne:
And that’s why it’s always good to get in a room with other people and throw things around and scribble on a whiteboard because the more brains, the better. And it’s not about hierarchy, it doesn’t matter whether you’re the principal or the junior burger, good ideas can come from anyone at any age from anywhere. And that’s what you’ve got to respect, is the outcome, not where it came from.

Anthony Denman:
That’s a classic. Because seriously, I had like, what was it? One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Well, I’ve got one question, eight, nine, I had nine questions on that subject. You answered every one of them except for-

Andrew Hoyne:
I do have a bad habit of talking too much.

Anthony Denman:
Yeah, I know, that’s great. That’s great, some really good intel. Oh, they didn’t really, because I know you sort of answered as I sort of kind of expected you to as a team, right? You kind of skirted around the… because I agree with you. I think if you’ve got the strategy right, you can kind of just forget it.

Anthony Denman:
I find if I just try and literally just almost like meditation, I forget about it and then something will naturally occur to me, right? And I see my ideas mostly, I see them as a story, like as words and then I but I can’t, I’m not good at necessarily good at visualizing them. So yeah, just personally I was interested in how your mind works around idea creation.

Andrew Hoyne:
Idea creation for me is really about feelings and emotion that evolve into pictures and words, but it’s creating a sense of how I want somebody to feel first and foremost and then figuring out a way to bring that to life. And the way that we try and do that is through looking at what we call territories.

Andrew Hoyne:
When you think about an idea, it has a number of attributes and quite often it’s difficult to bring all of those attributes to life in one instance. So you might break those attributes down and actually investigate them separately to see which of those attributes has the best potential to bring to life your thinking.

Anthony Denman:
Based on emotion. So when the idea occurs to you, you see it as a visual and and a set of words?

Andrew Hoyne:
Absolutely I think once you’ve actually dug deep into an idea, the more that you can articulate it in a number of different ways to kind of share it with the people you’re collaborating with. And if you can find visual reference, that might bring to life one of the nuances, you almost never find a reference that actually is the perfect depiction of what it is that you’re trying to do.

Andrew Hoyne:
In fact, the difficult thing when you are ideating and you’re engaging a client is they’d like to see the exact idea shown to them. But the reality is that you’ve got a number of thoughts that mean that that thing has never existed before. So you can’t just Google it and pull it out and go, “We’re going to do this.”

Andrew Hoyne:
Because that very rarely is ever indicative of what it is that you believe is going to meet the needs of the strategy, the objectives, it’s going to mitigate the challenges. Because every time you go through a project, all of those idiosyncrasies are unique.

Anthony Denman:
So when you go on that sort of quest for the reference images and knowing that you are never going to find them, what does that process look like?

Andrew Hoyne:
It’s a collage. It’s about finding different components, you’re putting the head comes from one direction, the legs and arms come from somewhere else, the body is built from a different form. So you’re actually creating a bit of a Frankenstein of your own making to try and help illustrate the thinking to assist the decision-makers at the client side to better understand what it is that you’re trying to create.

Andrew Hoyne:
Sometimes we’ll just have an illustrator draw it. They won’t be any need to kind of Google different references to hodgepodge together this Frankenstein. But instead we will literally just draw it. And now the idea might be photographic, it might be CGI, it might be a combination of different image making our thoughts, but an illustration might be the simplest way to communicate the thought.

Andrew Hoyne:
The only issue is that it very rarely will ever depict the aesthetic or the style so you might actually have to show that separately. So there’ll be a couple of different components that come together to illustrate the look and feel that you are trying to create for a particular bespoke campaign.

Anthony Denman:
How many failed iterations do you need to go through to arrive at that solution?

Andrew Hoyne:
Look, idea generation, as you would well know through your career is one of those things that how long is a piece of string? And sometimes you’re restricted with the amount of the budget or the hours or the timing and you just have to get something done within a timeframe. But in other instances, you’ll just keep pushing until you feel you’ve found the right solution because you don’t have those more difficult parameters around you.

Andrew Hoyne:
So it’s not uncommon to come up with 20, 30, 50 different ideas and still not nail it and still have to go back to the drawing board. But there are those rare occasions in life where your first idea is your best idea, but you haven’t figured out that it’s such a brilliant idea until you’ve thrown 40 more on the bin and you’ve been able to kind of compare, benchmark and assess and test.

Andrew Hoyne:
And that’s the frustration and that’s the uniqueness of any kind of creative endeavor. It’s not a formula and yes, you can use criteria and a matrix and the basis of strategy to kind of point you in the right direction. But ultimately it’s very difficult to know exactly how many hours something’s going to take, all you can use as your experiences of having done it in the past to try and determine a time and a cost.

Anthony Denman:
Do you think that certain life experiences that certain people have that they’re passionate about, do you think that those people with those experiences and that passion are more likely to deliver an exceptional creative result than others?

Andrew Hoyne:
Yes and no. I think that life experiences will always serve you well. And I know personally that it is literally 10 times easier for me to come up with an idea now than it was 30 years ago, that I don’t have to labor as much because I have all that experience to draw on, whether it’s experience of working on projects in the sector or whether it’s just life experience, travel, relationships, thinking, knowing what’s failed and what’s worked.

Andrew Hoyne:
But at the same time in having said that, I love having people working on projects who are completely naive, that they’re working with someone, they’ve teamed up with someone who is experienced, but having someone that doesn’t stop thinking down a rabbit hole because they know it’s going to lead nowhere.

Andrew Hoyne:
Sometimes being naive is a power because someone young might come up with an idea that I’ve had 10 years ago, but the time wasn’t right for it 10 years ago, maybe it actually wasn’t appropriate 10 years ago, maybe they’ve actually reinterpreted it better 10 years later.

Andrew Hoyne:
And so I don’t like to kind of shut down things just because they didn’t work for me because they could potentially work far better for someone younger or with a different background who has just reinterpreted it, or actually uncovered a nuance that I never uncovered at the time.

Andrew Hoyne:
So I think that where possible, you want to draw on as much as you can, but also you don’t want to be limited by only assuming that people with all that experience and knowledge are going to be the ones that nail it. I love getting particularly young creatives involved in things because I always think they’re going to have a different world perspective than I do. They’re more digitally knowledgeable and they see the world differently to the way that I see it.

Anthony Denman:
How did you screen for idea creation skills in the recruitment process?

Andrew Hoyne:
Recruiting creatives is quite difficult. And interestingly, I probably have a propensity to focus a bit more on personality than anything in the initial phase. I kind of want to get a sense of who a person is, what their interests are and how they view the world.

Andrew Hoyne:
And I think that’s an insight itself into how open-minded somebody is, how much they’re willing to explore, how much risk they’re willing to take, they’re actually not afraid of making a mistake and trying something new and different, how open they are to feedback.

Andrew Hoyne:
So while it’s great to see someone’s folio and look at their experiences and great work they may have created elsewhere, and that certainly does give a lot of insight into someone’s skills and abilities, it doesn’t always enable you to kind of tap into their brain, into the way that they think.

Andrew Hoyne:
So we tend to interview someone a few different times with a few different people, and we’re all looking for different things. I will have an opinion on someone’s creative ability based on their folio, but I’m more interested in what it is they have to say. Whereas somebody else in our team might be more focused on their craft or their area of expertise, in the way that they have actually presented or rationalized their work or their thinking behind it.

Andrew Hoyne:
So I think that there are a number of things, stages that you need to go through in the recruitment process to bring somebody on board. And last but certainly not least is culture. I’ve looked at some folios over the years of brilliant designers or creatives and we’ve not hired them because I didn’t think they’re a fit for our business. Culture’s incredibly important to get right.

Andrew Hoyne:
I think that it’s one of those words we hear a lot about. In our work lives, people will talk a lot about culture, but not a lot of people really kind of get a true sense of what it is. And my view is it’s a shared belief and it’s an indication of the overall atmosphere that exists within a work environment. It’s kind of the average of how everyone’s feeling.

Andrew Hoyne:
And interestingly, someone said something to me sometime back, and I’ve never forgotten it. It’s really stuck with me. And he said, culture is defined by the worst behavior that leadership is willing to tolerate. And not that I’m taking a pessimistic view because you are trying to create optimism everywhere you go, you’re trying to create an atmosphere where people feel welcomed, celebrated, and valued.

Andrew Hoyne:
But this idea of actually defining the worst behavior that’s willing to be tolerated is important because it sets a line in the sand of what you will accept in your environment. And I think that we all want to create these workplace environments where actually people do feel valued and that bad behavior isn’t tolerated.

Andrew Hoyne:
And so sometimes you can meet amazing people that you just don’t want to hire because you don’t think they’re going to add value or actually send the culture in a trajectory that is the direction that’s in line with how you see the world.

Anthony Denman:
Talking about culture and CGI, you’ve sort of recently, well, not recently, it’s been some time ago now, created your own in-house CGI resource. Culturally how have you been able to incorporate what is essentially a different sort of set of values and beliefs in some ways in that CGI category into your kind of creative culture that you’ve built up over all these years?

Andrew Hoyne:
So you always find that different teams of people in your business have a different mindset or different idiosyncrasies in general and certainly people working in CGI 3D rendering, they are used to staring at a screen. A lot of them work in environments where there are no windows and they are fixated on a monitor.

Andrew Hoyne:
Whereas say a copywriter might be a bit more up and about, or a creative might walk off to the park to come up with a good idea. So you’ve got to find a way to bring people together in a business. And for me, I talk a lot about purpose and vision and we hear these words through companies all the time and they’re kind of meaningless, they feel a bit copied and pasted.

Andrew Hoyne:
But for me, what a purpose is to me is it’s the reason we choose to exist as a business, and it’s got to be beyond money. And the pressure test is always, is it going to be true for me as well as the people in the whole business? So I talk a lot to my team about… In our business at Hoyne we believe visionary thinking leads to meaningful places.

Andrew Hoyne:
And so that kind of leads us to what I believe the vision has to be. And for me, a vision is the kind of difference created in a larger world when we actually realize our purpose. So what would a pressure test be? It’s got to inspire both the people inside the business and people outside the company itself.

Andrew Hoyne:
So I talk about that as our vision, we will be a global thought leader in place thinking, and we will drive change and create recognizable and engaging destinations which realize increased social and economic outcomes. Now, how does that apply to a creative team, a strategy team, a place visioning team and a CGI team?

Andrew Hoyne:
Well, if everybody believes my purpose and my vision to be true and they all want to follow and bring that vision to life, then we’ve got a platform, that it doesn’t matter what role we play in the business, we all have a really clear agenda of what we’re doing together even though each of us plays a very different role in bringing that to life.

Andrew Hoyne:
And so what it also does is it creates this idea that culturally, it’s easier to collaborate, that we are all on the same path. So while we play different roles, we understand the importance of every individual component of actually delivering on a project. And for us CGI isn’t just about image making.

Andrew Hoyne:
I think that traditionally that’s what it’s been perceived as. We’ve really evolved it into our business as ideation and ideas so that it’s not just about an interior and an exterior, but for a lot of the work we do in place visioning, there is no architect or landscape architect, and we’re actually inventing what we think places could look like. So our CGI team have the ability to be far more creative than just interpreting a set of plans.

Anthony Denman:
I’ve got another quote here “In a corporate environment, the big fear is often perceived risk, not actual risk, but the concern that anything new and different is an unsafe path. So companies replicate the past endeavors rather than creating a bespoke solution that meets and ideally exceed the real needs of the customer.”

Anthony Denman:
So I just think that’s just so… Yeah, shifting a paradigm right there, which kind of leads me to want to talk about global thought leadership, but more specifically place creation. And I believe that most people don’t really understand what place creation or placemaking is. And Andy, you’re just going enlighten us all on that shortly.

Anthony Denman:
But what we’re talking about is historically there’s kind of been an architect for the built form and a landscape architect for the landscape, an interior designer for the interior design, but then the broader place that is the space between the objects, no one’s really kind of tried to own that.

Anthony Denman:
Though I guess it’s about coming up with ideas that manifest the brand in that place, utilizing the space between the objects and within the objects. So that kind of goes beyond urban design and general landscape architecture and built format architecture, that space is something that’s been firmly on your agenda for some time now.

Andrew Hoyne:
I think a lot of people have different ideas about what place-making is, although I’ve noted in recent years, there seems to be a bit more alignment between perhaps say a government or community or a property development perspective. I think for me, look, it’s just about the essence is about shaping a space to facilitate positive community interaction.

Andrew Hoyne:
And that means that you need to create great experiences for all the people who use it and visit it. Placemaking is about the curation and creation of both the hard and the soft experiences. And that’s all done to ensure that people are kind of magnetically drawn to a space. And that means both the built form and the space activation.

Andrew Hoyne:
So by stimulating positive experiences, you actually make a place destinational and it’s how you give real meaning and purpose to a place that actually compels people to care, helps them engage and ideally repeatedly visit. And you need to really begin the process by analyzing what’s the community’s unique need.

Andrew Hoyne:
So you’ve got to figure out first and foremost what already exists and what’s missing. And so it’s kind of the consideration of all those elements that work together that really create a compelling destination and all these important skills and disciplines of planning, architecture, the use of materiality, green space, the amenity, infrastructure, art and cultural connections.

Andrew Hoyne:
So good placemaking begins and ends by considering the people who’ll actually use and inhabit a place. And we have evolved our approach to it by creating what we call place visioning because we have a really strong belief that the best outcomes result in good social and economic outcomes. So it’s not just a food truck or a cool sculpture, it’s actually elevating the topic.

Andrew Hoyne:
So it’s really important in both the development and planning process. And I think one of the things that we have really focused on over the last 10 years is trying to kind of start the conceptual process earlier. And we know that the more kind of expertise we have working collaboratively, that we can actually create better ideas so that they are properly costed, approved and actually eventually delivered.

Anthony Denman:
That’s great. And when you’re talking about people and the recruitment of certain types of, what do you call those things, they’re ideators. So, yeah, ideators, right? So this idea of ideators, and so all of a sudden you’ve kind of created culturally, I guess, what people who historically really, they’ve only been disciplined in creating ideas based on design and the articulation of those thoughts through traditional sort of media being brochures website, et cetera, et cetera, all of a sudden now you’re asking those ideators to demonstrate expertise in an area that they’ve never had any experience in creating ideas in before. And I’m just curious as to how you manage that whole process internally.

Andrew Hoyne:
It’s interesting because placemaking, if we use that term, has actually around for about the last 60 years, to be honest. But up until recently, most people who worked in the space were really focused, pretty much single-mindedly on creating community orientated spaces. There was no real consideration for economic benefit. In fact, a lot of people in that space were quite appalled by the idea of any form of

Andrew Hoyne:
commercialisation. But our strong view has always been that someone has to pay for the upkeep, the maintenance, the constant improvement, the activation and evolution over time. So we take a really commercial approach to ensure that these spaces are taken care of and loved. So people keep coming back and that’s the sort of thing that actually creates community upside and benefit as well as profit for developers and investors. So we start to have a far more holistic view of what it is that we’re actually delivering for the community and in terms of financial returns. And that’s really what led us to create what we call Place Visioning. And so for us Place Visioning is this blueprint that actually helps guide and shape the development that it equips property developers with better information about the market potential and who the end-users will be of a place, which from a marketing point of view, we have great skill at doing as you do as well.

Andrew Hoyne:
And this approach it de-risks the development because then we have the end user in our focus right at the beginning of the process. So it can help guide the development and actually drive this kind of social and economic success in a way that didn’t traditionally occur. And so if we’re really clear about the needs of users, and we’re thinking about that from a sales marketing and engagement process, which is generally at the end, but if we’re thinking about these people at the very beginning, we can actually create a framework that actually enables everything to follow from that point on. So by understanding at the beginning, what are the project truths? What are the things that only we can say about this space about what is going to be delivered here? My understanding of the audiences and those experiences and those opportunities, we can actually create what we would call guiding principles.

Andrew Hoyne:
And then from there we would develop place pillars, which are pretty much the competitive strengths for development. And then we start thinking about the character, what are the features, the styles, the attributes. And from there we go into the positioning and what we really want to do is have a real consideration for the sorts of services and amenities that might potentially exist in the public spaces, the landscaping. And so rather than thinking about this, just from a purely planning or architectural or landscape point of view, if we actually start by thinking about the end user, and we’re actually building this in, at the very beginning, by collaborating with these other experts, we actually introduce the ideas right at the beginning of the process to ensure that planning and architecture is actually being briefed far more thoroughly. So they see the potential of what’s possible in any given space.

Anthony Denman:
How do you collaborate? Like, is there any conflict between your kind of team of ideators say vs say somebody who is already established in that space as per say, for example, an urban planner or an architect.

Andrew Hoyne:
We have a lot of people at Hoyne who actually come from various disciplines. So we have people who used to be architects or planners. Who’ve done strategy in a range of different sectors interior designers. So people who have come into this business have actually brought skills with them that are traditionally the skills that come into what people would perceive as a marketing firm. So we can actually speak the language of the other consultants that we are often collaborating with. Interestingly, when I first started doing this probably close to 10 years ago, I thought, Oh man, planners and architects are going to hate us. They’re going to think that we’re the upstarts trying to pretend to be something that we’re not, but in fact, the opposite occurred. And I was quite shocked that the industry that has most supported the work that we do and probably introduces us to more clients and supports us to be brought in on jobs more often than not are actually architects.

Andrew Hoyne:
It’s all the leading architects in Australia that have actually turned out to be our biggest fans. And whether I bump into them in meetings or at events like, Oh, we really want to get you on this project because we know that there’s so much you can add that will actually assist us in actually creating an even better outcome. And it’s funny how often they say to me, “How is it that you were able to convince clients to do all these things that we can’t convince them to do? Like you convinced them to make these spaces more dynamic and exciting we’re the bloody architects how come we’re not getting to do that?” And I guess my feeling is that a lot of people who are creative have a inclination to talk about creativity, most clients don’t give shit. It’s not about creativity.

Andrew Hoyne:
It’s about value uplift. It’s about engaging people. It’s about selling at higher rates per square meter. It’s about getting leasing deals done quicker. So you’re the way that we talk about things is not in the context of creativity. It’s in the context of engaging people to believe that what’s being delivered is going to be a better outcome for everyone, the surrounding community, the residents the workers, it’s about creating a stronger sense of pride. But in doing all those things, you actually create economic uplift. You’re able to sell faster and at higher rates. And when you have these sort of conversations with the people who hold the financial purse strings, that’s far more engaging to them. So then it’s just a case of, “Okay well, how do we do that?” Well, we’ve got to be more distinct, more unique, more differentiated.

Andrew Hoyne:
We’ve got to actually meet the needs of who we’ve determined our audiences are. And that means having fantastic architecture and landscaping and experiences and curation of retail. So it results in the outcome that everybody would like to see occur. But it’s the conversation at the beginning of the process that actually rationalizes, why it will actually create. It’ll de-risk the project rather than actually increase risk. This idea of de-risking the project by creating something that people want, that they’ll pay a premium for is actually what is more meaningful to get the support of everybody and to actually create a vision that everybody can actually follow consistently.

Anthony Denman:
What’s the most intriguing place you’ve been to in the world ?

Andrew Hoyne:
I get asked this question a lot and I’m still struggling to answer it. I think I’d have to say Havana in Cuba is intriguing because you have a population that it’s really like the third world economy, people who are living in what would seem almost poverty, however they are incredibly well-educated because you can get a tertiary education for free people are incredibly knowledgeable and intelligent and engaged. While, they are very careful not to sort of speak politically. There is a lot of innovation and ingenuity because they have no money. So they’ve got to be really clever about how the way they do things. And you have this physical built form environment that actually feels like a time warp that you’re going back 70 years ago that hasn’t changed. It’s just weathered. And then from a Western point of view, it’s quite beautiful.

Andrew Hoyne:
It’s all flaky and the paint’s coming off and it looks really pretty. But I think from a local’s point of view, it’s probably quite dusty old and they’re just over it. And they’d probably love to see a lot of progressive development in that country that who knows when, or if that will ever occur or when it will occur. But there it’s just a lot of contradictions in a place like Cuba. I think the great thing about being asked to kind of travel around the world pre-COVID and speak at conferences is going to cities and countries that I may otherwise never have gone to.

Andrew Hoyne:
And that’s really opened my eyes because every time I go to a place I just organized to interview the most well-known developers or architects or people on council, like the mayor to understand what went into creating some of the amazing destinations in those particular cities. So that’s been a real privilege for me over the last probably six, seven years. It’s opened my eyes to different ways that people have approached problems and obstacles and how there’s a different mindset in certain countries to actually overcome those with more collaboration between government developers and local community. And there doesn’t have to always be a, the angst that we find probably happens in places like Australia and America.

Anthony Denman:
And there it is the answer to my question, which was essentially global thought leadership. Where does that come from? And what is thought leadership? If you look it up on Google, it will tell you that thought leadership means you provide the best and deepest answers to your customers biggest questions.

Andrew Hoyne:
Yeah. Working in thought leadership is definitely the most exciting thing that I’m involved in. And I think that publishing The Place Economy series has really assisted as a platform, us as a business to kind of explore other opportunities. And we’ve kind of developed processes and trademarked ideas such as Insta place and Place Book, High Street CPR, and even a new Prop Tech thing we’re working on at the moment. But The Place Economy has been a really fantastic door opener more internationally than locally, I’d say. And really it came out of this idea that I thought that there was a lot of poor quality development that we were being exposed to. And lots of developers and government projects really weren’t getting enough thought to the amenity for the people who might live in these developments or the communities that were surrounding them. So I really wanted to create a vehicle that engaged with developers and government that we should be creating better buildings and more activated communities because ultimately it would actually give them a stronger financial returns.

Andrew Hoyne:
And that was the principle of what I was trying to prove through these books that doing this is actually far more financially responsible. And I think the case studies through the first two books have certainly proven that. And the third book that we’re working on now, we’ll take it to another level. So I don’t know but I think that all of us in this industry would not want to be associated with developments that actually achieve poor social economic outcomes. And as we all working to be leaders who showcase what great development and great design thinking can achieve. And I certainly want that with my business. And I want to know that we are proud of the contributions that we make however great or small now, because I think we all leave a legacy.

Andrew Hoyne:
We’re all responsible for the places that we create for our children and future generations. So the book itself, or the series of books sets out to kind of prove this idea that Placemaking achieves great social and economic outcomes. So the books have guides and lists and summaries that pretty much a like a cheat sheet. And I really hope I’ve been told by many developers, they’ve literally lifted stuff out of a book and execute it exactly as we’ve written. I’ve been told that by developers in other countries, that honestly it makes my heart sing to hear that it’s just the best possible feedback or accolade you could get is to know that you have shared insights and people have used them to actually increase the quality of something that they’ve been involved in. And so for me, I think that goes to passion.

Andrew Hoyne:
I think that there’s a huge amount of passion in this industry. And I think a lot of people who’ve got great aspirations and intentions and ambitions to kind of work in an industry that they know their efforts will be fully realized beyond just the fact that we are constantly facing economic and regulatory restrictions. So we need to kind of ensure that the legacy of watering down innovation and creativity in our precincts and developments is no longer the case that we’ve seen across Australia in the past, but we can actually change that for the future. And I definitely in recent years have increasingly seen fantastic developments internationally and locally that show that categorical link between better Placemaking and significantly higher profits, both in terms of financially for investors and developers, but also this kind of upswing in economic performance and community wellbeing.

Andrew Hoyne:
So for me, the idea of The Place Economy is not just about being a Hoyne project. It’s a really community minded project, and it’s about this celebration of the talents and the characters inherent to this great industry. And it’s a statement about the prosperity that we can actually all enjoy. And so I’m quite excited about getting the third one out.

Anthony Denman:
Yes. The third editon – by the way I’ve seen the book in – a little bit disconcerting, really when you’re pitching against you and or just even if it’s just credentials and you walk into a client’s boardroom or waiting in the area, and there’s your book sitting on the coffee table, I’ve got to say, if you don’t have a copy of the book and you get one, be careful not to drop it on your maltese terrier. If in fact you have a maltese terrier because the book is very heavy. And I know you’ve told me this and I’ve read it that you really did want it to make a presence. When It hit the table it will arrive with a thud, I think are your words, you’re just about to release the third edition, then COVID came along. So you had to kind of literally stop the press and reconsider the modern workplace in light of said pandemic. What are some of the changes you have to make?

Andrew Hoyne:
Well, we’d written quite a bit of it and designed the vast majority of the book when COVID hit. And we put it on pause because we thought God the world is going to change. And it definitely has commercial office is probably a key category that everybody’s still rethinking. And we’ve written articles on that over the last six months, but will though those things turn out to be true? We don’t know. I don’t have a crystal ball and everyone’s kind of expertly guessing. The reality is we won’t know how things actually fall into place for maybe another six or 12 months, really, depending on what happens with COVID. There are certain things that we were writing. We had put together in the Volume three a global perspective is one thing we’d written a lot about.

Andrew Hoyne:
And I think that’s been heavily impacted in terms of the way people are thinking more local than international comparatively and sort of what has changed their mindset by thinking about regionalism. And we did actually have a whole section on this idea of regional and rural perspectives. And we’ve looked at this from the point of view of small towns of regional hubs, of indigenous communities. And in the ways that planning and architecture can have an impact in line with others sort of initiatives around creating destinational experiences. One of the other things that we were working on was a whole look at how a child sees the city or built environment and what sort of things we’re doing in our towns and cities to actually engage young people and to make them feel welcome and safe.

Andrew Hoyne:
Some of the things that we were looking at were kind of investigating the future perspective and this idea of the way we will actually evolve in development. But COVID is certainly having an impact on that in a range of sectors. And we’re still probably all working through what that means and the work that we’re probably even all doing right now in at the start of 2021 is feeling that effect. And I think in many ways in a positive sense, so some of the content that we had written for volume three will remain because it’s still relevant, but we have found that there’s a lot of content we’ve just gone back and rewritten from scratch because we feel that particularly areas like say retail or experiences or bringing people to a destination on mass with large numbers of people need a rethink. So that’s kind of exciting in itself, to be honest.

Anthony Denman:
So being able to produce a book like that you own, right? That you have total creative control over that must be or is it a unique thing for your organization?

Andrew Hoyne:
I think The Place Economy as a project and being brought to life as a series of books is a unique endeavor from the point of view that we have invested a huge amount of our own money to speak to people all over the world and all through COVID. I would have been doing a Zoom call with a different person in a different country almost every week. I would have been speaking to people all through Europe, America, Asia every week. And interestingly, it wasn’t me contacting them. It was them contacting me to say, “Hi you don’t know me, but I’ve got your book, or I’ve seen you at a conference. I’ve read an article that you’ve spoken in. And I just want to know what’s your opinion of what’s happening right now.” And so don’t get me wrong. I’m certainly no expert on the impacts of COVID, but I’m quite opinionated and I’m not afraid to kind of put myself out there.

Andrew Hoyne:
So I was certainly talking to a lot of people in different countries, and some of them were people from fairly prestigious organizations in high ranking roles. And we were just having dialogue about the way things were changing and what impact we felt it would have. And they were incredibly interesting conversations. And some of those may even find themselves into the third book if they’re relevant. I think the interesting thing for me is through this platform of the book and a lot of the thought leadership that we proactively create, how much it’s driven people towards us to kind of talk to us. And I’m not sure how much it’s turned into actual paying jobs.

Andrew Hoyne:
It’s very difficult to figure that out particularly given that so much of it has come from other countries and we don’t actually have offices or do a lot of work in other countries outside of Asia, but it’s been incredibly interesting to talk to people I previously would not have had the ability to even get in contact with really intelligent people who have been willing to kind of share their perspective and be very open about the detail at which they go into for their developments for their processes.

Andrew Hoyne:
And I’ve definitely found that people who are at the top of their game, they’re really not that secretive people who have done great things are quite willing to share and talk through the highs and lows and how they’ve, might’ve failed to kind of assist others in not making the same mistakes. And I find that incredible because I think there’s a commercial sense that people do keep things quite close to their chest. When in reality thought leadership is all about putting it out there and sharing and not worrying that your so-called competitor might be leveraging or using it for their benefit.

Andrew Hoyne:
Also in fact, I just don’t think we should be thinking about other firms who do the same work that we do as competitors in that sense. Then when the reality is that the people who do the same sort of work that we do, whether it’s in place branding or property marketing or place visioning, probably have more in common with us than anyone else in any other industry, because we are thinking about the same things and working on the same sorts of jobs if anything, we should have a sense of comradery or empathy or connection to those people who are trying to kind of achieve the same sorts of things that we’re trying to achieve

Anthony Denman:
Thank you Andy from books to film. Good filmmaking was probably the domain only of those people, lucky enough to work in mainstream agencies with TVC budgets, a lot’s changed. And a lot of that change has happened recently. I’ve noticed actually just looking, doing a bit of research, you’ve recently appointed a film director in house. So yeah, I’m really interested in the recruitment process around that person and also how they or how you collectively, as an organization balance the budget between live action filming and CGI animation.

Andrew Hoyne:
We’ve actually had a video in house at Hoyne for about four years, and it’s something that I’ve been really keen to do more and more of. I think that when you see the statistics on social media and online about this sort of consumption of the moving image, whether it’s animation or video or live action as compared to traditional media, the statistics are overwhelming. And so I’m often surprised by how difficult it is to convince clients, to actually allocate more budget to video. You know, I would love to be doing two, three, four, five videos for each project, not just one or not just sort of a quick snippet for me video has a far more compelling ability to tell stories, to engage people as to take them on a journey and combined with animation and fly throughs with CGI and to bring those really sort of powerful moving images together.

Andrew Hoyne:
There are so many more platforms that we can leverage so many more ways that we can actually tell stories and actually communicate key messages to our various audiences. Because often with large projects, it’s not about one audience, it’s about different audiences with different needs and different focuses and different interests. And so the ability to kind of break down that medium into those different audience categories would be ideal, but not that common. I think one of the really great things that out of COVID was the increased interest in digital platforms, in new technologies, and definitely with the use of video we found last year in 2020 that far more clients, all over sudden were interested in allowing us to go ahead and produce videos.

Andrew Hoyne:
… even if they’re only small ones. That traditionally would never have even considered it. It’s always a cost issue. Surely you work backwards with regard to the tools that you think are the most important and the sales agents have put a particular emphasis on. But I think that everybody agrees now that after last year, video is one of those tools that can be used far more broadly. In terms of, not just where you put it, but how you can edit it down into really short snippets with social media. And with the ways that you actually bring it to life in online marketing and advertising campaigns. So yeah, I can’t emphasize it enough how excited I am to keep growing video, just because of the creative ability and the ability to engage people.

Anthony Denman:
Agreed. I got another quote, “we’re for more, more challenges and opportunities, more leading the way and raising the bar, more in-depth insights and groundbreaking results, more heart, more substance, more making a difference and leaving a legacy because great things are made from more. That’s why we make the most of it every day.” End of quote. Love that writing by the way.

Andrew Hoyne:
Thanks.

Anthony Denman:
I assume you need to charge more to substainiate that claim?

Andrew Hoyne:
No, I don’t think our more manifesto has anything to do with fees. I think it’s just… We talk about this idea of more thinking and more opportunities, more teamwork and more creativity. It’s funny, we’ve often been told that less is more, but the idea that we talk about a lot internally is this idea of the power of more. That it’s about having a go contributing as much as you can. Again, that word collaboration, being tenacious with your thinking, having a bit more fire in your belly and actually ensuring that pride is a really important part of what you do. To do something that actually is going to have an impact. Because we’re all trying to engage people on something that we think will improve their lives, improve their experiences, and actually create something that’s positively memorable and keep them coming back.

Andrew Hoyne:
So what’s funny we developed the more manifesto quite a long time ago. Could we say that’s been a really important part of the business now for about eight years. In fact, for that eight year period, we’ve had what we call the More Awards every month. We’ve got an app. Everyone’s got an app on their phone, or they can use their desktop to actually vote, award points to somebody in the team who they think has actually contributed to the pillars of our more manifesto. And it could be someone who’s just helped you out or done a good job or been really positive or stepped up or done something better that they’ve never done before. It could be something really small. And so you get to award points, it’s all anonymous. But I think sometimes you know who it is by the way they’re writing it.

Andrew Hoyne:
You actually have to figure out what pillar they have met in terms of the more attributes. And then every month an employee from each office will win the More Awards. And now over the…. Most of the eight years, we’ve awarded things like an iPad. So I think we’ve actually given out over a hundred iPads to staff over the last eight years. And you might think, “that’s a thousand dollars each, there goes a hundred thousand dollars.” But if you advertise that about eight years, it’s actually not that much money. And we do other initiatives and events and prizes for people who win the More Awards on an annual basis, as well as a monthly basis. And we have a little event once a month, which we’re doing for the last eight years. Where we all get together as the team and read out some of the points and everybody gets something read out about them. We celebrate everyone in the team, but particularly the top three and then the eventual winner. And that’s a really important part of our ongoing culture. So yeah, I’m glad you brought it up actually.

Anthony Denman:
No that’s great. Why do you think the property category has such a reputation for being so formulaic in its creative approach? Has it got to do with the power paradigm and if so, who do you think holds the power in our industry?

Andrew Hoyne:
The people who hold the power are the ones that hold the purse strings. Whoever’s got the wallet gets to make the final decision. And so I think traditionally there was this notion that, to avoid risk you did the same thing that you’d always done because it had been successful in the past. However, our industry has changed so rapidly in such a short time. That the only way to actually achieve a good outcome is by being meaningful by engaging people by differentiating and by being seen to add value. And so that means that this traditional notion of risk was to do the same thing. Now, risk is to do this… If you want to actually add risk then don’t change because that’s the riskiest thing you can possibly do. Interestingly, from a property marketing point of view, while all of us see things that might look a bit vanilla or generic, at the top end of the industry I’d say Australia does probably the best property marketing in the world.

Andrew Hoyne:
I’m constantly talking to people in Europe, Asia, and America. And I see some fantastic campaigns produced in those countries. And in some cases, particularly in say Europe and America, the budgets are 10 times what we would have here. Yet I would say that the strategic thinking, the creative execution of the work that you would see out of Melbourne and Sydney is better than anywhere else you would find in the world. So we can be a bit tough on ourselves in some instances, because there is still a lot of work in the market, which is pretty basic, boring, uninspiring and probably a waste of money from the developer’s point of view in terms of its job to engage prospective buyers and to achieve an outcome. But the reality is that some of the best work that has evolved is just getting better every year.

Andrew Hoyne:
The benchmark is really high. I’m sure that work that you and I have done a dozen years ago, wouldn’t come close to the work that we do today because we’re so much more knowledgeable and sophisticated and our teams are so much stronger and our clients are so much smarter. We think about the approach we might’ve taken a dozen years ago. It was quite simplistic compared to the sophisticated thinking that goes into the consideration of lead generation digital platforms, the customer journey in a sales environment. And working very collaboratively with the sales agents and the leasing agents to ensure that we can actually penetrate the market as strongly as possible. So I think that the price of entry these days, if you’re a leading firm in any of these categories, is quite high.

Anthony Denman:
Great. Okay. I’m going to come back to that stuff, culture thing. Now these are not your words. I’m sure you’ll know. I’m sure you’ll recognize them pretty quickly. “I guess the brothers are driving down from Queensland and Stella’s flying in from the coast. They say it’s going to be a hundred degrees, even more maybe, but that won’t stop the roast. Who’s going to make the gravy? I bet it won’t taste the same”. So apologies everyone for that. I just couldn’t help myself. That was from a Paul Kelly song. Did you end up having that… This is – Iwas speaking to Andy about this, off air and he was going to have like a Paul Kelly cover band day cause he has shares in a beer business called Willie the boatman.

Andrew Hoyne:
Yeah, that’s right. I’ve got a number of other interests and ventures that I’ve been involved in for some years now. And I’ve had some other businesses that I’ve built up and sold or been a part of. Willie the boatman is a fantastic craft brewery in St. Peter’s in Sydney. And it’s couple of us. And it’s really going from strength to strength in recent times and where COVID had such a negative impact on anyone who was in professional consultancies like ours. It actually turned out to work incredibly well for our brewery. While we couldn’t really have many people to the bar or if it’s closed down on occasion, people drank a lot of alcohol in 2020. And we had great support from our independent retailers, but also with Dan Murphy and BWS. And so yeah, the brewery’s doing incredibly well.

Andrew Hoyne:
We’re quite excited to see the distribution expand into other States. And we do have really fun days at the brewery. Pat, who runs it is most engaging, dynamic, friendly human being you’ll ever meet. He does lots of really fun things. And Paul Kelly’s one of my favorite Australian musicians and I’m sure is the case with many people. I think I first saw him live and I was about 18 years old. And I’ve probably seen him live about 30 or 40 times since, at least. So yeah, we do have these really fun events down the brewery and it’s a fantastic atmosphere down there. And yeah, we’ve have… Probably one festival a year of down on-site of precinct 75, which might attract three or four or 5,000 people in a day. So yeah, it’s a really important event within that kind of inner West community.

Anthony Denman:
Yeah. And I think it’s a really good example and it can go… We can go two ways with this cause I do want to go to risk and I… But I also want to say that, I think that’s a really good example of your ability to build culture and the More Awards and all that sort of thing. And in some ways you’ve answered one of my questions as how you keep good people through that strategy. But I’m just wondering, given you’ve had so many good people come through your organization, how do you feel? And because it’s happened to me and I’m sure it’s happened to you. How do you feel about good people and maybe I’m using that word loosely, leaving your organization and going to work for a competitor?

Andrew Hoyne:
I having been in business for 30 years, we’ve had a lot of people through the doors. I’d like to think that 99% of them have had great experiences working point, learning from the rest of the team. And the reality is that people move on. Sometimes it’s sad sometimes it’s just reality. It’s just people make decisions about what’s best for them and I’m cool with that. I think that through Hoyne there’s probably been many dozens of other design businesses that have spawned from us and by some really clever people. It is very tough to run a creative business and it’s tough to understand how to balance people, culture, a new business, creative delivery. The fundamentals of an organization and not least finance and cash flow. So people can be great creatives, but not necessarily be great at the other side of managing an organization.

Andrew Hoyne:
Cause it’s very difficult and margins are very tight and no one is ever going to get rich from running a creative business ever. It’s just not going to happen. This is not… No one makes the profit. Anyone who does well in life, in a business like mine has probably made their money elsewhere in other investments or endeavours. But all businesses are hard to replicate. And I think that there’s no copy and paste formula. So while we’ve had some really clever smart people leave Hoyne and start their own enterprises. They probably have… We’ve been up to 70 people. We’re a bit smaller than that now closer to 50, but there are some people who’ve done some great work, but I’ve never really seen a firm grow to our scale and have the kind of industry impact or thought leadership breaths of engagement with people on a global level that we have.

Andrew Hoyne:
So I’m proud of what we’ve done as a business, but I’m also really proud to see what others have done who have left Hoyne and started their own enterprises. And to your point, yes, it can be frustrating at times, but I always have to park my own desire for what I would like people to be doing. And just acknowledge that. They’ve got families and careers and their own aspirations, and I’d like to think that everyone just acts in a really… With a moral compass and with a belief that they’re making decisions that are fair and reasonable. And I’m happy to see people go out and create success.

Anthony Denman:
Yeah. Nice answer. I think there’s that initial shock and disappointment and anger, but it is quickly replaced with the knowledge that ultimately we’re all just in this together and trying to make our own way in the world and do what’s best for ourselves. I think that’s a good point about the moral compass. That’s for all of us. Yeah. So I’m going to ask you, I hope it’s not me. Who is your most annoying competitor?

Andrew Hoyne:
I’m… Look, honestly because we work in place branding, property marketing and place visioning. There are other firms who are specialists in those three areas, not many who do more than one. So we have different… There are other organizations who we come up against, but I dont really think that there’s a firm out there that I’d say, “oh, it’s always us and them.” I probably traditionally in our Melbourne office would have said, “Cornwell.” And I’m actually really close friends with Steve Cornwell who’s been living in New York for about eight years now. And unfortunately that business no longer exists that’s it was bought by STW and subsequently closed shut down. But they were a real leader in the industry. And there were some great talented people who also worked in that organization for a time. But since then… Yeah, there wouldn’t be a single firm that we hear consistently when we’re talking to prospective clients about opportunities.

Anthony Denman:
Okay so let’s finish on this one. This is about your DNA, the unique and creative approach you have to everything you do is outstanding, from everything really. From memorable brands to being of standing for more and how that permeates through your culture of your business to place visioning and everything around that. All those initiatives is just really a great example of the, how innovative you are with your thinking. I’m interested with… And you mentioned Havana earlier and then people that are not having much money and therefore I guess, the innovation in their placemaking is born out of necessity.

Andrew Hoyne:
Yeah.

Anthony Denman:
And I’m just wondering is that… Necessity is the mother of all invention. Is that true for you? And is that where your unique and creative thinking comes from?

Andrew Hoyne:
I think having run a business for 30 years, it’s quite a balancing act. You want to ensure that you’re primarily focusing on delivering the best possible solution for your clients. But you’ve also have to ensure that you are sustaining a commercial business, that you are creating a culture that engages people to not just want to stay here, but attract other smart people to want to be a part of something. So for me, there are a lot of different things that as you would well know, having run your own business for a similar amount of time, that you need to focus on balancing without making sure that you don’t compromise your values. And that’s why I often talk about this idea of having a clear purpose and a reason why the business exists beyond just making money. Because I feel if you do those things really well and you attract the clients and you retain great staff and you have values that other people believe in, that ultimately you will as a commercial business, make money and forge forward.

Andrew Hoyne:
So for me it’s… For me about just sticking to my guns and focusing on what I believe in. And retaining that passion and that desire to keep learning and evolving and trying new things and taking risks, that which many times I have failed. But know that when you do hit on a new good idea. And I’ve got a couple of exciting things happening right now, that could be the best thing I’ve ever done, that could really catapult you to that next level of both commercial success, cultural success, but also just self satisfaction. To know that you’re actually coming to work and enjoying the things that you’re a part of. For me, that’s probably the thing that I think the most about when I’m… Whether I’m thinking from day to day or from year to year.

Anthony Denman:
That’s great. That’s a great way to finish up. Can’t wait to see what this new thing is you’re working on. And look, I really can’t tell you how much I appreciate you making the time for this.

Andrew Hoyne:
Look, it’s always great to chat with like-minded people who are trying to create a better outcome for the industry, but also trying to create more dynamic and exciting businesses for themselves and their teams. Because we actually have to keep pushing things forward. Otherwise, it just gets boring. We all want to be inspired to come to work. We want to know that the things we do make a difference and no doubt the work that you would have to put in, to actually creating this podcast, would probably be 10 times more effort than anyone would actually give it credit for because so much goes on behind the scenes that nobody sees. It’s not about just sitting in pushing a button and recording a one hour session. It’s about setting it up, the preliminary conversations, the editing, getting it over fine and resolved.

Andrew Hoyne:
And there’s just so much work that happens to actually share this, what we call thought leadership, that your platform has already been undertaking. And I think it’s really important that people like us are out there doing that. Knowing that for the most part, there’s really no financial compensation. You’re not getting paid to do this and it might be seen as promotion, but really I’m not sure that these things really translate into paying work. I think that they really translate into your profile and how people actually value the contribution that you make. And I think that there’s value in that not necessarily financial value, but I think that your reputation is important. And I think that these endeavors of being proactive, engaging the broader property category, talking to people who like me, who would be seen as competitors, “why have you got that guy on your podcast?” And not having fear, putting fear aside. Being open to the conversations that hopefully will add value to listeners and make them actually see potential in areas that they might not have realized existed. So I applaud you for doing the podcast too well done.

Anthony Denman:
Thanks Andy. We’ll definitely catch up in a couple of years, if not sooner, because there’s lots of stuff that I’ve left out that I really wanted to cover. But we’ve covered the main, the main issues and topics of conversation that I was most interested in. I think our audience will be most interested in, so great. What’s the… Anyone who wants to reach out and make contact with you. What’s the best way for them to do that?

Andrew Hoyne:
You can email me at andrew@athoyne.com.au. But actually all our contact details from the website, which is just Hoyne.com.au. And yeah, I’m always happy to chat to people about pretty much anything. So the door is open.

Anthony Denman:
Thanks man. You’re awesome.