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26 NICK HUGHES FORMER GLOBAL HEAD OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS AT KNIGHT FRANK LLP Interview May 8th 2013 You have one of the best roles in property marketing. How did you beat everyone else to win the prize I value it very highly. Ive known Knight Frank for years through a previous incarnation when I ran the design agency Kugel now Siren. I got to know many of the Knight Frank senior management team from then and stayed in touch. I took time off to do an MBA and during that time decided to go client side. There was only one place I wanted to go and luckily the timing was right for both parties. Did you have an early ambition to become a marketing guru in property No I can honestly say it wasnt planned. Im afraid I spent too much time at school playing sport and my A levels suffered as a result. Consequently my father quite rightly played hardball and told me to go out and earn my keep. Hence three months after leaving school I started as a tea boy in an ad agency in London. I was lousy at making tea but I did bombard the hell out of the creative director the media director and the client services director with endless questions and eventually talked myself into a role as a junior account exec. Three or four years later I found myself at a creative agency that had a number of property clients on its roster. From that point on I started to specialise. It wasnt strategically planned rather like the best things in life just serendipitous. Did you have a mentor Ive been very lucky to have fantastic guidance throughout my career. I have to first acknowledge my father who in his career as the CMO at Philips Electronics and Thorn EMI has seen it all. Hes a real people person so is brilliant at subtly drawing out the best in people. The boss of my first agency Simon Dodds was a major influence too. When he wasnt yelling at me for making appalling tea he was terrific in terms of getting me to reflect on what I needed to do to progress my career. When I resigned from his agency he was absolutely magnanimous and he continued to keep tabs on me up to the time of his death a couple of years ago. At Knight Frank I am incredibly lucky to work with some truly inspirational leaders. Nick Thomlinson who retired recently as senior partner was another people person par excellence. Everyone adored Nick and lifted their game accordingly. In Alistair Elliott who has succeeded Nick we have another incredible leader. He inspires with his work ethic his charm and his energy. Suffice to say we are in very good hands going forward. Give an overview of Knight Frank and the international marketing reach Knight Frank is a leading global real estate consultancy. We were established in the UK in 1896 and since then have grown to be a global organisation existing in over 40 countries across all six continents with about 7000 staff. Where do you see growth in the international property market Im not going to win any prizes for originality here but mid-term Asia Pac long-term South America. In the short term the picture is more opaque because of global capital flows there are so many variables at play that it is almost impossible to pick a winner with any certainty. Do you see a change in marketing habits between the East and the West My job as Global Head of Marketing and Communications marcoms is to reinforce the importance of consistency in three areas message quality and application. Beyond that we have to acknowledge and accept local flavours. I was in our Mumbai office last year and my colleagues there had organised presentations from both the creative agency and PR company. Broadly speaking their remits are in scope with what we do here but how they achieve their results differs. How big is your team In the UK I have a team of 35 covering marketing PR internal communications and creative services. Globally there are another 80 marcoms professionals. Your Wealth Reports are essential reading for everyone in property. How do they fit into the marketing mix The real estate world is largely commoditised so the challenge to the marketer is to leverage areas of competitive advantage that are of true benefit to the client. Our research teams produce market-leading insights that are of tremendous value to the global property market. So for us the Wealth Report is our leading publication with regard to showcasing our thought leadership and intellectual Knight Frank LLP