5 Minutes with Head of Earned Media & Influence, Ourhai Turkhan

Ourhai joined the Magnum & Co team in early 2019.

What’s your backstory?

A Law graduate from London who turned to the dark side (PR) after realising that it was hands down the most fun you can have whilst working in an office. After years working at some of London’s top agencies, scandalous celebrity parties, awesome client freebies, 3,495 media lunches, a few (read: many) late night pitch preps, lots of booze, not enough sleep and an everlasting* friendship formed with HRH Prince Harry at a festival, I ventured into what was then the Wild West world of influencer marketing. Managed to talk my way into setting up a new division for influencer work, created a team from the ground up and self-taught ourselves by researching, learning, networking, educating dubious clients on the power of influencers and ultimately winning awards for them. Wanting to do more of this awesome work in a place that doesn’t rain 97% of the time, I made the move to Sydney for the chance to put my experience to the test in an emerging market with an agency that has balls to do things differently.

*Fine, we spoke for about 10 seconds

Describe your role at Magnum & Co in one sentence.

Heading up an exceptional team made up of Sydney’s finest PR and influencer specialists that deliver exceptional results for clients on a daily basis.

What’s your work philosophy?

Hustle hustle hustle. Hustle for clients, hustle for your team, hustle to make great things happen. Just in case that wasn’t clear – hustle.

What makes good leadership?

I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all approach but I find one of the most important attributes is remaining empathetic. Every leader has at one point been on a work experience placement, an intern running around, an exec hammering the phones. If you remember where you started, you’re able to speak to your team from a place of genuine understanding and support, gaining their respect and trust. If you don’t have that, then I don’t think you’re able to truly lead.

What changes would you like to see in the industry and why?

I think there are a lot of changes happening as we speak and I LOVE it. “PR” agencies are evolving, we’re leading integrated creative campaigns globally for some of the world’s biggest brands with other agencies taking guidance from us. I want to see more of it – I want clients to see us not just as great executors of traditional campaigns but as partners who can think strategically across a variety of comms disciplines to achieve business goals and make an impact on a much higher level. In my years as a PR person I’ve heard the term ‘poor cousin’ to describe PR agencies and it’s simply not true – if anything, we work the hardest because we have the most to prove.

What do you think the future of influencer marketing looks like?

It’s definitely not going anywhere anytime soon, but I can see the new generation’s appetite for today’s influencer is waning and they want to see more authenticity from the people they follow. There’s a lot of ‘influencer fraud’ with fake follower counts and brand promiscuity so it’s up to us to ensure the work we’re doing and the people we’re aligning our brands with are truly the right fit from their persona to the content they produce. Finding ways to report on and measure the success of influencer work is the next big step to make sure there’s a solid industry standard we can meet, holding ourselves and influencers accountable and meaning we can do bigger and better work for clients.

What type of projects excite you?

If it makes a difference to the world in some way, shape or form – however small – then it makes me happy.

What advice would you give to those just starting out in the industry?

Ask questions, speak out more, share your ideas. If you’re just starting out then you have a way of thinking that people haven’t been exposed to yet. If you share what you think, feel, see, it could spark something bigger than you could have imagined.

Favourite holiday destination?

Colombia. Specifically playing paintball in Pablo Escobar’s old country estate.