New BIMA chief Mellish: Small agencies need support

Chris MellishThe Government must step in to support small businesses operating in the digital and interactive media industry or many could be wiped out as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc with their business operations and finances.

That is the rallying cry of Chris Mellish, the new president of digital media body BIMA, who is also chief executive of TMW Unlimited.

Mellish, who succeeds Natalie Gross and Tarek Nseir, is acutely aware that his presidency coincides with a “critical time for the digital sector”.

He said: “The Government needs to do an incredible amount to support both business and individuals, otherwise the economic consequences could be severe for many in our industry.

“Small agencies are often the starting point for many people’s careers, they are the lifeblood of our industry. This virus doesn’t discriminate by industry sector, so the Government needs to provide comprehensive support across all areas, for both brands and agencies. But support for smaller agencies through the coming months is what would be of most use to our industry.”

However, Mellish does recognise that BIMA and the wider industry also have a major role to play.

He continued: “These strange and challenging times are forcing brands and agencies into reshaping their relationships, some of which have been established over many years. Helping both sides of our membership think creatively about how they can do this, while continuing to support each other is something we should be focusing on.”

Mellish joined TMW in August last year from digital consultancy Blackbook London, a business he co-founded in 2015, and succeeded Chris Pearce, who now heads up MRM McCann London.

However, Mellish is perhaps best known for his time at Razorfish and its former entity DNA Consulting, where he spent over 14 years between 2001 and 2015; the last five years as CEO.

Beyond the current crisis, he believes the industry needs to do more to attract and retain new talent.

He explained: “Early in my career, the industry felt like an exciting and alluring place to be and we need to recapture that feeling. Part of this challenge is about being better at recognising what motivates today’s younger workforce. Their outlook and priorities are significantly different and we need to understand what this means. We need to make some fundamental changes to the way we operate, collectively.

“I’ve always held BIMA in high esteem and have admired how it has grown and evolved, particularly over the past few years under the leadership of Natalie and Tarek, and BIMA managing director Holly Hall.”

Mellish concluded: “Getting the chance to lead an industry body such as BIMA is an amazing honour. I hope in some way it gives me the opportunity and platform to pay back and help an industry that has been amazingly good to me over the past 20+ years. I’m looking forward to helping all sides of our membership think creatively about how we can do this.”

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