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5 Minutes with… Tim Holman


Tim Holman, founder and business director of Pangea, spoke to LBB’s Casey Martin on running a company that was born out of desire

5 Minutes with… Tim Holman

Tim Holman, founder of Pangea and adviser for The Brand Terminal, has been working in the industry for a number of years across a diverse range of high-profile clients, including St Luke’s Health, Origin Energy, Big 4 Holiday Parks and Samsara. 

Having previously held roles including group business director at Clemenger BBDO and managing director at Proximity Worldwide, his wealth of experience and knowledge led him to create Pangea in 2021. 

Tim sat down with LBB to discuss his journey to creating an agency that specialises in growing brand identities. Describing their approach as “We remove the complexity, overheads and bulls#!t that gets in the way of the best ideas”

LBB> Why did you start Pangea?

Tim> Pangea was born out of a desire to create an agency where exceptionally talented people could come together (client and agency) to do the best, most enjoyable work of their careers. 

I worked a lot with colleagues who became less connected with the work and the clients as they climbed the corporate ladder. There was a pool of talent wanting to roll their sleeves up and do the work rather than spend a few hours each week guiding briefs with so much missing context.

I also saw clients meeting agency superstars during pitches, only for them to disappear once commissioned. I wanted to bridge these gaps and provide an environment where this level of talent could collaborate in longer-term partnerships with clients. 
LBB> You talk a lot about being in the white space between a consultancy and an agency. What does this mean for Pangea?

Tim>  We have an unwavering commitment to demonstrating ROI and value for our clients. 

If we simply focus on the creative work and move brief to brief, we become replaceable when marketing departments experience turbulence. If we are in the room beside our clients, working upstream, having relationships all the way to the top, we become not just a partner for solving marketing problems. Still, a partner trusted to apply creative thinking to solving business problems too.  

This has extended our scope of services far beyond marketing. We work with corporate affairs teams, sales teams, technology teams, C-suite, and the board. Doing this for organisations such as carsales, Elanco, Origin Energy and more recently BIG4, we are regularly working in high-performance environments. 

Talent is attracted to the opportunity to collaborate and solve problems at this level. We are ex-Agency people, now with the ability to apply our trade in a different, more impactful way. 
LBB> Can you tell us a bit about you and your journey to starting your own agency?

Tim> Before Pangea, I was managing director of Proximity Worldwide out of Dusseldorf and a global client service director for BBDO. I was based in Germany but had roles stretching throughout Europe, the UK, the US, the Middle East, and Asia. 

It was an incredible job with amazing people. I had some great mentors within the BBDO/Proximity universe that really invested in me through an exciting but equally challenging time in my career. 

Prior to that I was Melbourne business director for Traffik and group business director for Clemenger BBDO. Before then, I’d bounced around a bit on both the client side and agency side, finding what I was good at and what I liked. 

I’d always thought I’d do my own thing one day but I didn’t expect it to be this early. I moved home as COVID was kicking off, and there just weren’t jobs around that fitted the shape of the value I wanted to offer to clients. 

I knew that if I was going to succeed the way I wanted to, I would have to build an agency from scratch. I was lucky to have some client relationships that believed in the model immediately and took a chance on me as founding clients. Those clients are still with us today and I couldn’t be more grateful for their early support. 
LBB> Looking ahead, what are some of the future plans and goals for Pangea? How do you see the creative agency industry evolving in the next few years, and how is Pangea positioned to adapt to these changes?

Tim> The biggest challenge will always be finding a commercially sound model to consistently put the best people in front of clients. Scaling sustainably and slowly is so important for our team. 

Part of our evolution is to invest into new markets, connecting real diversity of thought across global briefs. 

I also believe there will be a tightening of belts across the industry with more pressure on how every dollar is spent. Our positioning for this will be to continue our focus on commercial accountability while helping our clients grow brands in new markets. As part of this, we plan to build more global representation of both people and clients. We’re currently working in the Middle East, Europe, the US and Singapore but it only reflects 10% of our current revenue. Having the ability to bring Australian creativity to the world and, conversely, having global teams work more on Australian briefs creates a tension and excitement that is very different. It also allows us to follow global market opportunities rather than focusing only on the Australian economy. 
LBB> Finally, what advice would you give yourself when starting out in the industry? 

Tim>  F**ing up and learning from it is part of the thrill and what makes this industry so exciting. I wouldn’t change a thing about my own journey, the mistakes that I’ve made I’ve learned from and they’ve made me a more rounded and empathetic leader today. 

That said, I would advise any industry newcomer to surround themselves with great people from the start. I was fortunate to have incredible bosses and mentors that taught me about advertising, being a good person and having a strong moral code from the get-go. Also, get overseas for a stint of your career. It’s bloody fun and bloody rewarding.

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The Pangea Agency, Sun, 28 May 2023 23:00:00 GMT