Jackie Frank; respected and synonymous within the Australian publishing industry and media for more than twenty-five years. The former General Manager of Fashion, Beauty & Health for Pacific Magazines and the former Editor in Chief of Marie Claire Australia for over twenty years, and has been running the Be Frank Group since 2018, which helps connect brands with women more authentically and effectively. X-Files is extremely fortunate to interview the formidable businesswoman, mother of two and fierce and ardent supporter of women’s issues, Jackie Frank.
Tell us about your formal education and background.
I didn’t really have a formal education, I dropped out of university after doing a year of town planning at Melbourne university. Then went on to do beauty therapy work!
Applying your knowledge and commercial nous to help brands connect effectively and authentically to their female audience, you launched the Be Frank Group in 2018. What inspired you to start your business?
I wanted to use my skills from traditional media to help brands connect more effectively – and productively – with their female audiences. Engaging women is what I have done for decades and with brands today have strong data bases and a strong B2C business but its an art to rise above the clutter and connect with the consumer.
What is your favourite aspect of running your own business?
It’s the variety of work that I love. I love building brands , it’s such a privilege when a brand engages and trusts you to work with them, just love it!
How important is it to be multi-skilled in today’s workforce?
It’s a must, but you also need to be agile, things are changing so fast that you need to keep an eye open for opportunities, as there will be many.
Are you a measured or instinctive decision-maker?
I am both, I believe in following your gut but now we have so much data available that it would be irresponsible not to use the data available to check your that instincts are correct. That they marry with the data.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in business
You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with. There’s nothing better than collaborating with people smarter than yourself.
Among your innumerable milestones, what has been the most rewarding memory of your career?
I think it’s still launching Marie Claire. But it’s also the campaign work that we did championing social issues and being the voice for women.
As a champion of women’s issues, rights, and empowerment, in your opinion what is the most powerful tool in making a difference (particularly for those who may not know where to start).
Social media, it has changed the world. The accessibility of being able to have your voice heard and in turn count. We can all make a difference.
Do you think the upward rise of social media and celebrity influence has empowered a wider audience to push these stories and causes forward?
Celebrities have always played a role in influencing public opinion. The accessibility of social media has just extended their platform and have allowed a two-way conversation, which has made them seem more accessible and given confidence for others to follow.
An integral role throughout the media’s ever-evolving landscape over the last two decades, what are your thoughts on the future of media in Australia?
It’s very challenging, as businesses are going direct to consumer. They don’t need traditional media to engage their audience or get their messaging and branding in front of their consumer. People are on their phones and are even more time poor. There is so much content out there they have to compete and cut through the clutter. Media needs to find their role in this world, what they bring to the table that others cannot. Australians have always had a hunger for information, we are a curious nation and good trusted authoritative content is still in demand. It’s the delivery method that has changed not the substance.
Tell us about Be Frank's evolution since 2018 - has the global COVID-19 crisis changed your way of thinking & how you will choose to operate your business in the future?
COVID-19 has meant that everybody has been working from home, doing Zoom etc, so it has made me more accessible, rather than having to jump on planes and travel, I have been able to get more face to face with my clients.
How do you think the COVID-19 crisis will affect the Media industry? Do you see any of these as positive changes?
It has been very difficult for the media industry, especially fashion magazines. The inability to do fashion shoots, the social distancing has made it almost impossible. What I do believe it has done is made the fashion industry re-evaluate its fashion cycle. This is one of the best things to come out of this crisis. The fact that fast fashion is being challenged and the luxury end , which sets the tone for the rest, are looking at how often they produce ranges and how they present them. Gucci just announced that they will only do two shows a year, and will go season-less, this is a huge change. COVID -19 has spearheaded the sustainability question and made everyone feel a sense of responsibility to the planet, everyone is asking, am I building a responsible business and what does that look like?
How do you see the fashion industry adapting post the COVID-19 crisis?
Everything is being re-imagined , the fashion cycle, the fashion calendar, sustainability, distribution and production.
Retails will need to redefine the role of its bricks and mortar as well as its operations as they prepare for the future. Online during this time has had a boost and a lot of retailers will need to develop their capabilities and develop their digital transformation.
What essential advice do you have for a budding upstart or student who has the ambition to pursue a meaningful career.
You must follow your passion. If you find something that has meaning and purpose you will be successful. I also really think that it’s important to be authentic.
What insights do you have in the balancing act of family life with professional pursuits?
That you can have it all but not all at once.
What inspires you?
I need meaningful connections, it’s always been important to me to believe in what I’m doing, as long as I have purpose, I will strive to be the best me.
What words do you live by?
Integrity and authenticity are the two words I live by!