Louise Cunningham from The Halo Media Group

Meet the team: Louise

Our meet-the-team series is for you to get to know our team members a bit more.

Hey Louise, we'd like to get to know more about your role at Halo

What’s your job title?
I’m a founder/director at Halo. I originally worked as a graphic designer for 15 years before transitioning into a brand strategist and brand consultant.

What sort of duties do you have at work?
My role at Halo is threefold.

1 – I run the company with my business partner (and husband!) Hayes. He tackles the creative and financial aspects, I spend more time on operations and people.

2 – I work on our marketing and attending to new business meetings, quoting, and project speccing.

3 – I now spend more time doing strategic work – either in a consulting role or within our existing contracted clients

What inspires or excites you, and why?
I’m obsessed with our industry! Even after 25+ years in it, I’m still excited by the continual growth in it. There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to learn as much as I’d like to! I like adventure and spent most of a decade travelling to places outside of my comfort zone. So I bring this love of pushing boundaries into the work I do with brands.

What is your #1 tip for your clients?
“Plan the action, action the plan”. Be thoughtful in how you strategically plan your foundations – be they brand development, a website, or a specific communications project. Once you’ve worked through those thoughts, write them down and then stick to the plan! Obviously being flexible is necessary, but if you don’t stick to the plan, you’ll never achieve your original goal.

What’s your go-to productivity hack?
If only I could answer this! I’m super easily distracted, so I guess it would be to work on one thing at a time. I’ll get back to you if I ever achieve this!

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
That I’m reliable! It’s such a stodgy, boring term to use, but it has meaning for me. Reliable means that I’ve kept my word. And I’m trustworthy. If people can trust me, then I’ll continue be working my hardest to live up to that trust. It’s a full circle.

What could you give a 30-minute presentation about with no advance preparation?
I’m a bit of a talker, I can do 30 minutes on anything 😊.  But professionally, I can talk about brands non-stop. From every aspect – audience, identity, continuity, and systems. Brand determines absolutely every decision you make – be it personal brand (will people choose you) or professional (will people choose your product/service). Oh, look I’ve started already… !

What’s one professional skill you’re currently working on?
Brand Positioning. I’m finding it a very interesting topic for businesses and how they position themselves in the marketplace. I’m applying that knowledge not only to Halo but also to our clients and how they are positioned in the marketplace.

What’s a work-related accomplishment that you’re really proud of?
I’m extremely grateful for the career I’ve had, and am aware that I’ve been blessed with incredible opportunities. But hands down my best accomplishment was founding Halo with Hayes. I get to work with an incredible partner. We’re working with an amazing team, doing work we’re proud of, and having immense job satisfaction and enjoyment.

If salary weren’t a factor, what job would you do?
I think about this regularly as it taps into my fantasy of what I’d do if I won the lotto (it’s going to stay a fantasy … I never buy tickets!).

First, I’d open a new division of Halo called “Design Intervention”. We’d design for the top companies in the world (who would obviously fall over themselves to work with us!). And we’d charge ridiculous amounts to do it. But here’s the kicker, we’d not earn the money ourselves, it would go into charities. We’d get job satisfaction, our clients would get good design *and* tax write-offs, and the charities would get ridiculous amounts of money.

Second, I’d buy a farm and adopt all the unlovable animals (mainly dogs) I could find – the ugly, smelly, weird ones that nobody else wants, and give them a beautiful, loving home.

Tell us more about you, outside of work … 

Where are you from?
Durban, South Africa. I was born in a monastery hospital! I lived in the same house from birth until I left college.

Do you have a nickname, and how did you get it?
Yes, but I don’t have the time to explain how I got it. My friends call me Shivs, and if we become friends, you can too!

My happy place is walking the dogs in the New Forest

What wouldn’t we know about you, just by looking at you?
I was an avid backpacker and adventure traveller. I’ve sung (bad) karaoke on a Vietnamese island; hiked Machu Picchu; learned to dive in the Red Sea; and spent 6 weeks camping across Africa. I love travelling to places which are very different to my normal life. It’s a bit harder now that we have three dogs, but they’ve already travelled bits of South Africa and now are experiencing life in England!

Cats or dogs (or neither?)
Both! But a bit more dogs, just because they love you more.

What’s your favourite word in the English language?
Spatula. It was pointed out to me years ago how it rolls off the tongue – say it slowly “Spaaatuuuula”. It’s quite satisfying especially if you try it in different accents (go on, try it an Italian accent, even better if you say it with pinched fingers 🤌)

The best piece of advice you were ever given was …
I don’t like intense situations. My mom gave me this advice on how to deal with over opinionated people … just agree with them! It completely takes the wind out of their sails and reduces the conflict. Obviously, it’s not applicable in all situations, but if you genuinely try and find a place you can agree, it disarms their argument and takes it from a monologue and hopefully back into a calmer discussion.

What kind of music do you like?
I’ve got a seriously wide range of music I like. From piano classics to old-school rap. If I’m on a tight deadline, then my playlist is very loud – Rage Against the Machine and Beastie Boys. Currently, my happy music is orchestral video game soundtracks.

Do you like travelling? If so, what’s the best place you’ve ever travelled to?
Very much so! I’ve got a top three – Egypt, Vietnam and Peru.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Anything chocolate.

Are you able to keep a secret?
Yeah, but I don’t like it!! I don’t like drama, so if it’s a juicy secret, I’d probably not want to know.