Tencil Talks: Ricky Chanana

Ricky Chanana is the Head of Sales Australia and New Zealand at Twitch.

Nice to meet you again, for the first time.

Having worked in senior positions at the likes of MEC Interaction, Maxus Global, Unruly, and recently Twitch over the past 15 years,  Ricky is an experienced member of the industry. 

Today we caught up with him on all things digital. 

Q. Talk us through your professional career to date?

RC. I started my media career fresh out of university as an intern at a small boutique media agency. I was really grateful to have that opportunity so early in my career, I was able to learn the buying side of the media fence from some very seasonal media veterans. I felt having media agency experience to kick start my career was one the key foundations I needed to set me on the right passage of success. 

Eight months later I landed my first official job at a prominent Australian digital publisher as campaign manager in early 2005. Managing digital campaigns really taught me the skills of client service, presenting and understanding the basics of media metrics. This role helped me to understand the narrative of “WHAT?”   

I was then poached to join one of the thriving media agencies MEC:CIA (GroupM) as a media buyer across various digital accounts. My previous experience from both the agency and publisher side really helped me to drive positive outcomes for not only the brands I was working on, but for my own personal development as well. 

I am curious, and a quick learner which led me to reach out to understand and collaborate with different individuals in various functions within the agency. Through hard work and dedication I moved through the ranks, and five years later I became the National Digital Trading Director of MEC. This role really helped me build the narrative of “WHY?”

In 2012, I moved across to a sister agency Maxus (now WM) within GroupM as Head of Digital across all brands within the agency. I continued to learn as much as I could, and with the right mentoring/opportunities I was promoted into the National Head of Investment across both offline and digital media in 2015. I was very grateful for this opportunity as the Head of Investment role really elevated my exposure to the media ecosystem, beyond that of digital.  By 2017 I had spent just over ten years at GroupM and felt it was the right time for me to look into new adventures, and continue to challenge myself in the world of media, specifically in ad tech. 

With the boom of ad tech in media, an opportunity had risen to be the Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand for a global Adtech company, Unruly. Being a conduit between a publisher and an ad tech company helped to deliver more strategic client solutions. With the right team, culture, and process in place, I was able to drive the AUNZ business as one of the most profitable markets in APAC. As a publisher/ad tech company, I was really able to dial up my narrative of “HOW”?    

Early 2020, in my pursuit, to always seek new challenges, I was attracted to an upcoming role at Twitch. I have been a big fan of the Twitch platform for quite some time. Their success across the gaming, music and entertainment industry was a big drawcard for me. After a lengthy interview process, I became the of Head of Sales Twitch AUNZ. I’m absolutely buzzing with the amazing world of eSports, gaming, live streaming etc.   

Q. How does your first professional role differ from your current role?

RC. Night and day! My first professional role was all about absorbing, immersing, and adapting myself to new environments, skill sets, and tactics in order to learn as much as I could. 

Vs my current role which is the complete opposite, I am constantly challenged to thrive, lead from the front, set the direction and vision for the team which is to launch a new brand and platform, in a new category in the Australian market.  

However, one common denominator is to stay grounded, humble, and always be myself.  

 Q. What excites you about digital marketing?

RC. The constant change and transformation! The mantra of being “disruptive” or getting “disrupted” keeps me excited about all things digital.  

Q. Name one thing you would like to see change in digital marketing and why?

RC. Personally I’d like to see more traditional companies start to really embrace and onboard new startup & disruptive tech/ platforms in their operating model. Being efficient in delivering solutions to consumers is no longer an opportunity rather than a NECESSITY! 

Put it this way, the taxi and hotel booking industries are under threat from the likes of Uber & AirBnb. These categories haven’t innovated fast enough, as a result they are losing market share & revenue to disruptive technology and platforms. It’s hard to imagine a world without Uber & Airbnb now….

Q. What advice would you offer an outsider who knows little about digital marketing?

RC. Always be a glass half full! Be prepared that you will never stop learning as long as you are in the industry. Leave your egos, biases behind and be humble.  

 Q. Do you think that there are enough materials out there to educate young adults about our industry?

RC. There is a plethora of education and training now available from various channels & platforms. From online training courses, to coaching, to more university courses now available then there were when I left school. 

However, I feel there should be more practical experiences for all the young talent coming into the industry. 

Q. What is your favourite restaurant and why?

The Apollo - Sydney - Restaurants
The Apollo, Sydney

RC. My favorite restaurant in Sydney is Apollo! Amazing greek food, great ambiance, and one of the best wine collections.

Finally, we would like to thank Ricky for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk with us earlier today.

If you would like to hear more information on opportunities that exist within digital marketing, then feel free to reach out to Joel.Williams@tencil.co.uk

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