Gary Kearley, Active International

Gary Kearley

Local Markets

Editors' Note

Gary Kearley is responsible for accelerating the company’s multi-market customer and partner relationships. Prior to assuming his current role, Gary Kearley ran Active’s offices in Australia, France, and Mexico, providing him with the background and experience needed to manage cultural nuances and deliver customized, flexible global solutions to clients. Before joining Active in 2002, he held senior management roles with Young & Rubicam.

Is there an understanding in global markets of the opportunities a company like Active can provide and what corporate trade is about?

No market that I’ve been involved in has a level of understanding and awareness as high as the United States does.

When we go into most markets, we tend to be the first company discussing corporate trade and we get the inevitable confusion with barter exchanges. Barter exchanges are for consumers and small businesses, and they literally allow participants to exchange one thing for another. Corporate trade, on the other hand, is subject to qualitative and quantitative requirements and creates measurable, incremental economic value. It is generally used by larger companies, many among the Fortune 500.

The level of understanding differs greatly by market. In France, there are several companies that are involved in what they refer to as corporate barter, which further adds to customer confusion. The challenge there is very different from a market like Australia where, until recently, we were the only company offering a corporate trade solution.

In those markets, how do you define the value that Active brings, and the services you offer?

In all of these markets, our mainstay product continues to be media, although we offer a range of other services such as retail marketing, corporate travel, event planning, and freight and logistics.

There’s no doubt that we deliver value to our clients by returning a multiple of the fair market value for excess assets. However, in my new role, I’m focused on looking at companies and industries on a global basis, and putting together strategies that would help them benefit globally versus only in their local country. This is an untapped opportunity for Active but, more importantly, for our clients as they will be able to leverage our trading abilities more comprehensively and holistically.

Are you focused mainly on the BRIC countries when you evaluate the markets offering the greatest opportunity?

Because the core focus of what we do is media, we need to offer solutions to customers in markets that have reasonable levels of media activity.

I have some recent experience in India, where two years ago, the total media market was of a lower value than that of Australia. Yet there is a population difference of close to 1.2 billion between those two countries.

So the ability to offer meaningful solutions in India against that population base is somewhat limited by that amount of expenditure in media.

China is somewhat of a different situation, and we’re currently exploring what we can do there.

We have been in Brazil for a number of years and have a solid business there – and we’re looking to grow.