Welcome to the Telum Spotlight, a quick insight into some of the interesting people in the PR and Communications space, as well as freelancers and those launching their own boutique agencies. Today we shine the Spotlight on Dominique Birouste in Sydney, who's launched ACE ORIGINAL, an independent communications agency on a mission to help companies find their voice through content, branding and creative design.
By way of introduction:
My name is Dominique Birouste and first and foremost, I am a storyteller. I’m also a specialist in content marketing, brand strategy, copywriting, and blogging and have over a decade in the communications and media industries under my belt.
With a professional background in law and communications, I have experience with various industry leaders, including News Corp Australia and content agency, Medium Rare. I've worked for some of the big-gun brands in the industry. including taste.com.au, delicious, Escape, The Metro Mastheads and Qantas.
I've decided to take all the best parts of my experience over the last decade and channel them into my own business. So, ladies, gentlemen and those who identify as neither, I introduce to you, ACE ORIGINAL
My first real job was packing shelves in a grocery store in Sydney’s inner west, but you probably don’t care too much about that role. If we’re talking about my first exposure to the media world, it was at Medium Rare Content Agency as Advertising Coordinator for Qantas magazine.
One thing you would change about the communications industry:
I’ve always loved collaborating with people outside my team to get a unique perspective on a project. You’ll often catch me brainstorming with a designer to pick their brain on how we could visually represent a piece of content or social media collateral to increase engagement.
I think there should be more emphasis on writers and designers working together rather than seeing them as the next step after a piece is written. I’ve worked with some pretty amazing designers in the past, like Andrea Giraldo, Dante Lusso, Alexis Devoreix, Kristyn Jenkins, and Cecilia Blakeley, who have really challenged how and what I write for the better.
Most admired person in comms:
Not sure if this counts as she’s not technically purely comms, but I’ll be sneaky and say Zoë Foster Blake. She’s incredibly witty and it always feels like she’s talking directly to me despite her enormous audience. In a world where AI is slowly taking over, you’d be hard-pressed to capture her humour and cleverness from a robot - unless, she is a robot...?
Most admired journalist:
Whenever I read something by Kirrily Schwarz, I finish feeling like I’ve learned something. Whether it be about skiing in France or how to compose a sentence, you’re always better off after reading her work. She is such a genuine and authentic writer and I admire her tremendously - plus she’s my go-to when it comes to any grammar questions I get stuck on!
Advice to anyone starting out in comms:
You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
When I started out in the industry, I wanted to be a writer so badly, but my fear of failure prevented me from putting my hand up to even try. It took many years (and lots of encouragement from some pretty incredible writers) to be courageous enough to say, “I can be a good writer, too!” Sure, what you start out writing probably won't get you a Walkley Award (although you never know!), but if you focus on learning from people around you and honing your craft, you can’t lose. Writing is like a muscle and the more you train it, the stronger you’ll be.
Essential daily reading:
During the lockdown, I read Stop Reading the News by Rolf Dobelli and as a result, my many hours spent on news sites have been diverted. Between reading my four-month-old daughter That’s Not My Tractor, or Spot Visits His Grandparents, you’ll catch me in my inbox reading daily and weekly media wrap-ups to keep my finger on the pulse. I’m subscribed to Telum Media, B&T Today, Search Engine Journal, Marketing Dive, and Social Media Today.
Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman. If you haven’t read this book, run, don’t walk, to your local bookstore and grab it. Without giving too much away and spoiling the good parts, it’s essentially a book that dismantles the idea that all humans are last-pizza-slice stealing, bad joke-telling, talking during the movie types and are actually inherently good. This may be a huge statement to make, but this book is the best book I’ve ever read and is my go-to gift for the pessimists in my life - take that, half-empty glasses!
Ooh, tough question. I’d say it’s a tie between the ever-iconic Grease and Midnight in Paris, for beautifully capturing my favourite place in the world.
Another tough question, you guys know how to get me thinking! I’d love to explore Japan, but then I also want to see the northern lights in Iceland, so either of those - or both!
Clickbait fact about you:
I’m a ‘hip-hipper’ in the commonly known song, Happy Birthday.
You’ll always catch me saying “what else?” My mind is constantly racing between ideas and moving onto the next big thing.