60 Seconds With

“I always encourage my team to follow every thread no matter how bizarre or opaque” – 60 seconds with Sarah Blackman, Founder, HYPER BEAU

By Business & Finance
02 January 2024
Pictured: Sarah Blackman, Founder, HYPER BEAU

Sarah Blackman is Founder of HYPER BEAU, an international creative consultancy operating across Dublin, London and Paris, that specialises in high-end strategy and design. She features in our 60 seconds with series.

What was your first job?

My first job was a creative in the digital arm of McCann Erickson in Paris. This was at at time when digital technology was in its infancy and advertising was just discovering it’s potential. It was an incredible time to be in the ‘ideas’ business. There were no rules, just a sense of anything is possible. The technology was constantly evolving so we had to adapt our innovations on the fly. It was a great time to create ‘world firsts’ and radically change peoples experiences of products and their daily rituals. This ambition to challenge the status quo and consumer expectations of reality has never left me.

What pushed you to pursue a career in this field?

I have always loved complexity of communication challenges. No day is the same and no client is the same. And the digitisation of culture and audience behaviour have just made these challenges more intense. As a brand it’s harder to stand out, competition is fiercer and attention spans have been radically altered by screens. Finding ways for brands to ride on crest of the cultural wave and stay visually and emotionally compelling is something that will always fascinate me. 

What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date ?

My idea of personal achievement has evolved a lot over the years. I think breaking in to the exclusive ‘French only’ Paris advertising industry at a very senior level in my 30s will always be on my list. More recently though I have experienced huge satisfaction helping Portland’s public radio station, All Classical Radio, reposition and break into the mainstream digital entertainment space, becoming the No 1. classical station in the U.S.A. There is nothing so rewarding than working with clients, big or small with the ambition and courage to disrupt the category and change public perceptions.

Career-wise, would you do anything differently?

I have worked in the most dynamic cities for Advertising and creativity, but part of me would have liked to have spent more time in Paris. It has an aesthetic language that is so distinctive and inspiring: a breath of fresh air creatively. Having a lead creative team in Paris for Hyper Beau now gives me an excuse to spend more time there. 

In one sentence, how would you define success?

‘Success is when people are really sad to see you go.’

What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever been given?

My favourite Parisian mentor once said “Your success is immaterial, the only thing that matters is making your client a success.”

How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

As a creative I understand the importance of having the space to create. In today’s ‘always on’ world we leave little room for daydreaming. I always encourage my team whether creatives or strategic thinkers to follow every thread no matter how bizarre or opaque, having that trust to explore, enables us to get to unexpected places and transformative insights together.

How do you handle adversity ?

I use the power of visualisation, in the same way professional athletes do, giving myself the extra resources to over come challenges by imagining a better, more desirable reality in my mind and rehearsing it over in cinematic detail. It has been a life changing technique in many ways, to the point where we have integrated into our creative processes at Hyper Beau. For clients and creative minds it can be a great accelerator for change.

How do you relax?

I play my favourite Ravel and Rachmaninov repertoire on the piano.

What are your aspirations for the future of the business?

The plan is a simple one, build out our creative and strategic network, to bring exceptional global talent to organisations that want a shift in fame and brand memorability and, as the creative world becomes more and more infused with AI, I hope we find ways to make peace with this incredible technology.  I would like to think we can use it as an artistic collaborator to push our imaginations further, and challenge our expectations on what is visually and conceptually possible.  


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