Archive for the ‘Interview Series’ Category

Interview: HR Director in mid-size full service shop
April 25, 2008

This is another interview from my trip to Chicago. This HR director was extremely helpful, and told us about what it’s really like to manage the infamous Millennials.


On Millennials in the workplace and the generation gap…

  • First, it’s important to know each Millennial is an individual and there are exceptions to generational trends. But the HR director challenges Millennials (new hires) to:
  • Not presuppose more than they really know.
  • Respect authority in the workplace; don’t think your judgment is the only one that counts.
  • Know that skills and knowledge of the industry are not a substitute for years of actual experience.
  • Be humble. In the past, interns were lucky to be in the office and willing to help on anything. Now they are too self-assured and act as if the agency is privileged to have them.
  • Pay attention to cues in the office that suggest certain expectations or protocol. Just because the culture is laid-back and open, doesn’t mean the employees don’t obey certain unwritten rules. For example, when an office door is closed, it means the person is requesting privacy, and should not be bothered unless the matter is urgent.

In an effort to meet Millennials’ need for more feedback, this agency has implemented a more frequent performance review schedule (every 3 months). (more…)

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Interview: Doug Wyatt, Strategic Digital Media Specialist at Mediacom (Chicago)
April 15, 2008

 

 

Doug is a TexasMedia Ex from the University of Texas working as a Strategic Digital Media Specialist at MediaCom in Chicago, IL. His job involves educating clients about digital media and consulting with the agency’s digital media planners about campaign strategy and integration.

I interviewed Doug during a trip to Chicago this Spring. Here’s what he had to say:

On collaboration…

  • In the digital world, nothing happens without media planners and creatives constantly collaborating.
  • Trust and loyalty are the keys to agencies education their clients on the importance and workings of digital media.
  • A lot of agencies still believe that media agencies are just buying and planning the vehicles for creative. Clients tend to have more respect for media-only agencies than creative boutiques do, and are starting to demand that digital creative bend to the media executions, instead of the other way around.

(more…)

Interview: Search Director at Digital Media arm of a global ad agency – Chicago office
April 8, 2008

I recently took a trip to Chicago to interview some industry professionals about how the gaps are affecting the Chicago ad market. This Search Director had a lot to say about teamwork and collaboration, and how young talent is viewed in the industry:

On teamwork and collaboration…

  • The best teams are those where people have complementary skill sets. It makes no sense to have people collaborating unless each person brings something unique to the table.
  • It can be frustrating working with other departments. Media people want to be innovative, and a lot of good ideas hit the floor before they’re sold to the client because everything goes through filters at agencies. Direct media relationships with the client are always favorable.
  • As online media is becoming more important, traditional media is struggling to stay relevant. The agencies that are doing really well right now are the ones that are tailoring their strategy to digital media. Online media is a lot different than traditional – offline strategy doesn’t always translate in the online world, but the agencies that are pulling it off are really successful.
  •  The elephant in the room is clients – they hire multiple agencies looking for collaboration, but what it really creates is competition.
  • Agencies don’t always do what’s best for the brand, most of the time they do what’s best for the client relationship first.   (more…)

Impetus Behind 360: High/Low Effect and the Internet
April 7, 2008

I asked Gene Kincaid, a UT Austin professor head of the Digital sequence in the advertising department, what he thinks will be the driving force behind connections planning and he believes there will be a “high and low” effect. What does this mean?

“High”: Change and improvement in the industry will come “from the top down” because big agencies will be able to afford interdepartmental training and afford to nurture 360’s. 360’s will fill in the cracks and allow mega agencies avoid missing out on the benefits of real integration and brand consistency, (especially since their clients are demanding it.)

“Low”: From the bottom up, because with the exception of television production, media is less expensive now than ever before and accessible to all—thanks to the internet which cuts distribution costs so much, even free is possible. (That’s right free. It’s not my idea; thank Chris Anderson, author of the Long Tail). Now, Google will buy even traditional media for you. So small agencies are able to provide good service and intelligence, which, as long as egos fall by the wayside, is the perfect environment for connections planning.

Kincaid says the other catalyst behind 360 advertising is the internet. If online promotions are not absolutely integrated with their offline branding, the effect is disruptive. Internet is only a small fraction of many clients advertising budgets, so why is it so important? Let’s face it, online advertising is important because clients are demanding it, and why? because they can directly measure it. Measure it like no traditional media ever dreamed of. The truth is clients know they could probably cut off 10% of their traditional advertising spending, or 20%, or add 10% more and double sales, but which part? and how much? Well, no one really knows. This is why online advertising is a financial dream. Several creative/media campaigns can be tested in a few days, directly measured, and easily improved upon. Online is efficient, so clients demand it. How does this help promote 360 advertising? Advertising on the internet has to be collaborative—there are no rules dividing departments; they industry is still figuring it out and working together.

-Karen Brooks

 

Part 2: Generation Y agency competing with Boomers
April 7, 2008

We are groups of overlapping packets: we are ‘independents’ that can work together, but not always under the same roof.” -Carlos Casa

Carlos and I have been team mates in a project before. We were a part of a team that had to build, market and promote a product built for the iPod. We had to make a business plan and marketing plan, figure out prices, promotions-the works. So one year ago when Carlos announced that he and his brother were going to launch their new advertising agency, Azul & Green, I was not surprised.

Although Carlos has some involvement building a business and an idea of the advertising business, he had to build A&G from scratch, learning how to run, pitch, innovate, and keep business himself. Today, A&G is made of four people: Engelbert, Carlos, Allen, and Shiann. Engelbert handles mostly the day to day operations as well as the buying for the business and clients. Allen is their creative that has some industry experience. Shian and Carlos are more of the account planner roles: researching, talking with clients, helping creatives, etc.

“The difference now is that in the past, you had to have an office,” says Carlos.

A&G is based out of the Casas’ home, but each employee working wherever they please. They come together when they need everyone’s help, input or cooperation. They heavily rely on phone calls and e-mails to keep up to date on status and news.

Azul & Green is an agency that is relevant to one of Adbridge’s core discussions about generations and the industry. A&G is a Generation Y agency where it did not matter how much money they started with, they were going to make their own waves–and they have.

Azul & Green has more challenges but even more opportunities.

A&G is anything but short on great, innovative ideas for their clients-their challenges lie within the budgets. They might have a great idea for a billboard but the affordability of that vehicle compared to others makes it just out of reach. Carlos says they do quite a lot of collateral and newspaper within the Hispanic sector. “A lot of the time, Spanish speaking businesses will advertise in Spanish magazines and the creative will be all wrong.” Azul & Green is in a holding pattern at the moment until Carlos graduates. “We don’t mention that most of us at A&G have not graduated yet but only one client has asked and he was impressed.”

There has been opportunities and new windows opened to A&G that run horizontally to growing the agency including A&G Publishing services. The publishing division develops Spanish targeted educational posters for teachers; available via their website http://www.azulgreenpublishing.com

(more…)

UT Professor’s Perspective: Unselfish Advertising
April 4, 2008

Now the chief aim of AdBridge is to connect people, disciplines and ideas, encouraging and driving collaboration, however, my experiences are limited to one particular university and its merits and faults. My intention is not to under or misrepresent other advertising programs, but rather use mine as a launching pad for discussion.

Gene Kincaid, a professor in charge of the Digital sequence of advertising at UT, said that UT’s advertising students are 3-7 years ahead of reality. This blog, you the 360 planner, you the creative problem solver not bound by departments but free to improve brands regardless of departmental divisions, you are 3-7 years ahead of the curve.

Kincaid says that one of the biggest hindrances of 360 advertising is the cost structure of the industry. He says that 360 advertising is “very unselfish” because it “spreads intelligence around.” This brings up a problem because the bottom line is often, well, on a short horizon. And Connections Planning, working for the big picture, makes it difficult to see direct benefits of collaboration—at least with out some leeway. Hmmm, billing, the question of “who gets paid for this?” is currently a big roadblock for connection planning.

He also tells of how when the advertising department at UT was first formed, there was a decision to be made about how to “raise” students—to be executives in the industry, those that run agencies and are not “ad people” but more so understand business or to be leaders in the industry, those that are critical and strategic thinkers. People that he says are “native 360 planners, native creatives who have the ability to solve problems.”

Chew on this for a few days… I will finish his interview Monday with what he believes to be the driving force behind 360 advertising.

-Karen Brooks

Interview: HR rep at Digital Media arm of a global ad agency
March 31, 2008

AdBridge caught up with this Recruiter to talk about interdepartmental collaboration and how his HR department is adapting to the generation gap in the workplace:

On collaboration… 

  •  It depends on the client and the holding company more than anything else. Two agencies will struggle to collaborate if they are owned by competing holding companies or if the client has multiple people managing multiple agency relationships.
  • Internal collaboration between departments is tricky because employees are over-extended. When departments fail to collaborate, everyone loses, but it happens mostly because people are too pre-occupied with their own projects and deadlines to be able to contribute to a colleague’s as well. Territory battles are a reality, but stress is the bigger factor. 

On Millennials…

  •  They tend to do well in digital because their co-workers are closer in age.
  • HR departments really are actively working to adapt agencies to generational differences 
  •  Millennials want everything too soon. They expect to get promoted quickly because they perform their duties well, but don’t understand the other factors at play.
  •  Millennials tend to “top out quickly” because they lack management skills and have a hard time delegating day-to-day responsibilities. Promotions are about putting employees in charge of people, not just projects.
  • Ad agencies are structured with intermediary job titles (Assistant Planner > Planner > Supervisor > Director) so that employees can gradually prepare for management roles. Hierarchy is an unfortunate side-effect of that model.
(more…)

The Interview Series
March 25, 2008

The Adbridge contributors are students. We are advertising students who want to understand the industry and where it’s going, but we are keenly aware of the fact that our perspective is limited because we do not work in the industry. To add to our thoughts, we have begun interviewing professionals from all corners, disciplines, and parties of the industry.

From here on out you will start to see posts of our notes from these interviews, so that you can equally benefit from what we learned. Some of the people we talked to have requested that we keep them anonymous in posts, so that they can speak frankly. We plan on respecting their wishes, and hope that you will too.

If you’re in the industry and would like to speak your mind on The Adbridge, please e-mail us at kellyeidson@gmail.com to set up an interview.