During my agency tenure, both on a full-time and freelance basis, I have developed key initiatives and approaches to a number of agency components that are handled very differently by various agency and individual leaders. Although there is more than one successful approach for each component, depending on the agency culture and agency type, the following is how I personally approach each agency facet...
|I believe the right mentoring must come from deep-rooted experience - and an even-tempered approach. Your team looks to you for insight and guidance - and they need to know that your vigilance in the pursuit of creative and strategic excellence is to always get the best from your team. Understanding each team member's role and encouraging strategic and creative excellence must come from an atmosphere of encouragement and team spirit. It is important to understand each individual career path and alert them to areas of opportunity in approach, process and participation.|
When you are in a creative role, it is most productive when you have a leader who sets and guides the 'parameters' and fosters the generation of creative ideas. And this is how I lead. Creative leadership cannot be a dictatorship - but rather a mentor who provides intuitive and thorough information about product, target audience, client objectives and strategy. A great leader can orchestrate effective brainstorming sessions and sort-and-simply raw and complex data into actionable items. Will the creative turn out exactly the way you would have written or designed it? No. But the right leader can effectively guide foster creative excellence - and reel in team members when work heads off strategy, off brand or gets too complicated or cumbersome.
|Although it may seem like it at times, the client is not a dictator looking for the agency to serve as pure production - they are simply trying to provide all the information they believe is relevant for us to create the right campaign to reach their core business and marketing objectives. They need us to be highly strategic, creative and insightful - and they have a need/want to participate in the process. The stronger the relationship you establish with your client in ongoing and open communication and dialogue, the stronger the relationship will become.|
|Yes, projects with very tight deadlines and limited budgets are a nature of the business - but this is not the time to throw your hands up in the air by delivering sub-par work. Knowing the skills, availability and capacity of each creative and production team member - combined with fast-tracking the front-end phases of project review, q&a, and strategy, will allow sufficient time for the creative and production team to do great work.|
|The key to time management is knowing the skills and capacity of each individual team member in relation to their assigned project - bringing in support from other team members to complete the project on-time. Divide and conquer. You can't expect great things from your team if you burn them out or allow for unfair project weightload. Creatives can also over-analyize certain stages and it is important to establish key checkpoints during creative execution and production and be available to review and make timely decisions in the trenches. Managing accurate measurement of time reports is also key in sustaining proper billing and revenue.|
I have established a certain process to know the current skillset(s) and capacity of every team member - and allocating resources appropriately to meet timing and budget based on workload and availability. You must always leverage the resources you have available and develop an outside resource of talent to call upon when there is an influx of assignments. Stretching your team too thin can have a negative impact on on-time deliverables and creative quality.
From an operational standpoint of any growing agency, it is crucial to maintain financial statements and spreadsheets to oversee and summarize current revenue, cost and expense for individual projects and collectively on regularly scheduled intervals. Proper management of P&L provides the information you need to show the ability to generate profit - generally by reducing costs to increase revenue. Having clear and accessible information on P&L allows you to manage time and allocate resources more efficiently.
|Just like any company, there are two opportunities to grow an agency - expanding existing client work and pursuing and attaining new business with new clients. I have proven experience on both accounts - working closely with account service teams in fostering positive relationships with our clients - by delivering highly successful creative and strategic campaigns - and always delivering strategic and thought leadership for a brand - even when it goes beyond the scope of the project at hand.|
as for new business experience and success, I had the unique opportunity
to spend nearly two years pitching big brands full-time - with a 67%
(2007) and 74% (2008) win-rates (industry
average at 10-12%). The key is to be included in the RFP process
and be ready to allocate adequate resources to each new business opportunity.
I have personally led the creative and strategy for new business
pitches and pulled keyteam members in based on available
resources and skillsets - and personally developed a
10-step process to winning consistently.
|Whether it's taking heavy product specification documentation, complex client objectives, elaborate marketing spreadsheets, target audience research data and analytics, or team brainstorming-generated ideas, I have the unique ability to quickly sort-and-simplify complex information and deliver effective strategic roadmaps. I use my personally-developed techniques on nearly every project I am assigned. From this newly sorted-and-simplified data, strategic direction is more easily identified and results in more effective on-target campaigns.|