What I Learned Working at Agencies

Today is my last day working at a digital agency.

Monday I move client-side, and I can’t wait! However, like the reflective introvert that I am, I wanted to note down what I’ve learned from working at agencies and what I’m taking with me.

A quick tally…eight years, five agencies, two countries and dozens of clients. Roles I’ve held: copywriter, account manager, producer. Industries I’ve worked across: politics, financial services, hospitality, beauty, fashion, travel. Specialisations I’ve developed: direct mail marketing, subscription-based marketing, website design and build, email marketing, social media marketing. Photo shoots I’ve assisted: three. Video shoots I’ve managed: one. Influencer activities I’ve organised: upwards of ten.

No wonder I’m knackered! Continue reading

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Blurred lights of a city at night

Tap into new possibilities with Tina Seelig’s reframing exercise

I recently came across Tina Seelig’s work through Srini Rao’s Unmistakable Creative podcast and played it on repeat at least three times. I may play it again after publishing this because it’s that good.

Her suggestion on writing a failure resume – collecting all your biggest screw-ups, personal, professional and academic – and taking time to understand what went wrong and what could be done differently in the future may be the most important advice I’ve come across this year.

But I wanted to explore another theme in the podcast: that of re-framing questions. Continue reading

Fish By Josefa Holland-Merten at Unsplash

Silencing negative self-talk

Srinivas Rao, host of the Unmistakable Creative podcasts. asked marketing guru Seth Godin in a recent interview how we can turn our inner monologue – the thoughts and self-talk constantly running through our heads – into something that serves us rather than sabotages us. Seth said the first step is becoming aware that a monologue even exists.

“A goldfish doesn’t notice the water in his tank,” he said. Continue reading

Having Fun on #AmericasBestBeaches. by Visit St. Pete Clearwater

A reminder to play more

During his 2008 TED Talk entitled ‘Play is more than just fun‘, Stuart Brown tells the audience about an experiment scientists did with rats. [By this, I’m not condoning animal research, just sharing an insight that truly hit home for me.] He said that rats, indeed all animals, are hard-wired to play at a certain stage in their life as part of their development. In rats, this takes the form of squeaking, wrestling and pinning each other down.

In this experiment scientists suppressed the play instinct in a group of rats, skipping this stage in their development. The control group was left to develop naturally with the play stage intact. The scientists then presented a fear trigger to the two groups of rats. Both groups of rats ran and hid from the trigger, as you would, but what happened next shook me. The rats who’d had the play stage of their development crept out of hiding after a short time, explored the area to find out if the threat had moved on and got on with their lives.

The rats who hadn’t experienced play never came out. And they died in hiding. Continue reading

A change of approach

This morning, on my regular walk round St. James’s Park before heading into the office, I noticed a large group of foreign students taking my normal route.

Unwilling to a) loiter along behind them without getting awkwardly close pretending to ‘take in’ the minutiae of nature or b) smoke them with my best I’m-a-Londoner-get-out-of-my-way power walk, I decided to reverse my course around the park.

And something surprising happened. Continue reading

Choosing to stand out from the crowd

It’s a funny thing about choice. I find myself frustrated and angry when I don’t have control over my days, or at least the general drift of my present moment. But give me a blank sheet of paper and ask me to create something from scratch, and I freeze. This isn’t unique to me.

I’ve read enough pop psychology and ‘pursuit of happiness’ books to know what I really need is a limited set of options and the freedom to choose among them. Continue reading

On finding fulfilling work

Content Strategy

Act first, reflect later.

Hardly the sound advice most of us have grown up with. But it’s one of my favourite tips that Roman Krznaric offers in his inspiring book How to Find Fulfilling Work. I’d certainly class myself as someone who over-analyses, who feels like I don’t quite know enough to take the next step, who wants to register for one more class or read one more book before I act. But I decided that this year would be different. Continue reading