How to be Entrepreneurial at an Agency – One Millennial’s Perspective

The next generation of workers – millennials – seems to be everyone’s concern, especially the media’s. If you Google “millennials” and “work” you will be hit with a barrage of reports on how to attract and retain millennial employees, many of which contradict one another. In some cases, the advice is sound: a healthy social media presence does make a difference, sure. In others, the advice seems like it would apply to all generations: more direct communication, transparency, and idea-soliciting.

So rather than dive into an analysis of other perspectives on the millennial employment experience, I will share my own, which I’ve found resonates with peers also developing their careers.

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Creating the Creative Organization

creative

At this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, I had the opportunity to sit on a panel with a group of CEOs and senior business leaders on the subject of “creating the creative organization.”

It’s not that easy to address this topic. Sure, we’ve made a lot of progress, but we still have plenty of work left to do. And though our creative success is noteworthy, any bows are not mine to take.

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Man lives in IKEA

By allowing a comedian full access to everything inside an IKEA store to film a series of videos, Ketchum helped engage millions of consumers on the IKEA website, and ultimately drove store sales.

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The Corporate Anniversary: A License to be Bold

Most of us get to enjoy the basic essentials in life – food, water and shelter. It’s only by accident of birth that we are not among the 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty, or the 2.5 billion people without access to proper sanitation, or one of the 1 billion people who go to bed hungry every night.

This post is about how we all have moments in time where we have implicit approval to be bold. Recently, I had the great fortune to represent Ketchum at the Corporate Anniversary Forum where I was able to showcase some great examples of companies that used their anniversary celebrations as a catalyst to ‘be bold’ – to put a stake in the ground and become a more socially responsible and sustainable corporate citizen.

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Confidence, Courage and Connections

I recently had the privilege of representing Ketchum at the inaugural ColorComm (C2) conference in Orlando, Florida. The brain-child of Lauren Wesley Wilson, Founder and Chief Networking Officer, ColorComm, was created to be an intimate business conference where women of color in communications can share experiences, challenges and insights.

Over 200 multicultural professional women (and a few men too) came together to be among the first to witness what proved to be an informative and inspiring experience. The event lived up to expectations and delivered on all fronts, particularly motivational speaker Gloria Mayfield Banks, who provided a few particular pearls of wisdom that I was inspired by and feel compelled to share.

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The Young Marketers Competition

Marketing

The Young Marketers Competition is one of my favorite parts of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. It invites teams of marketers under the age of 30 to develop a 360-degree marketing brief, one very similar to what they might give to their agency one day.

So, why does Ketchum sponsor it? Well, we think we have an obligation to help educate and inspire young marketers around the world. We want to challenge them to see how an integrated marketing mix is essential for successful campaigns. The Young Marketers Competition is an intensive learning experience for participants and has the added benefit of supporting a deserving non-profit, which this year was the World Food Programme (WFP).

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I Challenge You – DO NOT READ THIS

In the literal sense, that was impossible, right?

For 774 million others around the world this particular challenge is all too easy. They simply cannot read.

Working at a public relations firm, we understand the critical role literacy plays in conducting business, but this is about more than day-to-day work correspondence. It’s about books, maps and signs, menus, websites, medicine labels, etc. Being illiterate in today’s world directly equates to limited opportunity.

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Planning Season: New Year, New Creative

Happy New Year! Yes, I know we’re a few months from the big ball drop but bear with me a moment. The year is full of fresh starts, new chances to establish new habits, and opportunities to accept the challenge to shake things up. This is one of them.

As the agency and corporate world enters Planning Season 2015, I have a New Year’s challenge for you: incorporate creative. It’s impossible to improve by executing the same tactics, tapping the same brains, and looking for inspiration in the same places. It doesn’t take an Einstein to know that repeating the same experiments will net no new results. What better moment than the Planning Season to think outside the day-to-day team.

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The Magic Bean To Integrated Marketing

Today clients are in search of a magic bean they can plant to ensure their agencies work seamlessly to create results-driven, award-winning integrated programs. If only it was that easy. The question I seem to be asked most frequently lately is, “Who do you see that does integrated marketing well and what can we learn from them?”

I see many brands that do it well with different structures. It’s not the model that makes it work – it’s the talent. Team leaders on the agency side must have an appreciation for diverse disciplines, and the client must insist multiple disciplines present together. Those are the two most common threads to success.

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