Ahh. That question.
I’ve toyed with many possible responses. The most appealing – that I’m a Scouse Don Draper – holds some weight. I am a fan of the suit and did once smoke a cigarette with Jenny Ellon from school. However, I’ve yet to see Don reorganise the agency filing system and nor has he ever been asked to source washing machine ads.
Perhaps this exercise will cast some light on exactly what it is I do.
A typical Monday is generally atypical. I’ll trawl through e-mails and have a go at trying to get us an "interesting opportunity". Perhaps a new-business lead, a thought leadership piece or an interesting speaker. My favourite approach is to think of someone random and unrelated to our industry, contact them and write them the single most bizarre e-mail they’ll ever receive. It has proved relatively successful: Tanni Grey-Thompson popped in once, Alastair Campbell came in a few weeks back and we got on the pitchlist for a classy magazine on the back of it.
More than likely, though, we’ll be pitching for something already. Pitches vary, but my role is pretty consistent: I’m a support man. Making sure things happen, people are happy and throwing in my own ideas.
Agency culture is also essential and contributing to this has become a big part of my portfolio. The early part of a week may well entail securing press coverage or organising the internal communications for a recent win.
I’ve also started speech-writing on behalf of TBWA. An interesting offering from an agency that, I believe, can play a key role in new business and the selling-in of campaigns. After all, the speech is an art form that has long been the tool of politicians and other bigwigs for changing the mood of a nation or a company, and this is exactly the issue many of our clients face: our ideas, especially the weird and wonderful, strike fear into the hearts of many a marketing director as they ask themselves how they’ll convince their board to buy it. Why not use a speech?
Thankfully, our new client Lidl agreed and it’s for this reason that the past few weeks have included trips to Glasgow, where I’ve been working on speeches for its June brand relaunch.
The only mainstay of my week is the agency free bar on a Thursday. When the boss is away, I’ll run the meeting, informing colleagues of the latest goings-on and making jokes at the expense of those on the front row.
What, then, is my ultimate view from the bottom? It’s a simple one: I’m in the most exciting industry and have wound up working at an agency that’s bursting with talent and that also happens to be laced with the potential to do new and exciting things.
Although that still doesn’t answer my nan’s question…
Ryan Wain is a marketing executive at TBWA\London