Acquisition communications for a global manufacturer, creating a social media policy and launching Facebook and Twitter pages for a specialty hospital, finishing up a brand platform and messaging for an insurance carrier, planning new advertising campaigns for several other clients, creating a crisis management plan for a nonprofit agency as well as arranging a New York City media tour for a fast-growing international logistics company… I could go on — but what a couple of weeks!
This is why many of us work in an agency setting. It’s the variety and satisfaction of a dynamic environment focused on our craft. Before working “on the agency side”, many of us at Mason spent time in the corporate world. I know I am thankful for that training and experience.
It’s there where I learned many valuable lessons on management; much like The Office(just kidding). Seriously, I had the opportunity to build brand leadership, work with analytical product managers, legal departments and talented (and not so talented) CEOs. It’s where I learned about being a spokeperson for one of the largest public companies in the U.S., including what not to say to the New York Times about future earnings (We won’t say anymore about that here.)
I also learned that no matter how effective and valuable our Corporate Communications department was, we were a non-core function. In other words, overhead (ouch). When I made the move to an agency, I quickly learned that Communications is the core business — the only business. Something that was invested in and nurtured. It also took me a while — maybe a year or two — to realize that agencies are teams of individuals. And yes, I also observed from the inside some of the behaviors that drive corporate folks crazy!
At Mason, we celebrate people and encourage them to express their personalities and creativity. We learn from each other. We celebrate youth and the new perspectives and skills they bring to us. We love passing our experience on to them, and encouraging them to question us.
Today, it takes an integrated, multi-talented team to fully support clients. In 2010, you can’t be just a digital shop or an ad agency or just a PR firm — you need to be expert in brand development and execution across ALL of the tactical communication channels. This is the new reality. In essence, an agency must be a full-service corporate communications department — and a true business partner.
Today, a company will sell itself short if it shops for an ad agency or a digital shop or stand-alone public relations firm. Think brand, audience segmentation and strategic implementation. Think business partner.