Archive for the ‘ About The Agency ’ Category

Yearning to be Interning

Not having had any experience in advertising, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of an internship at an agency, but I knew I needed one to prove I was a go-getter who values the opportunity. Unfortunately, the thought of filing papers and delivering coffee all day didn’t really sound too appealing. After interviewing at a few agencies, I remember walking out of my interview at evok advertising thinking what an honor it would be to have the opportunity to work there. They had me sold. But isn’t that the job of a good advertising agency?

Two weeks later, I started working as the account services intern at evok. I’ll admit I was nervous at first but that didn’t really last too long. The team is welcoming, friendly and always willing to teach me as much as I want to learn. The laid back atmosphere makes it easy to get to know them and get an insight to all their experience in the industry.

I always thought I had a strange sense of humor, well that was until I started interning at evok. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard and so often. But that’s what makes working there so enjoyable. No, I’m not making coffee; I’m doing work and a lot of it. But I’m learning more than I ever thought possible and I’m having fun while doing it.

There’s no ordinary day at evok. I’m constantly being challenged – challenged with more responsibility and creative freedom to apply what I’m learning in the classroom with first-hand experience in the industry.

My experience thus far has beyond exceeded my expectations. I’ve had the opportunity to work on a variety of accounts on everything from public relations, social and paid media to assisting with marketing plans. I get to participate in most internal meetings just as any other team member and truly understand the entire process of a successful marketing campaign.

It’s unique to have the opportunity to work with such a diverse team. They each have very different personalities with a variety of strengths. That’s what I believe makes the agency so successful. Each project is approached from a different perspective, always guaranteeing the highest quality of work. ideas. work. results. That’s our mantra, and we live by it.

I wake up every morning excited to go to work. So excited that I’ll be returning to intern in January for my second semester. I’ve never been so sure that advertising is the career path I want to follow. Once I graduate, I hope to have the opportunity to work with such knowledgeable and personable professionals.

Life of an Intern

I’ve always wanted to be a media planner and buyer so when I walked into evok advertising for an interview – I knew I had to nail it. I guess if you’ve done the interview process before, you know how nerve-racking it is – arriving really early, sweaty palms, wondering if your resume looks good enough, using manners no southern woman has witnessed since the 1950s. I imagine it’s probably the same for everyone…

It’s true – the interview process can be daunting. Just imagine the public relations manager and media buyer asking you questions – some off-the-wall and others you’ve been preparing for since you chose your major. Is your answer crazy or sane enough? Have they heard these answers a thousand times already from other candidates?

When I got home, I replayed the interview in my head like a cassette (yes I’m old enough to know what those are), rewinding and fast-forwarding to the toughest questions. I sent my follow-up letter, did my due diligence and two weeks later, the public relations manager called me with the news. I’ve never crossed my fingers so hard in my life. Then she finally said it, “We’d like to offer you our spring internship position as our PR/Media intern.”

So, cool – I’m now the newest intern at evok advertising. A fancy title follows – Public Relations/Media Coordinator – even though I know I’m going to be doing just about anything and everything asked of me. Surprisingly, that’s not the case though – one thing I learned real quick, was to throw that image of a stereotypical coffee retrieving, brown-nosing, know-it-all intern out the window. You’re with the big boys now and to learn is only the beginning.

A few broad responsibilities of my internship at evok included the following:
• Pitching stories to the media / following-up
• Collecting digital and hardcopy clips
• Putting in creative tasks / interactive tasks
• Writing trafficking instructions for radio, billboards and TV
• Uploading blogs to the company website
• Managing social media for a variety of clients
• Researching upcoming media trends
• Researching media contacts
• Developing media plans & rationales

Being an intern within a full-service advertising agency like evok will surely open your eyes. I find that before stepping into an agency, we understand things only as the television and the media portray them. In fact, we have no idea as to what happens inside a genuine “think tank.” This is no 1960s Mad Men television episode where Lucky Strike cigarette smoke fills the air and whiskey is downed like water. No real life Donald Draper seemingly spurs some sort of last minute campaign slogan that’s going to bring the agency to the brink of fame. As an intern who watches the inner workings of an agency, evok works as a team to understand each client’s needs completely, rather than rely on one person to spearhead the entire process. The skilled team at evok works in-sync and studies their client and its industry inside and out. Sometimes they even show up at the client’s business to be a customer or an employee for day. The research is immense, but because of what they put in on the front-end, they can develop groundbreaking ideas that lead to quality results, which are tracked and revised as needed to strengthen each campaign.

The top five things I learned at evok:
• No client is better or more important than the other
• Take on whatever sort of work is asked of you, no matter how far out of your comfort zone
• Stay organized, I promise it’ll help in the long run
• Be confident
• Don’t be afraid to ask questions

This is how evok separates itself from other agencies: ideas. work. results. It’s the slogan the agency lives and dies by, because an agency like evok doesn’t divert from their principles when working with clients or with their team.

I’m proud to write on my resume that I interned at evok advertising, because it has given me the chance to witness an agency in which principles guide the way business is done, where clients are treated more as friends then as just run-of-the-mill business associates. Interning at evok, you can be sure you’ll learn skills completely out of your comfort range but these only build your character. And everyone here won’t skip the chance to tell you that.

Playground Rules in the Real World

There are many simple concepts, probably ones that you heard since you stepped foot in an educational system at the age of five, that really define basic principles in your everyday life. Oftentimes businesses overanalyze the key to a successful business relationship, but it really goes back to the playground basics we learned since day one. Keep it simple, thorough, and personal and you will find that you are a step ahead of the others trying to find that magic formula for success.

BE POSITIVE
Here at evok, we’ve always been told that you can hear a smile through the phone. Even if you are not face to face with your customers, they can sense your attitude through your voice, your written words, and especially your actions. Stay positive. In customer service especially, an attitude can make or break a relationship. Being helpful, accountable, and available is essential to forging a bond with any customer, new or old.

KEEP YOUR WORD
Countless times we have witnessed people in customer service who guarantee something they cannot deliver. It’s simple; if you give your word then you need to do everything in your power to make your promise happen. If you cannot always remember what it is you are promising, find a way to keep track of
it. Write it down; make note of what you need to do. If your word is broken, even just once, you allow doubt to be a part of the relationship, which is not conducive to gaining additional business.

LISTEN
The more you listen the more you hear. In order to be able to give your customers what they want, you have to know what they want. In order to know, you must ask and listen. If you show a genuine interest in your customers, not only will it build a stronger relationship, but also give you the ability to satisfy their needs in a greater way.

WHY PUT OFF TOMORROW WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY?
We all procrastinate; it is a part of being human. But in business, procrastination can lead some customers to believe they are not your priority. Stay on top
of your game. Be one step ahead of your customer. If you know that every Wednesday they ask for a specific report, make sure it is waiting for them Tuesday night. It is amazing what a little bit of hard work will do for their appreciation of you.

BE ALL YOU CAN BE
Cliché, we know, but a happy customer is a loyal customer. You should never want to deliver anything less than your personal best. The quality of the product and service you are offering is paramount to the success you will have in your business relationship. Don’t get lazy. Even if you’ve had a loyal customer for ten years, they still deserve the top-notch attention and service you would offer to
a potential new client. Customers are the reason you have a job to begin with. Without them, we have nothing.

These are just a few adages that we have all heard time and time again. Go back to the basics. The real world is not as complicated as everyone tries to make it. Just by using these simple five steps, you have already started to improve and enhance your business relationships.

Ante up! – Keeping Track of Account Receivables

“Money can’t buy you happiness, but the lack of it can surely make you unhappy.” – our CEO’s favorite money line.

Everybody wants it, and those who have it want more of it! Nobody wants to give it away, and if you’re the Operations Manager of a creative ad agency – this can be a problem.

The more figures you can move from your AR statement to your bank statement, the happier the CEO. If we follow this logic, both the bank statements and the happiness of the head-honcho, is your hands. If he is happy – so is everyone else.

So how do you keep account receivables running smoothly? Stay consistent. Know your clients’ payment habits and keep up with them. If you know your client tends to pay within an acceptable amount of time, give them the buffer, but check-in weekly and call immediately if their check has not arrived.

I find that when you are not consistent with the calls and the e-mail reminders, payments start to come in slower. A quick weekly check-in and a few e-mails is all it takes to make your accounts receivables less of a nightmare.

Having a great rapport with your client is also very helpful.  Once I started e-mailing those who handled the clients’ accounts payable on a more consistent basis and getting to know them, I started getting e-mails from them in return indicating that a check was on its way – fabulous!!!

It is hard to get into a routine. No one really wants to “ask” for payment and no one really should have to “beg” for it.  Sending an e-mail reminder is a gentler, less intrusive way to ask for payment. I would start there. If a check has still not shown up by the date you were given, make the dreaded phone call. Procrastination will not fund payroll!

If push comes to shove, you’re not getting anywhere and the account is well past 60 days overdue, it’s time to start making calls and writing e-mails two or three times a week. Role-play the ultimate nag.

When constant nagging does not work, you may need to call someone higher-up at the company. I would put the onus on you first.  Ask if there is a problem with the invoice, do they want to discuss it with their account manager? This is also the time to discuss a payment option. Once an invoice hits 90 days overdue, it will be harder to collect.  So now is the time to involve a collection lawyer or agency.

One final thought, humor can make requesting payment a little less painful. As I also cover our accounts payable department, I once received a late payment notice with a bit of humor I though I’d share. Instead of the typical “PAST DUE” stamped on the statement this company had a sticker that said “money talks but yours hasn’t spoken to us in a while”….  I laughed and paid the account.

“The safe way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket.” ~ Frank Hubbard
“We can tell our values by looking at our checkbook stubs.” ~ Gloria Steinem
“There is a very easy way to return from a casino with a small fortune:  go there with a large one.” ~ Jack Yelton
“I am opposed to millionaires, but it would be dangerous to offer me the position.  ~ Mark Twain
“They who are of the opinion that Money will do everything, may very well be suspected to do everything for Money.” ~ George Savile, Complete Works, 1912
“I cannot afford to waste my time making money.” ~ Louis Agassiz
“There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money, either.” ~ Robert Graves
“When I have money, I get rid of it quickly, lest it find a way into my heart.” ~ John Wesley

“It is an unfortunate human failing that a full pocketbook often groans more loudly than an empty stomach.” ~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt
“After a visit to the beach, it’s hard to believe that we live in a material world.” ~ Pam Shaw
“The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money.” ~ Author Unknown
“Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.” ~ Cree Indian Proverb
“The only reason a great many American families don’t own an elephant is that they have never been offered an elephant for a dollar down and easy weekly payments.” ~ Mad Magazine
“I’d like to live as a poor man with lots of money.” ~ Pablo Picasso

Thank you Quote Garden – http://www.quotegarden.com/money.html

Leo’s – When to Take My Name off the Door

The speech was titled “When to Take My Name off the Door”.

Leo’s remarks:
“That will be the day when you spend more time trying to make money and less time making advertising – our kind of advertising.
When you forget that the sheer fun of ad-making and the lift you get out of it – the creative climate of the place – should be as important as money to the very special breed of writers and artists and business professionals who compose this company of ours and make it tick.
When you lose that restless feeling that nothing you do is ever quite good enough.
When you lose your itch to do the job well for its own sake – regardless of the client, or the money or the effort it takes.
When you lose your passion for thoroughness… your hatred of loose ends.
When you stop reaching for the manner, the overtone, the marriage of words and pictures that produces the fresh, the memorable and the believable effect.
When you stop rededicating yourselves every day to the idea that better advertising is what the Leo Burnett Company is all about.
When you are no longer what Thoreau called a “corporation with a conscience” which means to me, a corporation of conscientious men and women.
When you begin to compromise your integrity — which has always been the heart’s blood – the very guts of this agency.
When you stoop to convenient expedience and rationalize yourselves into acts of opportunism – for the sake of a fast buck.
When you show the slightest sign of crudeness, inappropriateness or smart-aleckness – and you lose that subtle sense of the fitness of things.
When your main interest becomes a matter of size just to be big – rather than good, hard wonderful work.
When your outlook narrows down to the number of windows – from zero to five in the walls of your office, but think of yourself first.
When you lose your humility and become big-shot weisenheimers… a little too big for your boots.
When the apples come down to being just apples for eating (or for polishing) – no longer a part of our tone – our personality.
When you disapprove of something, and start tearing the hell out of the man who did it rather than the work itself?
When you stop building on strong and vital ideas, and start a routine production line.
When you start believing that, in the interest of efficiency, a creative spirit and the urge to create can be delegated and administered, and forget that they can only be nurtured, stimulated and inspired.
When you start giving lip service to this being a “creative agency” and stop really being one.
Finally, when you lose your respect for the lonely man – the man at his typewriter or his drawing board or behind his camera or just scribbling notes with one of our big black pencils – or working all night on a media plan. When you forget that the lonely man – and thank God for him – has made the agency we now have possible. When you forget he’s the man who, because he is reaching harder, sometimes actually gets hold of – for a moment – one of those hot, unreachable stars.
THAT, boys and girls, is when I shall insist you take my name off the door.
And by golly, it will be taken off the door.”

I believe in the ad industry and for the most part believe that we all work with this core perspective. I know we at EVOK do, and it is shown in the small actions. The decisions we make for our clients are still rooted in the best interests of advertising and the client, not financially motivated. I have personally witnessed account managers donate their time, logging “unbillable” or ‘GA” on account when they could have billed for it but maybe just felt 51% like they shouldn’t. I’ve seen artists take projects home and work on them all night, off the clock, to keep on schedule. I’ve seen production managers get a reduced quote and pass the hidden savings on to the client. I’ve seen media buyers fight for make goods or issue credit memos when clients would never know. And, I’ve seen them all cry for a client loss not because of lost revenue, but because they truly cared about and for the client. And most recently, I stood next to a creative who teared up during a pitch because he believed in the brand promise of the client and what it means to him personally.

I hope that I, as the CEO, had something to do with these actions in the way I manage the agency, but moreover, I feel that they were ingrained in the people we asked to join our team – I did my job by telling them how we would be better with them here and how I hoped they would too.

I struggle with profit vs art decisions daily. I have two small children and the downturn economy is, not only, effecting the agency, but also, me personally. But, it is because of my two small children that I make many of the decisions that I do. If cutting corners and forgetting who we are means that we’ll be cutting our own throats in this competitive marketplace, then bring on the Katana – I’m going down fighting.