I feel nostalgic today. Today is the day I leave bbd. Today is the day I walk away from all I have known for the past 7 and a half years. It’s a sentimental milestone and a big one for someone who hates change.
If I had to liken this feeling to anything, it’s comparable to that feeling of leaving home for the first time, saying goodbye to all that you love and all that you know. My head is spinning with questions – have I done the right thing? Am I going to love my next chapter just as much as I have this one? Are they going to miss me? Did I make an impression?
I have come to realise that there are times in life when you have to just bite the bullet and do it. Damn it’s scary but sometimes it’s the only way. And sometimes it’s the only way to evolve.
In the spirit of evolving and given all the new fresh faced talent at bbd (damn I feel like a dinosaur and I’m only 38), I thought I’d reflect on what I have learnt from my time in Client Services. If any of this helps just one of the new kids on the bbd block, then my work here is done…
Plans change, get over it
Clients will break your project plan (and therefore your heart) on day 1. Just when you’ve got all your timings sorted and your resource carefully planned out, in goes that spanner and the plan you spent hours deliberating over is broken. But, over time you will find a way to flex and you can deal with it. Just remember that super happy client on the end of the phone when you tell them that you can still meet that deadline – no sweat. Make them safe in the knowledge that YOU will make their project happen, be their superhero!
Listen, understand and then action
In this crazy busy agency world, where deadlines are everything, there’s that tendency to brief the studio on ‘something’ just to get that ball out of your court. This really is a false economy and puts you at risk of some creative director ‘wrath’ (love ya Liam) when you realise you misunderstood the brief. Instead, spend the time upfront working out requirements and be super clear (most importantly with yourself!) on the next steps.
Be more client
Talk to your client like they are a human being because guess what: they are. Sometimes, the combination of a highly impressive entity and an important title can be scary. My advice is just be yourself, create a relationship, talk beyond the deliverables, find out what makes them tick. Find out what’s important to them and what stresses them – this is the stuff that’s so useful when briefing the studio and reviewing studio work, it allows you to think like them. You’ll be able to don that client hat as you feed back to the studio. You’ll feel empowered to refine the creative, to ditch word x because the client hates it, move that logo to comply with brand guidelines and to basically blitz any issues before they get to the client.
And then, one sweet day you’ll get that beauty of a client email: ‘Spot on – no amends.’
Do the thing that scares you first
It’s way easier to crack through the to do list and avoid the one item you hope will miraculously disappear. News flash – it won’t. The ‘manana manana’ approach will just mean you’ll have less time to do the scary thing. Face it head on, break the task down and work out which part you need help with. Shout, someone will come to your rescue and arm you with advice.
Love thy neighbour
You spend over a third of your life at work, that’s more time than you spend with your family so form your tribe. When times get tough, these are the people you’ll lean on, they’ll become your lifetime friends. So make time to lunch together, drink together and rant together. I’ve found that just by saying something out loud and getting another’s opinion, you can save hours of head noodles. Often, when someone is out of the detail they can see clearer than you, they can see the light!
So if you’ve got this far then thanks for reading.
Now I must confess that I carefully crafted this parting piece as something which is functional over emotional. This was a strategic move for I know that if I pondered over my love for this place, then I’d get all sentimental and my eyes would start leaking – not a great look, so I’ll spare my fellow bbd-ers and save that one for the journey home. Big love x