• jen

We're not just strategists



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This calendar year has been ‘wild’ to say the least. Craft continues to grow as we take on more projects, maintain existing relationships and most importantly keep thinking, designing and implementing. We might be a communications consultancy, but we’re not just strategists. Messy, fast makers, thinkers, doers. We get stuff wrong, we get stuff right, but we always do our best and what we believe in.


It’s working, it can be tough, but it’s fun and we continue to progress.


With progression, the necessity to bring in more ‘Crafty People’ has become ever more present, initially and as any small business would, we relied on personal contacts, recommendations and word of mouth as key facilitators in adding to our gang. We still do, but naturally we have had to branch out.


Last year in the midst of the pandemic Jen set up a Slack channel Crafty People, a set of threads designed to connect talented people looking for roles across the spectrum of marketing and advertising industries. It’s become a well functioning ecosystem, or in planning speak (or tripe as my mum would say) a ‘community of interest’, enabling people to share roles, look for help or find opportunities. Admittedly it is a little short of LinkedIn, and lacks the slightly bizarre humble brags about getting up at 4am to run 10k before engaging in multi-million dollar deals all before breakfast, but it does the job. Feel free to join (link above) if you are into the whole Slack thing.


This year, we have had to up the ante a little more, meaning there’s not a week that goes by where we aren’t speaking to or interviewing at least a handful of people. Our mantra is always to be the craftiest and nicest people you’ll ever work with, but with that high bar, it also means that we have to make Craft a really tough place to get a job at. It needs to be special for both us to offer a role and for the person joining us to feel that too. And importantly means that we keep the calibre of what we produce as high as possible.


With this increase in interviewing, or conversations with a cup of tea, it’s been the busiest year of my career in this respect. Juggling this around projects, campaigns, and sniffing out new opportunities has been tough. I don’t think it would be amiss to state the obvious that it can feel like a burden, adding another hour on to the day, ensuring you take the time to make notes on the CV of the interviewee, to look at their work, to think about the conversation afterwards. Despite all of that it's been utterly refreshing, a refocus, a chance to learn from experience, rather than another HBR article, and actually refine the understanding of what makes someone ‘crafty’, what we as a business need and what that process should feel like.


A strong interview is made up of many parts. If you haven’t already, check out our very own Jack Winter’s Media Imposter Twitter account, for tips and tricks on the basics.

However, beyond that, there's a few elements that in my experience, should be taken into consideration, not just if you interview with us, but in general within our industry, or perhaps outside of it.


1. Range

We are as interested in what makes a person tick, their hobbies and interests as much as the practical brand and ‘on the job’ experience they have. Whether it’s baking bread, and talking about how you have perfected your proofing technique, to why working at your local pub was your most interesting career experience before ‘media’ (mine was delivering pizzas for Dominoes, if you're interested), and everything in between. These things are interesting and give hints to how you think, and your breadth of other source material in your life, information that when combined together reveals new solutions to challenges.


2. Questioning

This is in reference to the process of the interview. It is probably a construct of how we have been told to think, how we are conditioned to believe that a recruitment process works. That should you get to a second stage, that you simply receive a brief, disappear, only to return 1-2 weeks later with an answer, almost as if there is a magic barrier between brief issuer and responder. But for us that couldn’t be further from the truth. The response starts the minute you receive that brief. We’d welcome with open arms more people coming back to us with questions on the brief, queries or requests for additional data or information. That doesn’t show lack of knowledge or capability, it tells us you're curious, questioning and probably the kind of person who is crafty. Obviously this is within reason, every person is different, every organisation has different protocols, but we don’t work with our clients in such a staccato way, so why at this point in the process should we?


3. Implementation

Yes first and foremost Craft is a comms planning agency, strategic work grounded in insight that leads to a direction is our bread and butter. But none of us is too important not to fire up TGI, pull a digital report or build a TV plan. And it goes further, we’ll write copy for PPC, open up new retail discussions, build on earned and owned channel plans, anything. We’re not just strategists. To that end, responses flow from strategic insight, to idea, to implementation and then how you push that idea and then prove it is what we want to see. At its simplest each stage is merely an implementation based on the one prior, and none of us are great at everything (that’s why we’re a team), but we’ll always give it a go. That sounds incredibly straightforward but so often is missed, ironically with more senior roles we recruit for.


This is clearly just scratching the surface, but I wanted to share our experiences and hopefully some of what we’ve touched on may prove useful. Just remember we are more than strategists, we turn our hand to anything and are always prepared to do so.

Additionally if you’re reading this and want to chat, discuss or straight up disagree with anything written. You know where to find me.


Sam


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