I believe there are two types of people in this world – ‘night owls’ and ‘early morning birds’. For better or worse, I definitely fall into the ‘night owl’ category. However, waking from my slumber has become easier recently as our cat has developed a habit of sleeping squarely inbetween my legs. There is no longer a comfortable position when sleeping, and I don’t have the heart to kick her off, so getting up is the only sensible solution.
I’ve also recently taken up cycling in the morning, which has turned the commute into a most pleasurable experience. The northern line is now a distant, whilst still painful, memory.
Shower at the gym close to work, swiftly follwed by a visit to our local Pret in Covent Garden for a coffee and one of their egg and sun dried tomato baguettes. Great way to start the day, especially as they obviously lace the staff’s drinks with prozac. Why else would they be so gloriously chipper? I sometimes get this confused with flirting, which I put down to being of a certain age and being in a long term relationship and therefore unfamiliar with affection.
Working day officially starts. This first hour is a mix of catching up with the team on business items, as well as what happened in the Euros last night [insert programme watched instead of football].
For my role as a Group Account Director (GAD), it’s vital I spend this time understanding what we need to be focusing on for the day – there are times when best laid plans get thrown out the window, but as much as possible I believe in routine as it provides structure and support for the team. I’ll speak briefly to my Account Director, who is exceptional at managing the team and tasks, as to what the priorities are for today, but we all tend to know our roles and responsibilities and what needs to be done.
This is my sweet spot of the day, and it’s when I’ll focus on what I find the more taxing items. For example, we need a new tag placed on confirmation pages, and as I’m point man for all things that require sign off from the client, it’s easiest if I complete these forms. This has to be done now, as the afternoon is for more creative projects such as client planning.
Once a week, the client services individuals will get together for an hour or two to discuss items of relevance to the business: resource challenges, client performance, industry news etc. Right now, SEO is a major item on our list thanks to the latest Penguin updates: these meetings act as a great means of sharing knowledge on this topic in a measured manner. One of the major strengths of digital is the immediacy of change: a decent agency will know though that sometimes the quick decision is not necessarily the right one.
Lunch. I’ve worked in Covent Garden for over 4 years, with the opportunity to sample pretty much every cuisine under the sun. Within a 10 minute walk I have Spanish, Indian, Italian, Belgium, French, Mexican… I could go on.
I’ve been to business parks for client meetings in Doncaster, Swindon, Leicester, etc. where I’ve felt sorry for them being restricted to whatever the sandwich man has left on his trolley. Or the meal deal from the local Sainsburys that you have to drive to. I’m sure one day when London has tired of me, I’ll have that same level of choice, but until then I’m determined to enjoy the best lunches London can offer.
Today I had a ham and cheese sandwich from Pret. With sea salt crisps.
1pm to 6pm
We are working on a big pitch for a high end fashion brand, so I spend most of the afternoon moving between this and carry on the tag exchange between myself, the client and four other agency representatives.
I’ve spent an hour on a conference call explaining, discussing and agreeing the best solution for all parties with respect to tracking. We set aggressive deadlines for delivery and jump off for a quick coffee and chat with the team as to our plan. Now for the pitch presentation.
The pitch process is a little love/hate for me. I enjoy the opportunity to get to show a potential client our vision for them, and the camaraderie that it generates with the team internally. However, there is a certain level of doubt that runs throughout the process. Are they going to like our ideas? Have they heard it before? How much time should we spend talking about Paid Search product extensions?
Without these doubts though, we wouldn’t deliver the level of insight and quality analysis that I have come to admire and respect from my colleagues. We don’t win every pitch, but I’ve yet to leave a room feeling we’ve not tried our hardest.
We have a run through of our pitch presentation for an hour, agree that we all need to get better at presenting in a practise run-through (always better infront of the client though) and head back for the final hour or so of the day.
This last hour is spent looking at what needs to be done tonight, and what can wait until tomorrow. Working across numerous disciplines in digital, there is always something that needs to be done. One client has asked (at short notice) for revised projections for the year for SEO: think I’ll stay a bit longer.
In no particular order,
Dinner (not Pret)
Check work emails one last time for any client requests.
Fight with the cat for space on the bed.