Working in a multinational marketing and communications agency is one thing; starting an independent digital marketing agency is another. Being a senior European official and being your own boss also have differences. Here are a few.
You may say I am naïve (naïve!) but I have been surprised by how the people in my professional network have reacted. I am talking about my former clients, partners, professional colleagues and co-workers.
When you change jobs and leave a managerial position to start a startup like Incognito, you tend to classify your contacts as more or less close. Some of them we imagine very, very close (emotionally speaking) and others very, very far away. (But a lot). We expect help and support from those closest to us. As for the rest, let them stay far away.
By working for an independent marketing agency, I have discovered things that I had intuited and others that I didn’t so much. These are some of the things I have learned in my first few months of Incognito.
THERE ARE THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN YOU more than you believe in yourself
These first three months working for an independent marketing and communications consultancy have brought me many positive surprises. These surprises have come from former clients, friends and professional contacts who have known me for years. Many have decided to bet on Incognito without caring that the agency is only two (and a bit) years old and that I would have joined when 2022 started. I thank you all, because you have shown that you believe in us (almost) more than we believe in ourselves. Thanks.
PROFESSIONAL GENEROSITY IS INDIVIDUAL
And selfishness is corporate. I can’t count the number of times I have received selfless help in these weeks. Missing contacts. Public and open recommendations on the quality of our work. Hints and indications as to what was best for my client’s problem (without asking for anything in return). In many cases, this help came from colleagues working in rival agencies, who have not minded being a little bit Incognito for a few minutes. As the old man said: “Life is wonderful”.
TIKTOK is the best!
Yes, I have discovered TikTok. I guess like 40% of people over 30 who already use it. And the most amazing thing is that I use TikTok (or rather consume it) to enrich my work skills. Some of the technologies we have implemented in the agency come from advice and recommendations from tiktokers in terms of social media tracking tools, artificial intelligence to produce content or new applications for graphic design and video editing.
MORE DYNAMISM Finally!
The TikTok detail is just further proof of the beauty of working in a small independent marketing agency. In just a few months we have incorporated technologies and processes that, in other more rigid and archaic structures, would have taken us months to implement. By not having to satisfy internal politics with competing interests, we have been able to be more agile and flexible. And more innovative, of course! I like to think that Incognito’s clients are benefiting from our eagerness to innovate and adapt, without hidden agendas, to their needs. Again, we strive to make our marketing team the team of every client. Seamless. We win if our customers win.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
The most unexpected (and sometimes disappointing) part of this new situation has come from some people who, I thought, radiated on the same frequency as me. Frankly – I will not hide it – I thought that this new stage of my life would not have to cut bridges and channels of communication. But it has. I don’t quite understand it, but there are calls and conversations that have not taken place. Conversations I would like to have because I appreciate these people and would like to continue to enjoy their intelligence. I don’t know if it has been out of fear, lack of time, or apathy (which are the same thing). That said, they have been few and far between.
ANTINOMY OF VALUES in trade marks
I am quite sick and tired of seeing and reading about brands compromising, in one way or another, with different values that prevail in our societies. Also to see how some of these brands are boasting about this or that award they have been given for their contribution to the latest ‘pro-lo-que-que-que’ trend. The case applies to companies and to marketing and communication consultancies themselves. As if you should be given a piece of candy for being consistent. Or a balloon. It is sad to see these same brands trampling over the ( working ) remains of the employees they leave by the wayside without any remorse or empathy whatsoever for the people they have disregarded. Am I the only one who sees that most of the big companies are laminating a generation because they consider it, let’s be clear, “not young enough”? While we’re all watching Will Smith’s latest smackdown, the employment market is deteriorating, abandoning professionals with 20 or 30 years of experience because they’re not fit for Instagram. I’d like to think that Incognito is an independent marketing agency… And consistent! And that it will not discriminate or hold anyone back because of their age, gender, creed or circumstances, now that there is so much talk of work-life balance.