An Outsider on the Premises

I have no “agency experience.” A true statement…sort of.  Boelter + Lincoln took me on in mid-September to fill the shoes of its former project manager – which is not a title I’ve held before. At least not officially.

I’ve dabbled in non-profit for peanuts and, presumably, for good causes. I’ve slaved in corporate environments and mastered the approval hierarchy. I’ve been the written voice on sensitive issues for execs, for product managers and for motorsports celebrities alike, I’ve spearheaded social media strategy in the face of great resistance, I’ve spent time in NHRA pits in the name of PR, I’ve been a stand-in anthem singer for an event’s opening ceremonies (when the scheduled singer failed to show.)  I’ve secured skydivers and championed Wounded Warriors. I’ve led award application training seminars and nudged “at-risk” high school students to attend college through careful mentoring.  I’ve lamented the importance of torque and diagnostics while establishing campaigns to pay tribute to the techs that use them. I’ve planned events for two; and for 20,000. And I’ve done more.

But perhaps most importantly – and enjoyably – I’ve also collaborated with multiple agencies on varying projects. I was familiar with the work the agencies were doing from my own marketing and PR experience and I knew agency-client politics to a “T,” but I didn’t know everything.

First, I didn’t know the intricacies (and implications) of routing – and re-routing – a project for minor changes within an agency, only to bring it back to “square one” four revisions later, or to completely change direction from what may have been originally presented.

I didn’t know that there were probably a number of other clients doing the same. Exact. Thing. At the same. Exact. Time.

I didn’t know that the creative process may be helped along if offered a secure, aptly-decorated space to house it. Side note: add a baseball bat, a few clocks, lots of chalk, retro signage and aesthetically intriguing furniture pieces and you have a recipe for brilliance.

I didn’t know that Big Ideas required so much creative crunch time to execute.

I didn’t know that ad agencies had so much FOOD in them!

I didn’t know what questions needed to be answered before they had to be asked.

Finally, I didn’t know that an agency could be so authentic. Or so candid. (Incidentally, those are two of the characteristics I hold in highest regard – BONUS!)