Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Today's Question: Are You a KIA?

Just for the record, I’m not referring to the Korean car manufacturer, but instead to a Know-It-All (KIA). Before you start yelling “no” at your computer screen, take a step back and think about how your approach situations with colleagues, friends and family. Are you open-minded, or do you have a tendency to feel that you already have the knowledge about nearly any subject—especially when it comes to your career field.

I think we all have a little KIA in us. It’s very easy to have the “been there, done that” type of attitude. I mean, how many different ways can I write a press release, conduct blogger outreach or set-up media interviews? Haven’t I already developed countless public relations plans, presented new business proposals and executed creative campaigns? And that’s when my inner KIA needs to stop taking over.

Instead of allowing your ego to get in the way—you must maintain a desire to learn. Younger colleagues know more about online research than I ever will. They don’t know what it’s like to use a card catalog and review books at the library to find information, or sort through microfilm for archived news articles! More experienced colleagues can provide guidance and mentorship during tough situations when dealing with difficult co-workers, clients and vendors.

The same is true for personal relationships. You can always continue to learn, as long as you don’t get in the way!

Now, if I could just get my dad to read this and believe in it…he is one of the founding KIA fathers.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Today's Question: What Happened to the 9-to-5 Job?

Workin' nine to five, what a way to make a living
Barely gettin' by it's all takin' and no givin'
They just use your mind and they never give you credit
It's enough to drive you crazy if you let it
-Dolly Parton

The 9-to-5 job is dead…and if you have a 9-to-5 job, it’s just that, a job, not a career. As a communications professional, I’m always thinking about work—whether it’s how a retailer is going to promote the back-to-school season or by checking out one of my client’s Facebook fan pages, I continuously do these things 24/7.

It seems like even during my “free” time, I’m discussing the pros and cons of social media; or debating on the merits of a new ad campaign; or ridiculing a politician’s public addresses.

Maybe it’s because I’ve chosen a career that thrives on communication—and right now, the way we communicate seems to be constantly changing. But I tend to think it’s more of an illustration about how we want to stay connected…how many mobile numbers do we know see on business cards or people responding to email via mobile devices on the weekend.

Oh yeah, did I mention, my new business cards have my Twitter handle…next time, I’ll put my blog link on them!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Today's Question: Are You Motivated by the Next Big Thing?

One thing that is pretty predictable about agency life is that fact that things tend to slow down in the summer. There’s a decrease in agency pitches, more people are on vacation and fewer products are introduced at this time. It’s easy to let your mind wander as you wait for the next big thing…

One thing I’ve discovered about myself is that I get more accomplished when I’m busy. My “to do” list needs to be jam-packed otherwise I get complacent. It’s also easy to get complacent when you keep revisiting the same client roster. So, how can you beat the summertime blues? Here are a few tips:

  1. Instead of “waiting” for the next big thing, go and find it. No one is keeping you from picking up the phone and meeting a respected mentor/peer or ideal prospect for coffee (or iced tea).
  2. Use the time to get acclimated with trend and industry changes. You can never stop learning; figure out how your new findings can translate into client campaigns.
  3. Lend a helping hand—either inside or outside your office walls. It might be the perfect time to get involved with a local cause or charity.

Most importantly, keep providing great results on the current work you do have—it might be slower, but that doesn’t mean that your clients are not talking to your competition—remember, they might have more time on their hands too!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Today's Question: Do You Ever Miss Being an Intern?

This week at SBC Advertising, we launched an exciting summer intern program. In addition to some field trips, our interns have been given a real-world assignment. Oh, and to add to the drama, a little friendly competition is involved. In three weeks, two teams of interns will be presenting to a group of agency executives!

As the ideas started flying around the conference room, I realized that I missed the opportunities provided by my internships. Some of the highlights include:

  1. Be a sponge. You get to absorb everything—take advantage of it.

  2. Experience things for the first time. Everything you experience is still exciting and new; whether it’s a photo shoot or writing a press release.

  3. Go beyond the “classroom” curriculum. Some things professors just can’t teach you, such as the importance of conference reports and change orders.

But for now, the heat is on for our interns…I just get to sit back and relax on July 31!