The creative industry is brimming with talented individuals who are helping to shape our creative world. These industry A Listers have a wealth of knowledge and experience and Purple’s aim is to share their insights with our clients and candidates.
From CEOs, to Creative Directors, Heads of Technology to Talent Managers, there are an array of professionals that are behind the workings of agencies and we want you to meet them! We will delve into what drives them, what challenges they face, their views on the industry and explore their careers in the hope that it will inspire the new generation of creatives.
This week Purple met James Haycock, MD of Adaptive Lab.
Like many, James graduated from university with a very uncertain career path. His skill set and interests were broad, but he knew the best way to progress was to throw himself into the world of work. His brave move of copying the website of several companies he was interested in working for to present his CV, helped to fast track him into his first role at a startup business called Univillage. James was the third employee and joined as an editor. However, as the company grew so did his role and he was exposed to many different areas of the business including project management and business development.
Throughout university and his early career James had always been passionate about marketing and digital, and decided to take that knowledge forward, working at several media agencies in product management roles and digital consultancy. No stranger to a startup business, in 2009, James made the brave move and created Adaptive Lab. Adaptive Lab are a product development and innovation company, with an already impressive client base and a talented team of 15.
James is incredibly talented and has a clear passion for what he does. This interview explores his career, his top tips for ‘Big Data’ and what he really thinks of the new generation of digital natives.
It’s that time of year when the annual office Christmas “do” looms. To some a joyous occasion for fun and booze, to others a cringe-worthy nightmare. Make sure you make the most of the festivities but ensure you follow these ‘house rules’ so that you will still have a job in the New Year.
It is Christmas so that means most people will like to dress up. If the mood takes you it’s a great opportunity to shed your usual work clothes and wear something you are more comfortable and feel “you” in.
DO NOT – wear anything too revealing, this is not a party night out with friends this is still a work occasion so dress appropriately.
Tis the season to be jolly so a few cocktails or beers is to be expected. It relaxes you and can make any awkward silences with an unknown colleague a little easier.
DO NOT – drink to extreme. Demanding a pay rise from your boss, stumbling over on the dance floor or getting sick in the club is really not a good look. Keep count of your drinks, ensure you have some food and where possible stay hydrated with water.
The annual present giving between colleagues is meant to be fun, but for some it’s a real pain. With a small budget of £5-£10 the easiest idea is to buy something edible or a bottle of booze. If you know the person well enough then it is the perfect opportunity to get a joke present that will make them smile.
DO NOT – forget your gift on present swapping day, it is not fair for one of your colleagues to miss out on receiving because you didn’t bother getting prepared. Also, as a general rule avoid any gift that might offend someone (a big no, no to fresh breath mints or body sprays).
After a few festive drinks some colleagues can get a little ‘familiar’ but be prepared that work romances are a complicated business.
DO NOT – get drunk and get up to mischief with a colleague. What might seem like a great idea at the time, will not feel so great back in the office on Monday morning.
It is impossible not to hit the dance floor when your favourite tune comes! Dancing goes hand in hand with partying so if the mood takes you get on there and show them your moves.
DO NOT – get too smutty. It’s all well and good having a laugh with your colleagues on the dance floor but keep it all “appropriate” to avoid any awkwardness when you are back in the office next week.
Be sure to acknowledge all your co-workers, and especially your superiors, it is a great time to connect socially with them. It might be a good idea to have a few conversation starters ready so you can have an intelligent conversation with the MD.
DO NOT – stick to your clique of close pals in the corner of the party. It is anti-social and excluding, so mingle and network with your colleagues – you might even find some new friends’!
Week 12, Purple chat to Alta Rezazadeh, Freelance Senior Designer.
Alta is a talented Senior Designer who has been working in London since 2007. She has enjoyed stints at Unilever, Ogilvy and The Brand Union and spent the past 9 months at JWT (a communications agency which creates intelligent ideas for brands) and has just begun a new placement at Interbrand.
What was an average day like at JWT?
An average day starts with a good and mighty breakfast downstairs in our office canteen, followed by checking my traffic schedule, and then the other creatives and I decide who will choose the music to play in the design studio. Everyone has a different rhythm- so to speak – so it depends on the group mood with which type of music we go for. Generally the day is busy and there is quite a sense of camaraderie between us all. We usually all lunch together and some evenings we will treat ourselves to a few drinks downstairs too. The day overall is very social and productive.
What career path lead to your current role?
As a child I was always artistic, and from about the age of 15 I knew I was interested in design and always liked advertising. I used to rip out adverts and stick them on my wall as a teenager. After school I studied Design and Art Direction at Vega School of Advertising and Brand Communications in Johannesburg where I got my BA in Brand Communications.
What has been the biggest struggle in your career?
Personally mine was the transition of changing countries. I became more of a designer than an art director because it was easier for me to move around and get jobs as a designer than find another creative to partner up with for creative team roles.
What is your favourite thing about your role?
Every job is different, which means fresh challenges and learning and trying out new things. There is no “routine” so to speak because you are always faced to deal with/design something new. It keeps me on my toes!
Speaking specifically, I have a real soft spot for crafting beautiful typography. I can be a bit of a design nerd sometimes!
What advice would you give to a younger self?
Carry two hard drives and always back up your work. Speak to as many agents as possible and always keep in touch with everyone you have worked with, network network network. Don’t only network when you need something, it is important to keep the communication channels flowing at all times.
Most of all enjoy the people you work with and keep in touch with them. Don’t be fake – it shows and doesn’t do you any favours!
Women control a massive 80% of consumer spending, yet only 3% of creative directors are female. While the advertising land is a lot less laddish than it used to be – the number of female creative chiefs in the UK’s leading agencies is still so much lower than it should be, exposing the stark reality of the little progress we have made with regards to equality in this particular industry.
We’re not going to go all “feminist” on you, Purple are totally respectful of the amazing input that males have on the creative industry but what we want to highlight is that there are an equal number of awesome women out there who are just not getting the same opportunities. Secondly, it is just bad business, agencies are producing work without the input of half the world’s population!
So why aren’t there women at the top in Creative? One of the biggest reasons is not unsurprisingly – motherhood. When a woman reaches the point in her professional life to take on the role of Creative Director, it can often coincide with a time in her personal life when a family is also of importance. Alongside this, there are strong female personality traits that don’t always bode well in high pressure jobs, there is also the fact that bosses will tend to hire people like themselves, so are men are more inclined to hire more men?
While we might never get to the root of the issue or change the industry overnight, it is great to see so many businesses in our industry supporting a call for change.
Purple are passionate about this industry and in our 14 years of business we’ve had first-hand experience of the lack of women being placed in senior creative roles. To support women and to praise those who are making a success of their career we’ve been working on a Celebrating Creative Women Campaign which interviews successful creative women, exploring their career journey, challenges they’ve faced and why they love what they do.
The blog was inspired by the work of networks like She Says. She Says is the only global creative network for women offering free mentorship and events to women in the creative and marketing businesses, helping more women to gain the confidence and get the opportunities to work at the top. So when we heard about their Idea Sprint event, partnered with Isobar we instantly wanted to be involved.
The Idea Sprint was held on 3rd December and was a brilliant event. Creative teams were invited to work on a great brief from She Says, which was ‘how to empower women’, and they had just two hours to crack it. Eight creative teams signed up, made up of 5 people; the teams needed to have at least two female creative to enter. The teams worked tirelessly with plenty of food and booze (supplied by Purple) to keep their minds energised. The ideas were then judged by an awesome panel including Holly Newton, Global Creative Director of Grey, Kevin Ferry, Group Creative Director and Catia Oliveira, Design Director both from ISOBAR, Michaela Nicchiotto, Senior Creative M&C Saatchi and Laura Bambach, Co-founder of She Says.
The campaign ideas were absolutely brilliant and we were extremely impressed by the level of talent. The winning team made up of grads were very deserving with their #KnowYourPlace campaign, depicting that women should defy their gender stereotypes and reposition themselves into leading roles. The team received a year’s membership for Barbican Centre along with the amazing opportunity to be the leading campaign behind 2015 She Says awards.
The event was a great opportunity for the creatives to showcase their concepts and to get a true understanding of the importance of females in the industry. Purple fully support any events or campaign that encourages women to have a long and successful a career in creative and look forward to many future partnerships.