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Posted at September 23, 2014 by Marketing

Are agencies prepared for the next generation?


The fog seems to have lifted on the UK and the economy is now enjoying a positive shift with an impressive 2.5% growth in 2014. Permanent starting salaries are on the rise and with this hiring intentions from businesses are increasing across perm and freelance which has led to increased confidence for employers. This is supported in a statement from REC which found that 59% of employers were predicting that they will end 2014 with a larger headcount.

With this growth, comes concern. The challenge is, can the supply of talented staff and skill sets meet the demand?

The Digital sector has seen its own specific uplift in recent years with countless start-ups as well as growth for smaller agencies establishing their niche in this busy market. Development economies survey for O2 found that 745,000 workers with digital skills will be required by 2017. An estimate 182,000 of these roles will require the current generation of ‘digital savvy youngsters’. The CEO of Telefonica, Ronan Dunne commented “As digital natives, young people possess valuable skills that will be the future fuel of our economy, but not enough is being done to harness them.”

So how can we harness these millennials or digital natives – there is much to be said for understanding them as a generation, they have different needs, different interests and a very different work ethic. They put a strong emphasis on work life balance and culture, CSR as opposed to cash benefits.  But before we consider how to retain this talented generation – how do we - us as recruiters, and you as agencies – attract them?

With digital consuming every aspect of our lives and workplace, we must look to technology to plan approach. Every business feeling the pressure to undergo a digital transformation and it seems businesses that do, are instantly able to connect more closely with customers, become more innovative and as a result, become more successful.

With regards to recruitment, the striking reality is that technology and social media platforms in particular, have taken a lead role in the hiring processes, enabling companies to engage with candidates throughout the process, as well as allowing candidates to screen potential employers by their social media presence.

Mobile and more specifically the smartphone has revolutionized the way we communicate, to the extent that many of us feel incapable of surviving without one.  It has also affected the way companies communicate with customers, in our instance – with candidates. With such a technology savvy talent pool – that digital agency are looking to attract – it means agencies need to work harder than ever to beat competition and to secure the elite talent.

However, just when we become comfortable with one technology – a new era of gadgets arrives and we all have to adapt the way were work and communicate. Recent developments in wearable Tech are seeing Apple unveil its watch and Google’s android wear steaming into the mainstream – what does this mean for us, brands and agencies? While these gadgets allow us to become more invested in the internet and social, it means a whole new design language that needs to be learnt as well as the need to redefine the user experience.

So once we have created a strong line of communication with the digital natives, how do you get them to want to come and work with you?

As a digital agency, what is your recruitment brand? Your job is to help get your clients brand into the public eye and increase their, but what about your Agency? Who is shaping how your business appears to outsiders, what makes you an employer of choice? Why would someone want to work with you? I mentioned earlier about the package that you offer – benefits and culture which is important but you must spend some time working on your recruitment brand in order to pull in the talent.

In the meantime, while the digital natives are filtering into our workplace – many businesses are looking to up skill their current workforce.  The government have announced an £18.4m investment in July of this year into a project led by Cisco to help train people up with the skills needed to allow the digital economy to progress. Alongside this many employers are planning to invest in the development of apprenticeships, conversion courses and graduate training programmes helping to upskill and retain the current employees we have.

Looking forward, it is clear that businesses need to adapt to the every changing technologies and market  and as the top Digital Agencies in the UK people will look to you to lead the way.The traditional skillsets required are being transformed and roles now need scientific minds as well as those who can create, and while up skilling is necessary you must focus on ways to harvest the next generation of talent as they are the key to unlock the digital future.

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Posted at September 22, 2014 by Marketing

Celebrating Creative Women: Isabel Serval, Head of Creative Communications

Week 8, Purple chat to Isabel Serval, Head of Creative Communications at Jelly London.

Jelly London service the global market with creative content across all platforms. They represent the cream of the crop of illustrators and animators in the UK and around the globe.

Isabel is a Creative copywriter and content strategist with a knack for voice and tone and brand development. Also very fond digital, tech, mobile and user experience design.

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What does an average day look like to you?
A bit befuddled in the morning (with Life, London transport and everything), fabulous come lunch time (one of my favourite things) and more creative throughout the afternoon. That’s when I get most of my writing done. Let’s not forget about the evening: a great time of day in which I’m very often out and about attending work-related events where I socialise with the people who make the creative industry move and often learn a bit on the way too.

What career path lead to your current role?
I’m a creative person, hence rubbish at sticking to paths. I’m a creative copywriter who started as a freelance journalist covering a wide array of topics, worked all over the place as a digital and print copywriter, as a translator, an editor, a social media manager, an English tutor and an ESL teacher – at times all at once. At the core of all this lies that I’m a creative writer. I’ve made versatility my strength and that’s what I need most in my current role at jelly London.

What has been the biggest struggle in your career?
Making choices. The choice of being freelance versus permanent, of working client side or agency, of working for a big brand you find ethically questionable because they pay well. Those choices are tricky and sometimes sticky.

What is your favourite thing about your role?
My favourite thing about being head of creative communications for jelly London is that I write about very talented artists and the beautiful work they create – and also that I own and get to develop jelly’s voice and tone throughout all our communications. It’s a constantly inspired environment to work in.

What advice would you give to a younger self?
Grow within a permanent role first, go freelance later. It’s easier than the other way around.

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Posted at September 19, 2014 by Marketing

Top Tips to Create a Kick Ass Folio

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There’s no such thing as perfect folio. They’re all different, one person will like it, another won’t.  It is very subjective and there is no right or wrong – it really can depend on many factors.

Your job is to captivate and engage the interviewer in a very short period of time and here are the top tips to do so.

Don’t take yourself too seriously; let the real you come out! Show the dog eared, coffee stained ideas that never made it but you’re proud of.

As well as the brand that made it onto the shelf, show the pitch you didn’t win but was an amazing idea – show the ones that got away but were brilliant!

The Appearance

Don’t overcomplicate it. Keep it simple! You don’t need to add colourful boarder or frilly bits, these just detract from the work itself. You don’t need to over design the portfolio itself, you want to let the work do the talking.

Ensure you have full bleed pages and large images of the work as these will create strong impact, rather than lots of small images crammed onto the page.

Don’t over-annotate the work. Bullet points are fine for prompts for yourself in interview but you’re there to tell the storey. You can explain the background to the work face to face, there is no need to fill the page with notes or comments, let your work do the talking.

How many projects should you show?

When it comes to how many pieces to add into the portfolio the general rule is anywhere between 5-10 projects.

Any more than 10 projects, the interviewer simply will not remember them all, less than 5 will not show the a big enough range of your capabilities.

The more senior you are, the less projects you will need to show, as you’ll have more depth to each project with more strategy to talk about, examples of  managing others and problems that you have overcome, the list goes on.

How do you cut it down?

One of the hardest things for a Designer is to be critical of your own work.

The easiest way to do this is to be a fly on the wall. Lay out your projects in piles on the floor, look at them and ask yourself:
“Do any of these projects do the same job?”
“Do any of these projects Look the same”
“Do any of these projects have the same end result”
“Do any of these projects answer a similar brief”
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, take out the weakest ones in each area.

The aim of the portfolio is to make yourself  look as diverse as possible by showing different projects, not the same thing over and over. Each project should have its own individual reason for being there that’s different from the rest – so avoid duplicates, similar execution, similar in style etc.

Is age relevant?

It is not advisable to show projects in your portfolio that is over 3/4 years old. You are a different Designer now than you were then, so the work becomes irrelevant. They’re not hiring you 5 years ago, they’re hiring you now so make sure the work in the portfolio is current. Work can look dated if it’s more than 3 or 4 years old – so keep it contemporary fresh and relevant to you now.

The Order of your Folio

Some people will tell you chronological, some will say put it in sections – some say start with strongest and some say finish with strongest. You can’t please them all………

While there is no right or wrong direction for the order of your folio, the best way to answer this problem is to mix it up – creating maximum impact!  Start and finish on your strongest pieces, or the ones that are most relevant to the client, as first and last impressions are the most important.

Be unpredictable – use the element of surprise to keep them on the edge of their seats with anticipation. Don’t group your work, for example 3 pages of web, followed by 3 pages of print can be boring because the interviewer will know what is coming next and will not captivate them.

What to show?

While the final piece of each project is great to show the client, you shouldn’t just show the end result because that was most likely a collaborative effort from the creative team and client decisions. What the interviewer will be interested in will be your sketches, the development work and ideas that are all your own work (as well as the end result).  Even if  the great idea you had didn’t get selected, it is still good to present the way the idea developed.  Discuss what you didn’t like about the end result as much as what you liked – it’s good to have an opinion if it worked or not. However, don’t show the whole process for each project – be selective.

How do you show it?

There are many wonderful ways to present and display your portfolio. Depending on whether you work on or off line may affect your choice but there is not right or wrong. More commonly now designers, are presenting interactive pdfs on ipads or full websites but it really is down to your preference and what showcases your work and your personality in the best way. The psychology of all of the above applies to each and every platform you decide to use.

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Posted at September 17, 2014 by Marketing

The Digital Elite: Winners Announced


Purple would like to take this opportunity to congratulate every agency who made it on to the most prestigious shortlist in the UK’s Digital Marketing world, the Digital Census 2014.

The passion, drive and cutting edge work that you do is changing our landscape and making digital the most exciting industry to be a part of.

As Purple specialise in digital marketing, we felt it was important to sponsor the Digital Census and are very proud to work with some of the best the digital agencies in the UK, many of whom made it onto this shortlist.

This morning the much anticipated results were announced at a breakfast briefing in London. The room was over-flowing with digital agency owners and representatives and Purple were asked to get involved with our MD Toby Thwaites opening the event with a few words about the digital marketing landscape, before presenting the awards to the winners.

The 2014 Census this year included 213 agencies who were split into categories according to their head a count (over 100 staff, 51-99, 26-50 and under 25) and were then ranked across three main areas; financial performance, client satisfaction and peer recognition.

It gives us great pleasure now to announce and praise the winners:

Peer Poll Winners

Digital Staff 1-25: Blue Leaf
Digital Staff 26-50: 4P’s Marketing
Digital Staff 51-100: JAM
Digital Staff 100+ : iProspect

Client Poll Winners

Digital Staff 1-25: The Agency
Digital Staff 26-50: Rawnet
Digital Staff 51-100: The App Business
Digital Staff 100+ : RGA London

Financial Poll Winners

Digital Staff 1-25: Bell Pottinger Wired
Digital Staff 26-50: Great Fridays
Digital Staff 51-100: Heath Wallace
Digital Staff 100+ : SapientNitro

ELITE Winners

Digital Staff 1-25: The Agency
Digital Staff 26-50: Rawnet
Digital Staff 51-100: Rufus Leonard
Digital Staff 100+ : RGA London

The full report is being published this month so make sure to get your copy. Visit for more information.

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Posted at September 12, 2014 by Marketing

The A List: Purple Meet David Shanks

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, and we hope this will help to inspire the new generation of creatives.

This week Purple met the charming David Shanks, Executive Creative Director of Oliver:

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After being seduced by a JWT storyboard at Cambridge School of Art, David has enjoyed a successful creative career in Asia, US and the Middle East. He is now Executive Creative Director of Oliver, one of the fastest growing agencies in London.

Oliver’s unique model focuses on putting tailor-made agency teams at the heart of an organisation to provide a full end-to send service from planning to production.

In this interview we explore his creative career, how to differentiate your agency from the rest, the drive behind his first published book ‘The Special Brand’ and his advice for a successful career in creative.

To watch the full interview click here:
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