Today, we return to our Day In The Life series for another installment. This time we’ll be hearing from our MD, Ceri Gravelle, as she describes a typical day in the life of an experiential agency founder. Read on to find out more about the duties tied to being the captain of the ship… whilst having some fun along the way.
My official title at eventeem is Managing Director but I’ve never really liked it; I feel it sounds corporate, quite formal and doesn’t truly fit. It also suggests that my role is defined and clear cut whereas in reality it is the complete opposite. As the leader of a small experiential agency, the most vital aspect of my role is ensuring the agency remains agile, being able to adapt to a shifting economic landscape and changing customer demands. This means my role is never static but always changing, and I rarely know the entirety of what lies around the next corner.
So with that in mind I’m making two changes to this article. Firstly, my brief (sorry Harry); it would be near on impossible to write an article on a typical day in my role as each is very different, so I have picked a Monday, one week in May, on a day when I don’t have any external meetings. Secondly, I change my job title; for the purpose of this article I will call myself founder. Who knows, it may stick.
A Day In The Life: Founder
8.45am – Setting myself up for the day
I aim to be at my desk at 8.45am at the latest. I’d like to make it earlier but am somewhat restricted by the less than satisfactory train timetable which services the semi-rural Welsh village in which I live!
Although I’m not the tidiest person in the world; my desk is certainly not as paper free as I’d like and I am partial to the odd post-it note; I cannot contemplate starting work until I’ve cleared any emails that may have come in overnight so I get on that straight away. After making a cup of tea of course…
9am-10am – Keeping abreast
Mornings are always busy at eventeem, especially Monday mornings. As the vast majority of our activations take place at the weekend, Monday is the day when feedback is collated and evaluated, photos are sorted and client reports are prepared; it’s safe to say the team has their hands full.
But without fail, every morning kicks off with a status meeting; a chance for the project team to discuss live jobs, deadlines, workloads and priorities for the day, and Monday is the day when I make sure I attend. In recent years I’ve been able to take a step back from the day to day running of many of our accounts, but I do still like to be ‘in the know’ and keep abreast of our projects. As founder, I also take an account director role on some of our larger or new accounts, and the status meeting is a great opportunity for me to get up to speed with what’s been happening in the field, ensuring we are delivering on our promises.
We try to wrap things up in half an hour but often fail miserably – especially on a Monday.
10am-Midday – Crunching the numbers
After our Monday status meeting I usually spend a bit of time on finance. A concept that’s boring to many a business owner, but with my background in accountancy (who would have thought?!) it’s something I secretly quite enjoy. Whether it be invoicing, reconciling job profits or reassessing our targets, keeping one eye fixed on the numbers enables me to make quick decisions, reinvest wisely and ultimately drive the business forward, meanwhile ensuring we remain competitive by offering our clients the very best deals possible.
Midday-1pm – The fun part
Being a founder isn’t all spreadsheets and invoices; having recently taken a new brief, today brings a brainstorm session, for the wider team to discuss how best we can support an FMCG brand introduce its re-brand and new proposition to its target audience later this year. It’s a brand that would be a great fit for us, and one that we would all love to work with, so I have high hopes that ideas will be plentiful, no doubt helped by the delicious samples we are about to share. It’s essential to immerse oneself in the brand and we do like to practice what we preach.
1pm-2pm (ish) – Lunch, if I’m lucky
In all honesty it’s a rare occasion when I manage an hour’s lunch break, but I do try and get out for a quick breath of fresh air every day and I encourage my team to do the same. One of the many benefits of being based in Cardiff is that we have an abundance of green spaces on our doorstep. Today I stroll down to Cardiff Castle for (yet another) look at the UEFA installation that is currently in place as a stark reminder of the madness that is to descent on our city in just a week’s time.
2pm-4.30pm – Looking ahead
I should say that I will have had at least two, or sometimes three cups of tea by now. After lunch I will get on with my third, or fourth as the case may be. Unnecessary I know.
This part of the day falls under the broad umbrella that I describe as ‘business development activity’. As the founder of a small agency, the responsibility for generating new business lies firmly at my feet and it is the part of my role that I wholeheartedly enjoy, so much so that I do tend to allow it to encroach on my other duties just a little! However I wouldn’t describe myself as a sales person, and rather than take a scattergun approach to new business canvassing, I instead take time to identify potential clients that I genuinely feel would be a good fit, to whom we could provide a valuable service. I also spend an equal amount of time assessing our existing client accounts and identifying areas where we may be able to provide increased value and support.
But today I make a start on our FMCG experiential proposal, having been furnished with untold ideas from today’s brainstorm. It goes without saying that the content is confidential, but I can say that our proposal will involve an experiential activation, a guerrilla sampling campaign, instore sampling and social activation. As with all our proposals we will also take some time to outline our reporting framework, demonstrating how we will measure the intrinsic value generated by the campaign and of course the ROI.
4.30pm-5pm – Last but not least
I always reserve the last half hour of my day for a catch-up of some sorts. This could be with a member of my team to talk about their progress and aspirations, it could be a meeting with a supplier, or perhaps a session with our employment lawyer (it’s perhaps not surprising how much legal advice can be required when employing hundreds of casual workers!).
Today it’s with Hayley, our client account manager; a general catch-up about our regular accounts and her team’s progress. It wasn’t that long ago that the eventeem project team was just Hayley and I, so we do strive to maintain open lines of communication, even now I’m slightly removed from some aspects.
The first article in the series: A Day In The Life: Marketing Executive is available here.