Keep moving FRWD in your job search!

FRWD is an advertising agency focused on building brands through digital transformation. Their unique approach allows clients to grow with big ideas and results that keep them moving forward. We got to hear their simple tips for making the most of SAS and your first ad agency experience. Make sure to check out their North Loop office during the SAS agency tours!

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SAS: What was your favorite part about SAS last year and what are you most looking forward to this year?

Last year there was a great energy and excitement from the students around how to become more engaged and navigate their own path in the advertising world.

This year we are looking forward to a continuation of students showing their passion and drive to jump into the industry. It is always awesome to see the students’ support for each other at SAS as they are beginning their path to entering the advertising industry.

 

SAS: How does your approach to client work set you apart from other local agencies?

We focus on building client capability through empowering their internal teams to leverage data and technology to mutually help create ideas. Our relationship with clients focuses on being part of a team- different from simply outsourcing to an agency.

 

SAS: What are the pros to working in a small vs large agency?

  • More exposure to all aspects of the business as well as client access at a higher level more quickly

  • Have the ability to create your own path within the agency

  • Develop more of an identity within the organization by expanding and customizing your skillset

 

SAS: What can students and recent grads new to the ad world stand out in a group of applicants?

Find ways to show proactivity and an entrepreneurial mindset – making something happen instead of waiting for it to happen.

Continue to follow up with the hiring manager to ask what you can do in order to make it happen. Taking ownership and learning more about the company and opportunities shows that you are passionate.

 

SAS: How can students and recent grads make the most of their first internship or entry level ad job?

  • Willing to do whatever the situation calls for

  • Really dive in and be committed

  • Don’t sit back and wait for direction

  • Embrace your role though curiosity, tenacity and work completion

  • There is nothing that will prepare you more for a 40 hour work week – it will be eye opening what can be accomplished in just 1 day.

All the industry advice you will ever need, from Hunt Adkins.

Hunt Adkins is a full-service brand communications and digitally focused advertising agency known for their love of the color chartreuse and blowing sh*t up! We were lucky enough to get the perspective of their team of directors on what makes their approach unique, as well as their advice for young people just starting out in the industry. Here’s a chance to get inside the heads of a few agency pros as they each share their take on starting out in the industry. Read up and prepare for their breakout session “Unexpected Paths into the Industry”

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SAS: What should recent grads consider when choosing between a big vs small agency, and what are the benefits of working at a smaller independent agency?

It is important to have a realistic understanding of your early career goals, your learning styles and teamwork ethic. Are you unsure of what department you want to work in? A smaller agency will give you broader opportunities to pitch in everywhere, whereas a larger agency may have more defined divisions with calendar based rotations between departments. Do you thrive when you have a lot of new, diverse material (broad learning) or do you excel when you can focus in on one topic (deep learning)? If you’re a broad learner, the horizontal architecture of smaller agencies may be your jam. If you prefer go deep, you’ll likely find more comfort in the structured discipline of a larger agency. Are you a wallflower or a social butterfly? Do you like to share the spotlight or are you powered by it? If you enjoy mixing it up with different folks and spreading the accolades around, you’ll find kindred spirits in smaller shops. If you’re favorite noun is “I” and your personality type is a hard A, the hierarchy of larger agencies will reward your drive.

Smaller agencies tend to be lean & mean, where every person plays a critical part on the team. With this in mind, smaller agencies tend to be more nimble, flexible and able to embrace an entrepreneurial spirit in choosing to partner with both big, established brands as well as those up-and-coming brands that are in need of marketing smarts to thrive. At a smaller agency, every team member’s role is elevated within each assignment. This means working closely with your team members throughout—often from Kickoff to Delivery—eliminating the siloed approach of “I’ve done my part; now you take it.”

Though agency roles are certainly defined by discipline, talent and experience, working on smaller teams with seasoned coworkers means you get the opportunity to not only learn more about your specific discipline, but also about the entire process and how your role aligns with others. It also means more face-time with leadership, mentors and experienced team members. Thanks to this face-paced experience, you are given the opportunity to not only learn and grow, but to dive in head-first and really show what you have to contribute. Those who shine are given more responsibility, and with that challenge comes the opportunity for advancement.

It’s often easier to have a stronger voice and take initiative at a smaller shop. There’s more flexibility to stretch your various skills at a smaller shop (do account + strategy or broadcast + print production – which is usually separate at larger agencies), and they breed a different type of family environment. Everyone works harder and there’s no room for lower-performing employees to hide. 

At large shops it’s often not what you know, but who you know. While at small/mid-sized shops your work and performance will be noticed—for better or worse. Your success will be more dependent on your thinking + output both independently and within teams. Large (public) agencies are beholden to parent companies and bottom lines which can typically translate into risk-averse behaviors, whereas smaller agencies must take higher risks to stay competitive and grow business. Small agencies often require you (or offer you the opportunity…however you look at it), to wear many hats and typically offer less of a formal path to career development/growth. You most often can get out of a position (or opportunity for advance) what you put into it, whereas at a larger agency there are more formal training programs, resources and steps in advancement

 

SAS: How can someone without a lot of previous agency experience stand out in a group of applicants?

It is important to see that someone has interest in learning and passion for things outside of advertising. If you show me you’re into “stuff,” and can bring drive and a new perspective to the group—not based on age alone but interests or general knowledge—that’s what I expect out of someone entry-level. Don’t try to tell me that you want to work here because you

  1. Love commercials and/or social media
  2. Are a people person
  3. Love consumer insights and think that’s really interesting or
  4. Think my agency is a good fit for you. Not only are these answers generic and boring, but they also tell me you don’t have a drive that’s required for fresh ideas, innovation and big, big thinking. I want people that are curious and ready to work their asses off.

 

  • Demonstrate that you are smart, curious and eager to learn everything (that includes all things big and small—humility is one of the best traits to have, in my opinion!)

 

  • Show initiative and focus on what you have accomplished and what is relevant to an agency.  Being able to multitask and work on multiple projects at once is a must in an agency. Being a problem solver and taking initiative to learn of figure something out on your own is also a necessity.  Highlight on what you have done.  

 

  • What non-advertising experience do you have that demonstrates leadership, teamwork, dedication? What experience(s) do you have that required research, time-management, facilitating, brainstorming, problem-solving? Demonstrate that how you engage and create culture outside of academic or work settings. Make it clear that you naturally make LIFE more meaningful, rich and vibrant. Embrace and showcase your personal agency so that we see the value of bringing in a fresh perspective and unique talent. Insight and Creative Talent are the core assets of agencies.

 

  • Network! Go out there and meet agency professionals. Ask your family, friends and strangers what they do and if they have ever worked with or know someone who’s in the industry. Ask them out for coffee! Come with questions. Be passionate, considerate and respectful. Nothing beats a referral. And be persistent with those places you dream about working with – stay in front of those you’ve met with and keep an eye on the work they’re doing. Highlight any clubs or community groups you’re a part of – agency people love go-getters. Write a killer cover letter – make it brief, professional and tell them how you’ll add value to their agency – you’d be surprised how many cover letters get overlooked due to poor writing. 

 

SAS: What are the top 3 most important qualities you look for in an intern or new hire? (Okay, so maybe more than 3. We got a few from each director! Bonus!)

  • Brainpower
  • passion
  • positivity

 

  • Ability to work as part of team.
  • Agency work culture.
  • Agency fun culture.

 

  • Willingness to work hard and learn 
  • Demonstration of being a problem solver, inquisitive, curious, critical thinker 
  • No ego

 

  • Interested + Interesting; Want more out of this than just a job and have interests both in and outside of advertising—want to learn, do and inspire others.
  • Driven and willing to do whatever it takes to learn or do great work as a collaborative part of the team.
  • A real person. Not a fake version of what they think we want to hear—this sticks out like a sore thumb and is not a good fit for our culture. Constant curiosity and continuous learning beyond the academic setting.

 

  • Empathy. If you’re not interested in what makes people tick and putting yourself in their shoes, this is the wrong field for you.
  • Humility matched only by Drive. If you take it easy when you think no one is watching, you’re just wrong. We are. Everyone is.
  • Cultural fit/personality, ambitious drive to continue learning and help others learn along the way as well, overly detailed in everything they think and do.

 

  • Passion for advertising – that they actively want to talk about and are aware of campaigns and digital platforms shaping our industry
  • Timeliness – if you don’t turn around an Email response from someone in the industry within 24 hours, we got a problem
  • Knows how to take feedback (and notes!) – you’re never going to remember everything everyone tells you to – 4 years of college should have prepared you to be organized in your note-taking

 

SAS: What makes the work environment and culture at HA stand out from other agencies in town?

Work hard, play hard mentality – we put in crazy hours at time (as you would expect in the industry) but also take time to celebrate with our HA family. Everyone is here (at HA) for the long haul and has an unbelievably high standard of work ethic. It is great to be surrounded by smart, passionate people who collaborate to deliver the best product/outcome possible. This shows in all the work we do to best serve and elevate the brands we touch.

Collectively, it’s one of the highest performing agencies of any size in any city in the county I’ve worked with.  Everyone is driven, talented and willing to help.  We are a flat organization which allows us to be nimble, efficient and effective.  Everyone is willing to any task regardless of title. It’s an ego free zone.  

No one is an afterthought. We are always a WE—from top to bottom it’s about US doing OUR best. Plus, we don’t steer the boat by looking at the wake. The past is history and the future is not promised to anyone. We’re only concerned about kicking ass today.

Empowers you to push yourself, fail and apply those learnings to future successes. Honest respect for one another and appreciation for the agency’s success as a whole (vs. selfish actions) – we band together when it matters most. We expect a lot from everyone – no one gets a free pass – so in return garner better results (internally and with clients). We don’t “fake” like each other – we would give our left arm for our teammates. 

Collaborative and entrepreneurial – if you’re capable of thinking of an idea and communicating it with enthusiasm, chances are high that it can be executed with the team and resources available at HA.

We are curious. We are crazy smart. We are competitive. And we work our asses Each and every single person here cares about the success of each and every of their fellow HAers professionally and personally. Rising tides raise all ships and this philosophy is applied across the board at HA—from mentorship, operations and culture activities to department collaboration, ideation and the clients/projects we choose to take on.

 

SAS: How can students and recent grads make the most of their first step into the ad industry?

Your first job will suck.  It won’t be your dream job, you won’t get paid much and you don’t glamorous work. Remember that and know you are there to learn and grow your skill set.  Do a good job at the really boring, tedious work you need to do (the basics) and you’ll get rewarded with more interesting and fun things to work on.  Always be willing (and offer) to help, put in your time, pay your dues and learn as much as you can.  If you do all that you’ll have the opportunity to move up. 

Just ask. People will help you if you ask them to, but you have to take the initiative. They’re not going to chase you. I don’t know how many students/young professionals I’ve met with throughout my career that never bother to follow-up email after a meeting, never bother to ask for an opportunity and/or never even try to ask what they can do to help us. We’ve all been where you are, and if you follow-up in a timely manner, check your spelling/grammar, show your drive to help/contribute you will stand out light years ahead of your peers. Anyone that’s asked me for help throughout my career, I find time to help him or her—whether that be just coffee or happy hour, networking, getting them an internship at my agency or connecting them with my peers at other agencies or simply giving them some helpful feedback/advice.
Never say “no” when it comes to an opportunity to help others. Doing is the best teacher and serving others is ultimately the best way to serve yourself opportunities to grow.Get involved. Give yourself assignments on your own to challenge your learning, thinking, etc. Over deliver on the work you’re given at the agency – don’t just do what you’re asked to do. Don’t be afraid to step outside your cube – walk around and introduce yourself to people right away – even those not directly on your brand teams. Smile – it goes a long way. Say yes to every social invitation – from drinks after work to sitting around after work playing video games. These are the moments that you will bond with your co-workers more than any amount of Emails containing research materials.

Did you just have your 16th impulse-buy while cruising the internet (again) (with no regrets)? Thank MnSearch.

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If you’re like my parents (hopefully you’re not, they’re still calling their e-mail account their “website” and I’ve had to make “how-to sign into your e-mail account/website” tutorials for many many years now), literally for every single question one of their friends asks them or when they’re not too sure about something: *in a Polish accent* “Michael, Goo-guhl it!” (Translation: Michael, please Google this topic I’m not too sure about.”)

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I hate that they never learn after years and years, but they’re too precious to say no to.

After Googling, of course there’s going to be an explanation, but there also might be a nearby store that sells something along the lines of what you’re searching for, or somewhere that you can buy it and they can ship it to you. For example, if I had to answer a question along the lines of “how do I sign into my website” and I’ve drawn out step-by-step instructions thousands of times that they’ve lost, I might run into a book entitled “How to Build a Website: For Dummies” or whatever else along those lines. Basically, MnSearch is a company that is in charge of teaching people to promote certain companies/websites/etc in search engine searches. They’re specific to Minnesota, so you betcha they’ll help you find all the hotdish recipes ya need, don’tcha know??

*insert all Minnesotan things to say*

Anyone can become a member and learn the insider tips on how to snag all that Minnesota nice into looking at your website and material. Also, kind of like how SAS is for aspiring future professionals in the advertising world (YOU GOTTA PURCHASE TICKETS TOMORROW AT THE DOOR NOW, PEOPLE, ONLINES SALES ARE CLOSED), they have a “MnSearch Summit” in June for marketing and other business professionals around Minnesota to come together and collaborate. That and a lot of other really interesting things are over at their website (I’m not just saying that, their website was actually interesting to look through) so take a look at that and their Facebook. Thank you for being a Silver sponsor for the SAS!

See everyone bright and early tomorrow! ☺

Mirum Shares Advertising with the World

Mirum is the definition of an international agency with 46 offices across the world, including one right here in the Midwest’s frozen darling: Minneapolis. As a digital agency, Mirum prides itself on staying ahead of the curve. Their motto? “We are Mirum. Let’s make what’s next.” Despite having so many offices, Mirum has a central culture and passion for being forward-thinking and finding solutions. Their sheer size offers a smorgasbord of services and solutions. There are simply too many to be listed in a blog so I encourage checking out their services and some of the work from their Minneapolis office.

Their campaign to end bullying in Singapore won the gold medal at Adfest for Best Use of Social Media. The campaign featured a video of a bullied child. Users shared the video which then reduced the length of the video, raised awareness about bullying, and both literally and symbolically reduced the bullying of the child.

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“We never stop looking for new answers. When someone questions if it can be done, we think ‘yes’. We are constantly wondering about the world around us. That is what makes us agile and open-minded for what is yet to be discovered.” Thank you to our valued silver sponsor, Mirum!!!

“Hopeful to Hired” Holds Your Secrets to Success

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So you know you want to work in advertising, but you’re not exactly sure how you’re supposed to get that first “real adult job.” You need experience to get a job, but you need a job to get experience. It’s a vicious cycle, one that millennials know too well. So how are you supposed to get a foot in the door with companies who have “entry-level” positions that require 3-5 years of demonstrated experience, when you’re just about to graduate? Adam Dince, the author of “Hopeful to Hired,” has the answer for you.

As a transplant to the Twin Cities Adam has taught at several universities in the area. He has been a featured speaker at SAS for the past 4 years. We’re excited to bring our valued silver sponsor, and local mentor back to this year’s summit! You can order “Hopeful to Hired,” to learn more about developing soft skills, networking with purpose, and building an online presence. Be sure to register for SAS 2017, and introduce yourself to him!

Fall in Love with Periscope

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You can tell that love is at the heart of the work Periscope does based on their motto “Do Things People Love.” This integrated agency prides itself on being on being “100% dedicated to creat[ing] work that people are emotionally connected to. Not work that people like, work that people love. It’s a high bar. But one we aim to reach. Every day.” If you’ve ever taken the light rail in Minneapolis, you’ve undoubtedly seen Periscope’s graphic mural featuring their work from the window of a train car as it approaches U.S. Bank Stadium. Dreamworks, Trolli, The Minnesota Twins, UV Vodka, JCPenny, Walgreens, and many other clients have access to Periscope’s in-house, full-service talent.

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If that isn’t enough to convince you to check out Periscope, their CEO, Elizabeth Ross, was named a “Woman to Watch” by Advertising Age in 2014 among many other impressive accomplishments. We previously wrote about her time as a panelist at the Women’s Leadership Panel this past November. You can find out more information about Periscope’s summer internship here. Thank you to our valued silver sponsor, and be sure to register for SAS 2017!!!

Meet Roundpeg: a company that supports Starbucks (and, indirectly, PSLs) as much as you do (aka a lot)

 

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Roundpeg is a consulting firm that prides themselves on “no tolerance for the status quo;” they aim to transform the platforms that their clients stand on and exceed in the competition against competitors. Clients of theirs include Corona Extra and Redbox. They’ve also worked with Starbucks in order to help set it apart from all the other coffee shops around (gif of pumpkin spice latte below to help curb your withdrawals from it) (we can all wait until fall season again for it, right?) (😅).

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Some testimonials from business partners they’ve worked with help shed light onto the innovation that comes from working with Roundpeg. For example, the Senior Vice President of US Marketing at Best Buy credits Roundpeg’s transformation of Best Buy Mobile as one of the most successful projects within the last decade. Overall, all of the companies that have hired Roundpeg are overwhelmed with gratitude at what the firm has provided them. Thanks to them for being a Silver sponsor for SAS this year! (and yes, the hyperlink leads to registering for the event. This one does too.)