6 min read
Here we are, my dear podcast lovers. Our 18th episode of People of Marketing Podcast is on air! So happy our community grows week by week and many curious listeners choose to tune in. As usual, I’ve got new & exciting stories from lives of marketers.
Our guest today is Michael Knox – Head of Creative at Roller, News Corp’s in-house Creative agency. He’s the former Chief Creative Officer of Grey Hong Kong and member of Grey’s Global Creative Board. He’s judged and won at major award shows including D&AD, Cannes Lions, and Spikes Asia.



Agency life is about a fluid understanding and a really broad perspective

Recently, Michael changed his career path and moved from the traditional agency world to the client world. He’s now working in an in-house agency and we asked about the differences between the two work styles.
“One of the things I’ve noticed is that the people I spend my time with now are 100% focused on one particular stream of business. Wherein agencies you have the benefit of diversity. You go from one room where you’re selling a supermarket brand to the next meeting talking about a prestigious car. Then you go to another meeting talking about selling a hotel.
You have this very fluid understanding and a really broad perspective. It’s different when you are 100% focused on a particular product, brand, and set of consumers. I find that the biggest difference. On the brand side, you spend a lot of time with people with a very deep, rich understanding of what they’re doing and selling. And I think the beauty in that is a whole lot of insight that you actually gather up. At an agency, you have people who tend to have a very broad knowledge, based on a whole number of insights and products. It’s also an energized environment.
They’re both quite similar. This could be my view only. As long as both of them are looking for the same thing, I don’t think it matters which building you’re in.”
Agency-life is different from client-life. Different people choose different work environments. But the pressure of choosing between the two can be a little daunting. It’s important to remember that end of the day, the purpose is the same.


The industry is looking for faster responses

These are times when we have to be very adaptable and capable to make the best of what we have. Tough times can bring out great skills we might’ve never developed.
“As a creative working from home you’ll find out that without the interruptions that happen in a workplace, you get things done quicker. At the same time, what we miss is the ability to walk away and have that conversation that makes you come back to work and change your decision.
I think that over time people will develop their own rituals. Without the interruptions, we’re able to be quicker. There’s a speed that comes with it. It’s not necessarily always good, but we’re able to respond quite quickly.
The industry and the business that we’re all in is looking for faster responses anyway. So there are benefits to it. Tech like these smaller group video conversations are quite useful to the process and interaction. I don’t think they’re detrimental at all to the creative process. But there are things you gain and things you lose. It’s a bit of a balancing act.”
We’re adjusting to being on our own. We’re developing our thing. We’re being more efficient. We’re learning all these forced by circumstances. We’re showing, once more, just how quickly we can adapt when needed.


About networking and understanding how the business works

Michael had faced some challenges during the first years of his career. So Xenia asked him about the lessons learned. What he wishes he knew back then.
“Networking is a sensitive topic for creatives. The benefit of having a coffee with someone is really something that is taught to them. Creative people in agencies or in businesses tend to be a little bit more individualistic. Or they’ll connect in their team alone. Ambition level can also impact that. That whole idea of networking it’s not really like something that’s taught in school. Not in creative business schools at least.
Also, creatives aren’t really encouraged to understand the business, to understand how it makes money. I don’t think they necessarily need to. But you need to get enough people around you who understand what things cost. It can really help you structure a debate or an argument around why you could invest in people in the creative area.
Things may have changed now, they might be more focused on that. But those types of skills, networking, and business seem to be more the reserves of different parts of the business. Not necessarily creatives.”
Michael shows us a wider perspective of creatives’ needs and required skills. He highlights some points not that common in the creatives’ world. Business orientation and networking aren’t something we usually talk about. I do agree, though, that they can make a huge difference.
Michael has a large and valuable experience in the marketing and advertising world. His tips in this episode were really cool and I’ve just shared a few of them. More to come just one click away. Put your headphones on and play!




Miruna Florea Miruna Florea, Executive Assistant @Planable. In love with project management and organizing stuff. I use my advertising background to make marketers’ processes and therefore work lives easier.

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