Alison Turner is one of our wonderful students here at SCAD in Savannah. Though she came here to study art direction or copywriting, she’s discovering a love of all things social-and-interactive along the way. Now even account planning is a possibility with Alison. She’s a delight to hang out with in the hallways of SCAD and, unbidden, she sent me this nice long e-mail with some good advice for students everywhere. Thanks, Alison. 

First starters, I want to say that I’m absolutely in love with this place [Razorfish]. The people are amazing, they actually let us interns dive head first into everything; and of course also help us along the way. The work done here is so cool, and they work hard to educate us about every aspect of the industry. Twice a week we have “Lunch and Learns” where someone from a different department talks about what their department does. So far we’ve had HR, User Experience, and Account Planning.

I just ordered my copy.

Today the founder of Razorfish, Bob Lord, came to the Chicago office and gave a speech. He and another top officer wrote a book recently called Converge. Bob Lord was here to share some “Cliff’s Notes Insights” as he called them. Here are the top five insights he gave us:

1. Put, and keep, the customer at the center. I quote, “Treat the customer journey as Gospel.” I know we do a lot of this at SCAD, but it’s a good reminder that sometimes it can be easy to lose sight of the customer experience, in exchange for flashy things (it is at least for me; can’t speak for anyone else). Razorfish puts a ton of focus on making sure the customer has an easy time navigating everything and that everything we create is useful an/or fun. “Always make sure it improves their lives in some way.”

2. Think of the brand as a Service. I love this. It’s a great way of thinking to make sure everything you do serves both the consumer and client. A great example is Special K . They took the “Special K Challenge'” a campaign from decades ago, and turned it into an entire weight management service.  And it’s free. Basically, the CEO was saying “Fulfill a real need.”

3. Reject silos. This was probably the best advice I heard and basically it’s the whole idea of understanding more than your individual specialty. You are made better at your own job by understanding the jobs of others. It’s good to be curious and understand more than your own little box.

4.Act like a startup. Basically here he just meant don’t forget to be agile and take risks

5. Embrace Diversity. This is the idea of being T-Shaped. This one is all about how you need to understand more than just copywriting or art direction to be successful in today’s world. SCAD does a great job helping us remember this.

The last thing I wanted to cover here is the Account Planning Lunch-and-Learn we had today. I know a lot of students are starting to express interest in account planning as SCAD, so I figured I’d add the tips a  senior account planner here gave us. The type of person that tends to get hired in this position seems to have these attributes:

Curious: They REALLY want to see that you are curious about all kinds of people and curious about the way people think.

Confident: They want you to KNOW what you want and to know your abilities, but don’t get cocky

Demonstrate a basic understanding of what account planning is (obviously):  They recommended tarting with Truth, Lies, and Advertising by Jon Steel. They said it’s the quintessential account planning book. Treat it like your career Bible.

Take a class: They’d love it if you’ve taken courses in it

Have a good understanding of people: They want to see that you have good people skills, and one of the most important they mentioned is the ability to work with creative people.

Have a perspective: They want to see that you have a perspective on things, but not a harsh one. Have an opinion.

Last but not least?

Your personality is your best weapon: They said, and I quote “The truth is, at some level pretty much everyone has the same education. Everyone has the same resumes. What we value most is who you are. We want to know you’re passionate and that you’d be fun to work with.” They care a lot about personality in that department.

Sorry about the novel length email. I just had a lot of interesting experiences lately and I wanted to share them.

–Allison Turner

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Thanks Alison: Here’s the intro copy of the book Converge taken from its amazon page.
The leaders of Razorfish share their strategies for merging marketing and IT.

To create rich, technologically enabled experiences, enterprises need close collaboration between marketing and IT. Converge explains how the merging of technology, media, and creativity is revolutionizing marketing and business strategy. The CEO and CTO of Razorfish, one of the world’s largest digital marketing agencies, give their unique perspective on how to thrive in this age of disruption. Convergeshares their first-hand experience working closely with global brands—including AXE, Intel, Samsung, and Kellogg—to solve business problems at the collision point between media, technology, and marketing.

With in-depth looks at cloud computing, data- and API-enabled creativity, ubiquitous computing, and more,Converge presents a roadmap to success.

  • Explains how to organize for innovation within your own organization by applying the principles of agile development across your business
  • Details how to create a religion around convergence, explaining how to tell the story throughout the organization
  • Outlines how to adapt processes to keep up with and take advantage of rapid technological change

A book by practitioners for practitioners, Converge is about rethinking business organizations for a new age and empowering your people to thrive in a brand, new world.