5 things I learnt working for an agency

2 May 20153 minutes read

Sadly we had to say goodbye to our friend Cara Ilott, our digital marketing queen

1. It’s Not Always Possible — But When it is, it’s Magic.

Everyone has grand ideas when they first decide they are building a website, an email template or an app. The sky is the limit. Often, however, this idea of the Holy Grail, the pinnacle of digital perfection, isn’t always possible. Not only are there time constraints, budgets to be met and branding issues, but there is also the largest obstacle to overcome: Does it solve the problem it has been created to fix? Achieving all of these in perfect harmony is rarely achievable, but when the whole team work together to ensure that everything a client needs is created (and to the deadline) . . . Pure elation breaks through. We’ve hit gold, made magic, got a hole-in-one.

2. Web Work is Like Gardening.

It’s never really finished; it’s a continuously evolving thing, almost organic in nature and controlled by outside forces. You can sow the seed and create an amazing website which is architecturally sound, but unless you continue with the maintenance and upkeep, if you stop nurturing — even for a second, your website will get lost in the jungle surrounding it. Maintaining search engine optimisation and website updates, and keeping your content fresh is the way to keep your website flourishing.

3. Pub Fridays are Important

Staying creative and having a team which communicates and works effectively together is super-important. The Etch team have these qualities by the bucketload, and I am almost certain this is down to the Friday pub lunch. Team bonding at its most animated and entertaining.

4. #hacksoton and the Makey Makeys

An advertiser at heart, my coding skills are not exceptional (quite the opposite really) and although I can tell HTML from CSS, I never thought I would enjoy a hackday event. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Not only did I get to play with a Makey Makey, eat Skittles and experience virtual reality through Oculus Rift, it was also amazing to see coders creating extraordinary things around me. Have you ever thought about combining images and an excel spreadsheet? Neither had I, but one of the attendees created a webcam powered spreadsheet. Using some pretty clever techniques it turned a video feed into a greyscale pixel artwork in Google Docs. Sponsored by and run in partnership with Etch, #hacksoton is a community event which brings together the digitally minded, and I’m grateful I was introduced to it.

5. Office Dogs are Proven to Boost Team Moral

Until recently I believed this to be a myth, a fancy, thought up by those who like animal slobber on shoes and teeth marks on chair legs, but I have been proven wrong. Not least by Matt Jackson who bandied about a study by US scientists. It had found that employees with access to dogs had boosted morale and lower stress levels. Bonnie, the office puppy definitely elevated my mood on a daily basis, and it’s very difficult to stay stressed, grumpy or unmotivated when a little cutie is learning how to ‘fetch’ for the first time. Now known around the office as ‘the treat dispenser’, I struck a deep friendship with the team pup — and I will miss her greatly.