I’d heard a lot of good things about this company. 10 Triton Street. Even the address sounded impressive.
As I stepped out of the lift on to the third floor I wasn’t disappointed. But where was I?
That’s right my friends, I was at Carat, a media agency belonging to Aegis Media Group, one of the largest media networks in the world. I was excited about this one because although by now, as I think we can all agree, I know just about everything there is to know about digital media, I know very little about media agencies.
So what did I think I was going to learn? Well, how to approach a brief from a multi-channel point of view, how do they acquire and digest big data, the art of the pitch and, of course, did any of them watch Mad Men?
Talent Acquisition with Caitlin
Caitlin met me in reception where I had been watching the news on a 10 foot high projection screen. A quick tour of the kitchen and with coffee in hand I was ready to learn about Carat.
Comms & Planning with Tom
From talent acquisiton to talent. Tom is one of Carat’s new recruits, officially being a Comms and Planning Assistant. The first thing Tom said that made an impression on me was about the clients he was working on: Diageo (Guinness, Smirnoff), Phillips but most excitingly Lego!
Insight & Evaluation with Anita
It was now Anita’s turn to school me. Tom had mentioned using surveys in order to analyse consumer behaviour and Anita along with her Carat Insight and Evaluation team are the people behind these surveys.
Brand Strategy with Sara
Perched on my leather sofa I was rattling through victims and next on the list was Sara, a Brand Strategy Director. She described her role as creative business problem-solving and it was in this interview I heard the phrase “we can do anything”.
New Business with Clare
So far I had solved the mysteries of planning, insight, and brand strategy, now it was time to acquire some new business with Clare. Clare’s past is in comms and planning but a recent move has seen her join the New Business department. So what’s it all about?
Direct Response with Daisy
Still scratching my head about the Mad Men conspiracy I was pleased to see another new recruit join me on the sofa. Daisy is a Direct Response Assistant and her job is to get people to do things. Easier said than done?
Digital with Rachael
Daisy was replaced by Rachael who worked in strategy for digital media planning and buying. This was sounding like more of a familiar field to me until she mentioned she had just returned from Bestival where she had been capturing an event for seeding on YouTube.
Planning with Dan
So here I was, coming toward the end of my day at Carat and the final person on my list to meet was Dan, with the rather large title of Head of Planning. Would I finally get an answer to the Mad Men conspiracy? I planned to.
And with that they were gone. Well not gone exactly. They were all still there at their desks. In fact, if anything, I was gone. But what had I learnt?
Having not been confident enough to say I knew what a media company did I would say that I am now. They try to procure business and once that has happened they will receive a brief from the client. Based on their insight and research they will come up with a strategy both in terms of the idea and which channels to use. Then it is a case of implementing and sometimes tinkering in order to deliver the required result.
Carat seems to be a special breed of media company however, particularly in that they are part of a much larger media group working on one P&L so can offer more integrated, innovative, full-service agency results. This allows them to embrace the digital age more fully and combine their rich offline data with the online and in some ways they really are redefining media.
With the ‘School of You’ they are really investing in their employees and with so many citing the people as the best thing about the company it’s not hard to see why people stick around. And of course I found out why they can’t watch Mad Men!
Big thanks to all at Carat for putting up with me, if there’s space on the next ski trip I’m in!