Perspectives - Simon Brock at Digitas - Human and honest conversations

By AdNews | 16 December 2021
Simon Brock.

AdNews is following the WFH Diaries with a series of Perspectives, asking two questions: What did you learn in 2021 and what are you looking forward to in 2022? We've also encouraged the industry to glam, dress for the best, and face next year with optimism.

Simon Brock, Executive Creative Director, Digitas:

Hack of the year: “What do you love about what you do, and how do we make you known for it?” I’ve asked this question about 20 times in the past couple of months - to team members, colleagues, even clients. Every time I’ve learned two valuable things: a) what’s emotionally important to people around me - which will be the thing they prioritise when push comes to shove, and b) how I can help them find more meaning in their work. It’s a powerful combination of things to know about a person, and always opens up very human and honest conversations (which have been tougher to have this year than normal).

Habit of the year: Connecting with clients as colleagues. The structures of our industry do a lot to dehumanise the relationship between people brand-side and agency-side. By-the-hour billing, shark-tank-style presentations, spreadsheet-based feedback - the norms of our industry encourage transactional relationships between people who are actually working together to achieve marketing goals. This year I’ve spent more time having open-ended, agenda-less chats with clients, mostly from our living rooms, and it’s undoubtedly helped shift how we connect as people.

Hope for 2022: Reconnecting with regional and global talent. The last couple of years forced us all to focus on homegrown priorities. For those of us working in global networks and holding companies, that meant prioritising local connections, local projects and local talent, at the expense of global and regional relationships, opportunities and momentum. For Digitas and Publicis, 2022 will see a lot more energy and impact coming from partnering with colleagues across APAC and the rest of the world, creating better opportunities for our people to flex their talent and enabling us to connect our clients with the best-of-the-best globally - leading to more world-class outputs to be proud of.

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