This weeks interviewee is Katy Ennis-Hargreaves, Creative Director at content & production agency Cry Havoc. She is also the owner of Hello Katy. Her career over the last 14 years has seen her work on a huge range of clients both superbrands and start-ups. She specialises in brand and packaging.
1. Biggest fuck up of your career?
There have been a few specific corkers. Like the holy-shit-we-didn’t-hang-up-from-the-client-call, resulting in a 23-minute answerphone message incident with my MD. Thankfully what was said, was all nice but always double-check you’ve hung up.
Overall I’d say my biggest mistake would be not speaking up enough earlier on in my career. I’m sure there are a lot of people who’d spit out their brew and argue that’s all I do, but it’s taken a while coming and I wish I’d learnt to do it sooner with confidence and conviction.
It’s still a learning curve – there’s a bit of imposter syndrome in there and of course, there’s nothing wrong with being in awe of the brilliant minds around you but your opinion is no less important. Otherwise what the hell are you doing there in the first place?
It’s better to say it (pragmatically) than swallow it and be fuming with yourself later. Or even worse, being proven right further down the line but only to yourself because you didn’t speak your mind in the first place. I could have saved myself time and money – so stick your neck out and say your piece (nicely and honestly).
This isn’t to be confused with being an egomaniac and going about hollering your opinions like Donald Trump at a press conference. Be clear, explain your rationale and don’t be a tit about it.
After years of not speaking up, it’s like opening the floodgates. Here’s three off the top of my head:
- The age-old mentality that success is gained by millions of hours
worked, the coveted trophy of burn out and old-fashioned ego slinging. Everyone should be nice to each other whatever position you are in. Basic.
- Know it all’s – no one has played this game on earth before you. Understand your peers have got other experience – but that’s all we’ve got between us. We’re all on our own little paths and it’d be bloody dull if we were all on the same walk.
- False familiarity and cheap personalisation. It’s hugely important for brands to be able to resonate with their audience and so we’ve seen the rise of personalisation across brand and channel in recent years, but there’s a really fine line between ‘we get you’ and “Hey friend! We SO have to talk about this – I know we said subject/product blah blah here}. But we know you’ll love this.” Emails like that get the boot, pronto. It’s as bad as LinkedIn. Don’t DM me preaching about ‘connecting up’ and ‘touching base’ alright?
3. Useful Advice
Just do the thing already.
If you want to try and break into a new area or challenge yourself further then break it down and take the small steps to get where you want to go.
Determination will get you there.
Also, ask questions – there’s no shame in it. Have confidence in yourself and if it goes to shit at least you gave it a go and learnt something. Don’t look over there and compare yourself to others, look back here and focus on your thing to do it properly.
Be nice and give back – you were helped by folk in your career – so help out others.
And for god’s sake don’t forget to hang up the phone…