A 3 Minute Sizzle with: Alex Coles from Farrow & Ball
As well as agency experts, we have also lined up a couple of experienced industry professionals for the 3 Minute Sizzle at Meetdraw 29 on Thursday 10 March. Tickets are free and available here. We grab 3 minutes with Alex Coles, Consumer Marketing Executive at Farrow & Ball.
In 140 characters or less, tell us what Farrow & Ball does.
We make lovely paints and beautiful wallpapers. Most people will have heard of us for our unusual colour names like Elephant’s Breath!
Tell us what you do there.
I manage to fit quite a bit into my days as my role has quite a broad remit! Essentially my role is all about making the customer experience and relationship with the brand as smooth and as wonderful as it can be, both from a copy and strategic point of view. I use insights from our research to create copy and content for the website, brochures, POS, monthly newsletters and other touch points on the customer journey and work out the best ways to reach and communicate with them. Also, I like to keep an eye on what’s happening with our competitors, the market and comparable brands.
Describe your company culture, flavour or important values.
Our company culture is all about being inspired and fuelling creativity. Through everything we do, both internally and externally, we try to uphold a decent level of wit, character and British heritage.
What qualities do you look for when hiring new people?
Aside from the usual things like necessary skills for the job, we look for people who we feel will match well with our brand, who show passion for our products and above all, exude enthusiasm.
What’s your favourite book / movie / album?
Favourite book – The Wind Singer
Movie – The Rocky Horror Show
Album – Steps – The Ultimate Collection (I’m not even ashamed)
What was the best piece of advice you ever received?
“You have 24 hours. At some point in that day you’ll have to eat a live frog. What’s the most efficient, spend all day worrying and eat the frog at the last minute? Or eat it now and get on with your life knowing the frog is behind you?”
As the former queen of procrastination this really helped me.
And the worst?
“Yeah, that’s a completely acceptable thing to Tweet – go ahead and do it. We’ll all laugh about it tomorrow” My own brain after all the wine.
What was your first job (obviously with a creative context, we’re not too interested in paper rounds and bar work!)?
I suppose you could argue that my first creative job was work experience in a nail varnish factory – “Oh sweet, I bet that was a blast” you may think. No. Wrong. After two days of breathing in questionable fumes I had to leave. My first industry job after I finished Advertising and Marketing Communications at Bournemouth Uni was as Account Executive at Thinking Juice.
How did you get that first job?
Applying to TJ was the easy bit. The first interview was not so much. I’d already been to loads of interviews for jobs and was feeling a bit disheartened. So I turned up fresh, chipper and eager to make a good impression. Towards the end of the interview Gel [Gellan Watt] said “I’m just worried that you might be too nice to work in advertising”, at this point I had had enough of interviews and a sassy attitude got the better of me, before I knew what was happening I looked him straight in the eye and uttered the words “I can slap you and then you won’t think I’m too nice”. It was met with a stunned and deafening silence. I left the interview chalking it up to a loss and headed to the pub to commiserate. After a couple of hours had passed I got a call saying I had got the job, and years later Gel told me that’s what did it.
I must say that I do not condone mildly threatening your interviewer and it’s probably not something that will work on everyone.
Aside from Meetdraw(!), what’s the best way to introduce oneself to your agency (which person / media channel / format)?
Printing your CV on a cake has been done to death. I mean, everyone does love cake, but then you’ll forever be known as that kid with the baked goods. I find the best ways are the old ways. Make sure your cover letter is tailored to the company you’re applying for – highlight your relevant skills, show your knowledge about the company and offer them an insight or viewpoint that they may not have considered before.
Bournemouth seems to be a hotbed of creative digital talent at the moment, why do you think that is?
It’s undoubtedly the way of life down here. Not only does the beach generally attract a certain type of person, there is such an encouraging creative community down here that everyone just wants to get involved.