All good things must come to an end..
..but the next adventure awaits!
It’s hard to imagine that only a month ago I was hastily packing for an exciting trip across the Atlantic. I knew it would be a special experience, but this trip has greatly exceeded my expectations and more. This past month has truly been an awakening, both professionally and personally.
Being immersed in a whole new job, team, office, and network opens your eyes to a new way of doing business. Finding best practices and parallels within this new environment became second nature, and you begin to learn so much during organic conversations happening around you. The cultural differences tend to slip away quickly within a professional setting as the business goals of providing the best quality creative work and account services is universal across Havas agencies.
My Havas Lofts Coach, Louise Stone, is someone who I have had the pleasure of working alongside during these past four weeks. Her professional background surrounds several areas including Public Relations, Communications, and Healthcare Marketing. It has been a great experience having someone who has worked in several disciplines within the advertising industry and can look at projects with several hats on.
My Havas Worldwide London team was very welcoming and quickly brought me into their internal/external meetings and calls. They were eager to have me involved in all aspects of their work. There’s always a learning curve when joining a new team, albeit temporarily, but they were willing to be patient and always able to provide needed background information when needed. Coming from an agency which focuses on U.S. Pharmaceutical marketing, it was interesting to pivot a bit and work on more of the UK Health sector working on Early Life Nutrition, Advanced Medical Nutrition, and Lactose-free dairy products. Bringing in a digital background was very helpful as well, providing experienced insights into what has worked best for specific campaigns based on targeted audiences.
One of the biggest differences here from a work perspective is the deep restrictions on Direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising here in the UK. There are almost no DTC marketing efforts produced here due to this, especially Television advertisements, which are almost completely banned by national regulatory laws. This makes making creative campaigns tricky but also innovative as well. You have to figure out ways to make an impactful campaign, but without a major TV ad buy or other traditionally large-scale campaigns. It’s one of the biggest differences between the United States and the United Kingdom, and even the European Union as a whole.
From a work cultural standpoint, there are close alignments to the office back home. The office space here is a bit smaller, with different teams spread across four floors within an older style building. There are many more informal conversations and meetings then back home. Unlike the formal calendar invites which we set up back-to-back, there are snippets of time that 2 or 3 people will gather and just talk through things. I find it to be very helpful to talk through things as a team and the informality of the meet-ups tend to quicken the process of coming to an alignment or decision among team members. Another fun aspect of the office culture is music being played throughout the office. On each floor, there would be at least one person playing music aloud from their desk. Everyone seems to enjoy it and it adds a heightened level of cohesion among colleagues vs. just “plugging in” on your own playlist.
The work experience in the past month has provided me with a global business perspective that I would otherwise not be able to have been a part of. Havas Lofts has provided me with this invaluable insight and I look forward to sharing it with my home agency upon my return.
On a personal level, I can’t convey enough how groundbreaking this trip was for me. It was my first trip to Europe and was truly a trip of a lifetime. I have always wanted to travel abroad, but for one reason or another found myself never making the jump. I will always be grateful to Havas and the Havas Lofts program for making this dream a reality for me.
From the minute I landed at Heathrow, everything was a new experience. Especially during those first few hours and days here in London, I wanted to see everything possible. Every picture I had seen in the news or books, I wanted to go there and see it firsthand. These past four weeks have been full of travels around this historical city and have been able to even explore outside of London, as I traveled to Paris for a weekend and was able to escape to Manchester for a day to meet the Havas Lynx EU office.
The other aspect to this program is the people you meet along the way, particularly the other Havas Lofters who are spread out across the world. Out of the 25 of us in this 4th Lofts class, I have had the pleasure of being placed with three other amazing Lofters (Dan, Jess, & Benny) here in London and they are a wonderful group. We were able to click immediately and have been inseparable ever since. Through sharing adventures or dinners together, to assisting with cultural differences in only a way a Lofter can, they have been a pinnacle part of the love I have for this truly amazing city.
London, you were so good to us and thank you for all the great memories!
Cheers — Jason