If you look into the life of an advertising student at the University of North Texas, you will find stress. If you look into the life of a well-managed advertising student at this university, you will find the stress has been fueled into a drive to create better work. For the most part, our advertising curriculum mirrors that of a real agency. We work in teams with varying roles to create a one-shot or campaign. Sometimes we get to present to the client, and most times that work goes into our portfolio book.
Here in London, we’ve been exploring the differences in culture, advertising, and public relations compared with the United States. Our guest speakers and agency visits have given me insight into the world I’ll be going into after I graduate. To expand my network and knowledge of the agency world, I set up a time to meet with a friend who works at Your Zine.
Your Zine is a full-service dialogue marketing agency founded in the Netherlands. They are a collection of strategists, developers, campaign managers, creatives and data ‘heroes’ that strive to improve customer value for their clients. I went there today to meet my friend for lunch and to discuss her life at Your Zine.
I arrived at noon to meet my friend Chih for lunch. We dashed across the street with one of her co-workers to grab food, and returned to the office for a chat. Chih is a designer who works on multiple accounts. She’s currently working on an email campaign for Odeon, a large cinema chain in the U.K. This campaign is featuring the new Spiderman Homecoming movie and is going out to Odeon premium members.
Chih used to work at a large, international agency, and she had this to say about how the differences in agency size affect work life:
“I think you have more creative freedom in a smaller agency. You’re more involved with the campaign process. In big agencies, there’s usually one person working on each little thing, and you have to get approval for each little thing. Here at Your Zine, you have the possibility of doing your assigned role and helping others.”
One of the most important things with client/agency relationships is maintaining one as a partnership. At its core, agencies are really just in the customer service business serving clients. But if there’s a collaborative mindset instead of a serving one, the work produced tends to be much better. I have some experience working directly with clients to achieve what they want, but the process was easier because I was involved with both client relations and the creative work. I can imagine the frustration that would come out of not being able to talk directly to the client about specific design or word choices, and that’s exactly what Your Zine wants to avoid.
“We believe in the power of highly personal one-on-one communication. We do this by mapping every contact moment between brands and their customers by means of registration and identification. This wealth of unique interests and needs is then used in real-time for customized communication; the right message for every individual and through the desired channel and at the right moment! Because we can. Because it works.”
Although this statement is in relation to brands and their customers, it’s evident that Your Zine strives to produce the same personal communication between themselves and their clients.
Chih and I talked about many things during our one-and-a-half-hour chat. We briefly mentioned the cultural differences of the U.S. and U.K. and how it affects agency life. Generally speaking, Americans are much more opinionated and aren’t afraid to question things. Americans often have a “wild” stigma associated with them with most of the country being more liberal than the U.K. However, London seems to be pushing against its widely conservative influence from the rest of England. This is evident in the various poster ads and street art we’ve been spotting in the streets.
As I weigh my options of where to start my career, the possibilities really are endless with my advertising degree. I definitely want to have agency experience, but I would also like to work in-house for a brand I really love. Another option is not to work with products at all and work with non-profit organizations.
“You’re young and in a good position as a dual citizen. It’s great that British and American culture are not too far from each other, so your transition won’t be too difficult. If you’re open to relocate, then you can do so many things,” Chih said.
If you would like to know more about Your Zine and their work, please click here: Your Zine. Your Zine works with brands such as Samsung, IKEA, Odeon, Albert Heijn, Bilderberg Hotels, and more. I am excited to see what more Your Zine can do for local and international brands.