Every day of “Agency Life” is different. You can find yourself on any given Tuesday standing on your feet for 15 hours shooting a television spot, and no less than 12 hours later you’re right back behind a computer on conference calls. No matter the situation, we’ve learned a few things about ourselves, our clients, and what brings the most success—especially given the year that was 2020. 

  1. Don’t get complacent.

Everything being worked on in your shop—big or small—is important. Sell sheets can turn into sales, which turn into more rewarding and creative projects. Business cards can turn into meetings, which turn into more opportunities to film broadcast commercials. You never know what can come as a result of a “small deliverable”—so make sure its importance isn’t underestimated.

  1. Read the room. 

We’ve all been in enough meetings to know that not all jokes are created equal, and not all situations are suited for levity. Ensure your words are intentional and listen with the same intent. You never know when that random, off-the-cuff factoid about your client’s favorite sitcom will come in handy.

  1. The creative team wins—always.

Creatives are the lifeblood of advertising and marketing. No matter what they need to properly execute a project—make sure they have it. Whether that’s reference materials, two briefs, or a Red Bull, making sure they’re set up for success is pivotal. 

  1. The account team wins—always.

While creatives are the lifeblood, accounts sell the idea. Make sure that no matter the time or place, they’re armed with the reasoning and support needed to make an idea come to life. If they’re not prepared, the idea could be dead in the water. 

  1. Music matters.

Communal speakers rarely go well. Some people like country and hip-hop, while others like Swedish metal and deep house. Make sure that whatever’s playing on your system isn’t distracting and can blend seamlessly into the background. We’ve often found that lo-fi ambient music during a brainstorm or client meeting can help break the ice. 

  1. Bad plans are better than no plans.

Let’s be honest—most plans aren’t perfect. But having a plan means you’ve at least thought about what goes into bring something to fruition. Make sure you’ve thought about the needed infrastructure, support, and resources for your objectives—and more importantly, make sure you can reference them quickly. Small details are easily forgotten, and anything to help you remember each one of them can make all the difference in the long run.

  1. Video calls are easier when you don’t look at the screen.

Video calls have been incredibly beneficial—especially when you need some human interaction. However, waiting for non-verbal queues when on a slightly delayed video conference can throw off your rhythm. If you’re leading the conversation, minimize the window and listen intently to your crowd. Your rapid responses will help keep things feeling as normal as possible. 

  1. Lunch is better when you’re working at home. 

For most people, lunch is a needed break in the middle of the day. We all know that going out for lunch when you’re at the office is great, but isn’t there something special about curling up on your own couch in the middle of a workday? Respect people’s breaks and let them recharge for an even more successful afternoon. 

  1. Mondays are better when the Buffalo Bills win. 

When the Bills win, so does your team. Make sure to celebrate Victory Monday with a cup of coffee and a bagel. And encourage your team to use their added energy to tackle the one task they didn’t have enough left in the tank for the previous Friday.

  1. Team bonding doesn’t need to be in-person.

There’s a common misconception that team bonding needs to happen in-person. With the pandemic still in full swing—take advantage of digital tools and games that let people feel a sense of normalcy. Even if it’s just a happy hour, that 30 minutes of relaxation goes a long way. 

  1. BONUS—Always stop your lists at 10.

The attention span of most working adults stops when double digits appear in an article. Cut it off while you still have people’s attention, and always leave them wanting more. If you’re still reading this—kudos!