14th August 2019

Making the move from client-side to agency

In the second instalment about working at a growing brand agency, Rhiannon Lowe, rbl’s Account Director, shares her experience of a significant transition.

I never thought I’d work in an agency. Yet here I am, four months after joining rbl brand agency, feeling it’s been one of the best career decisions I’ve made.

My nervousness about making the step to agency life wasn’t because I was worried about long hours or striking the right work/life balance, but because I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy working on brands I didn’t ‘own’. Would I understand them? Would I be able to get under their skin? Would my ideas be meaningful? Would I be split across too many projects?

Before I joined rbl all my roles had been client-side. I headed up Brand and Content teams at Unicef, Cancer Research UK and worked on FMCG brands before that. I had always had responsibility for the brand, the strategy, the creative, the stories – answerable only really to the customer. You feel a certain amount of affection when you have this level of responsibility for a brand, a love almost. Would I feel that way working in an agency, working on multiple brands?

And the resounding answer is yes, I do. I already feel a lot of love for the brands I’m working on. At rbl, we go above and beyond to create and develop brands that are relevant, engaging and ambitious. We don’t just touch the surface or share ideas for idea’s sake. Our 6 stage strategic branding process means that everything we do is rooted in insight and co-created with the people that matter.

At rbl we invest the time and energy to research and truly understand a brand, its audiences, its competitors, its place in the world. It’s this commitment to understanding the entire landscape, that means we can really add value to every client and develop solutions that help them to grow. We draw from the different expertise across the team, and collaborate with our clients, to debate and define strategy or to explore new and interesting ways to creatively bring the brand to life. Nothing is developed in a silo or is one dimensional or narrow.

And this speaks to the culture at rbl. Our team is small but packed with talent. The nature of our approach means it’s open, collaborative, discursive and challenging. It answers any limiting preconceptions I had about agency life – Would it be too competitive? Would it be cut-throat? Would I fit in? Would I be valued? At rbl I’ve joined somewhere that’s not hierarchical, where my expertise matters and my voice is heard; where there’s an ambition to succeed, but an ambition to succeed together. It’s been a big learning curve making the move from client-side to an agency but what a fun four months it’s been.

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