In the world of an agency, the mentality is one of the Borg. The goal is to highlight team achievements and not individualistic ones. From an agency perspective, this is practical so no one person becomes integral to an account. If one person leaves, it minimizes impact to the collective.
In the classic Star Trek: Next Generation “I, Borg” episode, a single borg is separated from his collective and learns to exist as an individual. His seminal moment is stating, “I, Borg” – the point when he no longer refers to himself as part of a group but as an individual.
Like Hugh, I left the comfort of the agency collective when I went in-house. I’m not saying individual responsibility was overlooked in an agency. It’s just the client may not be aware of which team member was directly responsible for the achievement. After spending most of my career at an agency, the change in mentality is difficult to adjust to.I’ve noticed how this has impacted my work in three ways:
1. No Hiding: Now, I’m keenly aware of how my individual contributions are being evaluated and measured. Every decision, media placement, customer case study and press release directly reflects on me. There is no we, it’s only me. There’s no one to hide behind.
2. Better Decisions on Media Outreach: I am more attuned to which media placements drive traffic to my website based on Google Analytics. And when there is a call to action for my media activities, I can add source codes to link to track traffic and measure results. Based on this, I can determine how much effort to put into one media outlet versus another. Not an exact science, but useful information nonetheless, especially if queried about which outlets to focus on.
3. The Value of I: I’m learning how to slowly drop the “we” for “I.” Again, don’t get me wrong, I do acknowledge when things are a team effort. But I also have to recognize when and how to take individual responsibility for my work. Understanding the “value of I” is very key for moving beyond the agency world.What do you think? I would love to hear from others who have made the transition – either to in-house or to an agency.
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Cece Salomon-Lee is director of marketing for ACTIVE Network, Business Solutions division, and author of PR Meets Marketing, which explores the intersection of public relations, marketing, and social media.
This blog contains Cece's personal opinions and are not representative of her company's.
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