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04 October 2021

Interview with a Client Service Director – Simon Ellis

What made you want to work in client services?

I think it stems from my love of meeting new people and building relationships. At a party, I’m the one that will always start up a conversation with people I don’t know, rather than stick with those I do. There’s something intriguing to me about meeting new people, finding out about them and their lives. In work terms, it’s about having meaningful conversations with people. Understanding what’s keeping them awake at night, and therefore what we can do to help.

What do you look for in your team?

I guess I look for a balance of knowledge/expertise and character/personality. People who understand the role that brand can play in driving commercial growth, but also have the ability to create long lasting relationships with people, both internally with colleagues and of course with clients.

What’s the best part of your role at Brandon?

Oooh... there are a few... I’d say it has to be when we nail the creative, laddering up to a really strong idea that’s based on a really interesting insight, and we see the joy in our clients faces... Such is the quality of the team we have, this happens quite a lot!

Horlicks rebrand

What piece of work at Brandon are you most proud of and why?

Really hard to pick one but, never being one to sit on a fence, I’d probably say the Horlicks re-design. As I have often said, when you have a really strong client/agency collaborative relationship, it usually results in outstanding work. The year-on-year performance of the brand post launch and the awards we have received speak for themselves!

Horlicks Awards

What category would you love to work on that you have yet to do?

Is beer too predictable? Oh well... I’m having it. Despite the obvious free samples, I think it’s amazing how that category has transformed over the last five years and how the language of design has evolved from the strong corporate masterbrands like Carlsberg and Heineken, to a challenger range approach, offering different variants for different consumer needs.

What is a typical day at Brandon like for you?

I’m not sure there is such a thing as ‘typical’ at Brandon, which is why it’s a great place to work. We have so many different clients with different challenges that need solving. But if I pull on some similarities, it would probably be at a ‘week’ level.

We start every week with an all agency ‘Planning the week’ meeting, where we take the whole team through the production schedule. This is a great way of focussing the team on the week ahead, and also for Debbie to Shout ‘timesheets!’ at us. A fixture in all agencies across the land I have no doubt!

Tuesdays and Wednesdays are about desk time. I heard a great quote recently “We create together and craft alone”. Crafting is not only important for creatives, in Client Services it’s important too; spending rich time thinking about our clients’ problems and thinking of ways to be proactive is super important! To help with this, we keep Tuesday afternoons free of meetings where possible to allow people time off Zoom – Zoom fatigue is definitely a real thing!

Thursdays. This is where we, as a team, regroup, find out who’s had the best or most challenging week, and update the forecast. We also have our wonderful Account Exec, Kris, lead us through our internal initiative called Shelf Life... where we all share images of anything in-store that jumps out at us. Who’s winning their fight for relevance, or who is languishing in the past!

Shelf Life

Friday... Wow, is it Friday already..? Let’s get ready for the week ahead, ensuring all briefs are ready to go. Oh, and then Friday beers. 4pm in the Brandon Virtual Pub. This is a particular highlight!

 

Just for fun questions

Guilty pleasure: Musicals. I love a bit of a sing along!

Fave movie: I really like true life stories... So probably go for Alive. About a Uruguayan rugby team whose flight crashes in the Andes mountains and the desperate measures they undertake to survive.

Fave brand in the world: For me this evolves and changes as new brands enter the market. And its predominantly down to brand design rather than product experience. Right now, I’d say Beavertown. I can particularly recommend Neck oil! It’s just such a disruptive brand with an iconic and unique illustrative style. Each variant in the range tells its own story, and I just love a discoverable on packaging!

Beavertown

You can take 3 things (not people) with you to a desert island what would they be:

  1. My mobile phone. Obvs.
  2. A sunhat!
  3. A fishing net.