15. Siegrid Bourgois, Brand Division Leader

Brand Division Leader for TBWA, Siegrid Bourgois has +15 years experience researching, collaborating with creative and commercial teams, and helping clients develop the most effective and creative campaigns and build strong brands to grow their business internationally.

How does your job fit into the marketing process? I supervise 10 European markets and do specific missions with global clients. I’m in touch with our European clients and all TBWA networks globally who work for the client. I collaborate with account heads, creative directors, managing directors, and with the head marketing teams on the client-side to help clients develop the most effective and creative campaigns and build strong brands to grow their business.

I organize creative task forces so the worldwide creative director can come and work with the local creative team on specific briefs to develop and present to the local client.

I monitor the progress of the campaign creation, work on briefing and strategic planning with the client, and work with the creative directors during the brief and presentation.

For some projects I travel and work with different clients in the different markets. This allows our agency to mix experiences and ideas among our global agencies.

What’s an advertising campaign you’ve worked on:

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What’s a misconception people commonly have? One misconception which can lead to lack of cooperation between the client and the ad agency is when clients see the advertising agency as mere suppliers and not as partners. The best outcome for a client is to integrate communication people into their business and treat them as real business partners. Seeing an advertising agency as merely people who create and develop campaigns isn’t the best way to benefit from our expertise and passion for our client’s brands.

A second misconception is while the best agencies work done for clients is when we build strong ideas on advertising, position, and everything that involves building brands, but yet ad agencies aren’t exactly recognized or paid for this. No agency is paid for the quality of ideas they have. Ad agencies are generally paid based on contracts and amount of time spent – the amount of work produced. This model can lead to an agency spending ages implementing bad ideas instead of spending the time actually coming up brilliant ideas.

A third misconception is that – of course advertising agencies produce concrete ad campaigns, but overall advertising isn’t based on tangible things, it’s based on ideas. Everything is very conceptual most of the time, which can be seen as something superficial. Therefore you have to make sure people understand exactly what your idea is, what your objective(s) are, and how your brand wants to speak. Doing this can be complicated because it’s a job of communicating all the time.

Why is communication so complicated? I deal with many different personalities and types of people who are all experts in their field. These experts tend to be very different due to their cultural and educational backgrounds, so it’s hard to get them to work together and even to communicate. You have to send the right message depending on the particular person – For example, you cannot communicate with creatives in the same way you communicate with financial controllers and data consultants.

What’s an important lesson you’ve learned from experience? You can’t rely on things you’ve accomplished. Advertising is a job of perpetual change and challenges, and you deal with different clients from different industries which evolves really fast: media world, internet world, communication system changes everyday. You cannot say ‘I know exactly what has to be done for this client, brand, or project’ because everything is constantly changing.

Where do you often go to for ideas/inspiration?

  • I follow Influencia.net which is specific to communication, news about campaigns around the world, and trend observation.
  • I follow Cannes Lions to keep up-to-date with shortlists and winners and to see award-worthy advertisements from around the world. These ads are only available for a short time during and after the event. After you must register and pay to see archives and work.

Advice for someone who wants to do your job: Be passionate and find an intrinsic job satisfaction because you will work long hours and selling to clients ideas that will sell their products. You have to be convincing all the time. To be convincing you have to be passionate and convinced about it yourself.

At the end of the day the finished work could very well end up being one television advertisement among 1,000s that nobody you know will ever see.

Finally, one characteristic of every good manager has the capacity to get people to give their best and work hard for having good results. That’s not just specific to the advertising industry.

Your favorite ad campaign? Here are two:

I have a small advertising budget, any advice?

  • Brainstorm to find ideas.
  • Work with freelance. For a freelance to build their company, they have to find people to develop logos and build websites for.
  • Network. Build partnerships with individual people, and use your relationships to find people who can help you.
  • Until you have the income, have a good paying job to support your advertising.

Additional comments and advice? Ad agencies aren’t all the same. Depending on the company and network you’re in, you can have different perceptions of what is advertisng and what isn’t advertising. Ad agencies may have different cultures.