Coffee with Lowe's new strategist, Angela Ferreira
D: So you've recently moved to Dubai from TBWA South Africa, first
impressions of the industry?
A: Not an easy question. To be honest, I haven’t been here long enough to formulate an informed opinion. However, if we are talking off-the-cuff first impressions, then the words that come to mind are “immature”, “underutilized” and possible a little “dated”. By that I mean the work out there is a tad on the formulaic side. I find this interesting as since being here I met a host of bright, enthusiastic suits and seriously charged creatives who are just dying to get good work out there. This is even more surprising in the context of Dubai, which in all other respects is progressive, innovative and forward thinking.
D: As planners we are constantly vexing over the right sentence, or words to bring something to life. What sentence or combination of words bring Angela to life as a planner?
A: LOL! Are we talking about Angela before or after the morning Jungle Juice delivery?
My 3rd grade teacher once wrote in my report: “Angela is a happy and confident child. She has an enquiring mind and is persistent in obtaining answers to all her questions. She is a polite and sociable individual but sometimes talks too much, which can be disruptive in the classroom.”
Lets just say that nothing has changed much.
D: How much pressure are brand consultancies gonna put on agency's in the future and what do you think agency's need to do to better prepare themselves for this eventual battle?
A: Personally I don’t view brand consultancies & communication agencies as competitors. In fact, I think their work compliments ours. And vice versa.
Reality is, all the theorizing in the world is meaningless if you can’t action a desired outcome in the consumer environment in an engaging and relevant way. That’s like me writing the best strategy in the world and then sticking it in my bottom draw and never telling anyone about it. Enter communication agency stage right.
On the other hand, no amount of advertising in the world can sustain a brand that is indistinct, inconsistent or stagnant. Pretty pictures don’t build brands, it’s the people who buy into the brands that breathe life into them. Consumers don’t buy into brands that are too abstract, schizophrenic or that lack substance. Enter brand consultancy stage left.
Of course if we are talking share of wallet, that’s another story. My experience is that by working together everyone, including the client, ends up with more in the bank so I think it’s really unfortunate that the two are pitted against one another.
D: So what do you look for when interviewing a potential planner? What's your interview opener?
A: The first characteristic I look for is CURIOSITY.
Strategy is not about being smart or knowing the right answer; it’s about asking the right questions. We can never hope to know more about our clients business than they do and empathizing with consumers will never actually enable us to walk a day in their shoes. Generally, asking the right questions unearths all the necessary information and if you are really lucky, a couple of really insightful gems make an appearance. Then it’s simply a case of joining the dots and TA-DA - the strategy becomes as clear as day.
First question? Tell me about the first hurdle you hit in your first job ever? Age? What? Where? What happened?
Personally I find this line of questioning, a good indication of attitude. The debate rages on – Are planners born or made? Personally I think it’s a little of both. In my humble view, nothing beats a “can do” attitude. Passion is paramount and talent necessary, but both are useless without the drive to succeed. Good planners are more doers than talkers. Although being blessed with the gift of the gab never hurts :)
D: Welcome to Dubai Angela we wish you all the best!