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Kommando Out

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And so, after 20 eventful, event-full months, the sun has set on my time at Kommando (metaphorically, of course - we’re in Glasgow). It wasn’t an easy choice to make, but I’ve decided that the day has come for me to move on. I’m heading off to spend some time travelling, and to begin putting together a portfolio of written work. Becoming a professional writer is the end-goal, and now seems as good a time as any to finally take that plunge.

So I suppose my new journey starts right here, with this very blog. Nothing like a bit of pressure for my last day, eh?

As I first walked through the doors at Kommando back in March of last year (not strictly true, but you don’t need to know that) I had little idea of the adventure that lay in wait for me (that bit is definitely true). I was but a fresh-faced university graduate, full of ambition and drive, but perhaps a tad naive about what working in a marketing agency really entails. Almost 13,000 emails – 12,790 to be exact – and truckloads of tea later, and I think it’s safe to say I’ve now got a much better idea.

When I was asked to write this blog, the question posed to me was ‘what have you learnt during your time at the company?’ The short answer would be a hell of a lot. Far too much to condense into a few hundred words, that’s for sure. So rather than try, I thought I’d write about a key slogan by which we live and die here at Kommando. ‘Great ideas are nothing without the power to make them happen’.

Marketing agencies thrive on ideas. They are not only the lifeblood of our product, but the argument for our existence. Our USP. Our raison d'etre. Agencies like Kommando are – by their own admission – producers of new and exciting content, of untold stories and fresh perspectives. I’ve heard it said before that if Aristotle were alive today, he’d be working in a marketing agency. (Or have I just made that up myself? A quick Google search proves inconclusive!). Whatever the case may be, the point I’m hoping to make is that marketers are the free-spirited thinkers of our generation, the modern-day philosophers, eternally in search of that ethereal eureka moment.

An agency’s success is not only judged by the strength of the ideas that it generates, however, but also – and this is the crux of it – its ability to realise those ideas. Agencies like Kommando are expected to be wildly inventive, while simultaneously presenting solutions that are practical, achievable and cost-effective. This fusion of creativity and pragmatism becomes a delicate balancing act, and one which is not easy to learn, hence the adage that great ideas really are nothing without the power to make them happen. Promising something that can’t be delivered is not going to do your reputation any favours. Understanding your limitations is just as important as playing to your strengths. Push the boundaries, by all means. Break them, if you can (something we certainly try to do with our campaigns here at Kommando). But fail to acknowledge their existence altogether, and you’re in trouble. In layman terms, don’t bite off more than you can chew.

While at Kommando, I have worked on a multitude of different projects for a vast range of clients, both big and small. I have helped to run nationwide field tours for the Scottish Government and to launch large-scale events during the 2014 Commonwealth Games. I have seen ideas develop from the ground up, and watched proudly on as they morph into reality. I’ve worried, and I’ve stressed, and on more than one occasion I have perhaps bitten off a little more than I could chew, but all the while it has been a fantastic learning experience. And hopefully I’ve not done too bad a job of things either!

Life in a marketing agency is always demanding, often frustrating, occasionally exasperating, and seldom straightforward. I won’t use a cliché and say it’s like a rollercoaster, but that’s exactly what it’s like. And a particularly rickety one too. Agency life is an everlasting treasure hunt; a frightful battle between the self and the imagination. But that’s precisely the beauty of the beast. Because while the search may be maddening, when that idea finally comes along, when it works, and when it flies, it all becomes so very worthwhile.

My thanks go out to everyone I’ve worked with during my time at Kommando. Best of luck to each of you, and cheers for all of the help you’ve offered along the way.

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