TeaTalk with: Lydia Sanders, Relationships Executive.

For our last TeaTalk of 2021, we sit down with Lydia Sanders, our Relationships Executive for a cuppa and a chat. We find out why she joined Cogent after completing her Fashion Business degree, what she’s most proud of and what motto helps her at work.

What inspired you to get involved in relationships/account management? Was this something you always wanted to do?

Like a lot of people in the marketing and advertising world, I never really knew what it is I wanted to do, and I can’t say that account management or relationships was something I had ever even considered. And like I’m sure many young people find, it’s very difficult to apply to jobs when you don’t really know what it is you’re looking for. To add to my career confusion, a couple of months into my 3 year Fashion Business degree, I knew I didn’t want to go into the fashion industry.

So, what was next? I have always been a creative person and found that any modules that included marketing at uni were the ones I enjoyed the most…so working at a creative marketing agency seemed the logical step to take. My dad has also been in the advertising industry all his life, so I grew up analysing TV ads with him, hearing about shoots and have vivid memories of visiting his agency’s office, taking full advantage of agency life of free chocolate Fridays and the ping pong table!

I was fascinated by the culture and remember thinking I would love to work somewhere like this. It was actually my dad who spotted the advert for the role I’m currently in and felt it would be a good fit for me and my skills, so I applied and here I am!

That’s the thing about this industry, whether you’re creative, analytical, great with people or numbers or a mix of all, there’s a role to suit anyone. I think our CEO, Bruce, summed it up quite nicely when he said: ‘We’re all just a bunch of misfits really, using our range of skills to reach a common goal.’

What is it that makes Cogent different to other places you have worked at?

I think if you ask anyone at Cogent this question, they will all say the same thing – it’s the people and the culture. Everyone is so friendly and supportive, and you know that if you ever need anything, someone will be happy to help. There’s a real ‘we’re in this together’ attitude which helps make the positives even more rewarding and the challenging times that little bit easier.

What is your career highlight to date? Something you are proud of!

Honestly, I would say my career highlight is managing to graduate and actually start my career during a global pandemic. My third year at university was challenging and stressful enough for a multitude of reasons, without needing the added worry of Covid. I was especially proud of the TV advert I filmed for my final major project in third year. Originally to be filmed by a videographer on a set with real actors and professional props, but then Covid hit and so I had to make do with my phone, my housemates and some party poppers and a hoover. As random as that sounds, I made it through to the final round of the Graduate Fashion Week Awards with this makeshift advert that I loved dearly and I’m super proud of.

I kept going and graduated with a First Class degree and bagged a job at this fab agency just 7 months later (not to toot my own horn). Starting my very first grad job completely remotely was odd, I won’t lie, not meeting my team in person for 5 months was particularly strange. But I am proud of the way I handled and adapted to this unique experience – it’s not something uni prepares you for!

Do you have a motto or ethos that helps you in your everyday work?

Trust the process and take each day as it comes. It is very easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of work that comes with fast-paced agency life, which don’t get me wrong is fun and keeps things interesting. But sometimes taking a step back, just focusing on what you need to get done today can help everything else fall into place. We’re often told to zoom out and look at the bigger picture, but I think sometimes it’s good to zoom in. Focus on one thing at a time and focus on doing it well, the bigger picture will work itself out if all the pieces are the best they can be. And if it’s not going well, tomorrow is a new day to try again. Very philosophical, I know.

What part of your job do you enjoy the most and why?

Collaboration! My role means I get to work with copywriters, creatives, PR & Social, Paid Media, the list goes on. It’s always interesting working with lots of different people with lots of different viewpoints, we don’t always see eye to eye but that’s just part of the creative process and often the outcome is of much higher quality when there’s a bit more discussion about what, when, where, why and how we’re doing something. You know what they say, friction creates fire!

I also just love being organised. That sounds incredibly nerdy I know, but I love a list or a notebook or a planner. And this role just wouldn’t be possible without being able to be super on it and know what’s always going on. It is a very satisfying feeling being able to tick things off the list and know you are doing your job efficiently, especially when there are about a million (completely accurate number) different campaigns happening at once.

That’s all from Lydia.  Keep an eye out for next month’s TeaTalk where we’ll be sitting down with another member of the Cogent family.