Back to school

POSTED BY on Mar 25, 2016

They say you never stop learning. That’s something my colleagues and I find with nearly every project we work on—a new project, a new experience. My teammate Rob Zwiebel and I had the opportunity to share our recently launched Alaska Airlines work, including some of our own lessons learned with students at the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA. It was the first time the team shared out this work in a way that highlighted the process behind building the brand. It was a surprising challenge to reflect on all the hard work that went into the project. The students at Cornish were a great audience—eager to learn, inquisitive, and armed with a lot of great questions during our Q&A. Here are a few of the smart, well thought out questions they brought to the table and my responses. 

(Photo courtesy of Cornish College of the Arts)

When you are working on a project like Alaska that extends over nearly a year, how do you stay motivated and not get burned out?

For me, it’s always about staying hungry. When you are a few months in and things feel like they are dragging along, challenge yourself to learn something new. Making sure you are always pushing what the brand can be. Even after the brand expression has been defined, there is always an opportunity to evolve and push the expected. In the same vein, getting uncomfortable also helps. For me, this was stepping up and presenting more, but this can take form in many ways depending upon the individual. Figure out something that you want to get better at and do it!

When you are juggling multiple projects, how do you stay focused and efficient on each project? 

This is something I’m always trying to improve. One way I have found is to create clear blocks of time in my day that are focused on one particular project. This helps create clarity for me by focusing on one project at a time, and helps me avoid jumping around from project to project. In addition to that, I make sure to take frequent breaks. If I’m going for hours on end, I start to spin and my creativity becomes less fruitful.

How did you sell in the Alaska work to the client?

Fortunately, Alaska Airlines is an amazing client. It started with a strong partnership built on trust. From the very beginning, we were working together on a weekly if not bi-weekly timeline. I think for the first few weeks the Alaska team was as much a part of defining where things were going as we were. Like I mentioned, this trust lead to a single vision for both HA and the Alaska team, and we were able to implement a brand from start to finish in less than a year. 


(Photo courtesy of Cornish College of the Arts)

Having this opportunity to share advice and provide some insight into agency life was as valuable a learning experience for me as I hope it was for the students. Learning doesn’t end with your diploma in hand. In fact, it’s just the beginning.


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