Agency Versus In-House: BICster Edition

6/11/2020 Unknown 0 Comments

Agency? Or brand? Both environments have their pros and cons. That's why BIC believes in "career agility" where you can cross over to either side and back again. Case in point? Two BIC alums from the Class of 2016:  Ken Sheldon and Rolando Leal. Both have recently shifted to in-house jobs at major corporations after working for a series of renowned agencies.

Halfway through the BIC program, Ken started a job as Art Director at Red Fuse Communications, the global WPP client team dedicated to serving Colgate-Palmolive Worldwide. During his time there, Ken art directed the digital, social, television, and print channels in North America and Latin America for brands including Colgate, Irish Spring, and Palmolive. About three and a half years later, he made the move to one of the world's largest public relations firms, Weber Shandwick. As Senior Art Director, Ken worked on social and digital activations for TUMS, Anheuser Busch, Breathe Right, Flonase, Sensodyne, and new business.

Earlier this year, Ken left the agency side and accepted a new position as Associate Creative Director at multi-national tech giant, IBM. His team is in charge of the master brand as well as other business units at IBM such as Watson, Cloud, and Research. Ken also works with the creative team to design and create assets for more general IBM announcements and partnerships, such as the Grammys, the US Open, and Pride.

Ken believes that a lot of brands are building out their in-house teams not just to save money, but because brands are coming to realize the need for year-round advertising and marketing. Although he doesn't have a particular preference, Ken notes that the largest difference between working at an agency versus working for a brand is the shift from working on multiple products to focusing all your energy on a single brand.

However, Ken feels that "IBM is a bit unique in that it's so large and has many different business units. Also, I'm excited to work on a brand like IBM that holds design so high up in importance—that's been a big change for me versus a lot of the brands I've worked on agency-side."

Having agency experience is a big plus. Ken's team at IBM is currently borrowing from how agencies do things. His expertise is particularly useful when doing any work in conjunction with agencies and production houses.

Similar to Ken, Rolando had a lot of agency experience before making the switch to in-house. Since graduating from BIC, Rolando's worked in account management at Campbell Ewald, mcgarrybowen, and most recently at Ogilvy as Account Supervisor with clients such as Holiday Inn Brands and Southwest Airlines. But since March, Rolando has been Account Director of consumer goods at Unilever's U-Studio which has grown from a small in-house agency to a platform used by almost three-quarters of Unilever's brands. Using a hybrid model, U-Studio has hired most of its staff from the agency world. Since launching in 2016, Lever now has 18 U-Studios in 15 countries.

As the debate rages on, the only thing certain is that Ken and Rolando will increase their career agility in the the ever-changing communications ecosystem.