Jon Workman joined creative agency Ponderosa as its Creative Director in 2017, moving from London to join the Leeds-based company.
He had previously been at Lida, which later merged into M&C Saatchi, where he was Creative Lead. Previously, Workman spent time at CMW, WDMP, and Draftfcb.
Ponderosa, which works with clients like Nestle, Audio-Technica, and Russell Hobbs, became part of the Audience Collective umbrella in December 2020, when PE firm Newmore Capital brought its investment portfolio together into one network.
We found out what a recent week in Jon’s life looked like…
Ah, Monday morning – I’ve been expecting you.
To start the week on the front foot, first thing I review the status of the projects in creative already and what’s due in. I’ll also check out my online diary and play Tetris with the various coloured meetings blocks, trying to bunch the same sort of meetings into clusters in the name of efficiency and sanity.
We introduced hybrid working after the last lockdown eased – Monday, Wednesday and Friday are WFH – so this morning I jump on the link for a quick team hello at 9am. It’s important that we all try to set the agenda for the week, share what everyone is working on and replicate the informal chats that would happen in the office.
Then I’m fairly back-to-back in the various catch-ups, reviews and briefings that keep projects progressing with the team. In small doses, bouncing from Zoom link to Zoom link is actually handy for this. And unlike when we’re in the office, I can’t get kicked out of meeting rooms I’m sure that I booked…
It’s an inset day at my daughter’s school so we have lunch together and discuss whether ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ from Encanto is better than ‘So Shiny’ from Moana – which it absolutely is not.
My afternoon includes a creative briefing for some April Fool’s social activation, which is a brief I’ve always enjoyed working on. I also have an in-depth pre-production meeting for a shoot next week – I believe creatives should shoot what they concept, and that includes me.
I finish the day with a tour of email and Slack – clearing the decks so I’m ready for Tuesday. Oh, and did I mention I’ve been subjected to ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ on repeat for the past four hours?
Before heading to the office, I pay an early morning visit to the gym. I have to make the time (and find the willpower) to go, but as anyone else who can be arsed will know, endorphins are more constructive than cake.
Tuesdays tend to be very busy but productive and buzzy days – today is no exception. I attempt to spend as much time with as many of the team that need it. Or in meetings that are better face-to-face, like 1-to-1s or detailed creative reviews.
By mid-afternoon, I’ve chatted about photography retouching, voices for a radio ad, animation pacing, film edits and reviewed creative for a launch campaign. Love the variety.
Then there’s a management meeting to discuss upcoming projects with our Resource Manager and also the Senior Management Team meeting. Lots to talk about, from the critical – team news, company away day, argh timesheets! – to the non-critical – did you know the Metaverse is already big in Japan?
I do have a few things on my to do list that I’ll need to pick up later at home, but I’ll need to start a World Book Day costume beforehand…
After a quick team hello, I’m blocked out all morning for a client workshop and discovery session. The wider teams from both sides are present so we all hear everything first-hand. There’s plenty to cover and lots of brains to be picked but taking the time now will ensure clarity for everyone down the line.
After a quick peek at all the notifications that I’ve been muting, I’m then onto a brainstorm with our Strategy Director to finalise a brief that’s coming my way. Being a sounding board is good for the brief and gets me up to speed.
I write everything down, I always have, so like a Police Detective from a TV drama, I can refer to my notes when I need to pick this project back up.
Then it’s over to the department to see how everyone is getting on. The motion team are working on some animations I concepted, so we go through those in detail – love the power of good creative craft. More meetings see out the day, from planning time for the coming weeks to a chat with our MD.
A few big presentations are lined up for today, starting with a new brand launch. The wider team have a final run through the two routes to make sure everyone is clear, engaged and excited by them.
A pitch brief has come in through our network, Audience Collective, so it’s nice to say hello to some friendly faces from the other agencies who are also working on it. We all agree the plan so we can go away and do our respective elements. It’s a tricky brief, but often these can be the most rewarding.
Next up is a workshop for Training and People Development across the network, with a lot of the same faces from this morning. Helping our people cope through the pandemic has definitely brought real focus on staff support and wellbeing in general. I look forward to sharing some of the initiatives with the team.
I do one final walk around the office to see who’s finishing off what, before a dash to get the final bits for the best (only) World Book Day costume I’ve ever had to help make.
So, I ended up working late on Thursday – it happens. I hadn’t planned to but once I started writing something down it seemed more productive to go with it than stop.
I’ve always been a night owl and have to try my best to fight the urge. Anyway, it will mean today should be much easier thanks to the progress (hopefully).
I turn off all notifications and distractions and spend a good chunk of the morning working through a brief with one of the team. Turns out my late-night ramblings have been useful, so we have the makings of a creative presentation sketched out by early afternoon.
Friday afternoons tend to be about final approval for the creative work developed during the week. My final meeting of the week is a kick-off session for an initiative we’re running later in the year, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy, sorry…
And that’s my week in humblebrag done. If you’ve made it through with me, thank you.
Compared to what else is going on in the world at the minute, us marketing folk don’t know how lucky we are.