A Week in My Life: Natalia Togher, Client Services Director, Bugler Smith
Natalia Togher, Client Services Director at communications and events agency at Bugler Smith in Lymm, sheds some light on what her working week looks like...
The week starts the same as most weeks, with the routine of getting up, making sure lunch is made for my youngest, before dropping her off at school and heading into work. My eldest left school only three weeks ago so mornings are a breeze, now that I don’t have to usher two teens out of the house at the same time!
This Monday we get to update the team on all of the upcoming changes planned for the agency, that I have been working on with my business partner for a few months – all of which are related to changes in our industry and how audiences are now responding to brands.
It’s a really exciting time as we get the chance to reposition our agency and our offering, whilst at the same time, really giving our teams the opportunity to up-skill and train, which I know they have been craving for some time.
Once the entire team are up to date (and most importantly onboard) we have an entire afternoon booked out with the Senior Management Team (SMT) and our newly appointed non-exec Director. It’s fabulous as a senior team to be challenged on all that you know and unlearn some habits that have been commonplace for years. Painful and exciting at the same time, but god it feels good to have a new purpose and place in the comms mix as an agency!
Tonight, I watch the penultimate episode of Stranger Things.
This week is ‘presentation-tastic’, meeting new social clients, working on new TVC concepts (for presentation on Wednesday) and being in the final throes of delivering a major PR campaign for our (fairly) new client, a major cricket club, so after the World Cup result last week, it’s gone mental!
The challenge as client services lead is to make sure that the team always look up when they are manic. As we are a pro-active versus reactive agency, that can be something of a challenge.
Following an early morning meeting with the team, there are three projects that we have been talking about with clients for a while that need to have activation plans presenting in the next two weeks. It’s a juggle, but pulling people from their desks for 10-15 mins for catch-ups proves invaluable.
Food is a big theme in the office for us, so I did a pre-lunch run to Sainsburys for a giant haul of chips and dips for the office. We all gather like locusts around the spare desks to consume three grab bags of Doritos, six dips, a bag of marshmallows and too many bags of Cadburys chocolate to count.
The afternoon was spent finalising the TV and Social campaign deck with the team ahead of the meeting, before an evening of girls’ rugby training.
I don’t have time to watch the ending of Stranger Things as I get in too late!
After a client call first thing, my day suddenly became very squeezed. It’s a blessing that as a small agency you get to work with clients almost on an ‘in-house’ basis, so the brief is helping with the inception of a new product offering.
After a quick download to the team (I am always a bit too excitable about a new brief), it’s back on to the business of TV for the PM meeting.
The creative looks fab, so before lunch, we have a presentation rehearsal, assign roles and then we are off.
The meeting is with the media agency and I always think that, as a team, we get a lot from all agency meetings. The Group Marketing Director is in the meeting, who we haven’t had a chance to see for a while so it was lovely to catch up. As we aren’t a super formal agency, we get to form really strong bonds with our clients, as we have really honest and open relationships – it means that when we present work, there is no holding back on thoughts or opinions which is great.
The client gives tonnes of feedback and, as the campaign is going out mid-rugby World Cup, we need to come back, re-group and make the preferred route a bit punchier for the climate so we stand out.
As I leave the meeting, my eldest texts to say she got the job that she interviewed for earlier in the morning. Apparently, her success means I need to buy her new clothes and shoes. I’m not sure about this logic!
I get home in time to watch the last episode of Stranger Things. I miss the scene after the credits – damn it.
Tomorrow one of our team members is leaving to go to the Big Smoke. They have been here for five years and have been a massive part of our growth – the mood in the office is a bit odd as no-one has worked here before without them. I don’t like it!
The day is mixed between lots of strat planning, working through de-briefs, new briefs, talking to the client about product planning from earlier in the week, and to be fair a tonne of research and even more briefings.
This week for me has had a big bias towards working with the PR and Social team on a lot of new projects, some about to go live, some in planning. The team have nailed tomorrow’s cricket launch and the roll call of names for media is amazing. BBC, ITV and Sky to name but a few.
Our Account Exec is about to go to her first press day tomorrow, so we are all in SWAT team mode to make sure she’s as supported as possible. Letting someone go it alone is always nerve-wracking, but making sure they don’t feel micro-managed is so important. I’m always really proud of how the team rally around one another. They genuinely are a really kind, decent group of people.
Had an awesome brainstorm with the teams earlier for a pharma client who is looking to do some experiential PR activity. There are two ideas which I am super excited to see come to fruition, which we are presenting next Wednesday. I love how we are looking to shake things up on social for them and the team have gone giddy thinking about some of the ideas!
This PM, we had to do a mini WIP (these normally happen on a Monday AM) as the week has exploded. A new quick turnaround brief for Tuesday next week has imploded the scheduling. Got it sorted but, between now and Tuesday, it’s all hands on deck.
I WILL READ MY NEW BOOK TONIGHT!
The holiday season is about to hit at Bugler Smith, so it’s a day of handovers.
This morning was spent running through creative and content for a pitch meeting on Monday in London. The pressure from it not being ‘up-north’ means that we don’t have the beauty of another day to get it finished so it’s all hands on deck to get it finished on time. As usual, there is a last-minute ‘no biggie… but’ addition which, in fact, is pretty monumental.
The office has a strange air to it today as half the team are out delivering events and the PR team are in sunny Blackpool (rain, thunder and lightning) for an outdoor activity. I guess that’s the good old British weather for you.
It’s been quite nice to end the week with a lot to look forward to next week. I love the momentum of a busy period and as the changes we announced on Monday start to come to fruition, there is a real energy and buzz from the team. I'm glad they've completely embraced a new way of doing things.
The pace of this week has been insane and I haven’t left the office much before 7pm every night. I have spent a lot of time on my commute, being quite reflective this week. After eight years of being in business, the past week has been the most emotional. We say goodbye to friends who have been with us since the beginning, we are navigating a new future with our SMT and in the next few weeks we will welcome new colleagues who have no idea of how we got to where we are, or how it was when it was just a small team of four.
I plan on a weekend filled with family time (that both of my kids will resist), watching girls rugby (again) and finding a new box set to watch whilst still pondering ‘Did that really happen to Hopper?’