A Week in My Life: Pete Metcalfe, Managing Director of Carat
Carat Manchester creates media campaigns across platforms and is part of the Dentsu Aegis Network.
They have done work for Pets at Home, SimplyBe, Greggs and Halfords amongst others. Their Managing Director, Pete Metcalfe, shares what a week in his working life is really like...
The week usually starts early, with two young kids (10 months & two years old). Wake up time usually ranges from 5am – 6.30am. I try and limit my screen time when at home, but I can’t help but reach for the phone upon waking, check emails and start to think about my priorities for the week ahead.
Nursery is close and the tram is even closer, I like to take my daughter most mornings, unless I need to travel for meetings earlier. After walking her to Nursery, I get the tram about 7.30am (driving into Manchester with current roadworks is futile!). Once in the office, coffee is a must! Once I have had my caffeine hit, I start to look at weekend performance from our client base. We have a strong heritage in Retail, so weekend trading, especially in the current environment, means being all over the numbers.
After mapping out priorities for the week and arranging any internal meetings, Monday at 10.30 is our weekly Dentsu Aegis Network Leadership meeting. These sessions are invaluable, all the brand MDs from across the network come together with the Exec board to discuss our current focus, challenges and opportunities.
Our business model requires all our brands to be well connected, this meeting sets the tone. The afternoon is taken up with internal meetings with various teams and getting through emails from clients and the wider agency.
We have a chemistry session with a prospective client in a few weeks, most of the afternoon is taken up planning our, content, approach and deciding on who should attend.
My morning routine is the same (although it started a little earlier!). We have sessions with an independent partner that we used to survey our clients today. They are presenting back on the client referral ratings and the key themes coming out of the feedback.
We pride ourselves on our Clients relationships, so this kind of feedback is priceless. Whilst anonymous, it gives us the opportunity to tap into what our clients are thinking and indexes where we are at over the course of the year. Some great feedback across most of our client base, which is testament to our people, as well as some areas we need to work on.
The afternoon is spent at an all agency session with one of our biggest clients. They have just employed a new Chief Brand Officer, who is starting to plan for their next big campaign. Being embedded in our client’s business at every level is the cornerstone of our success, I love this kind of session, collaborating across other agencies and clients, contributing and learning.
Having coming through the agency in a few roles, predominantly digital, I have seen the speed of which our offering and clients’ needs have changed, I think it is key to make sure you are always putting yourself in situations where I can learn from the talented specialists both inside and outside the agency.
Today starts with an early breakfast meeting chaired by Thinkbox, the MD of our trading business, Amplifi and our respective leadership teams. They have also invited the regional leads from Sky, ITV and Channel 4.
On the agenda is a discussion about the future of the AV industry, the recent data and technological advancements they have all made, our specific tri-party relationships with clients. One of the key themes is how they should work closely together to expedite addressable TV and a unified measurement across the industry. We also agree that closer working relationships between ourselves, media partners and clients is crucial as we continue to move towards new and exciting methods of advertising such as brand partnerships.
The rest of my day is taken up with meetings including a procurement session with a client as we look to agree a new contract and my quarterly people meeting with my MD, CFO and HR to discuss resource and recruitment requirements as we look to onboard new clients and grow existing clients.
Thursday morning is spent pre reading our Carat board pack in preparation for our board meeting early next week. It has just been circulated and there is a lot to go through. We cover everything across clients, people, culture, innovation and operations.
The client section is positive, from working with clients on their first TV campaign, through to helping them activate their digital channels in new countries to support their international expansion.
Several of the Carat Directors sponsor workstreams that we have outlined as central to our next phase of growth. It looks like we aren’t making as much progress in some areas should be, this goes to the top of my list to be discussed.
The pace is high in our agency, so these sessions really allow me and the Carat board to step back and consider the bigger picture. After a quick lunch with a client that wants to get my view on their marketing plan, prior to their upcoming meeting with their owners, my afternoon is more meetings.
These meetings are mainly taken up with HR, following up on the key actions from my people meeting yesterday, putting the plan into action. We will be promoting someone to Director, and we have just taken on a new Group Business Director into the Carat leadership team to oversee our largest Retail client. This is important to me, having grown up through the business I know first-hand that our people are our biggest asset and our proposition wouldn’t have grown at the pace that it has without promoting and developing people.
We have also just had our Global Check in Survey which all staff complete to feedback on the business within the network that they work for, we take the rest of the time to look at the initial overview for my area of the business.
Friday morning is spent catching up on the latest news, industry and otherwise. I keep a constant eye on this, but I have always found investing considered time into this keeps me up to date and informed.
I then have a meeting that has been put in yesterday, there is an opportunity to support one of our clients on a short turnaround creative campaign. Having recently acquired two impressive creative agencies, this kind of opportunity excites me massively. Our aim is to continue our journey now that we are a full service-connected network.
With Carat being our biggest client-facing brand, we are at the forefront of delivering our latest capabilities to clients. I sit down with the Group Business Director who looks after the client and we agree approach before engaging with our new creative counterparts. A media owner has asked to catch up on a campaign we are running with the client and have a general business update.
We have a good discussion, with one strong idea to pick up on. I get back to the office in time to host our weekly ‘Take Ten’. We do this every Friday afternoon, 10 mins for the whole Carat team to step away from their desks after a busy week. I give a brief update on the wider business and clients. They then have free time to have a chat and grab some food (this week, it's doughnuts).
The rest of the afternoon is spent clearing down my emails and thinking about next week. I try to leave slightly earlier on a Friday, I find that making sure I get home for bath time at the end of the week starts my weekend off in the right (albeit not relaxing!) way as I look forward to some quality family time.