Don't dwell on disappointment, says MG OMD's Cooper

Oli Cooper: executive director, head of Invents, Manning Gottlieb OMD
Oli Cooper: executive director, head of Invents, Manning Gottlieb OMD

"Expect a lot and give people the freedom to deliver it". Oli Cooper shares his lessons from the ladder.

When I reflected on the eight years since I was one of the Faces to Watch class of 2009, the first thing that came to mind was that the principles for success have stayed the same. The industry, however, is almost unrecognisable from the one I joined back at the start of the millennium.

The same applies to clients’ businesses. I’ve always worked on entertainment and tech brands, having swapped MediaCom for Invents, Manning Gottlieb OMD’s hub for entertainment-focused clients, and these sectors have been at the forefront of new technology and the transformation that comes with it.

However, beneath all this change, the fundamental principles for success remain the same: the need to understand audiences, clients’ businesses and the world in which we operate, and to foster great relationships with clients, media owners and the team around you.

With that in mind, I have collated some of my guiding principles in the hope that they will be as relevant to other people as they continue to be to me.

Treat clients' money as if it were your own

This was instilled in me early, primarily through dealing with clients with very small budgets. It can and should be applied to any client and any budget level, however.

As well as ensuring that every element has been scrutinised, it also means that you’ll be rock solid when the inevitable questions start rolling in.

Be curious

Scratch beneath the surface at the why and the how, lift your head up from your phone/email to observe the world around you, explore different sectors and subjects. You’ll learn more from and be more inspired by this than from any training you are given.

Have an opinion

Robots and algorithms don’t have opinions.

Keep calm and learn

You’ll experience a range of emotions in your role but try to retain a calm, positive outlook regardless of the situation. Don’t let frustration boil over, dwell on disappointment or over-celebrate success.

We work in such a fast-paced industry that it’s likely that a completely different situation is just around the corner, so learn the lesson and move on.

Expect a lot and give people the freedom to deliver it

Over the course of my career, I’ve managed graduates to seasoned pros. I’ve come to understand that people tend to live up to your expectations – so if you set challenging, specific goals and place your trust in them, they will respond in the right way.

While it can be terrifying giving up control, the more you do, the more motivated your team becomes and the greater number of new challenges you can seek out for yourself.

Oli Cooper is the executive director, head of Invents, Manning Gottlieb OMD. Cooper was featured
in Campaign's Faces to Watch in 2009.

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