Work hard to keep a team together, says AMV BBDO's Philippa Field

Philippa Field: senior account director, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Philippa Field: senior account director, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

Philippa Field, senior account director at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, shares her lessons from the career ladder.

What has changed since I last featured in Campaign? Everything and nothing, I suppose.

I still work at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO but, instead of Marylebone, it’s Southwark. I still work in account management but now on a global business rather than a domestic one. I’m still living in London but am now married.

Plus ça change. After nearly four years working with Sainsbury’s, I have since moved on to look after various chocolate brands for Mars, including Snickers globally, Celebrations in Europe and Maltesers in the UK.

The achievements I am most proud of are revitalising Maltesers with a new campaign, "Look on the light side" – including the latest disability work launched off the back of the Paralympics – and building an urban garden with a bunch of AMVers to support the rehabilitation of ex-offenders as part of our charitable activities in 2015.

I don’t feel qualified to offer advice, but that’s the brief and we all know the importance of meeting it. So here goes.

Embrace the scary

You can only ever be as good as your ambition. Who thought Maltesers would beat 90 brands to win the Channel 4 Paralympics competition? Assert and believe in your right to be the best. Be willing to take risks.

Be fast, be first

We all know what first-mover advantage can do for innovation and what pace can do for creativity. Talk to your clients about it. Use examples.

Here’s one – our disability campaign had ten days of creative development, same-day script approval and six weeks of production. Momentum avoids creeping nerves and second-guesses.

Don't back down

Don’t allow fear to smooth away the corners. Bravery is not just in the initial decision to present and buy great work but also in the courage to stick with it over time. All successful work involves a gutsy client. They are rare – look after them.

Maintain a tight team

Speak regularly, in person. Avoid email. Work hard to keep a team together – the trust gained and lessons learned are invaluable. Recruit specialists and ensure direct access to the decision-maker.

Never stop learning

Root your work in insight, set KPIs, measure success, build on it for next time. Say yes to training opportunities and chances to stretch yourself.

Do what you enjoy

(But I don’t mean you don’t need to write up that contact report.) Find clients or businesses or teams that you believe in. You have to work for someone, so make it someone who inspires you. The work will be better, your team will be happier and so will you.

Work with people better than you

I work in an immense team of eye-wateringly talented people. They challenge and stretch me and make me better every day, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

When in doubt, be nice

I’m lucky to work with clients who believe in "mutuality". We may not always know what’s best but, if we do everything with respect and courtesy, we won’t go too far wrong.

Philippa Field, is senior account director, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO. Field was featured in Campaign's Faces to Watch in 2014.

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