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Life, Opinion

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It’s a bit different here at Grapple.

It’s a bit different here at Grapple. We’re a whole bunch of crazy; the special kind. We’re crazy about what we do and how we do it, in order to produce amazing work.

With this in mind, we introduce to you, Grapple Shorts. So you can better understand us, our values and the way we make decisions as a team and as a company. First up, our digital account director, Chloe Waddington…

Describe your job: what do you do?
I am the account director here at Grapple and I am responsible for overseeing the client services team and the account relationships for some of the UK’s most respected brands.

What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your job? 
As an account director, your responsibility shifts from that individual task list, to everyone’s task lists. I spend my day spinning most people’s plates in the business; making sure everything is on time and moving in the correct way for our clients. To keep this up, you must be flexible yet assertive. At Grapple, I have always been given the freedom and confidence to do different things, take risks and build on my capabilities for which I am truly grateful for.

From a development perspective, in a growing business, having the ability to spot talent and draw a brilliant team of people around you are also key to being effective. My team is wonderful and I’ve been deliberate in building a team that creates solutions rather than challenges. Everyone is very creative and committed and I am genuinely the sum of them.

What do you love about your job? What do you hate?
I love having a strong ownership of the Grapple brand and being able to shape our strategy and plans within the leadership team. I especially love working with a talent such as Joff Lumb. I will write a creative brief and what then comes back from him is always something that takes us all way further than the initial brief could have ever intended. He has such a fantastic eye for design but there is something in the way his mind works that makes his work extra special. Relating specifically to how he approaches a piece of work, I think the reason he often produces the results he does, is because he has thought about what he’s creating beyond visuals. This comes from his UX experience. He starts with what will actually work / how something needs to work and then combines that with his creative, visual response. From a completely unbiased view, he is certainly one of the best creatives out there.

Our clients genuinely interest all of us, so it is always a pleasure to push the boundaries within their industries. We have such a varied client base where there is a requirement to get under the skin of each. We draw out what we can from their expertise and then take them higher than they ever expected. Luckily for us, our clients welcome bold ideas.

Hate for me is where time goes. We work in project cycles of 12 weeks. Apparently, it’s been six years since I started. One minute it’s January, the next minute it’s summer.

How did you get started in digital? 
I graduated when the recession hit so I made a list of agencies, found the ‘agency of the moment’ and turned up every day like a stray cat until they decided to hire me. It was a weird one, as I would spend hours in the most beautiful office, full of brilliantly bright minds, and then need to go sign on at the job centre in not such a nice area, to be able to afford my bus fare to get there. The view that you need to get stuck in no matter what the task was one of many values instilled upon me from an early age. Over time, it made me more determined to get a full-time position. They must have seen this as I went from making (really good) tea to an account manager within six months. This is where I met the now Grapple MD. We’ve worked together for going on a decade now, so we have a brilliant relationship which filters down to client accounts.

Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to break into the industry? 
More listening and less talking. Oh, and put your phone down, go outside and experience the world. We spend most of the day plugged into devices for work, especially when we are in a testing phase of a website. However, we also spend an equal amount of time understanding the market we work in and the people within it. We even revert to pens and sticky labels. These devices are what we deliver our work on, but taking a moment to watch and observe the behaviour of who’s using them means that when we come to write a brief, we know who we are creating for.