People That Make Octagon Tick: Liza and Yoo-JinUK, Octagon Germany, Partnerships, Creative Marketing Agency
Meet our new Client Service Directors…Earlier this year we announced the appointments of Liza Durge and Yoo-Jin, who joined the agency following a strong 2017 in both the UK and Germany respectively. The new role at Octagon aims to help drive consistent excellence across the agency’s accounts and deliver our creative services.
Liza Durge joined the London team having headed up Lost Boys which merged with Digitas, whilst Yoo-Jin, who sits in Germany, returns to the agency world after a period of freelance work. We asked them a few questions to learn a little more about their history, why they joined Octagon and some of their favourite work to date!
- Welcome to Octagon! Can you give us a little flavour of your career to date?
LD: Working life began at the BBC, but I always had a burning desire to try agency life. Once I went over to ‘the other side’ there was no going back, I loved it. I went knee deep into digital at Dare where I was the 100th employee and immediately humiliated by having to wear a tiara in the company meeting. An amazing 9 years followed working in client services on brands such as BMW, Coca-Cola, Barclaycard and Sony. The world moved on from banners and landing pages to social media and apps, opening up opportunities and challenges. Following that, I went to VML for a short stint as CSD before going over to manage Lost Boys and help guide clients such as Visa, Honda F1 and French Connection through their social and content journeys. Lost Boys became part of Digitas LBi, so I had a taster of working in a 500-person digital transformation agency. So all in all, I’ve been around and seen many a process and merger, plus a variety of talent and various sized agencies.
YJ: I will try to keep 17 years short and sweet: I started as a PR trainee at Trimedia Communications, studying media economics in Cologne; I then lived in a pure tech world as the PR manager for Intergenia; before I came part of the Samsung Group / Cheil team to help build up their PR & Sponsorship skills. Following this I joined DDB as Account Director; worked for Scholz & Friends, Tribal DDB and Grabarz & Partner, before a spell at the brilliant design studio Studio Oeding (and a nice break from adverstising). After this journey, I started working as a freelance consultant in 2014, which was really great as you are quite flexible and work with a lot of people, clients and agencies. Finally, I arrived at Octagon this year, where I am looking forward to putting all this experience into practive.
- Why did you want to join the team at Octagon?
LD: Octagon is at such an exciting pivotal point. I have watched the agency have great success and show tremendous growth in recent years and I wanted to be part of the team that shapes its future as we continue on that upward journey expanding the scope of what we offer. I admire the huge variety of work that comes out of Octagon and the talented teams that make it happen.
YJ: The Octagon family feels like a real one. From Frankfurt to Munich, to Dusseldorf and London – the agency is full of amazing people. And of course, the new role as a CSD is an exciting challenge to support and realize the creative marketing services power of Octagon. I have to admit that I knew that it would be fun too, which is my personal motivation.
- Sitting across so many clients in a CSD role must have its challenges, what are the three things you would say you try to focus on to get the best results for clients?
LD: Clients, Team and The Work. These things are so interlinked, without the ‘client’ there would be no work, so building client relationships in to real trust is essential, so I understand their needs and support the team. Second, the ‘team’ delivering the awesome work and working with the clients on a day-to-day basis is also a key focus. Ensuring they work well as a team (you cannot be a one-man band in the agency world) and have all the tools at their disposal to create great work. Thirdly, 'The Work’ - this is what keeps our clients coming back for more so I try to never take my eye off the work, always asking myself if we can push a little further, create better and deliver a little more.
YJ: The key is a good set up, which means you need the perfect team for the client, project, task. Not “do we have a team and capacities?” but “Is this the best team we can serve?” Secondly, I focus on the quality of our briefs, both the clients` and our internal briefings, which are so important in everything we do. The third thing is having standardised tools, templates and processes which helps us to work efficiently. And if I could add a #4: ownership culture, think and act as if the agency and client´s business is yours, take care and responsibility across all levels.
- You have both spent time at a number of agencies in the past from different disciplines. Whether it is sponsorship, digital or advertising, what would you say differentiates a great agency?
LD: Definitely the people and the culture. The ability to work in multi discipline teams where everyone has mutual respect for each other achieves outstanding results. A good culture breeds passionate people whom want to deliver great work.
YJ: I agree. A great agency has great people, who are highly empathic, reflected and collaborative. A common belief and culture, which effects on all disciplines, products and attitude.
- What is your favourite campaign you have worked on, past or present?
LD: The Barclaycard Waterslide campaign in 2009. We were tasked with doing ‘something digital’ to compliment a very big spend TVC. We created one of the first free games in the app store, which went to number 1 in 53 countries in the first few weeks. We created multiple digital assets as part of the campaign but the app was the highlight and a real first for everyone whom worked on it.
YJ: Definitely my first one, the Samsung Mobile campaign 2007, featuring Michael Ballack...but Philips Saeco “Basta” and Telekom´s “Million voices” are close contenders. And the one I´m working on now, which I am so excited to see launch later this year. 😉
- Number 1 holiday spot, and why?!
LD: This is the hardest question of all, as my passion is travelling, so only one spot is tough! As an all-rounder destination though, I would say Costa Rica as it has it all...volcano’s, mountains, cloud forests, untouched beaches, spectacular wildlife and different cultures on the Pacific side and Caribbean side.
YJ: There is a little, wonderful place at the Red Sea, Soma Bay. The Breakers Diving and Surfing Lodge is a sweet spot with a beautiful house reef and blessed with a great team, which always remember you.