Interviewee: Richard Shideler
Interviewer: Rosie Rui
A few words from Rosie Rui; a BUMKC member
As I entered the office building located on 24th School Street, the security welcomed me with a big warm smile, which immediately eased my nerves. The Beam office sits on the second floor. It is an open and cozy place where everyone works together at big tables instead of in separate cubicles. Richard is the associative creative director of Beam, but he was so kind and humble that I felt like I was talking to an artistic friend who shared his experience with me not only about marketing but also about attitudes towards life in general.
Rosie: What’s your major in Boston University? What does your experience in School of Communication contributes to who you are and what you are doing now?
Richard: So I graduated from COM in 2005 advertising major. The program at BU really does a good job prepare you for day-to-day of what the job is like, as well as familiarizing you with the industry. I think there’s a similarity in COM and SMG. They are both disciplinary schools that in a hands on manner in a real way prepare you for what you are actually going to be doing in the real world.
Rosie: Can you talk more about Beam and your job here at Beam as an Associative Creative director?
Richard: We do interactive and relationship marketing for a variety of brands across all different industries. On the mini account as an example, we manage all miniusa.com. We do their social work. We pitch ideas for kind of everything. And we collaborate with all their agencies for any of our clients that we need to. For me, BSSP, they do print and broadcast in our home and we do the CRM (customer relationship management) digital and social part. I like the interactive stuff more. We got to do so many layers of things and of course the traditional media channels are not going away at all. And I think more and more particularly working with digital attractive stuff that’s where people go now to find out information. People tend to be very self directed about things and so it’s a different opportunity because I used to work with agencies that all I did was print in billboards, TV or radio. I’m a copywriter. I’m in ACD at Beam. Mini USA is our agency’s biggest account. We’ve been the digital agency of record for Mini USA since they launched in United States. We helped them launched the brand when the came here in early 2000 and have been there as interactive and digital agency ever since.
Rosie: What is your proudest accomplishment?
Richard: It’s too hard to narrow down. We do a lot of good work. In general, it’s a really good opportunity to have an ongoing people out there in the world. What we do at beam is basically trying to grab their attention in entertainment. They come to a website for a reason, that’s to find something out so we try to make that experience for them both memorable and utilitarian.
Rosie: How do you interpret the three company values frictionless, fantastic and effective? How are they displayed in yourself?
Richard: Those three words are really good words to describe any activity or any type of marketing. The frictionless part is just about make it easy, effortless to people. Whether radio commercial or web page or anything in between like a direct mail postcard you get. It’s clear, it’s easy to understand what it’s about, self articulated. If something is too complicated or convoluted, people are going to tune out. That is frictionless. Then it’s fantastic. The fantastic part of it is, as it happening, you want it to be excellent. Making it easy and frictionless but also make it engaging or entertaining. That’s the way you keep people’s attention too, by doing whatever you are doing in an excellent way. The fantastic one is right in the middle for a reason because for me the frictionless aspect is more for the consumer facing side of things. The effective aspect is a little bit more business side of things, at least as far as what Beam does is marketers. Of course you want the product or the service to be effective. And I think if you do the frictionless and fantastic parts well, it leads to be effective.
Rosie: I know you had worked at Staples before you came to beam. Can you talk more about your job in Staples and how it’s different from your job in Beam?
Richard: It’s a great experience (in Staples). The people there were fun. Everything in this industry is teamwork. I can’t do anything without a team, except writing stuff. In advertising, marketing, you can work on a client’s side or you can work on an agency side. The big difference that why I’m really glad that I took a job at Staples was that seeing process of advertising on the client side. Most of places I worked are agencies that clients pay to do work and so when you work at an agency, it’s exciting, the energy level is really high. But one thing about it is that all of your team members what our job is to make advertising come up with creative idea. On the clients’ side, that’s not the case. When I worked at Staples, it has an in house advertising/marketing agency so what you see that we were just a piece in that big company. You literally are the client. You working for the client but that’s also you. You get a really different visibility into the clients’ side of the business, how their business works that you don’t see as much in an advertising agency. It gave me a lot of insight into what day-to-day our clients is like. And we could be more sympathetic to some of the limitations they had.
Rosie: A lot of your work requires creative thinking. Have you ever felt not creative?
Richard: Yeah. Yes, I think all creative people, at some point or another have that fear or concern. But that’s what drives some of us. Also I would say that it is a challenge and also because it’s largely subjective not only having what you think is a good idea and what actually is a good idea. The agency client relationship is very important. In order to get work done, you need to get trust there. The clients have their own ideas, and their risks associated with that.
Rosie: How do you build trust with your clients and how do you build and your reputation?
Richard: To do really good work. Consistently. It’s very difficult to do. But if you do that, the work speaks for itself. And the other thing I would say is people. It’s just like any personal relationship. It’s not always there in the beginning, over time, based on your interaction with that person, you can do things that add on to that trust and amplify your relationship on a positive way.
Rosie: What’s your favorite part of your work and what’s the least?
Richard: I have two favorites. The job in general, my most favorite part about it is that it’s constantly a challenge. I had jobs that were not a challenge once I figured them out, I got bored and became kind of disinterested or even sometimes unmotivated. A little more personally to me, a lot of it comes down to people I work with. I love the people that I work with. This job sucks if you don’t like the people that you work with. Because of the subjective aspect of this business, it’s really important to find a place that you fit in. It becomes even more important when you work in a team based industry. The least favorite part of my job, I would say time sheets. To fill out a time sheet it’s just basically said how much time you spent on a specific project every day. For example you say I spent one hour during this project, half an hour in this meeting something like that. The reason is because the ad agency generally gets paid by clients per hour. I just hate paper work. The other least favorite part of my job is the stress. It can be frustrating personally on a creative side. But it doesn’t happen really often here. It’s frustrating sometimes when there’s an idea you like but for some reason it doesn’t work.
Rosie: Is there any take home messages you would offer to our club member who are going to enter the industry very soon or those who are still trying to find a job or an internship?
Richard: It’s extremely difficult to find a job. I was really discouraged to get my first job search after college. I would just say to that, that’s totally normal. It can be really frustrating because you think you are powerless. I really advice students to just try not to get discouraged and keep doing whatever they can to do what ever they want. Keep trying. You never know sometimes doing something else leads into something great you never anticipated. To kids who know what are they trying to do keep trying. And if you don’t know, just start doing something. Moving in some direction while you are figuring it out.