VivaKi Reviews

Updated September 3, 2014
Updated September 3, 2014
50 Reviews
2.4
50 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
Frank Voris
3 Ratings

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Great People, Shortsighted Strategies

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Employee
    Former Employee - Employee

    I worked at VivaKi full-time

    Pros

    - Great people: Seriously, the people are great. I encountered very few bad apples. The majority of my co-workers were friendly, very smart, easy to work with, eager to help, and fun to be around. There was very little backstabbing and one-upmanship that I saw. I genuinely enjoyed coming to work each day. Also, because the people are very talented and smart, VivaKi kind of functions as a farm team for the big players in the digital space; many employees go on to careers at Google, Facebook, and Amazon.
    - Great benefits: Health insurance costs are fairly low. Also, there are 16 company holidays and plenty of PTO days. Unless you're really good with taking time off, you probably won't get around to using it all.
    - Great work-life balance: With some exceptions during particularly busy periods like Q4 or when my team was short staffed, there was generally a good work-life balance. I never had any issues with coming in late due to appointments or having to work from home when needed.
    - Loose environment: The dress code and atmosphere are pretty laid back. Depending on your seniority, level, and manager, you can get away with a lot that you wouldn't at a more buttoned-up place.
    - Free food and booze: Vendors generally bring in lunch at least once a week, and there's a weekly happy hour with snacks, cocktails, and wine. Plus, there's a fridge full of free Coca-Cola products and then another one filled with plenty of microbrews.

    Cons

    - Holding company micromanagement: The company is generally micromanaged by the holding company, Publicis. This happens to the extent that the many of the executives were installed from the EMEA region. They don't necessarily understand the US agency culture or marketplace dynamics. Obviously, a holding company will provide the general strategy and direction of its sub-companies, but it seems a little heavy handed in this case. Also, promotions are tied to twice-yearly, holding-company-wide review cycles. Because programmatic talent is in such high demand and six months is a long time in this fast-moving space, this leads to significant employee attrition.
    - Noncompetitive compensation/employee retention: When people leave VivaKi for other opportunities, they generally receive a 20% to 40% bump in compensation, depending on their level. There are also no bonuses or incentive pay, which is atypical for the industry. Because of this, the most talented and knowledgeable generally depart once they reach a certain level and competence. People tend to leave in clusters, so there's a huge brain drain a few times a year. Since the company is very lean, there's never anyone waiting in the wings to take over people's accounts, which leads to the remaining employees being stretched too thin, which often leads to them leaving. Then the company is left with few experienced people. Management seems indifferent to this churn-and-burn model. It's a problem since part of the main value prop is that VivaKi is a service layer that is supposed to provide programmatic expertise.
    - Business strategy: Trading desks like VivaKi occupy a pretty precarious space in the digital-marketing ecosystem and are getting attacked from both sides. On one hand, agencies, even though they're part of the same holding company, don't necessarily trust trading desks; many want to create in-house trading desks to own the data and expertise. On the other, DSPs often try to bypass the trading desk and go directly to the agency (or even client) since their compensation includes a heavy commission component. Trading desks, including VivaKi, haven't found a great way to address either of these threats.
    - Lack of programmatic expertise among executives: Since programmatic is a fairly recent invention and most of the execs at VivaKi came up in the industry in the '90s and early '00s, there's a definite lack of hands-on understanding of programmatic and the various technologies/platform used to automate media buying.
    - Too many platforms: VivaKi uses somewhere between ten and fifteen different DSPs/PMDs/platforms across multiple channels to buy media. Employees are expected to be proficient in several (and, ideally, all). It doesn't make sense from an employee perspective to know all these platforms when you could go straight to, say, a DSP and make significantly more and only have to be an expert in one piece of technology. What happens in practice is that once an employee gains proficiency in several, a DSP will hire them away for their competitive knowledge.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire more people and compensate employees commensurate with the market. Your trading-desk competitors and the DSPs are. Also, be more transparent about strategies with front-line employees. This is digital advertising, not state secrets.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Great people, terrible leadership

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL

    I worked at VivaKi full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great work/life balance with fantastic people, some of the best in the industry.

    Cons

    Terrible leadership in the last couple years that has driven a once promising company into the ground. Recent pay freezes and lay-offs have meant that the company has lost most of the talent that helped bring it from a tiny startup of a few people to a global leader.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Consider laying off the people responsible for not hitting revenue targets rather than the real talent at the company.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Leadership is driving this company to the ground

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous
    Current Employee - Anonymous

    I have been working at VivaKi

    Pros

    Had a vision in the past, good lower level people, some offices know what they're doing

    Cons

    Where to start? The new management in New York/the UK is driving this company to the ground. A complete reorganization was done with no thought a few months ago, and the company has gone haywire since then. People are doing jobs they aren't qualified for, directors are taking on work they shouldn't be, and nobody has any clue what is going on.

    Management needs to be let go, and we need to bring on people who actually know what they're doing. We need a vision, and that vision needs to be communicated took everyone. A vague 120 day plan with no thought behind it and poor execution is not the answer.

    My advice: avoid at all costs and get off this sinking ship

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Leave

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  4. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
  5.  

    I've lost my passion for advertising

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Campaign Manager  in  New York, NY
    Current Employee - Campaign Manager in New York, NY

    I have been working at VivaKi full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Allows you to learn about industry trends across multiple channels.

    Cons

    Lack of direction, high turnover rates recently, lack of mentorship, and loss of competitive edge. 40% of our work is dictated by vendors, which then allows them to take away business. Lack of growth opportunities outside being a trained media minion. If you want to feel like you contributed to something positive at the end of the day, this is not the place. It is truly business work after business work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get leaders to focus more on personal growth aka think long term with your employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    Political - Negative attitudes

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at VivaKi full-time

    Pros

    beer on tap
    one in 6 people are really talented - they are carrying all the load though

    Cons

    Negative attitudes
    Lack of communication, leadership, mission/goal, did I say lack of leadership.
    Leadership who is there don't like each other and undermine each other.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Actually talk to your people to gauge their capabilities provide people the opportunity to excel
    Provide a unified goal/direction
    get rid of managers/senior staff who undermine others
    Actually run the company and stop sitting around waiting for the buyout payday that is not coming
    Cross train product and tech staff

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  7. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great people, limited vision

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at VivaKi

    Pros

    *Hardworking, fun people
    *Lots of opportunities to develop a wide variety of skills
    *Good stepping stone for more junior members

    Cons

    *Lack of cohesive and well communicated mission/vision leads to a lot of wasted work
    *limited career growth for non-junior staff

  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    Amazing people but lack of innovation, leadership, and experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Client Services Manager  in  New York, NY
    Current Employee - Client Services Manager in New York, NY

    I have been working at VivaKi full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Looks good on the resume. Amazing opportunity to learn programmatic from the experts and forge relationships with agencies.

    Cons

    Vivaki has the entire industry fooled into thinking that they're a hub for innovation. Most of the people who work there come from media agencies so there is a lack of understanding on how to compete with vendors. Doing good work isn't appreciated here and you will not be encouraged to learn outside of your job role. They want monkeys to fall into line. A majority of the VPs are useless don't understand programmatic and just pass their work onto more junior people. Promotions are given on biases as there are no true job descriptions, qualifications, and determining factors for whether or not you're doing a good job. Even if you do work, it's no guarentee that you'll get promoted- they prefer to dangle carrots. The average age here is 26, so don't come here thinking that you'll be mentored by people who actually know anything. Lastly, Vivaki thinks that they pay competitively....They don't.. Most people who leave here end up getting 20%-40% increases in salary.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Step up and get involved.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    What is Vivaki?

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at VivaKi full-time

    Pros

    The people: some of the smartest, nicest, and personable people you'll ever meet. Exposure: you'll have the opportunity to work with some of the biggest brands on the Publicis roster and learn a ton. You'll learn more in one week at Vivaki than you will in quarter anywhere else.

    Cons

    No qualified mid-level leadership. There's a huge gap between Senior Leadership and those on the front lines. That results in constantly-changing priorities, loosely defined goals, and roles, and...well...chaos.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Promote qualified leaders. Set realistic long term goals and stick with them. Don't reset the board every month.

    Negative Outlook
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Interesting work, fragmented culture

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at VivaKi

    Pros

    Exposure to digital media buying, good benefits

    Cons

    Inexperienced managers, political, the office is mostly all glass so you hear everything going on, negative attitudes, a lack of real focus, high attrition rate

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The problem is much larger than compensation. It's about the negative political atmosphere.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  11.  

    Start-up mindset, with enterprise stability.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Director
    Current Employee - Director

    I have been working at VivaKi full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - You can find a lot of opportunity for growth and fast promotion if you're talented and willing to work for it.
    - You also get great experience/exposure at the heart of digital advertising.
    - You'll get to work with (and become) some of the brightest people in the industry.
    - It's an exciting, fast-paced environment that feels like working in a start-up, but with all the benefits and stability of working for a huge organization like Publicis.

    Cons

    - Salaries are not on par with the industry and there is no bonus structure. So people move on quickly.
    - Leadership are sometimes slow to react to challenges - they are mostly ex-finance or ex-consulting with big firm backgrounds, not representative of the VivaKi culture or future.
    - New ideas are not shared and the tech/innovation roadmap is disconnected from the business.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Shake up the old "nerve center" org chart, compensate well to retain talent, and don't separate/hide new projects and innovation from the day to day business teams.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

VivaKi Photos

Team meeting with the Facebook team

+ Add Photo

Worked for VivaKi? Contribute to the Community!

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.