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I have been working at iCrossing full-time (More than a year)
As much as I cringed every-time I stepped into their offices (NY), I must say that minus the egos, iCrossing does have a decent Search practice, at least as far as general bidding is concerned. I will not call them that adept/sophisticated when it comes to segmentation with Search, but when it comes to general volume, they are great at ranking high for keywords. Also, nice fancy building (New York) with all kinds of celebrities passing through during lunchtime. iCrossing is also a great place to build your skills if you are a junior level analyst.
As a person that has been at a few ad agencies in more mid - senior level roles, I have come to understand that dysfunction, egos, poor planning and catty politics go hand in hand with this industry. However, at iCrossing it seemed as if the dysfunction was on steriods. They are set up in a nice building, and they have some great ideas at a high level, but dig deeper and you'll find there is no substance. No cohesion whatsoever and some of the worst leadership displays I have ever seen. They place a lot of stock in "titles," so on many accounts you found too many chiefs and not enough Indians. The end result was finding folks with little to no technical chops whatsoever giving digital strategic direction to clients, and tons of communication mishaps in the office. Work saboteurs and credit hogs are at home here and they operate freely with no fear of accountability. My experience was mainly in the New York office, which had alot of cliques with their own agendas, and if you were not "in" with them, they would limit any work or insights you brought to the table, no matter how innovative. All this "drama" combined with poor planning has resulted in repeated layoffs over the years, and alot of good, innovative work got halted. A few thought leaders got let go for the sake of politics and egos. The new CEO and his team in my opinion could have done a better job assessing the lay of the land before letting people go, especially considering that some of these people made some great contributions to the agency and had families, and they were just shown the door with no forewarning or explanation. Not classy at all. I personally felt their decisions were based in some cases on office gossip and political manipulation rather than doing objective research/audits and gauging on merit. But this is advertising, and this industry is not exactly known for strong leadership and moral cohesiveness, so as the saying goes, "same old, same old."
Advice to Management
Digiday recently published an article titled "Why Agency People are Unhappy." There are good insights you can glean from that article. In a world where technology shifts by the minute, you NEED out of the box thinkers in your ranks, and you need a culture that nurtures such talent, and organizational planning that builds on that vision. Stop hiring and collaborating only with people who share the same traits, as all that does is lead to cliques and elitism at the expense of good ideas. You cannot grow without diversity. Your leadership teams, in particular your account teams and some channel leads are very close minded, and it will cost you business and relationships. I personally believe the agency model is broken, and iCrossing in my opinion exemplifies that case.