A great place to get a "foot in the door" and begin to better understand what agency life is all about.
Uppermanagment doesn't share the same vision of what ID Branding should be or where it should go. They want to be an agency, but really need to accept that they are nothing more than a botique at most. They don't offer bonuses or raises, and there is really no means of "moving up" or futuristic opportunities. If you need more experience or wages, you'll have to find them elsewhere.
When I was hired on there was around 30 employees and less than 10 when I left, all within less than a year. If you want a good look at what turnover is like, search ID Branding on LinkedIn, it speaks for itself.
Advice to Management
You can't consult other companies when you can't even run your own and maybe just maybe you should stop talking about how great you're going to be and work on actually being something, anything. In all your years of talking other companies are actually "being" - you should try it sometime.
I worked at ID Branding full-time (Less than a year)
There was an attractive client base and desire to do the best work.
Too busy fighting management created agency fires to do any meaningful work.
Advice to Management
Beverages on Friday are fun but that's not a recipe for building agency culture of trust and support.
Their downtown location is conveniently located near the food carts and the Nordstrom Twice Yearly Sales. Also, there is the kind of unspoken camaraderie among employees (and the much more populous fraternity of ex-employees) that's usually reserved for combat veterans and victims of sexual assault.
I.D. is a consultancy that thinks it's an agency. This dual identity pits planners and strategists against creatives in such a way that they cannot help but be at cross purposes. Adding to the confusion, you have copywriters writing documents that should come from Strategy, and strategists making calls on design, so people of all disciplines feel that their territory is being encroached upon. Then, every couple of weeks, there will be an all-agency meeting where people are encouraged to share their feelings about what's not working within the agency. Those who offer honest feedback in these meetings have a curious tendency to be laid off soon afterward. And those are the fun meetings. The others entail employees getting harangued by one of the Holy Triumvirate for billing too many hours and being browbeaten by another for leaving at 5:30. The real testament to ID can be found in the number of planners, strategists, account executives and creatives who either pretend that their tenure there was strictly freelance, or omit mention of it completely in resumes and LinkedIn profiles.
I.D. is helmed by a president who doesn't preside, a writer who doesn't write and a CFO who plays a sort of fiscal three-card Monte while what's left of the agency credit withers away.
I've worked at some pretty dysfunctional places, but none quite like this. Employees angling to get other employees fired, employees lying about details of a client meeting to keep members of senior management out of that meeting, and those who hold the purse strings dodging calls from jilted creditors -- it's all in a day's work at I.D.
The toxic culture at ID has achieved a truly staggering sort of reverse synergy. The sum is far weaker than its parts. I.D. employees have done great work before and after their respective tenures at I.D. But while they're toiling there, the structure of the place and its inept management will ensure mediocrity.
Advice to Management
Pay your vendors once in awhile, perhaps within a year or two of them submitting an invoice. Don't pretend to listen to your employees if you have no intention of doing so. The growing chasm between what I.D. thinks it is and the actual culture there is obvious, even to clients. Be something, whether that something is a strategic consultancy or an ad agency, but stop trying to be both.
ID is located in a lovely historic building with functioning windows. These windows are a constant comfort as they promise a more immediate escape route than the fire exits should things go south which they inevitably will. They don't ration oxygen, but I believe that's a result of the lack of funds and existing technology. They also mostly make payroll. There are chairs.
This is neither an advertising agency, a design firm or a strategy shop. It's a career gauntlet. It's an overcooked stew of various of pale attempts at all the aforementioned with a rubber room thrown in for good measure. Management is delusional to point of Baroque absurdity, demanding of the employees with no rudder guiding a single day-to-day action. You can do good work at ID. You do however, have to leave management out of the equation. That's good old fashioned anarchy.
The turnover at ID is legendary. It's epic. That so many people are walking the streets with post-traumatic agency disorder and not speaking out is nothing short of amazing. The amount of backstabbing and cutthroat tactics are disproportionate to the number of employees which at last count included three principals, six employees and two dogs. Yes, ID counts the canines. Perhaps there's some kind of tax benefit.
The game sounds good in the beginning and then suddenly one realizes she's landed in something akin to Peyote CrazyTown. Rationalization keeps the ship barely afloat and people from jumping out the aforementioned windows. I believe the clinical term is Stockholm Syndrome.
Clients are recklessly lost. Attempts to gain new clients are lukewarm embarrassments. Desperate attempts at morale boosting. Employees played against each other. Non-payment to multiple vendors spanning multiple months. Palpable contempt and distrust from management. Missed payroll. Suspect financial dealings. Facade all the way around. All the good people that are hired quickly learn this is the most unprofessional agency they've ever encountered. And then of course they leave or get laid off.
Advice to Management
It's over and it's your fault entirely. Go create a spreadsheet of your clients, of your past employees and get some perspective. A previous reviewer said, "Physician, heal thyself". To imply management has the skills of real doctors gives them too much credit.
It's a great place to start your career if you want to drink from the proverbial fire hose, and learn many aspects of the Ad Agency business quickly. There is an initial feeling of collegial wellbeing, of being able to be open and share observations and ideas in open forum. Leadership appears galvanized and inspired.
Once the sheen has worn off within the first 90 days or so, leadership's incongruity begins to show. Highly idealistic about forging new territory in the agency industry - completely deluded by their need to show up in their competencies via a tired and worn business model; ie: that there are a rare few who are deigned creatives - everyone else is a hack. Leadership is still trying to work out their past teenaged angst and perpetrate their confusion on the employees, who, in turn, act out in a chaotic churn. Open forum becomes stymied by fear of being singled out as a troublemaker, or naysayer.
There's a tragic misalignment within leadership of wanting to support 'great work' and needing billables at any cost.
The most stressful work environment I've encountered in all my years. A sorority and fraternity that loves to one-up each other, thinks it's cool to belittle and take someone down with open sarcasm and forms cliques based on how much you can drink and still drive home.
In my tenure I saw 100% turnover at the company.
Advice to Management
Take a serious look at your short comings, not as professionals in your areas of competency, but as leaders - two very different schools - and sit for some time with what accountability means. Physician, heal thyself.
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