IW Group Reviews | Glassdoor

IW Group Reviews

Updated February 1, 2017
29 reviews

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2.8
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Bill Imada
13 Ratings

29 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Continues to improve"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in West Hollywood, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in West Hollywood, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at IW Group full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    People are talented, friendly, and attitude-free. Welcoming culture overall!

    Small agency atmosphere which gives you the opportunity to work with and get to know people from different departments.

    Senior management is open to embracing to new technology, almost too eagerly, which makes it amusing.

    Never-ending supply of snacks and treats.

    Cons

    I was bullied by a former management-level employee and complaint to senior management went unacknowledged. Others in the agency were also bullied, and their complaints to management were also unfruitful. Said employee was eventually let go, but for bullying an outside staff.

    A few of the more senior staff are not as cooperative and hold a CYA (Cover Your A**) attitude, which isn't conducive to teamwork. But that's to be expected anywhere. A few negative nancy's don't take away from the overall positive experience.

    Advice to Management

    Be a tad bit more hands-on with management so that you're aware of what's going on.


  2. Helpful (4)

    "Great place to start... but start looking elsewhere right away"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Integrated Media Planner in West Hollywood, CA
    Former Employee - Integrated Media Planner in West Hollywood, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at IW Group full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great people, non-exec's cared for each other like a family. Had each other's backs. Great place to learn if you want to put your time in. Lots of gifts, and goodies. Lots of sweets. Thats about it....

    Cons

    Very one-sided management. Each department only cared for their team and would be very hard to collaborate with other across deparments. Communication DOES NOT EXIST. Very understaffed and will have to redo your work at least 5 times due to the inconsistent communication.

    A majority of the negative reviews were not too far off. Employees were not properly recognized for the time and effort put into the company. I've seen many people come in and out the door at IW, and that was the main reason as to why GREAT TALENTED people leave.

    Advice to Management

    IW prides themselves primarily on their PR outreach, which is great in the industry, but understand that a full service agency needs to work together as a team. A company is only as strong as the weakest link in the chain.

    Treat each department fairly and stop pointing figures at one another. Get rid of the toxic mentality. Have more personal conversations across all departments. Each department should not be shielding information from one another. This is one way you lose GREAT TALENTED people.


  3. Helpful (1)

    "Stay away, at all costs"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at IW Group full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Limited Resources
    - This is a pro only because of the fact you have to really learn and bootstrap everything on your own. The lack of people who know what they are doing forces you and pushes you to figure it out.

    Free lunches
    - CEO/president is a huge foodie.

    The people
    - Great set of mid-level, and junior people which made the environment more tolerable.

    Cons

    "Yes, Men"
    - Almost all the account people, except for a select few, just say "Yes" to clients. They don't care about how it'll impact the teams, assess the workload, or even understand if the technology available can do what the client wants within a given timeline.
    - You don't have a voice in this company. It is embedded in your mind that they have an "open door policy", but it doesn't mean anything. Good creative comes in and gets ignored.

    Unreasonable
    - Too much work and none of it is scalable. Make work scalable, and actually think about a project before diving at it head first. I know it's advertising and PR, but if the company invested in a system of doing things that could scale, work would be much easier and people would be able to take on more rather than feel overworked.
    - There was a process set in place, and it worked. Then the "yes men" keep trying to change everything to mold the process into something that it's not. Senior management cannot bend backwards for every single case, otherwise no one will take the process seriously.

    Empty promises
    - Employees get promised of change or being backed by the company. This is false. I've seen a lot of hard working, talented people leave because they felt they were lied to.

    Low pay
    - All the positions here are unreasonably low pay for a company with an office in San Francisco. It's the tech central, and the average income at the agency is significantly lower than what you'd earn working in tech.

    Advice to Management

    Learn to scale and leverage your tech to do better things and to do them efficiently. Don't just say YES to a client all the time, they'll respect you more if you can provide a more feasible solution. Finally, stick to your promises - it'll be hard to retain or acquire good talent if you can't stick to your word.


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  5. Helpful (3)

    "Do not walk. Run. Away!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    1. It was a line on my resume.

    2. My last day here felt like an unbelievable high. It was like being freed after being in prison for 20 years.Nothing felt that good.

    Cons

    This is by far THE WORST JOB I HAVE EVER HAD! If this is your first job offer right out of college, then maybe consider it. But if you have any other option, dear god, take the other option.

    1. Run by idiots.
    Even though I was fairly fresh out of a college, I knew the basics. One of my managers didn't even know the difference between facts and insights or a tactic versus a strategy. When I tried to differentiate these terms by asking her to clarify, I immediately got on her bad side. She also refused to help me. Really! She set unrealistic goals and didn't help me one bit. Also, many people here can't spell. I know my boss is ESL, but this is marketing! They even had the audacity to correct me (stop telling me it's "air on the side of caution").

    2. Lousy paycheck.
    If I worked 40 hours a week, it would have been just okay. But it was more like 60-80, which then made it not worth it. During the interview, they made it seem like the job would rarely call for more than 40 hours. I guess I was dumb and naive. They even talked about cutting salaries. By that point, I was already one foot out the door.

    3. Lousy benefits.
    I've even had an internship that offered better. I'm not kidding. They also blatantly lied to me about the benefits. Another colleague said she was also told during the interview that the health plan was at no cost (nothing was to come out of our paycheck) and the copay for visits were $0. I guess I was dumb to believe that, but they shouldn't have lied.

    4. No growth potential.
    You either have to put in lots of years (more than the average at other agencies) or somehow scheme your way to the top. The latter may be a rumor, but there were some very unqualified people climbing up definitely not based on their work or results.

    5. You're not going to learn.
    Goes back to number 1. You can't learn if the smart people are overworked and don't have time for you, or if your boss is an idiot.

    6. There's no innovation.
    Without going into detail, I was on an account that does monthly and quarterly campaigns. Yes, it's a bit of work having there be so much going on. I understand it's difficult to give something new every month. But in the past 4 years, my boss would do the same thing over and over and over again. I'm surprised the client hasn't dropped IW because there's nothing new at all.

    7. No praise.
    After I got my barrings, I consistently exceeded expectations. Sometime exceeding goals by 2-5x. I was pretty damn proud of myself, especially since I would slave over 60-80 hours per week. There were months where I literally get in at 8 am and leave at 11 pm or midnight. Well, after one project, my boss told me that although I did very well and the client was happy with the results, she didn't really see the results as my work (I was the lead on the project, and she knew the hours I put in). She even reprimanded me a bit because she expected even more. More than 5x the goal? Okay. Sure.

    I'm writing this review 3 years later, so this should show some indication about how terrible I still feel this place is. It's a stark contrast of what a real job should be, but I didn't know any better at the time. Again, it's by far the worst job I've had.

    I'm writing this so that hopefully I will help someone to decide not to work here. If you're young and want to get into marketing, consider a different company. If you are able, take an unpaid internship at a real agency if that's your last resort. While it's not ideal, it will be MUCH more worth it in the end than working here. Trust me.

    Advice to Management

    This might be too late for some upper management folks, but when I was employed here, there were some ladies that would plot for hours about how they will get their boss fired. This is the type of environment I had to work under. They were too busy to help or do their job, but 2 hours of daily complaining was fine (no joke). Management needs to fix this.

    The people that do the actual work gets treated like dirt, while the people in higher positions just sit around or plot how to move up (and do less work?). This is a terrible work environment.


  6. Helpful (3)

    "Sweat Shop"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Account Manager in West Hollywood, CA
    Former Employee - Account Manager in West Hollywood, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at IW Group full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Nice clueless people
    Little perks such as dressy dinners at hotels
    Foodie bosses that buy free desserts
    Nice location in trendy area

    Cons

    Lures us young people in with potentials for growth and make changes. But owner is very egotistical. Napoleon complex. You are set if you are Japanese origin or Korean. No growth. Company works with clients on barter. Solve your own problems and don't bother Bill and not Nita. Nita don't care about anything unless Bill cares. Creatives are all Caucasian or born American Asians. Funny they make ads for Asians that don't speak English. A bunch of spin doctors that make ads or try to make money, but end up getting paid with goods.

    Advice to Management

    Well. You own it. Do what you want.


  7. Helpful (6)

    "Just so so or something in between."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Account Executive in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Account Executive in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at IW Group full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Easy work and easy commute and hours.

    Cons

    Nothing to learn with nobody to team me.

    Advice to Management

    Invest in your people and offer some management classes.


  8. Helpful (1)

    "Real & Fresh"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Account Executive in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Account Executive in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at IW Group full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    We inject fresh creativity into everything we do and are constantly thinking outside of the box - our projects hone us to become quick learners. The company gives its employees great perks and invitations to awesome events where you get the opportunity to meet influencers in today's society - this is truly invaluable! I've never had a routine week working here - Every project/client is an adventure of its own. My team is very supportive and a blessing to have. If you want to work here you should always keep an open mind, constantly consume media, and have a "can do" positive personality.

    Cons

    It's not really a con but you will wear all types of 'hats' and be pushed to do things you have never done before or that is beyond your title. That's how you learn!


  9. "A great agency that nurtures creativity"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at IW Group full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    I've been with the agency for almost six years and it's been a wonderful experience so far. The executive leadership is extremely supportive of new and non-traditional ideas and the clients are fun brands that are conducive to creative thinking.

    Since it's a boutique-sized agency, there are no insane hierarchical politics and departments lead by do-nothing supervisors that I've experienced with my previous employers. All the VPs and higher-ups are always accessible and foster a very egalitarian work culture.

    Cons

    I can't say everyone has been a joy to work with but this has vastly improved in the last few years. I appreciate how the agency has brought in folks from outside the agency world who are more open to collaboration and much less territorial.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "A sweat shop"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in West Hollywood, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in West Hollywood, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at IW Group full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Owner is a foodie. Lots of high end desserts and free lunch if you are a favorite.

    Cons

    Long hours masked in requests to do volunteer work. Lots of grunt work like carrying heavy boxes and banquet tables for events. No growth. Changes in job title, but not in job description. Too much politics for such a small company. CEO and President do not agree on what is important. Do too much work for free.

    Advice to Management

    Be more clear and direct about responsibilities. Less favoritism. More merit system.


  11. Helpful (2)

    "Old Fashion Ideas..."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at IW Group full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Offices are stunning and a really great address. Surrounding areas are great for celebrity sightings and expensive restaurants. Free food and tickets to things are a great perk.

    Cons

    Management has no idea how to be profitable nor do they have any direction for the future. It seems that everyone is extremely busy but with no plan. Feels like the agency will close any time as they are not making any money.

    Advice to Management

    Downsize before it's too late. Hire someone that understands the market and future of advertising/pr/social media. We need to keep up with what is relevant in market place. Ideas are old school. Need young hip CD's. Change management.


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