Job talk: What it’s like to work at Droga5

Since moving from a Soho loft to an expanded office on Wall Street, Droga5 has been channeling the productive energy of its new surroundings to demolish expectations. Everything about the new space lends itself to collaboration, from company-wide meetings on the sprawling central staircase to an expansion of open spaces and copious, comfortable meeting rooms that encourage employees to take off the headphones for a bit to talk it out.

Emerging from Cannes last week with a few more notches on its belt, Droga5 is bound to attract even more attention from job-seeking industry veterans and rookies alike. Digiday spoke to Chet Gulland, the agency’s head of digital strategy, about the way of life at Droga5, what types of backgrounds hopeful candidates should have and more.

How does digital strategy fit into the process at Droga5?
In a sense everything is digital, everything we do is going to trigger a conversation, everything we do is going to get shared and can lead to an experience beyond a single piece of content. Our group is really tasked with making sure that type of thinking is always at the forefront of everything we do. But also when it comes to executing and being on the ground in real time as these campaigns hit, and this especially falls to the social team, that we are really being super smart and trying to anticipate what’s going to come next, what’s going to happen. The Honey Maid “This is Wholesome” campaign had a lot of content pieces that could live online beyond TV. We got a few Lions for that one.

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What background is best for this level of integrated work?
We often try to find people with varied backgrounds in slightly more traditional advertising but also non-traditional and digital backgrounds. Even on the digital strategy team, the people we have worked at a digital shop but also a creative shop, people who are fluent in the whole marketing landscape today and can cross over and think about ideas in a full-spectrum way. Yes, they have their own specialities, they have different roles and titles, but when they’re in a room together, people just try to come up with the best ideas, and it’s very open and generous and collaborative. That hybrid way of thinking is not always easy to find, but we really value it.

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What does an average day at the office look like at Droga5?
There are a lot more integrated teams that are taking over rooms, creating war rooms and stuff like that. We’re seeing a lot more interdisciplinary blurring of the lines. Especially when it comes to the social work we do. Just in social alone, we’re going to put out about 4,000 pieces of content. One of the things that we love about social is that it’s sort of setting the pace for how we work as an agency overall. It really encourages you to work together more and never stop thinking about what ideas you could put out. It puts more pressure on us to be even more proactive in bringing ideas to clients and not necessarily waiting for a brief.

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What’s been the biggest change since moving to your new office?
There’s always been a scrappiness about how we work and approach things. It’s about everybody at all levels rolling up their sleeves, and when it’s time to dig in and move quickly, we’re all in and everybody’s down to be all-in, move quickly, come up with a new idea. And that scrappiness and being really nimble has always been a huge strength of ours. As we move into the new office, we’re growing up, the businesses we’re working on are huge, so let’s stay scrappy but in the context of doing bigger and better things as we keep going.

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What’s one thing that anyone looking to work at your agency should know?
There’s a lot of criticism and getting tough on the ideas. There’s no “preciousness.” That’s a really important thing: We are not precious with ourselves, but also with clients. We know that the best ideas often come from a struggle of iteration and finding better routes. Sometimes happy surprises happen along the way, and that’s where a lot of the magic comes from. It’s never easy, and we embrace that.

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Check out these new jobs from the Digiday jobs board:

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