How Being An Account Coordinator Is Like Herding Cats

How Being An Account Coordinator Is Like Herding Cats
Keara Hanlon
February 20, 2015
2 Cats

It wasn’t a typical Monday for me at Güd Marketing. Instead of gripping my much-needed cup of coffee during the 8:30 a.m. weekly traffic meeting and working through the hustle and bustle of the start of the week, I reached for a different assortment of tools. A bag of dog treats, a feather wand, a dog bed and collar tags were the aids for conquering my day. Today was my first video shoot.

Dressed respectably in my Güd Marketing shirt, I traveled to the Capital Area Humane Society with our creative director and art director, anticipating what was in store for the day.  The goal was to capture shots of happiness, love and joy - the emotions people experience when they become a Humane Society supporter.

Easier said than done. Being a dog owner and lover, the first half of the day went smoothly – the dogs were easy to work with. After handing out a lot of dog treats, our awesome film crew, Ahptic Film & Digital, got the footage we needed and we were ahead of schedule. But then the afternoon came and the cats started trickling on set … I was nervous, as I am not a cat person. Eventually, it became a chaotic game of chase, with kittens hiding behind chairs, jumping onto windowsills and scurrying everywhere except the white screen. Thankfully our creative director pulled out a laser pointer and the kittens jumped around in front of the camera for a couple of hours and we called it a wrap.

While the perception may be otherwise, I quickly learned what our art director had forewarned me of – that the toughest shoots are those with animals and children. Not because they aren’t adorable, loveable and fun, but because of their unpredictable nature in a scripted environment. This particular shoot definitely didn’t fall into the “extremely” tough category, but I did get to see the challenges firsthand. Check out the spot & outtakes here:

"Adopt. Volunteer. Support" - Capital Area Humane Society from Güd Marketing on Vimeo.

CAHS Behind The Scenes from Güd Marketing on Vimeo.

Reflecting on that experience, I recognized the parallels with my new role as an account coordinator. Directing cats around a video set sometimes mirrors a day at Güd Marketing, with projects happening simultaneously and people being pulled in a million directions to meet deadlines – but still producing quality and meaningful work. It is not unusual to believe your day will go as planned, only to have it go in a completely different direction. Not a bad thing. In fact, it is often the “love affair” employees have with working for an ad agency – it’s never boring! We all try to have a plan going into the day. But when working at an agency, you can scratch that. Learning to roll with the punches is more important … and frankly, enjoyable.

So, what does it take to run after cats and dogs and coordinate projects daily? In a nutshell:

Patience.

The capacity to accept or tolerate without feeling distress is crucial. My frustration was on the rise as I ran around the Humane Society video set, and sometimes can be the case at the agency as deadline pressures set in. The key is to take a calm step back and think of a plan to get the perfect shot — or, as during a typical day, meet the objective.

Use Your Resources, Ask Questions, Communicate!

Or better yet, propose your own solution to the problem with the resources you have around you. Take initiative and ask questions. Be sure to keep all parties involved during a project – it will make your life much easier and your team happier in the end.

We Are a Team; Support One Another

I look to my peers for their help and support, and I know they look to me for my support as well. One thing I have learned over the past five months of working at Güd Marketing is our staff will get the job done together, no matter what.

Although some days are tougher than others, I am thankful I am “herding” some of the most intelligent and creative people I have met – even if they aren’t as cute as lil’ puppies and kitties (but possibly just as hairy).

SIDENOTE: Don’t forget February 20 is “Love Your Pet Day.” Although this national holiday may be unofficial, it’s an opportunity to give your pet an extra treat or a longer walk to show your unconditional love. Download the Güd One app today to find out more fun, unofficial holidays to celebrate with your friends and family!

To learn more about how you can help the Capital Area Humane Society, visit http://cahs-lansing.org/index.php/making-a-donation.