Ogilvy’s head of social media in the UK has left because he “found the agency model challenging”. Here’s his quote –
“I wanted to look for a new challenge where I can be a little bit more involved. Agencies with a lot of clients which focus on a head of social media – it’s a great move forward, but I can be spread very thin. I end up where I’m not being used to my best abilities.
“You come across the same thing at lots of agencies. It will take a bit of time with training before agencies have more specialists in this area. The expectation can be a little high for any individual to cover,” he told PR Week
Reading more of the article shows that Maz was working across 10 of the Ogilvy agency brands which is intense, especially in a market the size of the UK.
The title “head of social media” definitely comes with its own baggage but in my experience, it seems as if there are two types of heads.
The first is the big thinker, someone who can be the inspirational figurehead to the organisation, parachuting into client engagements and doing the up front consulting or hand-holding to make the client feel as comfortable as possible. Typically these are the easiest to find. They generally do a lot of public speaking, have a tonne of Twitter followers and are often quoted in the trade rags. Some have strong real-world experience in executing their work but, based on what colleagues have told me, most do not.
The problem with the first type of social media head is that he or she is not scalable. At some point you have to hand off the execution to…someone. You can’t do it all by yourself. But to hand a project off once the strategy and planning is baked means you have to have a team otherwise you end up executing and its not the best use of your time, abilities or experience. Especially if you’re being pulled across multiple agency brands and clients.
The second is lower profile and more focused on getting stuff done. On building a book of business and then a team around that business. Cindy Gallop says that the future belongs to those who make stuff – produce ideas, build teams and win business. She’s right.
Somewhere you have to make the choice – do you want to be inspiring or do you want to build a business. Because building a business is like social media. It isn’t about the grand vision. Ultimately it is about being in the trenches, winning on a day-to-day basis on every interaction you have with your community and your clients.