How to tie a bow tie.

After two weeks working at Velocity I’m uniquely unqualified to tell you about the magic that happens here. But that’s the point of this. Ignorance is the gift. 

Ignorance and arrogance, I suppose. The arrogant belief that our head of copy, and perhaps even the creative director, would be at all interested in reading what I think about Velocity. 

Oh, there’s one more important caveat. Not only am I doing a type of marketing I have very little experience in, for clients I know nearly nothing about, I’m also a recently arrived immigrant. I am literally and figuratively in new territory.  

To say I am lost would be a massive understatement.

It’s a nice change to be lost in a new agency rather than in my own head or up my own arse. These are good places to get lost in occasionally but despite the alarming frequency with which I get lost there, they’re seldom new or exciting. 

I just did it again. I’m back. 

I want to share something I saw last week in the studio. It was cute and deserves retelling for that reason alone. But its real significance, for a new-comer with fresh eyes, is far greater. 

A group of Velociraptors was preparing to attend an awards show. I don’t know what it was called. It was day 3 and I was still learning to differentiate between the almond milk and real milk in the office fridge.  

Anyway, at the end of the day they were getting ready for what looked like quite a posh affair. One of them, don’t know his name or what he does, was attempting to tie a bow tie. Attempting and failing. No judgement here, I haven’t worn a tie since school and wouldn’t know where to begin with a bow tie.   

He stood in front of his computer watching a tutorial on YouTube and tried to tie his bow tie. This went on for entire minutes. He’d watch and copy and fail. Restart the video and double down on his efforts. He watched different videos. He tried and failed. Again and again.

After a while of trying to get it right he asked somebody for help. He asked around to see if anybody nearby had experience tying bow ties. 

Bingo. Someone did. 

There’s something quite touching about an older man helping a young man tie a tie. It’s like a bad financial services ad. But this was more than touching. It was a window into Velocity and the magic that happens here. 

We throw ourselves into things we don’t know. We research. We try and struggle. We collaborate. We find the best people for the job. There is no ego, only excellence and outcomes. 

It’s not a bad place to be lost. 

What we don’t do at Velocity, I’ve just been told, is write blog posts about ourselves. The story is about us but the insight is relevant to everyone in B2B marketing. 

Throw yourself into your customers’ world. Research the hell out of complicated concepts. Ask questions. Become the end user.  

Try new things. Try and fail. Want a video? Make a video. Interested in podcasts? Record one. Get brave. Get help.  

Get lost. 

Comments

Hi Chris,

What a lovely change of pace! While Velociraptors are always pumping out great insight, it’s a breath of fresh air to learn more about what goes on inside.

As a recent graduate, I definitely identify with getting lost. I went to school for PR, started an internship at a B2B advertising agency post-grad, and developed a fascination with content marketing.

You could say I have a fondness for favoring the deep end when learning to swim.

What I appreciate the most about this post is that it’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to realize there might be someone else who could be better at answering your questions.

Lucky (or not) for you, you have become one of my research materials.

What are some invaluable skills I should be developing if I want to become a content marketer? Who are people I should be paying attention to? What are some better questions I should be asking? What more can I be doing?

Thanks for a great read.

    Hi Adrienne,

    Thanks for the kind comments.

    The best advice I ever got was, don’t take yourself too seriously. We’re just making marketing. There are people out there who literally save lives and launch rockets. It’s a lot of hard work but it’s also a lot of fun and as long as you keep having fun with it you’ll do well.

    I can’t tell you what to read or what’s good and bad. Discovering that for yourself will make you better. Interrogate why you like something. Look at why it’s memorable, why it made you feel something and why it caused you to take action. Tear the work apart. Look beyond the words and pictures. Look for the human truth in each piece or ad that you like. Everything starts with a concept, the rest is just set dressing. Once you learn to identify that kernel in other people’s work you’ll get better at developing your own.

    Oh, and keep reading this blog.

    I’d wish you luck but I think you’ll be just fine.

    Regards,
    Chris

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