Regional Differences

A couple of you have asked if there’s a regional difference between agencies:

Stackingchairs asks “What is the difference between the industry in Chicago in contrast to that of NYC, or other towns? How important is location?”

And David asks if one type of brand would work best based on where you want to send your book:

“For instance, do you think that New York (and/or Chicago) is more conservative and Creative Directors (and recruiters) would want brands in students book that are a little on the conservative side (as opposed to SF or LA)? Should I be concerned about what type of brand I have in my book?”

Both very good questions. Here’s my take:

You really can’t generalize. New York has Grey. It also has Toy. LA has Ogilvy. It also has davidandgoliath and G&M Plumbing. In almost every market, you’ll find every kind of agency – conservative, edgy, awards-driven, results-driven, corporate, boutique, etc., etc., And they’re spread out all over this country, this continent, and this planet.

The best thing you can do is create the best book you can. Someone out there will gravitate to it. You can’t anticipate what kind of book an agency is looking for. I’ve seen students with what I thought were pretty underwhelming books land jobs and places like Goodby and Fallon. I’ve seen other professionals who’ve won One Show pencils and Cannes Lions be turned down by places like Butler Shine and Crispin.

When people say “it’s all about the work,” they’re not just saying “creativity is more important than politicking.” They’re also saying, “the work is the only thing you have control over. Push yourself. Make it as good as you can. Be happy with it. And you have a better chance of a like-minded creative director picking it up.”

To Stackingchairs’ question, I think location is really only important in terms of personal preference. You can get a great job with a lot of opportunities pretty much anywhere. If you know what you’re looking for. (See the post on first job criteria for more on that.) Granted, it’s easier to jump from agency to agency in New York than it is in Austin. But that’s a decision you’ve got to make yourself.