One of the highlights of this semester as an advertising student has been attending the Eric Mower Advertising Forums, where industry pros are brought to campus to speak to and network with us. The last forum of the semester took place just before Thanksgiving break, and it was my favorite one so far.
We were introduced to Chris Mumford, head of account management at The Martin Agency of Richmond, Virginia. Richmond is not typically one of the “advertising cities” (i.e. NYC, LA, or London), so it was refreshing to hear success stories from around the country. That’s also part of what makes Martin so intriguing; how did they become so successful?
The short answer: they thrive in times of change. The advertising world has never stopped transforming, and the advent of new technology is keeping us all on our toes. If you’re a creative business and you can handle both global clients and rapidly changing technology, you’re going to be set up for long-term success. That is what Martin has done over the decades, and as a result they’ve been able to compete with some of the top names in the industry.
Chris told us about how he ended up working in advertising and at Martin specifically, and it was a gentle reminder your first career (or second, or third) is not the one you’ll have for the rest of your life. I didn’t know where I wanted to take my career until I was a junior in college, so it’s always refreshing to hear of a longer, windier path to success. He then showed us some of their best-loved work for Geico and the Donate Life campaign, and ended the session with some advice and an emphasis on what he believes sets Martin apart from other agencies.
What stuck out to me most were their company values, because they can so easily be translated across all facets of life even if you never step foot into Martin’s offices. Chris told us, on behalf of the agency, that we should strive to bring utter integrity, deep mutual respect, striking creativity, genuine joy, amazing accomplishment and unending self-improvement to everything we do. The goal is ultimately to find joy in what you do, which we could all use more of. He also emphasized the company behaviors that they focus on every single day, which can also be universally applied: creativity, collaboration, agility and courage.
Finally, he closed with a reminder to take with us in our own job searches – one that I hope I can keep in mind as I enter the workforce in just a few months. Turn your workplace into one that brings you joy, or find one that brings you joy.
-Laurie Silverstein is a graduate student studying advertising.