From Corporate to Creative: Benefits of an Integrated Agency Culture

July marks my third month at 88 Creative. Since joining the team, old classmates and acquaintances have reconnected with me, asking about my role. Some ask how I got here, while others are looking for the agency scoop and hoping for an in.


After finishing a degree in communications and certificate in public relations, I landed an internship at one of the largest media companies in Canada. In my first week alone, one colleague was laid off, the team was restructured, and the company cut over 600 jobs. So, this is what that Change Management course was all about. I was given more responsibility during my internship than college professors will tell you; yet, there was minimal room or reason for creative thinking and ideas. There were guidelines on everything from font colour to email style, processes and procedures to follow, and little room for growth.

Cue a long, stressful and unemployed winter filled with thoughts of “where did I go wrong, what am I doing with my life, why can’t my parents just give me a job,” and other self-deprecating Millennial panics. After meeting a connection (through none other than my dad), I started work at a traditional PR agency on the consumer lifestyle team. I led media relations campaigns for a national client, wrote creative content for print and online outlets, developed relationships with journalists and bloggers, and helped execute events, from small media briefings to holiday product showcases. Still, something was missing.

Naturally, I did what every uninspired Millennial would. I took off to Southeast Asia and backpacked for four months. My mom is a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. This is what I kept telling myself as I quit my job and boarded the plane alone, readying myself for four flights and 29 hours of travel.

I survived, if you’re wondering, and that’s how I ended up here as 88 Creative’s first PR Account Coordinator. I didn’t follow a normal trajectory, but culture was always a key priority. I wanted to work with a team who didn’t constantly take the safe route, championed crazy ideas (hello, missing Rob Ford poster), and understood the need for a good Instagram creep from time to time.

Maybe you follow one creative agency in particular, and you’re looking for a reason to apply. Maybe you’re feeling uninspired, too, or you’re just looking for a change. Here are a few cultural benefits I’ve found to working at a creative communications agency:

1. Multidisciplinary creative teams
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. With digital marketing, public relations and design all under one roof, our creative brainpower is tripled. No silo mentality here; our agency cultivates collaboration between disciplines to streamline communications and messages for clients, and deliver one consistent voice.

2. Brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm
There’s no problem 11 creative thinkers and a few good chair spins can’t solve.

3. Flexibility
Each team member is focused on the client’s success. Whether it’s working above the coordinator level, or helping out on digital strategy, I’m not stuck in one defined role. There’s also no expectation to race against a timesheet, which often can put pressure and restraints on fresh ideas.

4. LSNED
Move over Buzzfeed and life hacks, I learn something new every day sitting between my crew of digital and design savvy colleagues. From new apps and tools like 15Five, a weekly reporting tool we use to stay engaged, to ideas found floating around the web (like this personal favourite of mine), there’s a constant feed of new information.

5. Professional development
From an employee education reimbursement policy, to brand building activities and lunch and learns, there’s no shortage of opportunities for professional development. Something as simple as sending an email to the team about an upcoming event, or introducing others to a cool, new campaign, can help contribute and add to learning. We’re also encouraged to build our own brand, and are given time to attend industry events, participate in Twitter chats, blog, or write articles for publications we’re interested in.

6. Fun Friday is a thing
Hey, I can’t give away ALL our secrets.

If you’re interested in being a part of the team, or just want to say hi, drop us a line at hello@88creative.ca.

Morgan is a PR Account Manager at 88 Creative. You can follow her on Instagram at @elyashamorgan.