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Most of my career has been as a marketing creative — first as an ad copywriter, later as a creative director.
The biggest measure of performance was by one’s portfolio of produced, in-market work. Originally housed in heavy cases to tote around and now as password-protected websites, portfolios curate your best stories to impress and convince the prospective client or employer that you are brilliant and can tackle things as in the past, but for them in the future. Of course, you can also summarize your accomplishments in a resume. And as any recruiter will tell you, your successes should be captured with enticing headlines that make the reader want to know more. You did what?! How? Wow.
Old formula: 1 great + 1 good per year
Portfolios should evolve over time so you and your work don’t seem stale. For years, my annual career goal in January was straightforward: Create and deploy one fantastic campaign with killer results and awards potential; and get another in market that looked good and did good. That’s it. Just two real, talk-able campaigns were plenty to keep the portfolio growing, and to show that I still got it. For my agency during a recession, it would become a global contest “The Search for the World’s Greatest Salesperson.” For the Girl Scouts seeking to regain relevancy, it was a bi-lingual public service campaign around acquired business skills.
New formula: Portfolios for consulting
Applying the same thinking to what I do now in consulting, I track what our team accomplishes throughout the year that is interesting novel, and, importantly, ‘bought’ by a client — hopefully moving from PowerPoint pages and business case to in-market execution.
Nowadays, for me, there are few short-term campaigns per se and far more go-to market strategies, programs, initiatives, customer experience tweaks, and broader business ideas. The way to know if they’re portfolio-worthy is if I can pen a headline that would make it into a case study or my client’s resume. Did it achieve the client’s goals? Did they grow in a down market? Did they fend off an upstart? Did someone get promoted? Here are a few examples:
- Rethought a manufacturer’s content strategy to better connect it to sales
- Built a first-in-kind measurement approach for brand social content
- Launched a hilarious social campaign to engage the c-suite
Headlining ahead of time
Everything doesn’t have to be retrospective. In the beginning of the year, like right now, I like to draft potential headline-worthy accomplishments for the next 12 months — individually, or as a team:
- Pilot a new way to do acquisition
- Launch a disruptive content program that earns eye-popping results
- Scale my personal podcast into a line of products
What might your headlines be?
January’s the time to set goals. Write your potential stories down (by yourself or as a group — don’t steal mine!).
Proud of them? Tweet me your 2019 headlines.
January 2, 2019 at 08:50AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs