By: Caterina Nasr
Located in West Houston, The Company of Others is an advertising agency with an incredible environment and unique skill set. We had the chance to interview Sofia Nasr, a brand development coordinator at The Company of Others and former PRSSA vice president during her time as a marketing communications student at Emerson College, and asked her about her career and life at the agency.
What is your position/role at The Company of Others?
I’m a brand development coordinator. My department has to communicate with the client to find out what are their needs and requirements to help develop a strategy for an upcoming project. The requests range from an individual item they need or something on a larger scale, such as implementing a program or marketing campaign, so strategy and planning has to be carefully thought through.
I’ll be a part of that brainstorming and planning process, and from there I draft a project brief addressing what is the project, the main message that has to be communicated, and what are the deliverables needed. I’ll then go over the brief with people assigned to the project from different departments in the agency.
What makes The Company of Others unique from other advertising agencies?
As a full-service advertising agency, there are a lot of departments that have to work together to execute work for all the clients we have. However, we don’t work in the way where there are these defined boundaries between departments. We don’t believe everyone should keep to themselves to get the job done. We truly utilize a collaborative environment here at The Company of Others.
For example, someone from creative will come to someone in my department to ask for input on the look and feel for a project, not just for approval, but because they value their input and maybe will be inspired from an idea they have. From beginning to end, someone from each department is involved in every step. This approach not only helps to get a diverse perspective for the strategy and creative development, but it also takes the quality of work to another level.
Tell me about “The Other You” initiative The Company of Others introduced and how it has influenced you as an employer?
Last fall, the executives at the agency introduced this internal initiative called “The Other You.” They told us we want to get to know the version of you outside of the “you” that is the employee, hence “The Other You”. Every person at the agency was surveyed about their interests, skills and passions. From there, we were all grouped into different “Passion Groups” based on our results. For example, I was put into the “Cooking & Food” group. We have “Other You” events hosted at the agency, and groups plan activities to do outside the office as well.
“The Other You” program is a way to for employees to not only to get to know each other better, but to also help utilize the knowledge they have from their other interests and passions to inspire work executed here at the agency.
As a previous member of PRSSA, what kind of lessons did you learn during your time as a member that are still applicable to the real working world today?
PRSSA teaches you the power of personal branding. Every PRSSA event and conference I attended was an opportunity for me to practice my networking skills and how to represent myself in a professional environment. Also, learning tips from different PR professionals on how to leverage my presence on different social media platforms are takeaways I still apply professionally.
Being involved in PRSSA also sets a good foundation for keeping yourself informed. Whether it was a weekly meeting, guest speaker or conference, as a PRSSA member I was constantly exposed to different learning experiences which all emphasized to educate yourself on what’s going on in the industry. Having that knowledge of the latest trends and best practices is power. Now, I do my daily scan of PR and advertising news because as a marketing professional, I know I have to be educated.
Any advice for people interested in pursuing a career in PR/Advertising?
In any type of work or internship environment, don’t be afraid to ask questions. This allows you to continually learn and grow your skills set. If you’re proactive in asking about details or even just about double checking something, you’re showing you care about the work and are interested, and that means a lot to your supervisors. Most importantly it shows you know you’re accountable for the work that is being done, and that makes you a valuable employee.