Twist or Stick – Fitch's client service director Kevin Doherty on why you shouldn't wear a mask to work
In the latest instalment of Twist or Stick, The Drum and Twist Recruitment catch up with Fitch’s Kevin Doherty to discuss winning a pitch in two minutes and why you should always be yourself.We are surrounded by inspirational people in the creative industries, Kevin Doherty, client services director at Fitch, believes.Having begun work on the direct marketing side at GGT Direct and Limbo, before the latter was acquired by BBH, Doherty always wanted to work on the ‘integrated campaign’ side of the industry. “Eventually I was sitting with somebody who said to me ‘you talk about integrated marketing, but you’re a brand person’. That put a seed of thought into my head and eventually I made the move over to brand agencies, and to Fitch.”Best known for its retail design work at brands such as Carphone Warehouse and Vodafone, brand identity work also accounts for 40 per cent of work handled by the agency.With over 15 years’ experience in the sector – six of which were spent at Fitch – Doherty has seen the agency landscape change, with agencies rushing towards digital, social media and content marketing.“I think the industry is still working out where it is evolving to, and everyone’s trying to steal each other’s lunch. In my perspective, I think it’s about brands being strong and consistent – they are the ones that will survive. If you can be strong and consistent, you’ll see out the dips and the waves.”The expansion of the industry into new sectors means that there are a lot more jobs. When asked for advice for young people breaking into the creative industries, his advice is not to rush, adding that he wishes he’d taken a year out before he entered the job market.He also thinks that it is worth graduates taking some time out to teach English as a foreign language: “You learn to manage people, you learn authority, you learn how to project. I think there’s a lot of things you can learn as a teacher that you can take on to your career.”Having said that, the client services manager says that there is nothing else that he would want to do with his life, “based on the reality that I couldn’t be a professional sportsman because I’m not actually good enough.”The key to enjoying your job and enjoying life, he believes, is to simply be yourself. “If you try to put a mask on at work, if you try to be someone different, it isn’t going to work. Just be yourself, I think you’ll enjoy it more, and if you enjoy it more, you’ll do better,” he says.His key inspiration in the industry, who Doherty believes is someone who does enjoy his work, is Stewart Kenny, co-founder of Paddy Power.When Doherty met Kenny, over a decade ago, the Irish bookmaker was relatively unknown. “I was asked to go to a new business meeting, it was the day after the agency party and the new business guy said ‘I need a suit to come with me’.“I reluctantly went in and we were like ‘who are these guys?’ Stewart walked into the room and he just pointed out every piece of work I ever did, I was at BBH at the time. It was really really, stand out visual work and he was like ‘I want to do that’ I want to do that for betting. Everyone thinks betting is about the odds and it’s not, it’s about having fun’.“It was interesting because we walked out wanting to work for these guys, but we also walked out with pieces of insights that we would have spent weeks trying to find. He said we won the pitch within the first two minutes. We could have stopped there – it was done.”Another project which left a strong impression on Doherty was a recent campaign for Adidas, where the client walked into the room and said ‘This is the World Cup. This is the World Cup in Brazil. This is Adidas in the World Cup in Brazil. This is the biggest thing you are ever going to work on.’ “At that point, one part of you is going ‘yes!’ and the other part is going ‘oh…OK, this is a bit scary’,” Doherty laughs.However, it is not the big Adidas campaign or the inspiration of Paddy Power that tops his list of campaigns to work on. Instead, it is something much closer to his heart: Shooting Star Chase.Having had personal experience of the children’s hospice for children with life-limiting conditions, Doherty, alongside his managing director and creative director, decided to ask if there was anything Fitch could do pro bono for the charity, not long after Doherty returned from a few months off.“As it happened, they were going through a merger, and in the long term were thinking about doing a new identity, a new brand, possibly even a new name. That’s how we got involved. That was about two or three years ago, we’ve been working with them ever since and it [the rebrand] launched in February this year.”When it comes to working in the industry, his key advice for anyone coming into the client services management sector is assume nothing and manage expectations.“If you do those two things, you can’t go far wrong.” Interview by Paul Wood, words by Ishbel MacleodThis interview is part of The Drum’s Twist or Stick series in partnership with Twist Recruitment. Read the full piece in the latest issue of The Drum by subscribing here. Subscribers can download a copy here. In the next instalment of Twist or Stick, we profile Jon White, MD at Elmwood. Got a question for Jon? Tweet us using the hashtag #twistorstick and you could see your question answered in The Drum on 9 July.
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FITCH is a global design consultancy that influences the world around you by translating brand into consumer experience.
We have a strong expertise in retail design.
The consumer is at the heart of everything we do and everything we do is the product of bold thinking. A profound understanding of both the brand and the consumer creates the confidence to challenge convention. Our consumer insights and our understanding of the motives that inform choice are the key to creating effective brand and consumer experiences.
Founded in 1972 FITCH employs 350 people in 14 offices in 9 countries. An integrated offer of both 2D graphic and 3D environmental design enables us to create a seamless expression of the brand at all the different touch points.