A Week In My Life: Simon Couchman

Ever wondered what a creative director’s week looks like? Our Simon tells all in this piece that was featured on Prolific North…

Monday 14th
I generally get into the office for 8am for a quick catch up with my Co-Director Peter over a brew and a bowl of cereal.

As usual on a Monday we discuss clients and new business opportunities for the week ahead and deal with any immediate issues. Not surprisingly we end up talking about the football, especially with it being the start of the season, and pick holes in how our teams are performing, or not as the case generally is. (I’m Aston Villa, Peter is Blackpool FC but currently on a bit of a boycott!).

Next, I catch up with the creative team. As it’s the school holidays, there are a few people off and we need to ensure we’re still delivering great work and meeting client deadlines.

At short notice we get a call from the marketing team of a new client to introduce ourselves to the Chairman – it’s great to have those kind of client relationships.

Back in the office, we’re up against a deadline for a long-standing client for a presentation they have on Wednesday. All looks good.

Tuesday 15th
Today it’s heads down and time to crack on – we’ve a few big projects on the go across all the departments so the office is a hive of activity. We may be located in the countryside, but there’s a real buzz in the office today and I’m extremely proud of the creative we produce here. There’s been a new biscuit delivery too and I’ve developed a bit of an addiction for pink wafers – I’m usually a Jaffa Cake man.

A new business meeting is booked for next week that looks interesting – one of my favourite parts of the job is meeting new businesses, understanding what they are trying to achieve and how ICG can help. I don’t believe in blagging or the hard sell; for us it’s all about chemistry and finding new clients that we can develop strong partnerships with.

I’ve been so busy I’ve only just noticed that Spotify has been playing Coldplay on loop since 8am and it’s now 3pm – a Christmas track has just come on and my ears prick up…surprised I haven’t been heckled from all four corners of the barn!

Wednesday 16th
Bit of a quieter day today, so I manage to spend some time looking at marketing ideas for the agency. Co-incidentally, our ICG festive gifts have just arrived, we’ve been amazingly early and on-the-ball this year, but can’t say what it is or that would ruin the surprise!

Meanwhile, some great client feedback has just come through. Firstly photos of an outdoor campaign in-situ for a client in the North East – it looks fantastic and I share the pics with the rest of the team.

The client with the presentation today called to say it had gone really well and they have chosen a route to develop – it was our favourite too so I’m pretty pleased. (‘smashed it’ as is often said in this column!).

That’s the morning done, and as it’s lunchtime, it’s time to get my trainers on. I’m a bit of a distance runner and have two marathons booked for October, so I manage to get out for a quick six miles. Running gives me some great problem-solving time.

Our PR team has bagged a major bit of TV coverage tonight for one of our clients, and rumour is, one of our PR managers is set to appear onscreen, so we’re all reminded to tune in at 8pm.

Thursday 17th
Everyone gathered in the boardroom to watch the highlights from last night’s ITV programme and our PR manager gets a round of applause when she appears! Personally, I think her voice was dubbed – her Nelson accent has gone all posh! The client was equally thrilled and I make a mental note to include it in ICG’s annual highlights brochure.

I then join the PR team to go through a forthcoming pitch – it’s looking good but still needs some work. We discuss the objectives and then put it aside – I don’t think you always get the best ideas sat around the boardroom table, so we’ll individually gather our thoughts and reconvene next week.

We’re sad to see one of our ICG family is leaving today, so we’re going out later for a meal and a few drinks, and all get together to wish her well and give her some nice gifts.

Friday 18th
Busy end to the week with two meetings scheduled.

Firstly, a London based client has travelled up to go through a new project with the design team. I love welcoming clients to our office – we’re fortunate to work in a converted barn that we’ve made into a space where people enjoy spending time and be inspired to do their best work.

Clients seem to enjoy being in a creative environment where they can access the full team and discuss various projects.

The meeting over, and a quick bite to eat, then it’s off to Liverpool to pick up a new brief for an existing client – it’s a great project that’s being discussed, and I look forward to getting the whole team involved in it.

A quick call to the office to check everything is OK and then it’s back up the M6 to home, my wife and daughter and a few cheeky beers to mark the passing of another eventful week.