A Week in My Life: Chris Morris, Managing Director of Clarity
Clarity is a brand strategy and marketing communications who work with brands across multiple sectors including hospitality, automotive and retail.
Chris Morris, the Managing Director and Founder, reveals what a week in his life is really like...
It’s 6am on a Monday morning. The faint echo of my alarm clock wakes me up, growing louder and louder as I jump out of bed ready to start the day.
After a quick shower, I either drive or run into work (weather dependent) as I only live five miles away from the office. In my line of work, no two days are the same; spontaneity and excitement come with facing the unknown.
I’m currently on my way to a breakfast conference in London, where three speakers are sharing their first-hand experiences with growing an agency. Sales guru Tim Williams discusses his secrets to pricing strategy, Caroline Johnson touches on the changing agency model and Tina Fergent covers the role of procurement in clients and agencies.
The session was great. I really enjoyed listening to Global industry experts share some enlightening insight into the challenges of agency and client relationships. Especially exploring how best to align different viewpoints.
The moment you think you know everything is the second you stop growing. That’s why I’m a big fan of expanding my knowledge and learning new things. Plus, I’m definitely a sucker for a good breakfast. So that didn’t hurt, either.
After the conference, I head back to our office just outside Milton Keynes. We hold a board meeting to cover off team reviews and forecasts against budgets – all that good stuff. Sometimes I still have to pinch myself about where the agency is today; it’s inspiring, humbling and incredibly rewarding to see what we've achieved over the years. And it’s even more fulfilling that I get to do it all with such a great group of colleagues!
Another alarm. Another day. Another chance to get stuff done.
Tuesdays at Clarity are when we hold our infamous management meetings. We like to schedule these earlier in the week. First, it means we’re less likely to fall asleep (kidding). And second, it helps set our agenda and align our thinking ready for the days ahead. We don’t always agree on everything in these meetings, but challenging opinions and questioning ideas is an important part of innovation. We discuss client challenges, any upcoming new business opportunities, pending pitches and our sales revenue for the next three months.
With the management meeting completed, I set my sight on other tasks. I’m particularly excited about a Skype call with a potential new client in Saudi Arabia. The company is a large-scale entertainment venue that’s looking for a branding agency. Their challenges are definitely something we can help with.
I really enjoy pitching for projects, especially those that force us to think outside the box and adapt to other cultures. It always gets my inner competitive drive going. Not to mention it’s exciting to see how we stack up against agencies from other countries. I also love to travel and explore, so spending a few days riding 4x4’s in the Arabian desert doesn’t sound too bad.
Before I know it, Wednesday is here. Halfway through the week already – where has the time gone?!
I arrive in the office and catch up on emails before crossing a few items off my to-do list. With some of the day-to-day work out of the way, it’s time to fry some larger fish.
First up is a meeting with a new contact of mine, who is looking to launch a disruptive product in the mobility sector. After listening to his challenges of finding the right audience and channels to reach these prospect, I flip into ideas mode and come up with a number of different solutions. One that really stands out is a proactive finance idea that will help Jeremy (my business partner and our Creative Director) increase his chances of converting clients. Sometimes all it takes is a little switch to see a big result.
After a somewhat healthy lunch (don’t ask for proof), I start to prepare some mental notes for a magazine interview with a journalist. The topic is around the ‘Changing Agency Model’, something that has been an integral part of my life for the past 14 years.
Focusing on the agency’s wider thought leadership initiatives has been one of my top priorities recently. It’s great to get the Clarity name out there and show people what we’re up to.
And if you’re reading this right now... then I guess you could say it’s working!
As Thursday rolls around, it’s time to update the business on what’s been happening. After my usual bowl of Alpen for breakfast followed by a run, I pack my bags and head to the office.
Every two weeks we update our staff on all the happenings here at Clarity – from existing client projects to new business to creative output. It’s a great way for everyone to share with each other and get up to speed on what’s been happening in the company. I often see agencies and businesses not collaborating effectively, so this is our way of making sure there’s clear visibility and exposure across the agency. It’s a nice way to reward and recognise great work, too.
After our agency get together, I head back to my desk and start prepping for Q3 strategy delivery, which will be presented at the quarterly review meeting which takes place with all the team.
It’s Friday! As usual, it’s been another busy week of meetings, prospecting and dealing with a host of unexpected demands.
Friday is usually the day when I force myself to complete all of the small things I’ve been putting off. Like filling out my expenses sheet so our Finance Director doesn’t need to nag me…Sorry Greg!
On this particular Friday, I also have the pleasure of chasing up outstanding debts from one of our clients. It’s part and parcel of the job, and sometimes you just have to be persistent.
With expenses and debt collecting out of the way, it was time to focus on something a little bit more exciting. I spent the next few hours revisiting our new wider business strategy. It’s my goal to really hone in on Clarity’s proposition, and I’m always looking for new ways to make this more relevant to our clients’ demands. I take learnings from the client feedback sessions we have, as well as listening and going to conferences.
We finish early on Friday, which gives the team a chance to chat, connect and bond over a drink or three. I round off the day with my wife as we catch up with friends for our Friday night out and enjoy a curry with a few pints of Cobra.