Over the past three years I have been lucky enough to work in Cognito’s London, New York and Singapore offices. While I indulged my love of hip hop in New York and food in Singapore, I also learned valuable professional skills.
Here are some of my top takeaways from working abroad with Cognito:
Together we can do so much
It is clear from my experience in all three offices that talent is everywhere and working as a global team yields the best results. Each office has experts – there’s Katie Kinnear, London’s social media queen, Charlie Morrow, Singapore's asset management specialist, and New York’s Jazmin Beltran, who can get any content placed in the media, to name just three.
A ten minute phone call can show a completely different perspective and when we join up the clients get the best possible service.
Being able to spend time with all our experts has taught me the value of teams: you do not need to know everything, you only need to know who has the answer.
Sometimes it seems the easiest and most time efficient thing to do is give a client or colleague a simple answer: yes. I will add that to my list, complete the task and forget all about it. This is not only lazy, it actually means everything takes longer in the long run. Understanding why you are completing work is fundamental to working in different regions. You understand your clients’ objectives and the local culture much quicker which in turn means you can offer meaningful advice.
From journalists, to colleagues and clients, to people at the gym, you will be surprised at who you will meet and what they can teach you about local culture. My most meaningful conversations have not happened in a meeting but in the evening when you have time to understand people's lives both in and outside of work. I have been surprised at how much these conversations have informed my advice to clients.
Analyze the news
It is important to remember your background and influences. Whether it is reading about trade wars or meeting with local journalists, it can be tricky to stay neutral. We all have our biases but when consuming the media or thinking about communications strategies it is important to consider whether what you think is ‘normal’ is the common view.
Working globally means a busy schedule, which frequently translates into early mornings in New York and late nights in Singapore. Londoners have lucked out with the time zone. We have large teams that can support clients in any region but it is important to have regular touchpoints with colleagues around the world to manage projects well.
Francesca Bliss is an account manager based in Cognito’s London office – for now