A Day in the Life of: Joseph Wade

None of my jobs have been as bad as working in Boots and Pizza Hut in Croydon. Both of these jobs motivated me to try hard in a sector I enjoyed working in and to avoid being a small replaceable cog in a faceless corporate machine.

Name: Joseph Wade

Company: Don’t Panic

Job title: Director

What made you want to get into brands/advertising/media/marketing?
All my friends were doing it and I was young and impressionable.

How did you get into the industry (including relevant qualifications and professional training)?
I was in Tokyo teaching English and doing a bit of modelling for noodle adverts when I was invited to join Don’t Panic by two old friends. I’d seen what happened to you if you stayed in Japan teaching for too long and fled back to Britain and was thrown into the deep end editing a magazine which didn’t exist as we had no advertisers. So first I started selling adverts, which was hard work as we didn’t have any tools and used to go to meetings with mock ups we’d made with Pritt Stick and scrap paper. We must have been doing something right as we started to land some decent deals, some of which were vital in order to keep the company afloat and the wolves (and bailiffs) from the door.

What was good and bad about your first job.
My first job was in sales at an Audio Visual hire business. The good aspects of this role were learning to build databases of clients and be methodical in developing new business. The very best thing was overcoming any fear of getting on the blower and sell, which stands you in good stead however your career develops.

The worst thing was that cheap laptops and portable projectors were rendering the stuff we rented out fairly obsolete and so it was sometimes and uphill struggle. Also I once told all the technical staff that a monkey could do their jobs, which made me somewhat unpopular for a time.

List your jobs to date:
Sales manager at an Audio Visual company.
Teacher in Japan
Don’t Panic sales and editorial
Don’t Panic director

What were the best and worst, and why
The best is being a director of Don’t Panic as I work on exciting, varied and creative campaigns for clients and play a part with my partner in determining the direction of the business and motivating the team. Being your own boss is difficult and stressful at times but within the marketing and media sector it does allow for a lot of creative freedom, in terms of developing new offerings and using your imagination and initiative.

None of my jobs have been as bad as working in Boots and Pizza Hut in Croydon. Both of these jobs motivated me to try hard in a sector I enjoyed working in and to avoid being a small replaceable cog in a faceless corporate machine.

Who in the industry do you most admire?
I really admire Saatchi and Saatchi as they were an excellent team who were very creative whilst being very astute business men.

What is your biggest achievement to date?
Building an international brand.

On what do you base your success so far?
Being part of a strong partnership with complimentary skills. The application of hard work. Borrowing ideas and making them better.

What are your ambitions?
Work more in the not for profit sector. Also build the strength and influence of the Don’t Panic brand. Also work for HBO.

Change one thing about your job:
More time to travel as we need to visit our overseas franchises more.

Change one thing about your industry:
There seems to be a tendency for some companies to be good at selling but completely lame at delivering. I think clients need to focus on more on results and work with companies who have a proven track record of delivery rather than keep going back to companies who take them to lunch.

Change one thing about the world:
Save the rainforests and oceans from imminent armmegeadon.

What is your favourite brand?
HBO – First there was Oz then Sopranos, Sex and the City, The Wire, Deadwood, Curb, comedy specials and now Generation Kill. Its utter quality. When you see the logo you know you’re in for a treat.

What is the next big brand in your view?
Simplicity and quality will trump choice. There is a mind boggling selection of everything everywhere and consumers are too busy to face it, it is stress inducing. Offer people less choice but more quality. Also paid content on newspaper/magazine websites must be about to make a comeback, giving everything away for free is a recipe for disaster.

List your “media diet:
Huffington Post
Private Eye
Time Out
The Onion
Open Democracy
Drudge Report
Harvard Business Review (when I can face it)


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