Red the Consultancy interviews Chris Graham
This content was originally published on Red's blog on 27 April 2018.
What is your name?
Christopher Graham, CEO of The Marketing Department
What do you do for a living in 10 words?
Help organisations with marketing, design, branding and events.
Where do you currently reside?
Who did you idolise when growing up?
Captain Janeway in Star Trek Voyager. She was confident, she kicked ass, she put up with no nonsense.
How many interviews have you had in your career? What was your worst one?
Probably around 20 or so at a rough guess.
The worst was probably in 2012 or 2013…it was conducted by their MD by himself, who bombarded me with strange questions about my social life and my circle of friends. He was also upset that I hadn’t phoned ahead of the interview to ask for copies of their marketing collateral. The interview concluded when I told him “They’re hardly worth taking the time to ask for.” I was just being honest.
From your career so far, what has been your best job and why?
My current one! I love working directly with the clients, who trust our team’s judgement, because there’s very little need to explain our decision making processes or justify strategies.
When I worked in-house, a huge amount of my time was wasted explaining basic marketing and design principles to people who didn’t understand in order to get fairly small things done.
A large number of very different companies and organisations trust me and my team to execute very visible, very critical, and often very expensive projects so that they may reach their goals.
It’s a lot of responsibility but I love doing it. And I get a big kick out of seeing how happy our clients are once things come together.
What did you want to do when you were a kid?
I wanted to work with computers. I was good at that from a very young age. I have memories of a Macintosh being delivered to my nursery school when I was about 4 – I just somehow immediately knew how to use it to draw pictures and such. I was more able than any of the nursery staff!
I focused quite a lot on computers and the internet when I was a teenager and studied computing before realising my strengths are in marketing, design and communications, but my technical background has been an exceptionally useful asset in my career.
What goals have you set for 2018 and beyond?
In terms of the business, we have a few new sectors we want to try to break into and we have just launched a year-long social campaign called #InspiringYourMonday - 52 inspiring people, events, campaigns, brands, organisations and products and everything else that helps make Mondays more bearable and get our creative juices flowing.
Personally, I need to get back into running in the morning before going into the office.
What would you want to tell your 20-year-old self-knowing what you know now?
Be kind to everyone as much as you can – under the surface, everyone is fighting a battle of some sort.
What memories do you have of your first ever job?
Oh it was a madhouse, but an enjoyable madhouse. It was a computer retail and repair place. Everyone was so dedicated and it was fun but we had no idea what we were doing – the owner wasn’t that much older than me.
At one stage I was helping with the financial tasks and a bill came in from a local Chinese takeaway, with whom we had an account. The bill, for a 3 month period, was nearly £1000!
What was the best advice you received at the beginning of your career?
That effective communication really boils down to an appropriate message, directed to the right audience, at an ideal time.
What is an embarrassing thing that not many people would know about you?
I own a crazy amount of Star Trek books. From a very young age I’ve loved Gene Roddenbury’s vision of the future, and some of the books are very well written and fill in gaps in the saga.