Why I Work at MKG | Kerry Guard
By Kerry Guard
We recently had our 5 year anniversary. That’s three years longer than anywhere I’ve worked prior to starting MKG and there’s a few very good reasons why that is.
- People First
- Exceeding Expectations
- Team Pride
- Big Picture
If you’ve read our website then these may look familiar as they are our company values. The five reasons we get up in the morning and can’t wait to start our days. I won’t define each since you can see that elsewhere, but I will talk about what they mean to me and why I’m still a big fan of the MKG brand and the people who make it.
I came from four big agencies prior to MKG.
At my second job, I was a digital media planning assistant on a $10,000,000/year account. I reported directly to the SVP who over saw multiple accounts, which basically meant I was on my own. I planned, trafficked, reported, and optimized all my campaigns and sat in massive presentations with clients and presented. I worked 60 - 80 hour work weeks. My motto became, I’m just so tired. I repeatedly asked for support and it never came. Why? Because higher management saw me as replaceable.
Churn and burn.
I lasted exactly two years before I left.
No one should sink or swim or not have a life outside of work. Once I owned my own agency, the people became the most important to me and I’ve made sure they have a good life/work balance and that above all they love their work and the job they are doing.
I was taught from a very young age to take pride in your work, no matter how mediocre. That’s really what this boils down to for me. Everyone who works at MKG takes pride in everything they do and go above and beyond what is required, not because it’s expected, but because they want to. We constantly ask, “Why?” and want to know why things are the way they are and don’t accept the status quo.
We recently had a client thank us for providing recommendations that were not only out of scope, but would be executed by a different company. We thought the tactic would be an important one that could really drive results and knowing we probably wouldn’t do the work, we still informed the client.
I have a lot of sayings around the office. One of them, that I repeat early and often is, “You are not an island!”
You should never feel like you have to get everything done and delivered, by yourself, ever. You should always have a partner in crime. Someone to read over reports and messaging docs before they go out, to double check your math and make sure your numbers make sense. Someone to simply do a spell and grammar check. It doesn’t always have to be the same person. Whoever has the time or the second hand knowledge rope them in. It makes you more confident in your work and ensures less mistakes.
We’re all in this together!
One of Mike’s favorite sayings from a looooooong time ago, that we haven’t used recently, but really should is, “Eyes on the road, not on the wall.” It comes from NASCAR. If you are driving at a million miles an hour and looking at the thing you don’t want to hit, chances are you’re going to crash. Stay focused on where you’re going.
For us this is true in our everyday MKG lives. Mistakes happen. Big, small, and in between, but we have to stay focused on where we’re trying to go, learning and growing from mishaps, instead of focusing on them and never moving on.
Which leads nicely right into our last value…
As I said, mistakes happen. We’re human.
We need to not be afraid to make mistakes. And more importantly we need to not be afraid to learn from them and try again.
My mom is an Apple Distinguished Educator and at her first conference with Apple 5 years ago, the first thing they taught the class was to stand up and say, “I failed!” Every time a mistake was made throughout the week that’s exactly what they did. We have to not be scared of making mistakes. We need to embrace our failures, learn from them, and keep moving with our eyes on the road.
I’m incredibly proud of the agency Mike and I have put together. We don’t want to become the next full service agencies who drives their people into the ground. We’re building something bigger and more important than ourselves, one very amazing and thoughtful employee at a time.