Wild West Quick Draw: Thad Cox
Our Quick Draw series sees us spend 60 seconds with a Wild West friend. Whether it be one of our clients, a journalist of blogger, we find out what motivates them and what they love about their job, as well as the challenges their sector is facing.
This week we’ve been lucky enough to pin down Thad Cox, of Thad Cox Design (@ThadCoxDesign). Thad moved back to the county following a successful career working as an Art Director for Saatchi & Saatchi, Karmarama and Leo Burnett London. Thad Cox Design works with a variety of clients helping them create engaging, memorable branding.
Questions with Thad Cox:
What gets you up in the morning?
I try to get up at 5am as I can get so much done before my family wakes up. I’m always trying to push myself to learn more or start personal projects, and the early start means more time for this. At the moment I’m building a course to help freelancers get more clients and I’m really excited about how it’s coming together.
What do you love best about your job?
Having worked in London as an Art Director for the likes of Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett, you learn the value of creative thinking. I can take my advertising experience and use it to enhance my branding work to come up with solutions that go beyond just graphic design. If you want to have customers that continue to come back to you, tell others about you and always pay full price, then you need to start creating meaningful brand experiences that they value. Creativity is the secret ingredient to doing this effectively.
What do you like least?
I get frustrated with people parroting the opinions of others instead of having original ideas. I’ve always valued those who are practitioners, who have put in the hard work and have learned through personal experience. Too many sell ‘cookie cutter’ solutions that are generic and lazy. They put their own needs ahead of their clients and that’s a huge mistake as they damage the reputation of the design / branding industry.
What keeps you motivated?
Although I’m currently working for myself, I’m working towards setting up an agency within the next 18 months. If I don’t push myself to keep learning and improving, that won’t happen. I can’t rely on anyone else to make it happen, so it’s up to me. I love the feeling of improving and the more I know, the better the service I can offer to my clients.
What are the challenges ahead for your sector?
Clients really adopting patience when it comes to using social media for their business. Understanding that they will need to create compelling content that puts the needs of their customer ahead of their own and that it’s a long term game, but it’s the future. Just look at people’s behaviour – everyone is glued to their phones. Brands have to go where the attention of their customer is, and they have to create an experience that is not about constantly selling their services, but instead about building loyalty through meaningful communication. This also applies to the customer experience of their brand, they need to consider all of the customer touch points, not just focussing on having a nice logo and slick website. Give their customers an experience that they will remember and want to tell to others.
What advice would you give your 21 year old self?
Enjoy it and keep learning from everyone you meet. At 21 there’s still so much time, so it’s about using that time wisely to experiment and taking every opportunity to learn from those around you. Often we have so many talented people around us, but we are so focussed on what we are doing. That’s an opportunity wasted because not only can you learn from their mistakes, but so much of business is about raising awareness of who you are and what you do. Expose yourself to different industries, businesses and influences. I learned so much from experiences such as varied as studying Art History at School, becoming a Football Coach at Fulham, and managing our family hotel. I still use those skills on a daily basis.
Where do you want to be in 10 years’ time?
Ideally I want to be running my own agency that uses engaging creative work to create award winning projects that help grow businesses.
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