Dogs, black coffee, strategy at Canvas Worldwide. Get to know ThinkLA's Young Professionals Council Co-President, Brook Hauge!
How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road-map?
I always wanted to be in advertising: I’ve loved commercials, billboards, digital, and content integrations/partnerships for as long as I can remember. I started in advertising at a small Minneapolis-based agency where I worked for a dear family friend. I wanted to do strategy work, and started in the Account Management department because they really were the ones that executed strategy for our respective accounts (and they had the opening). Small agency, so we had to wear a lot of hats. I did PM work, account management, media strategy, email marketing, web dev projects, app based launches, loyalty programs, DM-focused work, event marketing, and on-and-off day copywriting. I loved it!
I came out to Southern California five years ago without a plan, but full of dreams; I ended up working briefly as a headhunter in the creative space and then up to San Francisco to work for a digital platform that focused on programmatic buying and retargeting. My deep love for data, segmenting audiences, and messaging strategies was born here. I then came back to SoCal to work for a small agency in Orange County where my focus was mostly digital, but got to dig my hands into true content partnerships and into the world of print.
I then was recruited to work up in LA; I ran hard at the chance to create digital strategies that were data- and audience-driven for a global communications agency, working on auto accounts. My time there moved me to a strategy role that focused on a client dynamic that had very distinct B2B and B2C strategies and we were tasked with finding ways to tell that story to the right people in a noisy and high-pressure based industry. I got to spend my days mulling over the research and asking all the questions, comparing the category nuances for truths. For me, it was a great! As those projects wrapped up I found my way back to the world of autos and started straddling the offline and online worlds where we hope to create efficiencies in our communications and deeper understanding of our customers unique journey.
My path has covered a lot of ground, but what remains true is the desire to better the world of adverting so that I can find a way to talk to brand consumers in the way they want, at the times they are open to it, and in a way that will be received. This helps my clients' money go further, the user ad experience to be curated, and the whole ecosystem to work together.
What excites you most about this industry?
That it is never the same. There are tried and true strategies and human truths that do work, but the ability to now measure/communicate with consumers about their purchase path or brand sentiment is really incredible to me.
Why are you involved with ThinkLA?
What’s the best advice you’d give to someone interested in a career in advertising? Are there any written materials you suggest to read?
I moved to LA in 2013; I knew NO ONE. I wanted to meet and network with my LA industry, which at the time seemed HUGE (I now know it’s incredibly small). ThinkLA was supposed to simply be a network connection, it quickly became a trusted resource for me. A place where I have met some of my now closest friends, provided me with an incredible mentor and has helped guide and shape some of my career moves. At record speed, I joined a committee and then another… and next thing you know I have the great honor of serving on the Young Professionals ThinkLA Board along with some of the greatest up and coming leaders I have ever met. This organization has helped inspire me and keeps me on my game – I feel like I am among giants sometimes.
Never stop asking questions – NEVER. Part of this game is just showing up and being interested in what is going on. Be curious about everything. This business rewards those who tend to put in the hard work and who show grit in being able to apply knowledge that is learned from various places – it’s not for wallflowers. The hours are long, the clients are tough, the expectations are high… but the rewards of a campaign or strategy well done are priceless. What to read? EVERYTHING.
Read Wired, the trades (AdWeek, Ad Age, eMarketer, etc), The Atlantic, the News, Forbes, AdExchanger, Blogs, Huffington Post, Fast Company, Gizmoto, Inc., think with google, any and all syndicated research you can get your hands on (Mintel, Simmons, etc), blogs and listen to Podcasts/Ted Talks. Reading and talking about topics that matter is a big deal.