Laura Crafton is an account manager at Hirons and has been on the team for nine months. Around the Hirons office, her favorite space is her desk, which houses her marketing swag, notepads, pens and other knickknacks. If she had to describe Hirons as a drink, she would choose a Moscow Mule because Hirons is bold, constantly living up to internal and external expectations and has a zing to all of its work. When Laura is looking for something to eat, you can find her at Livery reminiscing about her time abroad and sipping on a Caipirinha.
How did you become interested in advertising/PR? How did you break into the industry and land your first job?
So I went to Purdue and I had no clue what I wanted to do. My academic adviser suggested communications and (luckily) I fell in love with it. I then tried to become as involved as I could. I knew from other peers and mentors that just getting a college degree wasn’t enough, especially in this industry. I was involved with PRSSA, on the board of our student-run PR firm, Boiler Communications, and I did a couple of internships. I was an intern in New York City at a travel and tourism PR firm. That was my only agency experience but I knew that I liked it. I came home and was living with my parents when a communications job presented itself. I took it but quickly found out it was not exactly what I wanted to do. The organization and role weren’t right for me but it got me in the communications/agency mindset.
What would you consider the specializations/most important tools of the trade?
I think a lot of my job, in account management, is being personable and able to interact with people well. There are always clever tricks and tools that can be utilized in technology, which can certainly help someone excel in their role and benefit what they are doing day to day. But overall, I think being able to connect with people is most important. The ability to listen and understand what clients are saying/asking, even if they don’t have the best way of explaining what they need, is what’s really important.
What characteristics do you need to be successful in the industry?
Having great verbal and written communications skills is necessary to be successful. I know it seems like a line item on a job description, but it is so important. I think having those skills, especially at an agency, when working with many different client personalities, will help anyone succeed and really figure out what needs to be done for each client.
Do you have any interesting hobbies/second jobs/bits of information that make you pop as an individual?
Sports-wise, I play volleyball year-round, which is the only sport I played growing up. I also read quite often and am a part of a book club that meets monthly.
I’m on a marketing committee for the Dove Recovery House for women, which is a great opportunity to fulfill my passion for helping others by using my skills in marketing and advertising. It’s such an important local organization. It’s a substance abuse recovery center for women.
When and where do you have your best ideas?
First thing in the morning. I do my best thinking before I get to work or when I’m drinking my coffee and don’t feel the pressure of having to get email back to everyone quickly as things fly in.
What has been the most exciting project/campaign that you’ve worked on at Hirons?
The first day I started at Hirons, I was asked to attend a new business meeting, which honestly scared me a bit because I had never been on the agency side of the RFP process. It was for a potential client named Virtusa, a technology consulting firm. Starting work on a client’s account from Day One has been exciting, but also expanding my reach on a B2B account is something new that I’m really enjoying.
Why is effective advertising/PR so important for the growth and success of organizations?
Years ago, before our worlds became so cluttered and we were inundated with messages all day every day, advertising had a clear space to voice your message. Now that we are constantly being bombarded with advertising and marketing messages, it is important for organizations to break out of the norm. Sometimes this can be done with a very smart and beautiful advertising campaign, and sometimes it is just having your company name or message in the right place at the right time. I think for companies who aren’t doing any of that, it can be scary how quickly they can be taken over by someone who rises above them.
What’s one important tip you would share with anyone looking to go into the agency world?
If you are not yet good at multi-tasking, maybe join some sort of boot camp for multi-tasking. Being able to have a million things running through your head but also being able to prioritize them and get work done is very important. I also think that personality comes back into play. I adored being on the client side at the start of my career, but I had enough of the personality traits that if thrown into an agency situation, I could succeed.
What is the most meaningful part of your job?
Being able to step up and help a client when something is on “fire” for them but they feel they cannot tackle it that day. I’ve felt this most in random moments when a client has reached out and said they need to bounce an idea off of me, and I am able to respond with a thoughtful suggestion or even a full-blown PowerPoint deck to help them. Those moments are great because I know that I have given the client a sense of “it’s taken care of.”