What Sally Hogshead Learned Working in America’s Top Ad Agencies, and How That Shaped Her Work as an Author — The Busy Creator Podcast 86

Sally Hogshead (@SallyHogshead) is an author, speaker, and entrepreneur. Following a career in advertising, she evolved her career and reoriented toward building significance for other professionals and creatives.

In this conversation, Sally discusses the phases of her career (so far), shares some of what she learned on the ground with advertising heroes, and remarks on the challenges of writing long-form books as a person who naturally bends toward the quick win.

Fascinate by Sally Hogshead book

Fascinate by Sally Hogshead

Check out Sally’s latest book Fascinate and catch up with her on BrandFascination.com, for a start.

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Show Notes & Links

  • Sally and Prescott have worked together on a varied of projects since 2011
  • Prescott discovered Radical Careering during his first job, which wasn’t a very good job.
  • When Sally found advertising, it was “love at first sight”
  • Portfolio Center and their Copywriting course
  • Sally’s first career phase was not being awarded or recognised as a student, but discovering that’s hardly the entire game

“The most interesting creative ideas aren’t going to be acknowledged at first, because they’re not populist.”

—Sally Hogshead

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  • Fallon McElligott Rice, now just Fallon
  • Her Second phase was working with smart people on rapid-fire projects

“You want to be the dumbest person on the team.”

—Sally Hogshead

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  • Her Third phase was disillusionment when inheriting a management role

“It takes a completely different mindset to be with people than from being with my ideas.”

—Sally Hogshead

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  • The Fourth phase was expansion to create ideas beyond an ad into the wider world [as an author, speaker, etc.].
  • Sally was the Creative & Managing Director for Crispin Porter + Bogusky for their Los Angeles office
  • CP+B’s LA Office opened its doors on Sept. 10, 2001

“It’s easy to be creative when the world has a big budget and optimism and a love for what hasn’t been discovered.”

—Sally Hogshead

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“In order to be a creative leader, you have to be able to lead people through the darkest times.”

—Sally Hogshead

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“It’s impossible to have creative ideas in an oppressive environment.”

—Sally Hogshead

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  • 48 Laws of Power by Robert Green & Joost Elffers on Amazon and on Audible
    48 Laws of Power by Robert Green & Joost Elffers
    • Kerning pairs (such as FA)
      Kerning Pairs

      Kerning Pairs

    • There used to be a natural (ten day) cycle with print advertising. There was time to work on stuff.

    “I’m still a geek with words.”

    —Sally Hogshead

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    “One for the reel, one for the meal.”

    —advertising adage

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    “Don’t be a worrier, be a warrior.”

    —Tony Robbins (and Prescott, ironically)

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    • Clients would cut their marketing budget during the recession. Remember this? or this?
    • Tibor Kalman (1949-1999)
    • Design, like Jazz, is a generational artform
    • John Coltrane played with Miles Davis who played with Charlie Parker
    • Armin Vit worked with Michael Bierut who worked with Massimo Vignelli
    • A lot of NYC agencies did annual reports, but didn’t show it in the portfolio
    • Medieval Stonemasons

    “Signifance doesn’t live in one piece. It lives in a movement or a body of work.”

    —Sally Hogshead

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    “Revisions suck my soul. Creation enlivens me.”

    —Sally Hogshead

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    • “writing-tired”, when Prescott feels uninspired to write blog posts, etc.

    “I can’t write anything great for the first hour. I have to get into a trance.”

    —Sally Hogshead

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    “The hardest part about writing isn’t writing, it’s finishing the dishes.”

    —writers’ adage

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    Tools

    Techniques

    • Don’t let the Creative Director and Managing Director be the same person; there needs to be a healthy tension between the two.
    • Remark not only on awards won and praise given, but hard times which shape your character
    • Examine any project via its priorities “Quality of Work”, “Quality of Life”, or “Quality of Compensation.”
    • Pursue the areas of work that feel like a “wellspring” of creativity; avoid “creative agony”
    • Create an Idea Wall, and hang up your projects as you think of them
    • Block time (at least 3 hours) to sink into writing
    • Listen to music that reflects the sort of writing you’re aiming for
    • Designate externally- and internally-focused work (email vs. writing content)

    Habits

    • Write down the words you use when mentoring, and which you need to hear
    • Appreciate craft, even if it takes slightly longer
    • Periodically examine your work and your agency to align with influence: Creative, Financial, or Cultural
    • Shape expectations around you; follow the type of work that suits you best
    • Take advantage of “swiftness”; don’t analyse or think about ideas and instead just act (especially on side projects and writing ideas).
    • Go to bed early; write in the morning.

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    About Prescott Perez-Fox

    Prescott Perez-Fox is a New York-based graphic designer and brand developer with 15+ years experience in branding, packaging, graphic design, and web design. He runs The Busy Creator.
    • Mada Maday

      Great article! I just listened to Sally Hogshead at Jordan Harbinger’s interview on the The Art of Charm podcast. Really inspired me personally.