Crossing to the dark side

It’s always interesting to hear the thoughts of someone who has made the switch from an in-house marketing role to a creative agency. Such a transition gives them a rare understanding and appreciation of the two different sides of the same marketing coin.

Lovely Sofia Stavrou recently joined Fluro from Avery UK, which adds another layer to the story. Not only did she move from client to agency, she actually joined the marketing agency that was working on her business. To get the full lowdown, we sat Sofia in the hot seat and put our interviewer’s hat on.


When did you first find out about Fluro, Sofia?

“So, when I started at Avery I was only supposed to be doing a 3-week stint in customer service. I’ve always had my heart set on a creative role. At the back of my mind, I had the feeling that agency work would suit me down to the ground. Anyway, I ended up temping in customer service at Avery for about five months. While I was there, I sent my CV out to loads of design agencies in the area, including Fluro.
Of all the agencies I contacted, Fluro were the only ones who took the time to meet me for a chat. Unfortunately, as I didn’t have any agency experience, they couldn’t offer me anything at the time. But they did kindly promise to keep in touch on LinkedIn. They said they’d contact me again if anything suitable came up.”

And then you repaid that small favour by helping get Fluro on a pitch list?

“Yes, that’s true – but you’re jumping ahead a bit. After my time in customer services, the Marketing Director offered me a 3-month marketing role in her department as she knew this was an area I was really interested in. That led to a permanent role and one of my first tasks was to find a new creative agency for our next campaign. I put Fluro forward as I knew they would be a great fit for Avery. And they’re great people. (Well, I have to say that now I work here!)

The team came back with the best pitch and creative ideas so it was no surprise when Avery added Fluro to their list of roster agencies.”


So how did your job at Fluro come about?

“Well, in June last year I was made redundant from Avery. I updated my LinkedIn profile straight away, and Mat and Vicky saw this. They both sent me LinkedIn messages saying they would keep me in mind. Just a few weeks later, Mat messaged me to say he may have something. To say I was excited would be the understatement of the year – I can’t even tell you! After an initial call with Mat, I had meetings with Sarah and Nicole and was offered the job the next day. Hooray!”


What are your responsibilities at Fluro?

“I was originally hired to work alongside Nicole on LEGO®. But due to COVID restrictions, that has been put on the back burner. However, all the account managers have kept me busy. I’ve been getting used to how things work, creating briefs, estimates and looking after clients. At the moment, I’m still finding my feet, but I put myself out there as much as I can and try to get involved with new things all the time.”

So, what are the main differences between client-side and marketing agency-side?

“That’s a hard one to answer. But I can tell you about all the things that have really struck me in my first few weeks at Fluro.

I’m amazed how much work goes into client projects. That’s something I never fully appreciated when I was working on the other side. The sheer attention to detail is staggering. Every decision is considered from every possible angle. Nothing ever happens by chance at Fluro – that’s for sure.

One funny thing I’ve noticed is how difficult it can be to understand exactly what the client wants – I never really appreciated that when I was a client. I’ve learnt fast that good communication can be even more about listening properly than about saying the right things!

I also love how collaborative everything is. Even though I’m the newbie, I’ve been invited to get stuck into loads of brainstorms for different clients. Not just that, but I’ve found my opinion is always listened to, even if I don’t fully understand all the business challenges yet.

And I can’t believe how organised and prolific the account managers are. I won’t lie – I was actually quite intimidated by this to start with.
Of course, it’s odd starting a new job when you’re stuck at home. Everyone has been great, really welcoming and supportive, but not being with the team in the office means you don’t get the full agency experience.”


Which part of marketing agency life do you like best?

“Definitely the creative side of things, and the fact that we all get involved as a team. Everyone’s opinion is taken into account, you always feel supported and that means you’re not afraid to make mistakes and share ideas, even when you think they might be awful.”

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