The Power of Change: You + Inigo
By Emily Robertson, Firm Director, Fall 2019
Real work. Real clients. Real experiences. That’s what Inigo is all about.
From attending networking events to scope out new clients, signing client-agency contracts, and crafting deliverables to meet and exceed our clients’ communications needs, Inigo creates a microcosm of the real-world communications industry. Being a student-run communications agency, we only have ourselves to rely on. We call the shots.
I’m currently in my third semester of Inigo, and the growth I’ve experienced from my first semester as an Account Executive to now being Firm Director is beyond significant. I was a junior when I joined Inigo and all of my prior advertising experience was from classwork with made-up clients with hypothetical work that had no life beyond being submitted for a grade. Within a few short weeks with Inigo, I was presenting work in front of real Chicago-based clients, working with client contracts and proposals, and pushing myself because I knew that my work would be seen by thousands of people. Being the only student-run communications agency in Chicago, this is a unique experience that sets our members apart when preparing to enter the industry.
Not only do we have the opportunity to transform ourselves professionally, but we can make monumental changes within our agency. For example, as the Creative Director in the spring of 2019, I noticed loopholes and inefficiencies within our processes and organizational structure. We had a set of directors and client-based teams comprised of an Account Supervisor and about four Account Executives. The Account Executives were expected to help out with all different types of deliverables. Problems arose because members’ specialized skills weren’t being fully utilized and roles weren’t completely clear; creatives on one client team were writing press releases while public relations students on another client team were trying to design graphics.
With this in mind, I compiled research on how other student-run agencies across the country were structured and looked into how full-scale global communication agencies organized their teams and roles. I proposed my initial ideas and findings to other members of the agency, and together, we collaborated to identify what was working and what needed to be improved within our structure. Many group brainstorming and strategic planning sessions were held, and a few weeks before the semester ended, we felt confident in our vision of a new agency structure. Four skill-based teams were created: account, creative, PR/media, and corporate communications. Creative processes were refined and new tactical, internal projects were developed to propel Inigo even further.
Since we’re nearly at the end of the semester with the new structure and processes in place, the results have been drastic. The quality and quantity of deliverables and creativity has sky-rocketed while the time logged has evened out. Our member retention rates for next semester are the highest they’ve ever been. We had a record number of member applicants for next semester. We’re gaining more organic business leads. Members have found their place and are discovering ways for Inigo to continue flourishing.
Inigo has really changed me, but what excites me the most is having the ability, as students, to come together, envision change, and implement strategic advancements to build on our legacy.