Last summer, I spent about a month and a half at Bigtrees, a digital marketing agency based in Ghent. Like many upcoming creative people, I’m used to dealing with my clients online, on a freelance basis. This was the first time I would be working in-house, with real people, in a real studio. Real life interactions. I was nervous at first, but very quickly realised there was nothing to be nervous about. I immediately felt part of the team and it didn’t take long before I lost the immense pressure to perform, which I first felt.
Bigtrees is a marketing agency based in Ghent, Belgium, with a strong focus on (mostly environmental) ethics and sustainability. I functioned as one of the 8 gears of the machine, since then they’ve expanded with a few extra heads. I adored working with these wonderful people because of their sense of humor & enthousiasm. It’s a very young team of professionals and only being 20 years old myself, I could easily connect with everyone on board. Take a look at their website to discover more about what Bigtrees stands for, what they do and who they are.
What to expect
Chances are, that when you’re just starting out at a new agency, you’ll be given some trial jobs first. These jobs typically fall under the category of DTP (desktop publishing), most of your creative input gets stripped away from you and your adapting already existing layouts or formats to new content. The upside to this is that you can’t really do anything wrong, -unless you accidently send 80.000 faulty post cards off to print like I did in week 2-, the downside however, you’re an order taker and you can’t do anything to excell or to prove yourself.
Teamspirit. It genuinely was an amazing experience to be part of a colaborative workspace, rather than sitting at your regular office desk blasting music on your own. It’s refreshing to get instant feedback, request for immediate p2p program support and to bond over lunch.
Brainstorming is a big one, it’s super fun to crack problems together while brainstorming and throwing in random creative thoughts and ideas. I felt like I was finally playing with equals, while I also knew I still had so much to learn from them.
Lastly, the negatives. Honestly, I’d have a lot of trouble listing more than the one big obvious red flag. If you’re joining an in-house agency, you’re setting aside part of your freedom. I have to say, the team at Bigtrees was very flexible and forgiving about entry and leaving times, but you’re still locked inside most of the day, while your past freelancing self may have gone for a quick local pub-visit, swim or run. You’re making a compromise for the stability of an in-agency job.
EDIT: Timetracking. It's a pain, but it's a necessary pain. I found it super hard to estimate how long I'd be working on specific jobs, you'll come across a variety of projects and different jobs you don't really have any direct experience with, so you can't do without a ticking clock keeping track of all your precious time spent.