EPISODE #8 || Michael Filippi, Senior Strategist & Project Lead at SRG

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Michael's career path took him from the left-brained world of management consulting to creative brand strategy and innovation, which allows him to flex both sides. Hear about his approach to uncovering strong consumer insights, the best ways to sell innovation to clients, and how to build strong client relationships, even as a junior—all while working slightly outside the traditional advertising agency model. 

Heads up: This interview was recorded a few months ago during my trip to Boulder. (Thanks, as always, to our guests for their patience.) I'm currently booking podcast guests in NYC for mid-October—if you or someone you work with would make an awesome guest, hit me up at natalie@we-are-next.com.

Topics Discussed

  • His approach for getting to strong consumer insights.
  • Making people comfortable when moderating a focus group.
  • Pivoting his career from management consulting to strategy/brand innovation, and the convergence of management consultancies and creative firms.
  • The skills needed to work in innovation strategy, and best practices for selling innovation to clients. 
  • How to build strong client relationships even as a junior.
  • The difference between working with big and small clients.
  • The start-up and creative energy in the Denver/Boulder community.

Mic Drops

“Make your clients feel comfortable in pushing their boundaries. You can come up with absolutely great ideas, but the trick is that the clients need to be close enough to the process and feel involved and own those ideas enough that they’re really behind them. They don’t want a bunch of crazy ideas for someone in a vacuum."

Client sounds so formal - and it is formal, they’re paying the bills, they’re engaging you for a very professional service - but ultimately, I think the more that you can get to know what’s going on with them, what do they want to get out of this project or campaign. And showing them that you want them to be successful and that it’s not just about you doing a great project or killer campaign."

“It’s not about you and your ideas. It’s about the client and what they want to do. And what they’re excited about and getting them there, that’s what our job is. If you’re a passionate creative, you want to bring people along the journey, but ultimately it’s not really about you. And creatives or any of us can easily get into a situation where it’s like, ‘Well, the client didn’t buy that pitch or campaign because they don’t have good taste.’ But at the end of the day, they’re the one buying the campaign. You gotta let go of certain things and have other creative outlets to where you’re not so heartbroken when it doesn’t turn out your way.” 

Resources Mentioned

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About Michael

Michael is a Creative Strategist and marketing leader with 12 years experience building strong brands, imagining new products, and designing compelling customer experiences to drive growth. He brings a balance of right brain and left brain disciplines combining strategy, business acumen, analytical rigor, and creative inspiration to reimagine what's possible and unlock growth potential.