Fábio’s Flite Mobility Blog
Fábio Godinho works for IPG Mediabrands Lisbon, and has spent 3 months working in the Budapest office.
First of all, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I often wonder if I’m really in Budapest on my own without knowing anyone, or if it’s just a dream and I’ll wake up in Lisbon late for work!
Everyday I try to do or learn something incredible. They say life is made of memories, and with so many good ones it will seem I have lived a longer – and meaningful – life!
I did some research and found out that Hungary and Portugal share some features, like Population, Surface Area and Religion. I also read that in Budapest the Public Transports work really well, which I can confirm! Google Maps constantly update departing hours, and you can really depend on it to check the best option when you don’t want to walk. But street names still seem strange to me, so no wonder the first time I tried the Metro I ended up going the opposite way! There’s also an official app that provide set routes, but Google really makes it easier since I have pin points all over the areas I want to check! Although I’m adventurous, I like to have some things under my control and make some plans! But in Budapest you can just leave the house and turn randomly down any street and still be amazed!
The house I’m staying in is really cosy with some cool details, and the best is that it’s in Downtown. After settling in, I went for a quick walk around the corner to find a vending machine to buy my monthly pass, because English is a bit of a barrier at most places. With that pass I can use all public transport, even the boat during the week!
On the first day I took the bus to work to get some day view of the city. However, the Metro is faster and became my favourite method. At night and during the weekends some Metro lines are replaced by buses, but it is explained well. Nowadays, with smartphones, we can search on-the-go and quickly get real-time information, as well as use it to call a cab or rent electric scooters. Very much like in Portugal, which is just great!
The office has a few perks, like the Kitchen and Chill (meeting) rooms, but the awesome part is that it’s dog-friendly! I think this really fosters positivity and I’ve met so many cool dogs.
Lunch hours are different, earlier than I’m used to, so I end up hungry very early in the afternoon. Good thing they do their best to always be on time and leave early. Food here is very different, but it isn’t that expensive. On the other hand, coffee is twice what we pay in Portugal 🙁 Here they use a lot of condiments like Paprika and sour cream but it’s easy to get used to it!
I don’t have a TV in my flat, so I can’t see local TV stations, but I probably wouldn’t watch it anyway as I can’t figure out what anyone is saying! It really is one of the hardest languages to learn! I often listen to Digital Radio, where Portuguese speakers keep me company. Also, whenever I miss petting my cat I visit this amazing Cat Café!
Money takes time to get used to and I hate carrying it (I’m a plastic card guy), but some places don’t accept card so I need to have it. The exchange rate is like 300x the €, so I need to do some mental math quite often. Having the Revolut card really helps with paying no exchange fees and getting the best rates – I really recommend this to anyone who is planning to go abroad where there’s a different currency, even just for the holidays! [this could be a sponsored message from Revolut]
On my first day I bought some Portuguese treats, a Portugal-shaped magnet for the fridge and some Chupa-Chups. After lunch I sent an email asking everyone to try them out. Most people tried those treats for the fist time, except the lollipops that brought back so many childhood memories. I believe it was a good way to break the ice and get people to come and talk to me. I also bought some liquors and exchanged them in a “drinking meeting” where I tasted Pálinka, their local brandy, for the first time.
My colleagues are great, even bringing me treats sometimes. I’m trying to get to know more about them and their culture during lunch hours, and even joining their activities, such as sports or going out for a drink after work. The first week there was a special event organized by just 2 people who made lunch for everyone here. It was an Hungarian dish – delicious by the way! – with everything payed from out of their own pocket and just asking for any kind of contribution – that I gladly chipped in for!
Working in a new country takes some time to get used to…
The first shock was the daily routine, such as having lunch at noon (1 hour earlier than I’m used to). I also got a few minor shocks since market specific characteristics are a bit singular:
– They tax every media activity – if vendors pay it’s not our responsibility, we only have to prove we noticed them.
– The Government has a strong influence over the Media.
– There’s a fixed fee (set by the Government) for every media agency, which means this is not a variable in tenders, so Pricing and especially Strategy become even more important.
One big difference from where I come is that roles here are managed by specific people (e.g. Planning / Buying / Price Negotiating). I guess this makes people talk more, so I see many quick chats in the nice chill meeting rooms or just in the lovely kitchen. It also seems people get less distracted from their tasks and can get more focused that way! The office has some Zen areas and being dog-friendly also brings a good work environment. I don’t know if there’s a connection, but during the meetings I’ve attended I have always felt a very good vibe.
My manager here put me in a rotation program across media groups and the SBUs. This way I get to learn first-hand the type of work that is done and, at the same time, share directly with them Trends, Cases and Digital Audits more suitable for their clients. Some SBUs are very recent here, so it was nice to discuss with them how we do things in Portugal and how do they are thinking of doing it here. I also saw some cool Templates and software used to monitor competitors and reporting.
Tenders usually occur during Oct-Dec but this year they have also had a busy summer. That allowed me to check out some amazing recent work, and ask how/why they did it that way. Such as their approach to Online Video and the reasons behind how much budget should be allocated. I also shared with the team my market’s usual approach – that is a bit different – but both are good so now I think we can either collaborate or select the best approach for each client. I have also helped with ongoing tenders by showing them some good sources, cool tools, and some trends and case studies from Portugal that were integrated in presentations which gave us some extra points by going a bit further from what the brief asked.
My latest share with everyone was the 2 Gold wins at the Digital Awards in Portugal last month, and the campaign’s background, nominated materials (inc. award videos) and a few tips when submitting cases. I hope this will serve as an inspiration for future award nominations.
After work, I managed to find some time and… wait for it… for the first time ever, I did Stand-Up Comedy, for 80 people, at a bar in an Open Mic Night. During those 7 minutes on stage I just felt awesome! Even got some social media gratitude! Truly an incredible experience!
But the funniest day I had was on Dec 6 when we had the “Ugly Sweaters Day”. Everyone bought one and even during an important meeting with the Lego client in our offices we were wearing those “funny” Xmas sweaters. The client had a blast and it’s also a day I’ll never forget! My outfit turned out to be truly the ugliest so I won the 1st prize! Therefore, I’ll need to come back here in order to return the award to next year’s winner.
During my 3 months in Budapest’s office, I tried to make the most out of their culture and business vision! I joined the Strategy, Insight, Performance, Social, Data and Research teams where I gave (and received) strategic thinking support, and helped Media teams on strategic issues during the pitch season. I also shared with them new ways of approaching strategies, case studies and best practices for submitting cases to Festivals.
I brought back new approaches to pitches and ad-hoc strategies, researching hacks, presentation tips & tricks, great sites & gurus to follow and fresh templates. In a nutshell: smarter ways of thinking and doing things. At the same time, I improved my interpersonal and communication skills while absorbing a different culture.
. Another approach to sell Online Video and the reasons behind how much budget is allocated – now we can mix that into our approach or select the best one for each client.
. “Interactive” agenda for oral presentations – e.g. ppt slides with menu, or where the audience can select which options they want us to talk about.
. 10 steps of Search Strategy (SEO and SEA) and the combined power of SEO and Content.
. SEO & Landing Page audit tools – let us turn consulting services into business opportunities.
. A couple of strategic and tactical moves to increase site or e-commerce campaign performance.
. Different type of social analysis reports and benchmarks.
. Performance campaigns best practices – e.g. different Ad Sets for Facebook and Instagram.
. Cadreon’s DMP capabilities and 2 recent projects details – may become a revenue diversification source for new or existing clients.
. Understanding SOS vs SOM correlation – Jones’ analysis methodology.
. Useful info about our tools – like the new YouTube Curves and Ripple Junior.
. Ad verity and Google Data Studio templates – to speed up reporting tasks.
. Dynamic Reporting as a way of making client’s business workflow more effective for Euronics, with a special “researching hack” to check their competitors’ e-commerce landscape.
. Auchan working methods and e-commerce optimization suggestions – will be extremely useful since we’ll enter a tender in Portugal soon.
. Specific roles, such as Digital Project Managers, who take care of every digital campaign, check the platforms, do reports and help the account teams – I borrowed from them a Digital Brief Template.
And of course, some of the “fun” stuff:
. Do “scavenger hunts” with rewards as a way of “forcing” people to learn – e.g. Video Formation recorded and shared with everyone with a Quiz that lasts a few days, and a special reward for all those who get the answers right.
. A board games night at the office (after office hours).
. IPG Ugly Sweater Day – I just have to bring this to Portugal around Xmas time!!
. Tablet + Sound bar inside the Kitchen area so anyone could select the music – I’d also like to bring this to Portugal, with its “Zen” and relaxing mood, with cool photos on the wall, a fish tank and couch and pillows.
. Microsites made in-house shared only inside the office – e.g. a useful microsite with some Basic Tutorial tips for newcomers.