15th July 2016Blog
Jason Desmarais is on the Account Services team within Havas Lynx New York. With over 8 years of advertising & marketing experience, he has become an established leader in the industry bringing a unique perspective into the world of digital advertising. He most recently was nominated as a Havas Lofts participant, traveling to Europe for a month to work on global business within Havas Worldwide, gaining international experience both professionally and personally.
I have just returned from a day trip to the Havas Lynx Europe office, based out of Manchester. I caught an early train out of London and headed north up the pristine English countryside. The high-speed rail system here is a delight to experience and I wish that America will soon catch up to this preferred transportation method. After a quick 2-hour trip, traveling 200 km/h, I arrived in Manchester, England.
The Lynx Europe office, which just celebrated its 30th Anniversary, was a close walk from the rail station and it was nice to explore the city a bit before my busy day ahead. Upon my arrival, the office has a refreshing feel and look to it. There are hand drawn messages on the wall within the reception area, which showcases actual messages and quotes from clients expressing their thanks and kudos for past projects and launches. It’s a creative way to show appreciation from partners and clients, which can sometimes be a rarity to actually see from an agency as a whole.
During the office tour, I was introduced to several “teams” which work within the Lynx office. Each team is named after a character from the Mad Men series (Team Draper, Sterling, Pryce, etc.), and they all work within these entities depending on what accounts they work on. There is a sense of pride within each of the teams and many of those I had met would introduce themselves with their name and what team they were a member of. They also have several Lynx Ambassadors who are selected each year by their peers to assist with the agencies internal social events and multiple charity initiatives.
Throughout my back-to-back meetings, I was able to get a detailed sense of what creative campaigns they are all working on. I was walked through the history of how they grew from a small start-up agency named Creative Lynx back in the 1980’s, to now be a part of one of the largest advertising firms in the world. In the past 30 years, they have grown into an innovative space, even taking over a portion of an adjoining building. The Havas Village concept has truly taken shape here and it was great to see how all the teams work together within the shared environment.
It just so happens I arrived on a day where one of their Lynx Academy (#LXAcademy) sessions were taking place and was able to join one of the sessions, titled Deciphering Communications. It was a strategic and fun session where participants were asked to study specific advertisements and learn how to decipher the hidden messages within them. The LXAcademy is one of the unique programs they offer its employees at Lynx, which features weekly courses every Tuesday and Thursday focusing on three key areas: Fundamentals, Thought Leadership, and Core Experiences. Each session focuses on either a specific learning objective or an intriguing Q&A with some extraordinary people who come to visit the office. Each member of Lynx must attend a number of these sessions, which then culminates with the LXAcademy Awards in November.
My final meeting of the day was with Dave Hunt, Lynx EU CEO, where I was able to ask him questions about the company and the culture he has fostered at Lynx since becoming CEO in 2013. He noted that the cultural and environment of Lynx, including the LXAcademy and tons of events that are produced for its employees [search #LYNXlife] have led to a high retention rate of employees, with many employees being with the agency for over 5 years. Culture is a strong component of any agency and it was clear how important this aspect was for the Lynx team.
A big THANK YOU to the Lynx EU team for the warm welcome, great conversations, and a bit of history of Manchester (Thanks to Neil Martin!).