Embracing Continuous Improvement

As a recent returnee in house (after 18 years at NY ad agencies), I’m learning to adapt to a larger environment and a corporate culture where our clients are also our colleagues.

One of the biggest advantages I’m seeing since my return is that everyone, no matter what their function, knows the brand—knows the ultimate goal of the brand and works to ensure that the essence of the brand is maintained. Working externally, it takes time to onboard a new agency and get them up to speed on the brand; the learning curve is trial and error. Working in house affords closer exposure and a deeper understanding of the brand, which is critical to our work.

From an operations standpoint, my focus since joining the team at Fidelity has been to implement systems enhancements, which can be a daunting task. Thankfully the group has been open to change, meeting my ideas with a positive response as well as a collaborative spirit.

One of the projects I’m working on is evolving our digital asset management (DAM) system from an image repository to an interactive tool that enables increased efficiency. With multiple workgroups using our assets both internally and outside of the company, it only makes sense to evolve our system to ensure it meets business demands. The good news is that we’re not pioneers in this effort. Many in-house and external agencies have walked this path before us, advancing the technology and laying the groundwork for what will ultimately lead to our own successful migration.

There are assorted ways to arrive at a place of operational excellence—from alignment on the brand to systems pursuits. What matters most is your commitment to continuously improve whatever it is that you’re doing. There’s a philosophy I learned early on in my career and it’s something I’ve incorporated into both my personal and work life. It’s called Kaizen, which is the Japanese word for Continuous Improvement.

Sinead Whelan is the Director of Production Services at Fidelity Communications & Advertising, (FCA), the in-house agency at Fidelity Investments.

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