#SMNatInvoke: A Visit to Invoke’s Vancouver Head Office

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#SMNatInvoke: A Visit to Invoke’s Vancouver Head Office

Written by Anneliese Herbosa, Content Manager of The Social Media Network 2013-14.

Faces of celebrities with moustaches plastered on each meeting room door, music blasting from the common area, the smell of waffles in the air, and a ping pong table. For a second there, we were convinced we were on the wrong floor of Invoke’s head office nestled in the heart of Gastown. As it turns out, we were exactly where we needed to be! On October 25th, a few of our lucky members had the chance to learn about the agency side of Invoke, a digital innovation company. Here’s how it all went down:

A Culture of Innovation

Our visit to Invoke’s offices started off with a guided tour. It was neat to see the myriad of ‘Invokers’ in their natural working environment. One of the first things that caught our eye was the lack of physical walls to separate the various teams working under the same roof. Cubicles and work stations of the like are typical of more corporate workplaces, but not in this one – and for good reason. As it claims to be a ‘digital innovation company’, what better way to foster a culture of innovation than by breaking down barriers (literally) to enable collaboration to take place more freely? It wasn’t unusual to see teams behind different products and clients working in close quarters.

We heard it straight from the representatives themselves when asked what their favourite things about working at Invoke were:

Pro Tips from the Pros

As well as getting a glimpse of work life at Invoke, we also had the chance to pick the brains of  some of their employees. Following the tour, we had the opportunity to get up close and personal – as well as professional – with a few core people behind the marketing/communication/creative efforts of Invoke Media (photographed below).

Colin, Mala, Lima, and Sam of Invoke Media

Pro tips from the pros: Colin, Mala, Lima, and Sam of Invoke Media

Before bombarding them with our questions, we got to know our attendees a little better in an intimate round of introductions.

So what did we learn from them during our intensive Q&A session?

Job-hunting, personal branding, and professional development tips:

  • Don’t take your LinkedIn profile for granted. There are so many opportunities to showcase your best work experience on that platform, explained Mala. Be very descriptive and tell your story.
  • (If the position involves you doing a lot of work in the digital space) It’s advisable to establish a strong online presence, and to always be self-aware of it (Hint: Google yourself prior to your interview). If you have a website or portfolio, make sure you know the contents of it inside and out!
  • Interviews are a two-way street. Remember that you as a candidate can, and are encouraged to, ask questions at the interview.
  • Lima reminded us to be proud of the work that we did/currently do. Don’t hold yourself back or be too modest – after all, it’s your time to shine!
  • Get your feet wet, and your hands dirty. Sam dropped a truth bomb on us and asserted that classwork doesn’t always cut it. Get some real-life experience (whether it be paid or volunteer work), and find ways to apply your various transferable skills.
  • Riffing off of the previous point, some of your most off-beat gigs might come in handy one day. Embrace them. For Colin, newly minted Associate Copywriter at Invoke and former Humour Editor at Simon Fraser University’s student newspaper, he found parallels between his ability to infuse humour in a compelling and savvy way, and the copywriting work that he does now.

3 Marketing Best Practices:

  • Lima recommended those particularly in marketing or digital communication positions to think of themselves as storytellers. Stories matter, and tend to resonate a lot with people. Incorporate them into campaigns.
  • Laughter-inducing marketing copy material can, more often than not, establish goodwill with your audience, and show the human side of your brand, explained Colin. (Just don’t overdo it).
  • One of Sam’s favourite parts about his job is getting to know people behind the brand. When you are the voice behind a brand, letting your personality shine through is important in humanizing the brand.

A special thanks to Lima Al-Azzeh, Mala Srivatsa, Colin Sharp, and Sam Wempe for taking time to speak with, enlighten, and inspire us!

Quintessential group photo: Everybody say #cheese!

Quintessential group photo: Everybody say #cheese!

Invoke is an award-winning digital innovation company that works with the world’s leading brands to bring meaningful social web and mobile applications to life. On the agency side, they specialize in strategy, design and development for companies like NBC, ESPN, Dove, and Ben & Jerry’s. On the labs side, they create tech start-ups and partner with clients to bring innovative ideas to life. Some of their products include Hootsuite, Eat St., Memelabs, and Pixsel. Their work has led to recognition from the Canadian New Media Awards, the Digi Awards, the Mark Awards, and the Social TV Summit Awards, to name a few.

Featured Image courtesy of SFUSMN‘s Community Manager, Jennifer Liu, who also happened to supply us with all the informative live-tweets during the tour.

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