Tips for a Great Discussion

Last week, I had the opportunity to help Jess Thompson conduct interviews with Pat Conway, the co-founder of Great Lakes Brewing Company and Bill Boor, the CEO. It was an awesome experience to see the brewery first-hand and learn how the company was founded. The brewery has picturesque red brick structures dating back to 1870 and was once located in a crime-infested area of Cleveland. After Great Lakes was founded in 1988, it became a catalyst that transformed Ohio City into the thriving area that it is today. As soon as I met Pat Conway, I could see the engaging, witty personality of the brand as he was cracking jokes throughout the entire interview.

glbc

Along the way, I learned a few client interview tips:

  • Preparation is essential: Have background knowledge of what you will be discussing or else you’ll look as clueless as Patrick Star. In all seriousness, make sure your questions are to the point, unbiased and hit your goals.
  • Follow the flow: Follow your questions, but don’t change the subject too fast if the interviewee says something interesting. Ask unscripted questions to get answers you do not expect.
  • Be personal yet professional: The conversation is much better if the interviewer (or interviewee) is not a complete robot. Have fun, but don’t go so overboard that you come off unprofessional.
  • Make eye contact: Bring a note taker (me!) to take down the detailed answers the client says while you have an authentic conversation. Take brief notes as you go through each question, and make constant eye contact with the client.
  • Follow up: Most of the time, you wont have a chance to get through every single question and that’s okay! Follow up with the client for another interview in the near future. Chances are they want to interview again to give you all the information you need to create a great campaign.

Interviews are essential to understand the history, values and goals of any client who is working with an advertising agency. From interviews, agencies obtain a better idea of the brand’s personality and learn how to reach the brand’s specific target audience. It is important to talk to upper management, and employees from different areas of the company too. As Pat Conway said some of the brewery’s most innovative ideas come from his inside staff when he least expects it. Great Lakes puts a emphasis on its employees and loves to hear new ways the brand can make an impact in the community – especially with sustainability. I am looking forward to interviewing GLBC’s staff next week to discover their personal ideas on how to make GLBC thrive.

Advertisements