Women in Digital Kat Wyeth

Name: Kat (Katrin) Wyeth
Position: Creative Director/ Social Media Manager
Organisation: groupm
Twitter Handle: @kat_wyeth

Your career journey:
I’ve always been passionate for great ideas and open for change. That’s why it was an easy progression for me to switch from being a classical creative to becoming a digital one. My career began with one of the most creative and amazing individuals in the advertising industry: Andy Blood. He taught me to push myself and the clients’ boundaries. Under him, I learned advertising from scratch. From writing 6 word stories, to 10.000 character essays. In English! After all I am German, so it was sometimes really painful. I indulged myself into the art of words of Ogilvy, Delaney, Bernbach and others. I read and reread the Copywriter’s Bible over ten times. I’ve developed and produced DM pieces with scalpels and spray glue, and if I didn’t find somebody willing to model for my ideas- I did it myself. That’s how I ended up as the face of a blow up doll for the “Battle of the Ad Bands” posters in New Zealand. So what?!

Now, working digitally, I have to push clients’ boundaries every day. First, the step into Social Media was an unknown one, scary for clients that are used to be in full control of their brand’s tone of voice. Now, the challenge is to maintain the Social Media appearance. Staying interesting. Keeping costumers entertained. And constantly transforming the spaces in between users and consumers. Often it’s less creative in a typical advertising sense of the meaning, but it is far more creative in actually getting through to people. We all compete now on the same platform, with the same advertising mechanics. In former times a creative ad was a poster, billboard, banner etc. Now it is an app or another form of involvement. Not the actual ad leading to the app.

Do you think that being female has impacted upon your career progression?
I think so. The advertising industry is very much a male dominated industry. When I started working, the people who had a say, were relicts from the 80s advertising glory days. Sex, drugs and Rock’n Roll made their egos huge. And sometimes I wondered how they coped with the changes of budget sizes. If you know what I mean.

So, to make it as a woman in that particular industry, there are a few simple rules:
First rule is called: long, long, short. Meaning long legs, long hair, short skirts.
I have short hair. That’s all there’s to say here.

The second rule is called: quietly brilliant.
That means, you have the ability to come up with fantastic ideas and give all the men around you the feeling that you couldn’t have done it without them. So while they present your idea, you shut up and smile.
I can’t shut up.

And now to the third rule: Keep learning.
One thing I’ve observed is complacency amongst fellow colleagues when it comes to technical developments. So I’ve always tried be the first to adapt trends and become an expert in them. That’s how I could answer questions others couldn’t.
In general, do you think there is a male bias in the digital media industry?
Now-a-days, the people having a say are not the relicts from the 80s anymore. But young, tech-interested people that moved beyond understanding that there are certain platforms you should involve in your ad strategies, and actually build them. You could call this nerd power. Nerds are the true advertising heroes these days. And to be frank, most of those nerds I have the honour to work with are men.

Do you do anything to attract more female talent to your organisation?
My direct colleagues are all male, because they are the most suited for the positions. Not because they are male. At the moment in Germany there is the debate of the “female quota”, which means forcing companies to give a certain amount of high positions to women. I am not a fan of this. I would hate knowing that I got the position because of the “quota” and not because of my talent. So, to answer this question: no.

From your time working in the industry have you seen any changes in the numbers of women working in the industry or the perception of women who work in digital media?
In my job I’m dealing with a lot of different digital job occupations. From creative, to ad management, targeting companies etc. Most of the people are men, but the ones sticking out are very often women. So, although female numbers are maybe (still) smaller, the impact of them is often higher

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