Imagine peering through a kaleidoscope. The coloured crystals twirl around and fall into a geometric lattice when touched by the light. That’s our media monitoring team of analysts – diverse in skills, looks, languages, personalities, experience and talent but making a magic whole because of their will to do their best, trust in each other and the need to brace up in emergencies.
We asked some people from the media monitoring team to tell us about their thrills, anxieties and triumphs on the job.
The job. Do you give more than you take?
Rising at 6 am when you are not an early bird, meeting four deadlines a day, tracking companies in six diverse industries at the same time (pharma, cars, detergents, nappies, etc), holding the fort at massive spikes in company buzz.
“It’s hectic,” says Lead Analyst Simeon Florev, “You can’t predict a scandal, a crisis, a corporate flop or triumph. Such developments raise the adrenalin of a media analyst but also require quick rallying of forces to ensure quality coverage. We had a case when a client tipped us of a spike in media buzz after the president of a big company was dismissed at a board meeting. The media response was astonishing, 20 times bigger than expected. Our team, however, was prepared and made a report which reaped much praise.”
“The work gives you a sense of achievement, Simeon adds. “You can immediately see the results,” says Ana Marinska, an analyst who has been with the company for less than a year. “Besides, the team feeling is great – you’ve done it for the fellows you work with and because of them.” The team she is part of provides a 365-day media coverage of a big European institution and has won the respect of the rest of the company with their stamina to keep up with schedules (four deadlines a day) and maintain high quality of reporting. The work has made them more resilient and responsible. Even starting work at 6 in the morning after the company’s Christmas party went without grumbling, that was part of the job.
Media monitoring is not only dynamics, it is also an omniscience. To cover the buzz on a global automaker or fashion house you have to know how a car engine works when you can’t even drive, or write about the fine notes of fragrances when it is the last thing you care about. Writing about EU policies, banking supervision, quantitative easing, may seem an impossible task for rookies. A few months later it looks like a piece of cake.
“Our competence to handle diverse industries gives the company its competitive edge. Some of our rivals are specialised only in certain sectors, e.g. financial institutions, renewables,” Simeon explains.
At the same time, going through so many publications makes you well informed, which is one of the main benefits of the job, all the analysts agree. You are equipped to discuss a wide variety of topics, analyst Diliana Vodenicharova points out. Not only in politics and economics but also in advertising, branding, product quality. Simeon has become an expert in some consumer trends, “Buyers avoid drugs with overscientific names which say nothing to the layman about their curative merits.”
The analysts also get insights into how the media shape opinions by the way they choose what to publish, what to hype, what to hold back. Diliana remembers a cartel scandal involving the brands she had been tracking and the different ways in which the same news was presented by the media. Ilka Stoeva, a project manager, gives an example of a huge social media buzz when soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo was the face of a watch brand campaign. “The social media were flooded with positive and negative messages. No neutral ones. That was fun and an eye-opening experience.”
Stefan Topuzov, a lead analyst, sums it up “There are things I learnt on the job that I would never know if I didn’t work here. In the beginning I didn’t believe it when the recruiter told me that my head would explode from all the information. I thought he was bullshitting me.”
Working from home or from the office?
“Being mobile is a plus, the future is also mobile, although sometimes it is better to work together with people, because you miss the human contact,” Philip Manev says. He lives far from the office, so part of the time he works from home as he is more productive and does not waste time commuting.
Stefan relies on his intuition to make online communication with the team friendly. He thinks that Friends Friday, the monthly beer parties at our offices, are a great way to meet people. It is much easier to get across to them afterwards.
What makes you stay with the company?
If Lead Analyst Filip Manev had to recommend A Data Pro, he would talk about the people. “The people are the company. They are good professionals and quality persons, which is great! I have never had any unpleasant moments at A Data Pro.”
“A Data Pro is a company that looks for the potential of people and is willing to see it. When there is potential, the company invests in the people, even if the education system has left some gaps along the way. I never studied to be a manager, but the company gave me a chance to do it and now I am gaining experience in this field”, Stefan adds.
You get a lot of freedom to do your job the way you find best and a lot of understanding from your seniors, Simeon adds. As a university undergraduate he managed to combine work with Japanese studies. Simeon remembers a case when a client drastically curtailed an order (to 25%), there was no real work on the project but no one was fired. The management said, “We don’t want to lose you, give us some time, we’ll find a project for you.” They kept their word.
“Work environment” was an abstract concept for Dilyana when she was at university. She felt how important it was when she came to the company. Her co-workers didn’t watch her reproachfully when she made mistakes but jumped to help her.
Philip looks positively on any challenge. “Everything that happens teaches you a lesson and contributes to your growth both professionally and personally.”
In the next post we’ll tell you how the media monitoring people build up their skills, take more responsibilities and climb the career ladder.