This week’s industry figure works at amp, an audio branding agency. Karolina Namyslowski is undoubtedly the first person we have featured who plays piano, has a degree in Musicology, Music Informatics and Cultural Studies, and works in an office with a wire-haired dachshund puppy.
If that’s not enticement to read on, I don’t know what is.
Please describe your job: What do you do?
I am the Senior Creative at amp and responsible for managing the briefings for all creative assets. What that means is that I conceptualise, package and bring to life all of amp’s creative output from the translation of a brand into musical parameters and concepts, to creative consultancy, guidance and quality assurance.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
I am the lead of the Creative team and report to our Creative Director Michele Arnese, who is also the CEO of amp.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
A passion and knowledge for music is requisite, as well as an extensive musical repertoire.
My background stood me in good stead for this role, I grew up in a musical environment and started playing the piano when I was five. My love of music also fed into my education and I studied it in school before taking a degree in Musicology, Music Informatics and Cultural Studies at the University of Music in Karlsruhe and the renowned KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology).
Communications skills are important as in addition to translating a brand into sound, I need to be able to describe the sound of a brand with musical parameters in a way amp’s clients – who are not typically music experts – understand.
My job also includes a lot of listening, and don’t think I take off my headphones when leaving the office. People often ask me if I get tired of listening to music. The answer is: hell no!
Finally, having a creative brain is key – I need to be able to bring a brand to life and really tell its story through sound.
Tell us about a typical working day…
I’ll start by giving a bit of background – amp is a melting pot and my colleagues are from all over the world (Italy, Ireland, US, Norway, Serbia, France, India, Egypt and more) which makes the working environment vibrant and lively. English may be the common language in the agency, but we all speak one universal language: music.
The Creative team is in constant dialogue with the Production, Strategy and Artist Services teams. At least once a day, I sit down with the Creative team to evaluate all incoming work and feed back on our artists and bands.
A significant part of my day involves writing creative briefs, sourcing relevant mood music or editing videos we have produced.
What I love about the agency culture is our everyday family-like lunch. Always a cultural and culinary adventure and challenge.
The icing on the amp cake is our office dog Nunu, a wire-haired Dachshund puppy, which I pet frequently throughout the day. I promise he’s not a distraction but an inspiration.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
I do what I love and call it my job, which is amazing! No day is like another – the brands we work with are extremely diverse from multinational financial services to major car manufacturers, which makes every project special. I love wowing clients with creative sonic identities they’d never have thought possible. This makes the whole process from the kick-off to implementation an exciting time, both for amp and the client.
What sucks is when we’re faced with a wannabe DJ in a client meeting, who questions our approach based on their love of music. But you can’t create a serious sonic strategy out of your record collection.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
My goal is to grow amp’s creative department. It’s important to me that I’m a good mentor for my team and can inspire and train them to do great work.
For me the biggest success is to see how the creative assets are being used by our clients. Seeing our sound branding on TV, digital channels and in retail spaces, makes me feel proud of what I do and what amp is achieving as an agency.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
Spotify. The near-infinite repertoire that I can access through it makes my work life so much easier. Also Final Cut Pro – a pretty intuitive tool that I use to help visualise my concepts, compose mood films or produce videos that showcase projects.
How did you end up at amp, and where might you go from here?
I started at amp as an intern in 2013 after I completed my degree – I not only began my career here, I was amp’s very first employee. Together with amp’s Founder and CEO, Michele Arnese, I was given the chance to significantly shape the methodology and creative processes at amp to help the growth of the agency – from its early beginnings to its elevated standing as a top player with major clients around the world. I’m not going anywhere yet – amp is my home and I helped start this journey, so I can safely say that I’m not done here yet 🙂
Which advertising has impressed you lately?
The Adobe Ad from this year’s Oscars. The lyrics and aesthetics of “Pure Imagination” sung by Gene Wilder in the context of inclusion and “Creativity for All” really hit the spot.
What advice would you give a marketer starting out?
“Feet on the ground, head in the sky” (Talking Heads, This Must be the place). Be patient. Be keen and curious. Think out of the box. You will not always find inspiration in your own metier. Try to find your inspiration where you would not expect it, whether it is art, cooking, history or travelling.
Or in the words of Gene Wilder: “If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it. Anything you want to, do it.”