Braylond Howard, the Copy Samurai, is a Fall 2018 graduate from the University of Miami’s School of Communication and Orange Umbrella Student Consultancy. Joining OU as a Copywriter in April 2018, his perspective and style from studying advertising, marketing, interactive media, and women and gender studies, helped raise OU’s standard of work, earning him a promotion to OU Creative Director for Fall 2018.
Now, Braylond has just finished his first week with the Marcus Graham Project, an 11-week intensive bootcamp focused on--mentorship, networking, culture, work, and family--raising the next generation of multicultural leadership in advertising. Here’s everything about his first week:
MGP is a Dallas-based program, but we kicked off the first week at Wieden+Kennedy Portland, a day one supporter of the program since its creation 11 years ago.
For four days, we were privileged to meet, and learn from, the dynamic faces of the #1 agency of the year. Crash courses from department heads, directors, and creative teams educated us on excelling in an agency-setting, creating culture, building the brief and other essential documents and plans, and most importantly, how to stand out.
On top of the stellar presentations we got to see, I have to talk about the industry icons we got to meet this week. Jason White, former Managing Director of W+K Shanghai and EVP of Global Marketing for Beats, is an icon with heart-filled stories of his climb to success and what he learned blazing his own trail. Tinker Hatfield, legendary designer for Nike, engaged us with various stories of his own rise to exemplify his principles of being passionate, action-driven, and networking. Karelle Dixon, Managing Director of W+K Portland, gave us advice on what it really takes to build an agency for our team this summer, that building great work means approaching it with enthusiasm, and growing trends to keep in mind. Natalie Kim, Founder of We Are Next, hosting a discussion of leaders on work culture and representation. Oh, the big one: actually meeting Dan Wieden and David Kennedy, co-founders of W+K, during Kennedy’s 80th birthday celebration!
All this amidst crafting our own pitches for Coca-Cola between Tuesday and Friday to present to its team of Senior Managers, Directors, and VPs of Marketing, Content, and Multimedia.
What was learned?
There was so much information it’s honestly hard to say everything. So, I’ll leave you with the three most resonating things:
3-Stay Hungry, Karrelle Dixon, Managing Director, W+K Portland
2-Stay Persistent, Tinker Hatfield, Legendary Designer and Laurie Batista, W+K, Talent Lead
1-Don’t Be an Ally, Be an Accomplice, Tiffany Golden, Creative Producer
If you want to follow my growth journey, as well as learn some things yourself, connect with me on LinkedIn.
Looking at the rest of the summer, my main focuses are myself, my craft, my passion, my team, and starting my career. Here’s what i’m doing for each:
Networking. I’m very big on mentorship, but not just for the career I’m aspiring toward. In a society that I see as ever-shifting and becoming more inclusive of recognizing sub and micro-cultures, I’m looking for people who are knowledgeable in every space just to converse and learn from their expertise. A big principle of W+K is Walk in Stupid, and that’s exactly what I’m pushing myself to do. To learn from everyone about everything, not just copy, but their perspective on the world, on current issues and rising ones. As a Copywriter, I need this because my job is more than just writing--it’s understanding the broader world around me.
Director of Growth. As a person, I’m big on growth and aspirations. I feel that the work you invest in people will be invested back in you. So for the summer, my title may be “Copywriter,” but I’m making my role the personal growth of my team. Coordinating one-on-ones to get to know who they are, their life stories, dreams and aspirations, perspectives on the world, and most importantly, what I can do to help them get there.
Social Issues & People. Copywriters are often called idealists, so in my ideal world people don’t push their beliefs or personal goals above someone else’s existence--but that’s not the world we live in. We stand at a pivotal point on the future of our own existence, a pivotal point on people’s rights: women, trans-people, immigrants, and people of color; more urgently, I believe we stand at a pivotal point of human relation and empathy--that’s why I’m learning and creating.
I can’t talk too much about it right now, but know I have things in planning/development stages for issues like our water crisis, the blue code, and the current abortion argument. A big note from Tinker Hatfield about this was, “There are a lot more talkers, and less doers nowadays. Who’s standing up for action?” We are in a place where everyone is creating something for what they’re passionate about, and as advertising professionals--from junior to c-suite--we have a power and responsibility to shift perspectives to what we believe is moral. And my morality stands with saving the world and the freedom of choice.
Storytelling. The heart of copywriting--of any writing-- is storytelling. I’ve gotten to a point where I believe solely working on ads may not be enough for me. After years of reading fantasy novels and manga, I think it’s time to start my own series. I want to build a fantasy world and explore social issues similar to ours within it. There will be various races, belief systems, social hierarchies, antagonists, wars, but most importantly, stories of growth and understanding.
I look forward to sharing this sometime within the next year or so.
Being Human. Often I find myself projecting my own biases and prejudices on people, subconsciously defining them for who I believe them to be--but not who they ARE. This is my, and maybe even yours, #1 obstacle in meeting new people and understanding the world around me. My #1 deterrent for growth. So, I’m doing my best to stay conscious of my projections. To stay aware of my thoughts, stop them when they’re making answers and challenge myself to make more questions. Ultimately, igniting my curiosity and emboldening myself to actually have a conversation--because you never know who’s story, who’s experience may relate to yours or touch you.
Add me on LinkedIn, let’s chat about anything! Especially if you’re interested in any of my projects or want to learn more.
Thank You’s to Wieden+Kennedy
Anthony Williams//Brand Executive
Eden Andu//Talent Management
Daniel (Danny) Sheniak//Group Media Director
Matt Hunnicut//Head of Production
Whitney Downing//Art Director
David Hughes//Group Brand Director
Henry Lambert//Group Strategy Director
Thomas Harvey//Account/Brand Management
Erik Wade//Account/Brand Director for Nike
David Larry//Head of Strategy
Cristen Milliner//PR Coordinator
Nanea Woods//PR/Awards Coordinator
Nicole Jacek//Head of Studio + Design
Jason White//Cura Cannabis Solutions
Wilson Smith// Nike