Focus on BEING the right partner: Bang Pham & Yama Rahyar, RPA

Todo en uno
Santa Monica , Estados Unidos
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Pham Bang
Creative Director RPA

Yama Rahyar
Creative Director RPA

How did you meet and how long have you worked together?

We were partnered here at RPA in 2016, when Yama returned to the agency as a “boomerang” employee. Coincidentally, Bang is also an RPA-er who left and came back, with over 20 years at the agency all together.


How would you describe the relationship between you two? In what ways has the dynamic changed since you first began working together?

In many ways we embrace old-school expertise and defined accountability. One of us is good with words, the other is good with visuals. Collaboration and synthesis are important, but it’s still important to have a basic understanding of who is the specialist in which area.


Tell us about the first campaign you’ve worked on as a duo.

The first really big project we undertook was branding the agency itself and bringing RPA’s longtime “People First” philosophy to life across all external and internal touchpoints. It was an intense and incredibly valuable learning experience, as we had to work with the toughest client an agency can have: itself. 


Do you have a favorite campaign you’ve worked on together? What makes it special?

With Honda Certified, we were tasked with reimagining the automaker’s certified preowned business, how to communicate and market the benefits of buying certified, and even the experience of shopping for a certified preowned vehicle online. Our favorite kind of brief is when we get the chance to elevate something important that’s been under the radar for too long.

The work we’re currently producing for our new client, TXU Energy, is a change of pace and a chance to push a brand forward in one of the most competitive categories. Stay tuned for that very soon! 


What has been the hardest part of working together? How do you resolve creative conflicts?

Occasionally, being too busy to communicate when one of us (Yama) needs the other (Bang) to cover a meeting!

We genuinely believe that difficult/emotional creative conflicts don’t have to be a thing. When you’re focused on doing right by the client and the brief and working collaboratively with the multidisciplinary internal team, it’s easy to get past differences of opinion. It’s only when people are motivated by some ulterior agenda, like politics or cliquish loyalty or awards or angling for something beyond delivering on the brief, that drama happens.


Is there any advice you’d give to young creatives looking for a partner, or a duo just getting their start?

Focus on BEING the right partner, not looking for the right partner. Junior creatives can worry too much about matters like compatibility, common interests or “friendship,” instead of learning to adapt to what your partner and your team need from you.


Do you have a dream account that you haven’t had the opportunity to work on?

Our dream is to have portfolios filled with examples of how we took a struggling, poorly branded and poorly differentiated brand in a tough category and turned them around. If this is you, hit us up!


How has the pandemic impacted working with your partner? Do you have any creative tips on how to collaborate when you’re working from home? 

We’ve definitely gotten to know each other’s small kids and dogs a lot better since the pandemic! Our best WFH tip is just two words: mute button.