Tell us a bit about yourself, what do you do?
Sara Bamossy, I’m currently the co-CEO of Pitch, a full-service agency based in LA.
What did you do before your current role and what led you to where you are now?
For the first 15 years of my career in advertising, I worked as a strategist, starting as an intern and working my way up to Chief Strategy Officer.
How would you define the role of a strategist in your agency?
The motto of the strategy team at Pitch is: “Be an arrow, not a brick.” That means strategy that’s sharp, focused, and to the point. Great strategies don’t require excessive force –
If you can express strategies concisely, they’ll hit the bullseye.
At Pitch we’re always striving for the right mix of discipline and imagination to develop strategy that stands up to rigorous questioning, solves a problem, and inspires great work.
None of that can be done without collaboration. Strategists at Pitch know the best way to be an influential thinker is to be a generous thinker.
How have you seen the role of a strategist evolve since you first began?
In the industry over time, I have seen strategy split into very specific specialties like comms planning, digital/social strategy, analytics, creative strategy, etc. I think that can be useful, but the very best of the best have the ability to work across these verticals within strategy – to see the complete picture when generating strategy.
In your opinion, what are the greatest barriers an aspiring planner/strategist encounters when trying to start their career?
Underestimating how qualified the applicant pool for entry level positions is – most come in with multiple relevant internships, a portfolio of case studies, a masters degree, or all of the above. However, there is always a path into the strategy team from other roles at agencies for those who have a passion for it.
In your time, what have you noticed are the key skills and traits that separate great strategists from the mediocre?
The best truly understand the difference between an objective and a strategy or an insight and a strategy. To reject their own ideas and to visualize multiple future scenarios.
How do you avoid getting stuck in a cultural bubble and stay informed on the needs and desires of everyday consumers?
Read. Travel. Learn. Never stop asking questions.