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Poke focuses on new prospects

Moshe Braun’s first passion is graphic design – he ran his own design and branding agency for years. But these days he’s more likely to be found fusing his love of digital with his ability to win new business at Poke, a creative agency with offices in London and New York. Dubbed a “devoted all rounder” by the Financial Times, Poke’s first dedicated new business lead tells us why new business has never been a more exciting field to work in.

You’re Poke’s first dedicated new business lead. What does this involve?
I started on the 11th February this year. It’s my responsibility to develop an intelligent new business strategy, and help Poke enter new markets and engage with new clients.

Do you work as part of a team?
Well, I’m the only person whose sole responsibility is new business. However, many people, especially the partners, devote part of their working week to developing new business.

How does this position at Poke differ from your previous role as head of new business at a consumer insights agency?
This job offers me the opportunity to start something from scratch within a much bigger company; to make a noticeable impact and to work with colleagues who are top of their game.

You used to run your own design agency. How did you get into this field?
I’ve been working agency-side in a new business role for four years. I collaborated with a web development agency on a few projects. They thought I was pretty personable so asked me to help them develop partnerships with creative agencies. I had no formal new business experience at this point, but within a year and a half we won £400,000 worth of work, with some major brands. I took to it very quickly and found that I had a natural ability for this type of work.

What are the biggest challenges of working in this kind of role within the creative industries?
Client needs differ so much from one to another. This means I really have to take the time to research and understand what their priorities are, and how Poke can help.

How important is it for a design studio or agency to have somebody devoted to finding new opportunities?
The pace of life in an agency is so quick. It’s so easy for things to fall between the cracks and for opportunities to be missed. I think it’s really important to have one person who’s single-minded in making sure every opportunity is explored and is proactively following up leads.

What’s the most unusual avenue through which you’ve secured new work?
I have won a major re-platforming project for Virgin Atlantic through a tweet. I was working at a technical agency called Byng Systems when I won that project.

What one piece of advice would you give to anyone running their own studio for finding new business?
Empathise with your clients, think about the issues they are facing and work with them to find a solution.

How to become an art director: essential career advice, over at Creative Bloq.

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