A year after assuming the creative leadership of HOY in Latin America, Chief Creative Officer, Tony Waissmann, chats to us about his leadership style, building a top performing team, his biggest challenges and achievements, and what it feels like to be nominated for the Best Creative in Argentina at the Jerry Goldenberg Awards.
Tell us a little about what your role as Regional CCO entails.
I would say that my work has mainly 3 bullet points. The first one is to create a team and make that group united behind the same objective that motivates everyone. The second is to make things happen, make our ideas come to life and ensure they don’t just remain hidden in a power point, keynote or on a computer desktop. The third is to make HOY a network with high creative standards and work that speaks on our behalf.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I am someone who works side by side with the teams, beyond the different responsibilities within the structure. I like horizontal work where everyone has a voice and possibilities. I fervently believe that a team is always more than an individual, and the only way to be part of the creative elite, is to work together to achieve a shared goal. I like to sit and think, I like the teams to trust me, and I like to generate a unique work environment, where we all want to be with each other, for the kind of people we are and, of course, for the talent that each one of us has. I like to be responsible, both when things go well, and in moments when things do not go as expected or simply do not go well. It’s a pressure that I live with, and after so many years I’m used to it. I always try to make sure that in the balance, there are more successes than mistakes, although we also learn a lot from mistakes.
You have been in the position for almost a year now, what have been the biggest challenges you have had to overcome and your greatest achievements?
In Argentina, the main challenge was to rekindle the team spirit. Many people from the previous management had left, and in just a few months I had to reorganise the whole creative, design, production, coordination, and PR departments. It was great being able to choose who I wanted to work with, but also a challenge because afterwards I had to see if the pieces I had chosen individually would work as a whole. I wanted to put all this together very quickly and luckily everything fell into place. So, I’d say my main achievement in Argentina is that the team that I built works perfectly, like a high-performance machine.
In terms of the region, I opened our Mexico office and hired its CCO, Loca, who I am sure was the right choice. For the HOY network in general the challenge is to make us feel like one big team even if we have people sitting in different countries. Collaborating with each other, helping each other and, above all, extending our common goal to even more people.
The most recent tangible achievement was winning in Cannes, just 4 months after my arrival, with a beautiful campaign called Fireproof Newspaper. I hope all our agencies will have the satisfaction of winning prizes for all the work they submit at festivals.
Another achievement, and the result of a team effort, is being nominated for the Best Creative in Argentina at the Jerry Goldenberg Awards. This fills me with great pride, and I know that without the team that surrounds me, it would have never been possible. I was also nominated in 2019 so it is great it is happening again in 2021.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
That the HOY brand is associated with producing highly creative campaigns and being a great place to work. I want our people to have a good time and enjoy being part of the team every day. I would love that each time we release new work there is a sense of anticipation and people thinking “can’t wait to see what these guys have come up with this time”.
We also always want to assure that no matter which of our 4 offices produces a campaign, the level of creative quality will always be the same. Finally, we obviously want to grow the business even more by finding the right balance between being an economically healthy agency with high creative standards – I think this is an equation that motivates any agency.
What do you think are the biggest challenges our industry will face in the next 5 years?
Soon, hundreds of many different jobs will cease to exist but also hundreds of new ones will appear. Moving forward, creativity will become more and more important. There is nothing like thinking creatively to solve a problem and the power of creative ideas to change the world should not be underestimated. Knowing that creativity’s role will continue to grow in the future is very motivating.
I also believe that agencies have been divided up too much – media, creative, digital, e-commerce, events, shopper, etc. In my opinion, this has not helped with macro and consistent communication for brands. It diversified the business too much and complicated coordination within agencies. I think that all disciplines are now converging once again to create a complete and integrated agency, with creativity at the core of the business, and being used in the best way to bring our ideas to life and provide clients with a complete journey from start to finish.