Tell us about you how you met and how long you’ve worked together?
Grace: I was first introduced to the idea of “Ryan” when he was just a bullet point in a staffing email as “the new guy in Austin starting in May.” We must’ve then met in person in our Brooklyn HQ office (I was living in NYC at the time) when he came for orientation, but I don’t remember anything about it. Sorry Ryan.
Ryan: I remember we talked for the first time over a Google Hangout when I started. I was trying to talk with all the department heads. I don’t think she trusted that I had a “strategy” background… but three years later, I think she’s come around.
How would you describe the relationship between you two? In what ways has the dynamic changed since you first began working together?
R: I’ll start with how it changed...we got married! So describing our relationship is no simple task, but I think it all comes down to respect. Respecting boundaries, respecting talent, respecting different working styles and temperament. Sometimes Grace leads the dance, sometimes I do. But we’re both happy to see each other succeed so it makes the give and take easy.
G: We trust each other, which I think is key to any healthy relationship, personal or professional, but it wasn’t instantaneous — it’s something that’s been earned (and renewed) every day. Recognizing and respecting our different working styles is a big part of success because knowing how to approach someone to elicit their best work is a rare skill.
Tell us about the first campaign you’ve worked on as a duo.
R: Our first time working together was on Logitech social. Nothing like bonding over Daily Trending Content…
Do you have a favorite campaign you’ve worked on together? What makes it special?
R: Our favorite would probably be a rebranding project we did for Bank OZK, a growing regional bank. I know what you’re thinking...regional banks...sexy first creative date! But it was the first time we tackled something at that scale together with great clients, and work we’re still proud of! We had to come up with cross channel messaging for a rebrand, and then bring it to life in print, OOH, and video. We both had plenty of room to own parts of the campaign, while supporting each other to bring the collective vision to life. Also, Grace is more patient than me so that helped with quick turn edits.
G: Agreed. It was an exciting project for both of us, having to work together with the rest of our team. I can confirm I have (a lot) more patience.
What has been the hardest part of working together? How do you resolve creative conflicts?
G: The hardest part is deciding who has to go let the dogs out during lunch. An ongoing struggle with no end in sight.
R: True. And I’d say we manage to avoid most creative conflicts by always being clear about who’s leading and respecting that line. If only dog duty was as clear.
Is there any advice you’d give to young creatives looking for a partner, or a duo just getting their start?
G: Know it’s a relationship and deep, committed relationships take work. Once you find your creative partner, it’s not like you get to check it off your to-do list and success automatically follows. There will be conflicts and misunderstandings and frustration, but there will also be the highs of seeing work you’re proud of in the wild and the satisfaction of a job well done. As long as you both feel like you’re partners in it together, that’s something to nurture and be proud of.
R: Agreed. An easy trick – whenever you get frustrated, just remind yourself that it is very rare that someone is TRYING to do a bad job. Work through those frustrations together.
Do you have a dream account that you haven’t had the opportunity to work on yet?
R: Well, I’ve always loved basketball and Grace has gotten really into the culture of the NBA so I feel like anything that tapped into that would just be really fun for us. And because I’m a good husband and creative partner, I’ll also say any brand that wants to utilize Keanu Reeves should give us a call.
G: Name dropping Keanu Reeves is blatant pandering aimed at me, but I wholeheartedly accept it. And yes, somehow over the years, I have become a willing NBA culture addict, but I don’t care that much about the superstars taking up all the air in the room — talk to me about role players and if there’s ever any opportunity to do something with the game’s unsung heroes, aka the floor sweepers, I will die.
R: SLAM, where you at?