One of the biggest benefits you get from working in the hospitality industry is all the people you meet and get to know over time – and the last bar I worked in was where I came to the decision that I wanted to do something that would challenge me more.
Agent Academy introduced me to an industry that was alien but was an incredible opportunity to meet loads of new people and really test myself. Meeting the people that populate most of the Baltic triangle was one of favourite parts of the course along with finding out about all the different businesses that operate amongst where I initially thought there was just a couple of cool bars.
It was during these meetings that I met Mike who came in to give us an overview of his company, which at the time was called Open Messenger. I was really drawn into the industry of out of home advertising that he operated in, an industry which at the time I hadn’t heard of.
I would like to say the classic story of me chasing him down the road and asking for a job straight after his session was the truth, but I’d be lying. However, his talk did spark something in me, a desire and interest to want to go and work for this company and learn about this new industry that at the time was unknown to me.
I started at OPEN with a warm welcome from everyone and was paired with Jon who had been working for the company since the start, who began to slowly to introduce me to the world of out of home. I began by getting used to finding out everything that was going in Liverpool, or how Jon put it, prospecting. As I grew with the company, my abilities got stronger, and I was calling up businesses to introduce them to our taxi top platform. This was an incredible idea of having two LED screens with advertisements on the top of black hackney cabs – genius.
After a lot of prospecting and calling, I finally dropped my first deal and it was a great feeling. I really felt a sense of achievement, and my confidence started to grow as I really started to love this industry that I was now a part of.
Agent Academy struck again, and we found ourselves with another bright young star in the form of Amy who would be taking up the role as our official Inbound Marketing Executive. As the team grew we all decided it was time for a change of scenery and we moved down to Mann Island’s new communal office space, Avenue HQ.
With the change of office space came the decision to take the digital taxis off the road and focus on our premium banners which are in some the best locations in Liverpool. Through selling these banners, I got the chance to work with some of the best brands in the country. This brought me to my next achievement – delivering a campaign for a massive client and working alongside one of the top three out of home agencies.
After breaking through the confidence barrier with the agencies, I started to grow my database of contacts and build strong relationships with every media agency I could, because our portfolio was increasing and my hunger to deliver another campaign was too. Taking the taxis off the road did create a gap for us digitally, but that would soon be filled with the announcement of our first large format roadside digital screen, located on the side of Liverpool’s luxurious new carpark.
This exciting new platform was yet another arm for the business to grow, and grow we did with the addition of two new members to the team. Will would be working alongside myself and Jon on the sales team, and Jemima joined Amy to form the inbound marketing team.
OPEN is continuously evolving, and the recent announcements of our new digital sites are creating a real buzz within the team.
After 12 months at OPEN, I’ve bonded with some great people, and the sense of a real family is starting to take shape. I’m super excited to see what the future brings for this company, and the choice to come and work here was a decision I won’t forget.
By Joe Keenan