Creative Services Manager
Company Name: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
2.5 years ago I joined Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) as their Creative Services Manager, providing design direction and development of the marketing materials. Our small group of 6 creates around 1,000 projects a year. Making the change to the health care industry after 9 years in telecommunications was not as big of an adjustment as I had anticipated. The basic marketing needs and challenges are similar, and I have been able to apply lessons learned on past branding initiatives with Sony Ericsson Mobile Phones to many of the brand-building experiences I encounter at BCBSNC. Prior to moving to Raleigh, NC in the early 90s, I worked as an art director in Florida and had my own design studio in St. Louis, MO creating advertising for small businesses.
What is the best thing about working in-house?
Working in-house offers the opportunity to gain an in-depth knowledge of your company’s values and visual brand standards that is hard to obtain when you work for an agency with many different kinds of clients, each with their own set of brand standards. You also have more direct contact with senior management. The end result is that you have a deliverable that is true to the brand and meets senior management objectives.
What types of projects does your department do?
The Creative Services team at BCBSNC designs a variety of collateral pieces ranging from annual reports, to brochures, advertising, direct mail, multimedia presentations and exhibit graphics. While our main focus is to support our sales team, we also create banners, posters, invitations and other materials for different departments within the company.
What keeps you motivated and inspired in your job?
I am always looking for ways to improve things: our current designs, our messaging, our team’s skill set. There is nothing more rewarding than to play a role in the professional development of someone on my team and watch him or her grow. I have a desire to continually try to enhance what we do and how we do it. Each job is a learning experience, which offers ideas on how to make the next one better.
What do you consider the biggest success of your in-house career?
My biggest success is happening right now and will be completed in mid-July: We are in the process of developing a new identity system that is not only visually exciting, but also offers more focused messaging. Our new marketing materials will have greater impact and consistency and will stand out from what our competitors are doing today.
What are you currently reading, watching and listening to?
My morning commute is long, so I catch up on the news with NPR, and then listen to books on CD for the drive home. Currently, I am listening to “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” by Stephen R. Covey. In the evenings, when I am not watching CNN, MSNBC, or the Discovery Channel, I wind down with Communication Arts, Fortune Magazine, Architectural Digest, or Vanity Fair. And I can’t forget to mention catalogs! I love to comb their pages.