It isn't hard to imagine that most creatives struggle with overcoming their imposter syndrome. That feeling of being inadequate and just pretending to be creative bugs most of us, pushing us further down when we probably have all the qualities to rise.
Ben Keylock may be a successful creative director at Golley Slater, but even he admits that the imposter syndrome still creeps in from time to time. Which goes a long way to show that you can get anywhere, if only you truly believe in yourself and cultivate your skills.
We've had a chat with Ben to discuss his current role, his path into the industry and more.
Tell us a bit about your role
As Creative Director at Golley Slater I am responsible for leading and overseeing all brand and campaign activity from a creative and strategic viewpoint. From brief, conception through to completion I strive for the most impactful, cohesive and engaging output for companies and organisations around the UK and beyond.
Tell us about your background and how it has equipped you for today
After completing an Art Foundation Degree, I started my career in brand and advertising in various agencies in Gloucestershire as a senior creative. I've worked with some of the best (and some of the worst), and learnt just as much from both. I’ve also had the pleasure of solving creative problems for some of the biggest B2B and B2C brands around the world for the last 15 years.
My passions lie in storytelling and big ideas that really deliver on any brief, whether it’s building or repositioning a brand, integrated marketing campaigns or a cut-through multichannel cross-platform advertising campaign. I’m all about solving the creative problems and delivering the right results for clients in the pharmaceutical, technology, travel, FMCG, education, fashion and financial sectors.
If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?
I’d like to think if I wasn’t doing the ad game, I’d be a woodsman or a fisherman. I’m a BIG fan of nature and the outdoors and have an affinity with the sea. It’s polar opposite from what I do now, but I think that’s the point. Maybe one day I’ll get myself a little boat and make the dream real.
What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?
The Number One thing that keeps me inspired and motivated is remembering why I got into this business in the first place. Coming up with creative that when you put it in front of a client, it completely delivers on brief and beyond and leaves them wondering how the hell we did it.
The people I surround myself with are also a massive inspiration. The energy and expertise of other people from every department and walk of life is a constant motivation.
Tell us something about your professional life we don’t already know
More than once I have been used in photo or video shoots as a last-minute model. A couple of years ago my mug was plastered all over Old Street tube station for about a month for a huge OOH campaign we ran for a client.
What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?
I could name loads of work that I’m super proud of, but the thing that stands out is finally getting over the imposter syndrome that I’m just pretending to be a creative, let alone a Creative Director and actually really good at what I do, and I’m good at it because I really love it.
How do you recharge away from the office?
I have four daughters that keep me (believe it or not) recharged out of the office. I love nothing better than going on adventures with my family and also have a penchant for baking. I can make a killer sourdough!
What’s your one big hope for the future of the creative industries?
I hope that companies and organisations remember why creative agencies exist. We aren’t there to just say yes and do it.
We aren’t there to produce the expected, we are there to produce the unexpected and to add the value where they can’t. We also strive to drive brands forward in the most compelling and imaginative way. My aim is for them to see us as an extension of their team, in order to appreciate the value they can get from agencies and how stale inhouse can really get after the novelty wears off.