There is one universal truth that a certain part of the industry will know quite well: changing mindsets is the most difficult challenge of all. But that certainly doesn't mean we should abandon all hope; and Nicola Rovetta, Chief Creative Officer at MullenLowe Group Italy, is one of those people who will never give up the dream of a better future, no matter what one may throw at them.
Nicola had the fortune to experience a number of career wins, but he also had to come to terms with the fact that some status quos are just too deeply rooted to be eradicated. Still, this won't prevent him from chasing the next big thing. Something to keep him and his team motivated. A way to do things differently. New channels and projects with the purest human empathy at their heart.
Today we are Getting to Know a motivated leader, an incredibly inspiring creative professional, and someone who will always find optimism and fun, even in the most boring of tasks.
Tell us a bit about your role! What is one typical day like?
My role is to manage the creative output of a multi-disciplinary team in order to deliver seamless multi-channel campaigns when it’s needed, or media-specific vertical campaigns relevant for a single touchpoint. After recent developments in our office, only partly due to Covid-19 pandemic, this has to be done in full remote working and by mixing internal and external talents, so the management side of new projects is as crucial as the creative side. One typical day is divided into thinking, evaluating, giving feedback and preparing for the next part of the project.
What was the biggest challenge in getting to your current position?
In my particular case I have been transitioning from an agency to another by becoming a partner, so I moved from being a manager to joining the corporate structure of the new company. It wasn’t the first time I had been involved in the ownership of an agency, but in present times the big challenge is to figure out how to shape the business in order to be competitive in an over-crowded and changing market.
What is your personal background and what role did it play in your career?
I have always been fascinated by the next big thing, and this literally boosted my career at the end of the Nineties because it gave me a chance of being one of the first digitally-savvy creative directors. As far as my education goes, the fact of having a human sciences background helped me when stepping up from art director to the creative director position, where you are asked to judge copywriting and relate with strategic planners.
What is your biggest career-related win? What is your biggest loss?
Career-wise, our (because I won't take all the credit for that) biggest win was to be selected as an independent digital agency to be acquired by the then-largest international consulting group in digital marketing. My biggest loss is undoubtedly the attempt, in a phase of my career, to transforming an old-style advertising office in a modern-day digitally integrated agency. We had to come to terms with the impossibility of transforming attitude and mindset.
What’s your secret to remain inspired and motivated?
Being optimistic and turn things over and over until I found the point of energy even in the most boring challenge.
Which individuals and/or agencies do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?
Almost all of the people in the industry are my reference points as long as they deliver great work; I tend to consider my “heroes” the people I had the chance to work with, or who gave me direct inspiration, the last ones in order of time being Chacho Puebla, Tomás Ostiglia and José Miguel Sokoloff.
How has COVID-19 affected you?
It didn’t “affect” me yet fortunately - the way it really affected me was by turning my home into my office, dramatically decreasing my occasions to meet people and live the life out there, and probably keeping me away from being infected to the present day. I think it did to me what it did to the majority of people, made us rethink the way we get job done and also the way we make it, because the pandemic generated totally new insights and revolutionised ways of living.
What is your biggest hope for 2021?
Read the news that SARS-Covid 19 has followed the steps of the original SARS virus – in other words: extinct.
What is your one piece of advice to aspiring creative professionals?
Look always a step ahead (to the transformations in the industry) but also a step to your side (to other disciplines, which often offer unexpected solutions).
How do you recharge away from the office?
I’d been saying “with my family” but now the two things are just separated by a door; so it’s still true, but it’s not so “away” from the office!
If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?
When I was a kid, I already was wise enough to think I would be choosing a job I had a natural attitude for, so that the effort to succeed would have been less! And a job my flaws would have been a minor problem for. So I thought I would be working in the field of languages/translation, because I consider myself a language person; or psychology, because I love to investigate and (I think) I understand people; or something art-related because of my artistic flair. Nothing like an engineer, a mathematician, an accountant or a doctor!
What’s your one big dream for the future of the industry?
That creativity all over the world is acknowledged as something you should always pay for.
Do you have any websites, books or resources you would recommend?
Aside from Creativepool? There are plenty of them, and better people than I to recommend them, but I would say, strictly for creative professionals, all the local and global advertising and communication arts magazines; and in general to open your mind, read the best recent essays in the area of paradigm shift, change or vision of the future. Lately I’ve been enjoying “Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models” from Gabriel Weinberg and Lauren McCann.