Nick has done a fantastic job of not only building an agency but a flourishing community of creatives. But it hasn’t all been plain sailing. Throughout his career, he’s experienced highs and lows, including a terrifying heart attack at the age of 26.
Nick shared with us his inspiring story in our podcast. We recap on our favourite highlights in this blog.
How did One Minute Briefs start?
OMB wasn’t intended to become the marketing giant it is today. It originally started as a university side project, helping Nick and his friend come up with quick ideas for advertising briefs.
Nick discovered the beautiful simplicity of working to a short time constraint. OMB enabled him to come up with smart, simplistic and successful ideas without overthinking.
Nick and his friend eventually decided to take OMB to Twitter. Initially, their posts didn’t gain much traction. That all changed when Nick launched “a brief of the day every day” for his followers to tackle. It became a Twitter sensation - many people started tweeting their submissions generating a lot of exposure for OMB.
Where is One Minute Briefs today?
Today, OMB has 21,000 followers on Twitter and has become its own flourishing community. It works brilliantly as a platform for creatives to test themselves, build their portfolios, support each other and meet up.
OMB is social engagement at its finest. Nick gives a fun example of a brief: advertise wheelbarrows. This brief gets tweeted to OMB’s followers who come up with quick ideas and send them in. If the brief gets 100 entries in response, that’s being retweeted to all 21,000 followers every time, fuelling extensive community engagement.
Has OMB affected Nick’s work in any way? “It’s helped my career as a creative director,” he explains. “I practise using it in my day-to-day work, it really encourages you to think creatively.”
OMB has been so successful that Nick’s included it within his broader advertising agency, the Bank of Creativity. He hopes that within the Bank of Creativity, OMB and its community can continue to grow.
Building a community
The Bank of Creativity seeks to be a community hub of creatives from across the world. Using sites such as Facebook and meetup.com, Nick has been bringing all sorts of people together - from advertising professionals to glass painters and graffiti artists.
These meetups have many benefits for participants who can network, make friends and win awards. For example, some participants have built portfolios based on their OMB work which have resulted in job offers. While other OMB creations have even led to exposure on billboards and publications like the Daily Mirror and New York Times.
For Nick, one of the key factors of success is that everyone is an equal: “People from all over the world are meeting up, becoming friends and enjoying each other’s company. I think that the lack of hierarchy and barrier to entry are key reasons why people love it. The main thing is that it’s fun, and that’s why it’s built up this community.”
Heart attack at 26
Nick’s journey has had it’s significant ups and downs. 2015 was a year of extremes starting with Friday 13th February, the devastating day he suffered a heart attack.
A stressed-out freelancer at the time, Nick feels his hectic lifestyle was a factor. His calming hospital stay helped him to rest and reevaluate how he would work in the future.
“I came back with a mindset that I won’t accept being in a job or situation I don’t like - life’s too short.” Now Nick doesn’t mind putting across his views, even when people don’t like it: “I think that’s what’s helped me in the last year to develop the Bank of Creativity.”
Giving back to the NHS
It wasn’t long before Nick had a chance to give back to the NHS that had saved him. With his new industry role and some help from the OMB formula, he found himself directing a music video for the NHS.
The video has received more than 1.5 million views and sparked a #LoveYourNHS campaign, getting celebrities like Philip Schofield and even Justin Bieber involved. OMB got its name out into the industry and #LoveYourNHS was being talked about everywhere. The campaign was so successful that the song used in the music video, A Bridge Over You, became 2015’s Christmas number one.
Lessons for the stressed entrepreneur
As a busy young freelancer, Nick’s stay in hospital gave him some time to reflect on his life.
Thinking back from 2020, has he had an epiphany about life after his heart attack? Probably, he says: “If someone overtook you while driving, you’d probably get annoyed. If it happens to me now I just think, ‘Nice one, I’d have done the same.’ Sometimes you’ve got to let things go and not get too worked up.”
What should budding young creatives know?
Nick left us with some helpful advice for newcomers looking to break into the advertising industry:
Do One Minute Briefs! - Often your instinctive ideas are the best ones. A short time constraint stops you from overthinking, and you can go through multiple ideas quickly in order to settle on that successful ad. Even better, the more you do it, the more you’ll improve your creative thinking.
Get involved in a community - Knowing other people who are like-minded and friendly can help you to achieve a lot. They can even help you advance in your career.
Be your own brand - Nick’s online brand has always been the Bank of Creativity and One Minute Briefs, which over time has helped him to stand out a lot more. You need to be visible in the industry, but also work together with other people, make contacts, get yourself out there and differentiate yourself.
For Nick, differentiating yourself is crucial: “Ask yourself: how are you going to be different from all the other people graduating from the same courses? Even if you’re not as good as some, through hard work and getting yourself noticed, you can still rise to the top.”
Eager to hear more? You can listen to our full discussion with Nick here.