What Would I Change: Jo Arden, Publicis•Poke

As part of CR’s series exploring what creatives would change about their industry following this enforced period of lockdown and reflection, we speak to Publicis•Poke’s newly appointed chief strategy officer, Jo Arden

Starting any job is inevitably nerve-racking, but getting your teeth stuck into a new role and building relationships with new colleagues in the midst of lockdown is another challenge altogether. This was the task faced by Jo Arden when she joined Publicis•Poke as its chief strategy officer earlier this year.

Arden’s fascination with strategy and human behaviour began during her marketing masters at the University of Huddersfield. She went on to work at agencies including Iris and 23red, before joining MullenLowe London in 2017, where she worked on campaigns for Bupa, British Heart Foundation and the NHS, among others.

Arden’s appointment as Publicis•Poke’s chief strategy officer came before the start of lockdown, but she only officially joined the agency in June. As she settles into her new role, CR speaks to her about onboarding during a pandemic, the future of flexible working, and why the industry needs to support each other as much possible during this turbulent time.

Top image: British Heart Foundation’s campaign Boy, courtesy of MullenLowe London. Above: Jo Arden

WFH in lockdown I have found lockdown really, really hard. My main challenge has been how much longer everything takes. I miss getting in a room, talking about ideas, literally having the work in my hands, shaping and crafting as part of a team. I think we are all slowly finding ways to collaborate differently but I’m missing the pace and energy of an agency, that kinetic feeling when people are busy together. Getting to know people takes more investment of time too. Lockdown has made me appreciate how many relationships are built by sharing a brew, walking to get lunch together, knowing by someone’s body language when they are overwhelmed. That’s tough to replicate on Zoom – I’ll be so happy to finally meet my team!