#YouthMatters: Alex Krause's strategy to be successful
First starting out as a professional musician, he signed a record deal and walked confidently in the music industry before deciding to go into advertising. In the seven years he has been in the industry, he has made waves big enough to be one of the top strategists in his company.
Here, he tells us more about his role, who he is, and what the future holds...
What does your role entail, and what does your average day at work look like?
For the most part my role entails asking difficult questions and then trying to find the most interesting answers to them.
Other than that, it’s a lot of working with brilliant people and getting to help our clients solve real-world problems. The best part of being a strategist is that we very rarely have what you would call an ‘average’ day.
What do you love most about your work?
The people. Working in a creative industry means working closely with some seriously Warhol-esque characters - and at HelloFCB+ we have them by the bucket load. We really do take pride in our people and it shows in our work.
Can you tell us a bit more about your career prior to your current role?
Once I’d finished up my degree in 2012, I decided to take a bit of a left turn and pursue a career in music. The stars somehow managed to align and I was lucky enough to be able to do it professionally for almost three years, until the advertising bug started biting. I felt the urge to dip my toes elsewhere.
I joined HelloFCB+ in 2014 (during the Hellocomputer days) as a part of the Social Media department. I quickly fell in love with strategy after working closely with the team on a number of projects. I put in the hours, made my ambitions clear, and a year later I was given the role of content strategist. I did that for two years - honing my skills and learning the craft before I was made senior strategist in 2019.
How would you define HelloFCB+ as a brand?
It truly is the Human Connections Agency - I think that says it all. HelloFCB+ centres everything it does around people. Whether it’s connecting ideas with people, or getting us to connect meaningfully internally; it comes through in our approach to everything. Both in the work you see and the work you don’t see.
What are the long-term goals of HelloFCB+?
To be South Africa’s best integrated advertising agency. If our ambitions aren’t big, what’s the point in doing it in the first place?
How does HelloFCB+ support youth empowerment?
I’ve been here since I was 23 (so, far more youthful than I am now) and HelloFCB+ has moved mountains to help me and numerous other young professionals realise what the industry can offer them. They have also provided resources to help us understand how to get there. I’ve been guided from strength to strength and been given opportunities that have helped me grow in my career. Beyond career growth and empowering youth, the business is steadfast in its approach to diversity and inclusion. It’s been that way since the day I started.
Can you share some successful strategy projects you have worked on, and why they were successful?
It’s always tough to narrow it down, but I can’t not mention the tonne of pitches I’ve worked on that we won (City of Cape Town, Sunlight, Western Cape Government and Parmalat).
Other than that, it might have to be the most recent Ninety One brand campaign we worked on. That was successful because we took a few steps back and really looked at the role the brand plays in the category. From there, we looked at how it can be turned into a clear and distinctive message and found significant success through that.
Could you share some of your personal successes with us?
Personally, I have to say that being able to live out my childhood dream of being a musician and signing a record deal has to be right up there. Second to that, being a part of the IAB Audio Committee has been a bit of a personal success for me as it covers the two things I love most.
What do you like to do in your free time?
We have to deal with a lot of complications at work. As such, I like to keep my free time as simple as possible. I’m either spending time with my lovely girlfriend, surfing, hiking, reading or drinking beer with the lads.