TBWA\Helsinki’s social media manager on Paris, Hamburg, Helsinki and making a job out of her passion
Iman Chellaf grew up in Helsinki but her biography definitely gives the impression of a global citizen. Having studied for a semester in Paris and worked for several months in Hamburg, she returned to her hometown at the start of 2017 to join TBWA as a social media trainee and has since been applying her passion for compulsively scrolling, following and liking for the agency’s clients.
LBB’s Alex Reeves caught up with her to find out what makes her tick.
LBB> You're originally from Helsinki - the world's coldest capital city! What was it like growing up there, and how did creativity impact your younger years?
Iman> Growing up in Helsinki was really inspiring: the city has a perfect combination of urban life mixed with nature. I think that creativity was present in my younger years through my musicality; playing the violin was my main creative outlet.
LBB> How did you first get interested in advertising and social media?
Iman> Advertising and social media have been the main outlets that resonated with me personally. They are the means that feed my interest in communications and cultural phenomena. The way you can connect people through entertainment has always fascinated me.
LBB> You studied in Paris - what was that like?
Iman> Studying in Paris was definitely a check off of my bucket list. The city is so full of life and my time there gave me a lot of perspective to where I wanted to take things in the future career wise.
LBB> You first started your career at Pulse in Hamburg. What made you decide that was the right place for you?
Iman> I have been an avid consumer of social media influencers’ content since day one. I had not realised you can make something you enjoyed a full-time job! I really love the creativity that content creators put into their work to connect with their audiences. Being able to take that into something that brands are able to use to communicate with their customers was really inspiring. What I also enjoyed while working at Pulse was the international atmosphere: it really made me feel at home.
LBB> What has your time at TBWA been like, back in Helsinki?
Iman> My time at TBWA has been the most significant learning experience in my career thus far. I’m surrounded by so much ambition, creativity and talent on a daily basis. Working here has sparked my inner drive and further challenged me to navigate the world of advertising. Our bi-weekly creative sessions, Disruption Labs, with the entire office are one of the most creatively inspiring practices we have. I also want to mention our office candy pantry, which has also been an incredible contributor to my overall positive experience at the agency.
LBB> Your 'Land of the Free Press' campaign got attention all over the world and had social media at its heart. What was that project like to work on?
Iman> My role in this particular project was very small - I won't take any credit for it. What I can tell you is that 'The Land of the Free Press' was one example of how the hard-working teams and the environment at TBWA inspire me every day. I am very lucky to be surrounded by such incredible talent who create such work that resonates all around the world.
LBB> What projects that you've worked on are you most proud of?
Iman> I have worked on various projects, but the ones that stand out the most to me are Neste’s EduCycle Exchange and Stockmann’s Stockwomann.
With Neste's EduCycle Exchange programme, we were able to bring schools from all over the world to learn about climate change through augmented reality and gaming. The EduCycle video game, which utilised real data combined with augmented reality, is also an innovation we're very proud of at our agency. Working on a project that raised awareness on such an important issue and seeing how students connected with the message was very rewarding.
With Stockwomann, it was amazing to see how the biggest department store in Finland, Stockmann, was able to take its platform to spread the message of female empowerment through fashion. The message summarises today’s zeitgeist and working on such an impactful project was a great learning experience and something I'm incredibly proud to have been a part of.
LBB> What's your opinion on the current state of Finland's advertising?
Iman> I think that Finland’s advertising industry is thriving at the moment. We are fearless when it comes to stepping out of the box and bringing innovations that authentically touch on important themes through creative executions. For such a small country, we’re definitely a force to be reckoned with.
LBB> Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Iman> I draw my inspiration from my environment and the people I’m closest to. I owe everything that has led me to where I am today to the people I’m surrounded by. Especially my family, which has been a great source of inspiration for what hard work and conscientiousness are able to result in.
LBB> What are your biggest ambitions in your career?
Iman> My biggest ambition in my career is to be part of creating meaningful experiences and really make a difference. I want to grow and continue learning to become the best digital and communications specialist possible. I think that by gaining a comprehensive understanding on how the digital world is able to be leveraged for brand development, I would best serve my department and become the go-to person whom others rely upon for the most current information. Eventually, I would like to become a leader and mentor to help others developing in their respective roles.
LBB> What do you do outside of work to cool off?
Iman> Outside of work I enjoy learning different languages – Spanish is my current work in progress – playing the violin and spending time with my friends and family. Not to forget, watching a tremendous amount of series and movies.