What Makes a Great Creative Duo?

On this Shapers of Possibility - a Taylor Podcast, we are joined by Taylor’s newest dynamic duo: Nicky Lorenzo and Juan Pablo Dominguez, our SVP Group Creative Directors. This episode will dive into ‘what makes a great creative team’ and who’s better to talk to than our creative duo!

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Intro  (00:00): Hey you, welcome to Shapers of Possibility - a Taylor Podcast, where we discuss and dissect the integrated worlds of marketing, innovation, pop culture, sports, and all of the possibilities in between.

We’re creating a unique space - for purpose, insightful debate, and growth. Join us.

Nathalie Wilson (00:25): Hello and welcome to our Shapers of Possibility - a Taylor Podcast. I am joined today by Taylor's newest dynamic duo, Nicky Lorenzo and Juan Pablo Dominguez, our SVP Group directors. This episode will dive into what makes a great creative team and who's better to talk to than our creative duo, Nicky and Juan, thank you so much for joining us today.

Nicky Lorenzo (00:45): Thank you. Thank You.

Juan Pablo Dominguez (00:46): Thank you, Nathalie.

Nathalie Wilson (00:47): All right, let's get to it. So how did you two meet and how long have you been working together?

Nicky Lorenzo (00:54): So we, Juan and I, met in 2004. So we've been working together for a really long time. We met at a small Hispanic multicultural agency called Vidal. I was an intern, Juan was a junior designer, and we met there. And from there we just worked together through the years and as we moved on and moved up, we stayed together. So that's where we started. It was a nice place to meet. We were both kind of starting our careers. We were both young spring chickens.

Juan Pablo Dominguez (01:22): Yeah, we grew up in our careers together and as humans too. We went from singledom to marriage and all that. So we've gone through several stages of life and professional development.

Nicky Lorenzo (01:36): For sure. And then I think around 2011, after being at Vidal for a really long time, we worked on some wonderful accounts. We learned so much. We grew, Juan and I moved on and kind of moved on from the multicultural space into what they call the general market kind of advertising agency world where you work on accounts and things, talking to the main, the general market of the US and then also with some focus on US Hispanic, but more just kind of a broader target and market. And from there, we just kind of always stayed together as a team.

Nathalie Wilson (02:08): Oh wow. 18 years. Oh, that's really nice to hear. So what led you to this career path?

Juan Pablo Dominguez (02:15): Well, yeah, I mean, we see with young people now I, I've been in this career for what, 14, 15 years or more. We see young people coming into the career and you ask them why they're here, why? So to me, it was a combination of choices, narrowing down choices. I was drawn into arts. I was drawn into photography, film,  and design. So not necessarily I was drawn into advertising per se, but advertising allowed me, it was a platform where I could work in a place where ideas were needed, where design was needed, where I had to work with photography, with film, with music. So just the environment was very appealing to me, again, because my background in design, graphic design, and so an agency was a place that I could experience all that together. So that's how I arrived at advertising.

Nicky Lorenzo (03:13): I think my path was all very different. I had four different majors in college, and while I was working through college, I grew up in Florida. And so in Florida, everyone goes to the mall. It's a very big retail place. I was working in retail and sales, and I loved just kind of the sales aspect of it, which is really odd to say, and I've always been a writer and very creative. But when I was working in sales, I was like, I really like this. The fact people come in here and they know this brand and they want to buy it because of the brand, and that's marketing. And so I switched my major to marketing and then to ad/pr. And I ended up getting my bachelor's in advertising and PR. And then from there I went to portfolio school, which is to really build on the creative part of it.

(03:51): I went to Miami Ad School, and from there, that's how I met Juan. I got to go to an internship in New York City as a creative, I was actually an art director to begin with, even though I had a writing background. And then while I was at the first agency I worked at, I realized I was more of a writer. And so I switched disciplines to writing, which is why Juan and I actually kind of came together. We were working on the same things, but him on the art side, me on the writing side. And as we grew together, it just made sense to stay together. And that's how ad agencies do it. They usually put one person from each discipline together to work as a team just because it's easier to bounce ideas and really have the expertise in both areas.

Nathalie Wilson (04:27): No, that's really interesting to hear because I had a pretty similar career path where I studied political science and finance, and I loved the whole analytics and strategy and stats behind it. But at the same time, I love to be really creative. And so I worked in production as well. So I feel like marketing and PR just kind of merges those two, some somehow merges those two together when it comes to your creativity and having some stats and analytics and strategy. So I kind of got the best of both worlds doing that. So yeah, it's pretty interesting. So how has your experience been working together?

Nicky Lorenzo (05:10): I think it's just a relationship. Just any other, I mean, obviously we've been partners for so long that it's very different from any other working relationship. Like you said, we not only have we grown professionally, but we've also grown in our lives. He was at my wedding, I threw him his baby shower when he had his first kid. We've not only grown in our personal lives, but in our professional lives. And so it's a relationship. It's the same thing. We have our ups and downs, and I think that the fact that we are so close on a personal level makes it easier to work together because even when you work together, there's a lot of disagreements. And if you can figure out how to solve that conflict, then you're golden. Just like any other marriage, this is my work husband. So yeah, I think that's, it's been good. I like working with him. I think that we know each other's kind of little weird quirks and stuff, and that for us doesn't work for everybody.

Juan Pablo Dominguez (05:59): Yes. I think because of the nature of also what we do is very complimentary in the sense that there's no, I mean there's overlap perhaps when we're thinking about projects and strategizing and thinking of ideas. But then it's a very team effort in the sense of half of one person doing something, Nicky does the writing, does the shaping of things. I do the more visual aspect. So in that sense, it has worked and it has flourished in that we can compliment both of us to create one product that is better, that if we had to do it separate ways. And so I think that's how we built, I think the working relationship mostly.

Nicky Lorenzo (06:45): Yeah, exactly.

Nathalie Wilson (06:46): It really sounds like you're a sibling relationship that you have there but like any sibling relationships, I'm sure you'd like, but butt heads and you have some type of struggles working together. So what have been your biggest struggles working together?

Nicky Lorenzo (07:02): I mean, personally, I think growing up together and like you said, that sibling relationship, I think our management styles are quite different just because our personalities are quite different. I talk a lot, as you can hear, Juan tends to be more introspective. I think our managing styles are a little different, but then also that's good because it allows us to trade off the responsibility of who does what. Again, kind of having that backup. So sometimes you get tired of being the bad cop, the other person can do it, or sometimes you need a little bit of a different point of view. So I think that's been my biggest struggle. Juan, I don't know what you would say has been what you think is a struggle.

Juan Pablo Dominguez (07:41): The struggle sometimes is moving the needle when we're stuck. I think that's the biggest struggle. I think in our work relationship, we're stuck. How do we move forward? And lately, of course, you have your family. I have my family, our time tables and our available time has been reduced, of course. So maybe 10 years ago we could rely on each other 24/7 <laugh>, not anymore.

Nicky Lorenzo (08:11): Now just instead of

Juan Pablo Dominguez (08:13): Just 20

Nicky Lorenzo (08:14): Hour. Yeah, just 20

Juan Pablo Dominguez (08:16): Instead of 24/7. Right, exactly. Yeah.

Nathalie Wilson (08:20): Oh yeah. I can only imagine. Starting a family definitely changes a lot of things. So do you have any systems of or habits you've developed together that led to a successful partnership?

Juan Pablo Dominguez (08:32): I guess the habit that we have that we like, and I guess we're going to talk about this, but the habit that we have is that we are very honest and we don't get hung up on, or at least we leave the personal stuff outside of our work meetings and our work when we're working. So we could be honest, we could be upfront and we can discuss ideas as ideas. And there's no ego and hangups I would say.

Nicky Lorenzo (09:05): Well, I think that talks back to respect. So I respect what he does and he respects what I do. And that doesn't mean he doesn't tell me, Hey, you need to fix that line, or we need to write this differently. And I don't tell him all the time, Hey, maybe the layout could be like this or we should try this. But the truth is, we respect each other's expertise. And that's something that sometimes when you are with someone new or someone, there is a lot of ego within the creative departments because people want their idea to win. They want to be the ones who came up with this stuff. And that's just something that doesn't exist between the two of us. And I think it's because we've been working a long time and also because we respect the expertise that each of us has.

(09:41): And honestly, at the end of the day, it's about, I know that if I'm not around, we always have the same end goal, even though we do it very differently. And I think that that's the same thing as with husbands and wives or best friends. You always want the same things even though you're very different. And so that's kind of a habit that when we divide and conquer, we know that what the other person is doing, they're doing, we're not going to come later and change it. We have to trust that they know what they're doing. We're going to respect their decisions, and that's why we're able to delegate things or just even go away and work and then come back together and be kind of like, okay, I trust that you did what you had to do and he trusts that I did what I had to do. I think that's the biggest habit of knowing when we have to do things together as a team and when that's valuable. And then knowing when we can go apart and divide and conquer. I think that that's good because we don't always have to be doing the same things just because we're a team.

Nathalie Wilson (10:38): Oh, no. Yeah, definitely. So obviously you've been working in the creative space for a while. What do you love the most about working in the creative space?

Nicky Lorenzo (10:47): Everything.

Juan Pablo Dominguez (10:50): Well, yeah, if I may start, I think I like how different, even though it is a job that gets repetitive through the years, you are able to work for so many different brands and with so many different people. That I think is, it's quite a changing job in the sense, yes, there could be rituals and there could be like every day you go to the office, every day you sit down and all that. But in a sense, there's a new brief every so often and there's a chance to have fresh ideas and to share. And you have people you collaborate with, you have colleagues at the agency and you have interns coming in. So you meet so many people and you get new ideas very often. So that's the part I like the most.

Nicky Lorenzo (11:46): Yeah.

Juan Pablo Dominguez (11:46): That answers your question?

Nicky Lorenzo (11:47): The creative industry is very, I think that if you're in the right place, it's very collaborative. And I think that that's nice because you do get to kind of see the best of the best that people just kind of showing what they can do. And I'm with Juan, I love getting new clients with new problems. I love problem solving. It's like, I love puzzles and I can sit there and stare at it and find the little piece that's missing. I love that. That's very almost like, it's funny because I think it would stress a lot of people out. For me, it's very calming, like, we need to solve this problem. I love to laser focus on that. And there's so much creativity in that, even if you don't think there is, because it's, there's so many different ways to solve a client problem. And I think that's where diversity in background and diversity in your teams really brings so many rich territories. And that's what I think of the creative department, that's what's exciting about a creative department.

Juan Pablo Dominguez (12:39): And going back to where we started, again, to me it allows me, again, to work with music and music changes to work with photography. And in the year 2000, we didn't have digital, digital photography was just starting. So in essence, it's like how our careers have even changed the way we work? It's amazing. Music has changed so much. Photography has changed so much. Film has changed so much. So all of that makes it a super interesting career.

Nicky Lorenzo (13:09): I mean, I remember when I went to ad school, I had a storyboard class, and that story board class was literally paper and pens and markers and drawing things, and we had to draw our layouts and stuff. And I used to use cork, and it's like now, if I were to say that's a one, my art directors would probably laugh in my face. So what is that? I'm like, oh, it's like a rock and a chisel. That's basically how old it feels. But yeah, things change. And they're exciting. We have cell phones now, but we're of the age that we used to also have pagers. So yeah, if that tells you anything.

Nathalie Wilson (13:45): Oh yeah, no, definitely. That says a lot. Speaking of change, you've been in the industry for the past 18 years or so, and obviously it has changed a lot, but do you anticipate any major changes in the future?

Nicky Lorenzo (13:59): Yeah, it has definitely changed a lot of stuff too. Not just for working styles, but for what people can offer.

Juan Pablo Dominguez (14:06): Well, yeah, I think the biggest change I think has been the reach of communication. If I say it from a big, big picture perspective, the reach of communication. When we started, it was pretty much a monologue from brands and it was on printed media and it was in out of homes, and it was on TV, broadcasts and in radio,

Nicky Lorenzo (14:32): Lots of radio, Lots of radio.

Juan Pablo Dominguez (14:34): and that's already, and those were your media, your forums and mostly were brands yelling for attention and just spewing out communication. And now I think that's still part of it, but also there's this dialogue with brands. There's all other aspects that you need to account for now as a communicator, as a pr, strategies as an advertiser that you have to take into account nowadays that we didn't before. So in that sense, evolution is being enormous, and that has changed a lot. And then the access or also that people have to media now that we all count with our cell phone and with our social media and all that, that has changed a lot our profession.

Nicky Lorenzo (15:26): Yeah, Definitely.

Juan Pablo Dominguez (15:26): I see that way

Nicky Lorenzo (15:28): From an output perspective. I think that especially for, I talk about this because we were at a bigger kind of agency before and now we're at Taylor, which is more of a medium size small PR agency. And I see that knowing how to use those tools that have changed, those communication tools are so important because you can't be kind of like that one trick pony anymore. And the silos are starting to fall away just like a TV agency or a PR agency or a social agency. Because at the end of the day, the ones that consumers are, the communication that consumers are engaging with most or getting messages from the most aren't the ones that are one-sided, right? It's not just putting out a film and then hoping that they get the point. And I think that that shift and so much movement is going to take clients and brands to more agile places.

(16:24): They want agencies that can be really, really quick about turnarounds and quick about answering to trends that are happening, something happens within culture. How can we be part of that moment? And I think the bigger agencies are slow and people are starting to leave. There's kind of this big kind of resignation now because the smaller places are more interesting. And because they care about people, and when you care about people, you bring in the right talent. And when you bring in the right talent, that means you're looking at where they come from and what they've done. And those different points of views just make better conversation. And so I think that what Juan was saying, that the modes of communication have changed. So the conversation needs to change the way that we're talking to our consumers. And smaller places are more agile, they've got more diverse kinds of creatives and strategists and whatnot there. And I think that's really exciting for a place like Taylor.

Nathalie Wilson (17:21): Oh yeah, I completely agree. It's definitely so much needed change in the industry, and I'm happy to see it moving in a positive way. So thank you so much for joining me today. It was really a pleasure having you and speaking to you and learning more about your career path and your love for the creative space.

Nicky Lorenzo (17:39): Thank you for having us.

Juan Pablo Dominguez (17:41): Yeah, thank you. Thank you, Natalie. Thanks for having us. This is great.

Outro  (17:46): Well, that wraps up this episode of Shapers of Possibility—a Taylor Podcast. To learn more about what we do at Taylor, you can find us at TaylorStrategy.com.

Looking for more episodes of the podcast? Find us wherever you stream stuff—we’re on iTunes and other major streaming platforms. And be sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter: at Taylor Strategy. Thanks for stopping by and tuning in. Peace.

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