21 jun 2023

Introducing: Lead Digital Design Sjors

Patrick
🎤Interview
11 min. reading time

Working at Social Brothers

Introducing: Lead Digital Design Sjors van Elst

Can you tell me a little about yourself and your role within the company?

'My name is Sjors van Elst, Lead Digital Design, and I have been working at Social Brothers for almost 9 years. At that time I started as a 'developing designer'. All the work revolved around development and I was the only person at the time who also did something with design. I could copy/paste a bit in WordPress, but I could design better. When I got the chance to design full-time, I did it right away and never wrote code again. 

Since then, an entire design team has been set up and we have experienced a transition of new software and tooling. Where you previously thought about colors and fonts, you now really think about the needs of the customer, the user and hhow we can best serve a customer from our team. Of course within budget. That has also become my new role: improving processes, guiding future designers in their expertise and helping them discover what they really like.'

After all this time, what is your favorite memory?

'So much has happened in almost 9 years, but what connects it all is the vibe of Social Brothers. The partying and the connecting. That really comes from Rob and Steven. This creates a good click between colleagues and you can also socialize after working hours without losing professionalism during the week. It's a family and that's what I like most about Social Brothers.'

Can you tell us about a project you've worked on that you're proud of?

'The best project I have ever done is Blue Current. They asked us to renew, improve and tailor the corporate identity to their two target groups. End users and suppliers of charging stations for electric cars. They still proudly use that corporate identity! 

Blue Current was a neighbor of ours at the time, which made the process very accessible and accessible. Did you receive feedback? Then you could just walk down to discuss things instead of officially via one of the agreed digital channels.'

What inspires you to keep working in this sector?

'I enjoy taking on an 8-hour assignment just as much as an 80-hour assignment. The challenge is to find something suitable during the kick-off and sparring sessions with the customers. Does that necessarily have to be this sector? I do not know. But I enjoy thinking creatively about how to market a service or product the most! This way you can continuously surprise a customer.'

What skills have you developed during your time with the company and how have they helped you in your career?

'In addition to mastering the software, I now focus a lot on consistency. This ultimately allows you to use your time, the customer's budget and the developer's efforts more efficiently. 

The biggest learning curve is how to approach a project. Previously you asked customers whether they liked red or blue better, now you look at why they started, what they want to sell and what their ideal customer is. Who is that target group and why? What should they buy from you and why not from the competition? Based on the answers to those questions, we advise and sketch a much more complete picture. Then a customer can always say make it purple because I like purple. But the starting point from which you start is very different.'

What does a typical working day look like for you and how do you keep yourself motivated and productive?

'On average I have 4 to 8 different assignments at the same time, but what needs to be done on Wednesday can also be done on Monday morning. That's why I prefer to plan my days so that I spend 4 hours a day creating something and the other 4 hours are spent on meetings or travel time. If I have a session for a whole day, I can't handle it mentally.

Fortunately, I get to watch along with a lot of people when they get stuck somewhere. Then I provide that breath of fresh air while they also provide that for me at that moment.'

How would you describe the corporate culture of Social Brothers?

'A vague word, but I would describe it as young and dynamic. At the same time it is deliciously Dutch, so very direct. You are allowed to make mistakes, but you have to realize when you have made a mistake. This is very good for the type of person who just wants to work and learn.

But there is more to a digital agency than just the profession you like. You have to deal with different clients, deadlines and also try to be a nice colleague.'

What advice would you give yourself when you first started at Social Brothers?

'The faster you respond to emails, the faster you will receive an email back and then you will only keep the problem with you. We live in a world where it is normal to be online all the time. If customers have emailed you and immediately call you and send you a WhatsApp message just to be sure, I think: I am not dead. I'm just in a meeting for 2/3 hours. Or it doesn't work out. Everyone wants a good answer right away, but sometimes a good answer takes time. In short: radiate peace.'

This or That?

Never use Social Media again or never watch a movie/series again?

'Never again social media. I really like social media, but at the same time I also find it a waste of my time.'

Never use your phone again or never use your laptop again?

'Never again my phone, I need a laptop for work and I can also make calls with it nowadays.'

Sing a song every day for the whole office or never have FreeMiBos again?

'I'm going to sing a song for every day. We used to always do karaoke for Christmas dinner and I'm a big fan of that!'

 

Do you also want to work at Social Brothers? View our vacancies here!

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