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Omnichannel Brand Planner
1. How did you get involved with creative industries and how did you find this experience?
I’ve always been fascinated by people; what makes them think, feel and behave the way they do. I was always a very intuitive, creative person, whilst also a deep, analytical thinker. I wanted a fast-paced career that was in-touch with the world around me. Advertising seemed to combine all of this. So, towards the end of my degree I was accepted into The Communications Council graduate program where I fell in love with the industry and was lucky enough to be selected for a role at J. Walter Thompson Perth (now Wunderman Thompson Perth). And what an amazing ride it’s been ever since! I get to do work that actually drives change for people and organisations, and I’ve met some of my closest friends (and drinking partners) along the way.
2. What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I start the day over a cuppa and our Diageo team Zoom meeting where I’ve again privately messaged work-bestie-Tash to go brush her hair. I then spend a lot of my day researching in order to get under the skin of a brand, behaviour or culture to find the actual problem we’re trying to solve. This allows me to uncover the unspoken truth or insight that’s going to shed new light on the problem and help us solve it. Clients often give us hollow problems like ‘awareness, relevance, salience’ etc - these are uninspiring to solve and table-stakes. I look for the human problem that sits behind the business problem, and how our brands and products can genuinely solve it, as this is how we’re going to harness creativity to drive conversion. When I’m not writing strategy by wildly mind mapping and decorating walls with post-it notes, I’m in a creative briefing, review, or collaborating with our clients on the best way forward. And I’m lucky enough to do this for some amazing clients: Diageo (Baileys, Guinness and Smithwicks), 3M (Post-It Brand and Scotch Brand) and Coca-Cola.
3. What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?
Question everything and never be afraid to speak up. You bring a different perspective and people want to hear it. Prove your curiosity and dare to really understand – don’t just take things (or client requests) at face value. Delve deeper. Find the actual problem you’re trying to solve, and the most interesting and effective way to do it.
Learn to delegate better and more often. If you’re like me, you like to do everything yourself because you enjoy the work; however, you don’t want to throw work-life so far out of balance that you burnout. Be better at putting your hand up when you’re at capacity and push things to people who have the time to complete them. Collaboration and teamwork are essential. And with that, make sure you really invest in your relationships with co-workers – that’s where all the fun and personal growth comes from #fam.
4. Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?
‘Truth, Lies and Advertising: The Art of Account Planning’ by Jon Steel, and ‘How brands grow’ by Byron Sharp. But it’s also important to expand your mind beyond marketing literature. Be weird. We’re often asked to solve unusual problems, and we need unusual thinking to do so. I love to learn about psychology, anthropology or spirituality (no I do not own crystals, but yes, I’m fascinated if you do). A recent book I read that I highly recommend is ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ by Susan Jeffers. Or anything Brene Brown does.
5. What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
I’m sure ‘always write a to-do list and prioritise’ is an obvious one, so I’ll say ‘get up and get some fresh air regularly’. This ensures I don’t start losing focus and fizzling out. I can come back to my desk refreshed and get stuck back in - usually with a cuppa and Twix in hand.
6. What inspired you to do what you are doing now?
I always enjoyed writing, art, pop culture, social psychology and solving meaty problems. I thought the best career to combine all these passion points was advertising. It seemed like a good blend of art and science. It turned out to be true!
7. Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
I’m inspired by ‘pragmatic wisdom’. People who lift the covers on profound subjects in a way that’s brutally simple, yet unexpected and captivating – expressing it in a way with very clear implications. That’s true insight at work for me. When I want to understand different human emotions deeper, I’m most inspired by vulnerability expert Brene Brown who has unbelievable clarity of thought and an ability to distil emotional complexities into poetic language (I highly recommend her podcast Unlocking Us! No this isn’t a paid ad; I just love her). When I want new and different ways to look at how communications can solve human problems, I’m most inspired by Mighty Jungle Strategy CEO Mark Pollard, who has a refreshingly simple and imaginative way at finding meaning in the mess and using the power of words to provoke people (check out his Insta @markpollard, again, not an ad).
8. You have the attention of over 1000 millennials. What is the one advice you would give them when you reflect on your own journey?
When you get into the industry, be invested in the people you’re working with, in your own development and the problem in front of you. Seek out experts. Connect with people from different disciplines to expand your knowledge and work out which role really suits you. Once you know, strive for it and work hard – this industry demands resilience and stamina.
Be curious and fill your mind with wacky and wonderful things to draw upon. Quirky events, random podcasts, cultural doco’s on Netflix rather than re-watching Friends for the tenth time etc.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes - they’re guaranteed. Just own them and you’ll learn from them.
Take a digital marketing course. It’s an area I wish I knew more about when starting out in the industry. And invest time to really understand brand building. The most powerful ideas are anchored in a deep truth that expresses a brands point-of-view to the world.
9. What was your first Youngbloods event?
My first event was the ‘Hipsters Party’ at Varsity Bar in 2013 – was super fun!