How did you get where you are now?
My career began at a ‘new media agency’ when the internet was just coming into its own – we produced the first websites for Shell and Guinness. Everything was new, exciting and super creative. I continued to work for digital agencies, doing a stint in Hong Kong overseeing the installation of the world’s first interactive shopping centre.
I then spent eight years at Agency.com, which, at the time, was one of the UK’s leading digital agencies. I had the best time there, working on clients from BT to P&G; Dulux to BA. Then came the dot.com crash and I found myself redundant, with a young child and another on the way. After a few tough years balancing work, life and finances, I joined the digital team at MSL.
PR gave me a culture shock. It was so different to the agencies I was used to, but I soon settled in. After seven years running MSL’s digital team, I moved to Brands2Life. Three years later, I believe we’ve built the best digital team in the land – and I feel like I’m finally home.
What's been your creative career highlight?
Working on ‘Like a Girl’ for Always is up there, but the campaign I’m most proud of is LinkedIn 'Changemakers'. This was an idea we pitched to the client while enjoying a drink (or two) at the pub – where all the best ideas are born, in my opinion. We wanted to humanise the brand and drive quality conversations on the platform – that’s what we did. The typical influencer marketing approach wasn’t right as #AD is almost non-existent on LinkedIn. LinkedIn 'Changemakers 'was a 12-month ‘force for good’ influencer programme, focused on challenging stigmas and outdated attitudes by spotlighting seven individuals with genuine desires to shift workplace attitudes. It attracted attention from top-tier media, celebrities, and world-renowned organisations. This multi-award-winning campaign is now in its second year as a ‘through-the-line’ global brand campaign, including TV ads.
A Guinness World Record for a power tool brand for "the most people to contribute to a painted wooden block mosaic". Need I say more?
What's your favourite campaign of the past three months (not one that you or your organisation were involved in) and why?
I’ve always admired brands that use social to news-jack effectively. I particularly loved when Twitter responded to the Facebook outage with one brilliantly crafted tweet: "Hello literally everyone." This sparked savvy social media brand managers to jump in – I thoroughly enjoyed admiring the thread of genius replies.
How do you solve creative writer's block?
Sometimes I get my kids’ opinions. They have incredible natural instincts and insights that can spark the most brilliant ideas. Failing that, I step away, take a shower, read, and watch or listen to something else. Ideas often come when I’m no longer searching for them.
How should PR grow its creative prowess?
We need to understand our audiences better. The pace of change is so rapid – we can’t assume an insight that rang true last year will still be relevant. Using social media monitoring and listening can help us understand audiences better by unearthing insights at the right time.