What do you do within Hearst Content Agency?
I’m the agency’s Creative Director, working across all our accounts other than Asda. This includes print projects, such as Princess Cruises’ Journey magazine, and social media for the likes of P&G and NatWest, along with our new business pitches. I oversee the creative skills base in the agency to make sure we have a brilliant, diverse team capable of delivering innovative solutions for our clients. We’ve also been upgrading our agency branding recently and I led the development of this website, which is the result of months of work behind the scenes with a great team to bring a vision to life!
Tell us how you got to where you are now…
I started out at Hearst, about 20 years ago, on Good Housekeeping! Since then, I’ve worked across a variety of editorial print brands, including other titles at Hearst, such as Company and Red, where I was Creative Director, plus commercial projects across branding and social media. I returned to Hearst to become Creative Director of HCA two years ago.
What does a typical day look like?
There isn’t really a typical day 😂! One day I could be designing the next issue of Journey or brainstorming RTBs with our other agency creative leads, the next I could be mocking up some animations for a social media pitch or storyboarding a video. Then, the day after that, planning large-scale campaign photography and working with some of the experts in the brand teams from around the wider Hearst business. The talent and deep industry knowledge to which we have access is a phenomenal resource for our clients. We can use it to inform their creative strategies and keep their brand ahead of the market.
What is the most challenging part of your role?
Working across multiple platforms and publishing channels, to ensure we are always offering our clients the best advice and creative solutions for their content. Social media channels, for instance, are constantly evolving, and making sure I’m on top of the next Instagram update when they come thick and fast is an always-on part of the job.
What is the most rewarding part?
Seeing a new piece of content go live – then seeing how it delivers results for our clients. Also, being able to advise them on how they can work through business challenges through the power of creative and inspiring content. It’s also really rewarding to work closely with clients, giving them advice on the type of content that will deliver the best results for their brand and finding solutions that work both commercially and creatively.
What’s next for you and your team? There must be some exciting plans in the pipeline…
We are expanding our team in 2021 to bring even more expertise to our clients, in particular across video and animation. Unsurprisingly, the demand for social has risen dramatically in 2020 – and we’re resourcing accordingly.
What advice would you give to someone trying to get into creative leadership?
Always keep your eyes open for inspiration, as you never know when it might strike. It could be a billboard you see on a walk, an ad served to you on Instagram, or a story you hear on the radio while you are WFH – it could all lead to a brainwave that’s the perfect solution to a client’s brief. And never be afraid to keep on top of social trends – don’t just leave it to the rest of your team. I resisted downloading TikTok for months as thought I was ‘too old’ – I’m now obsessed and can lose actual hours scrolling through people’s shuffle dances and bauble bombs.
Finally, when you’re not at work, what will we find you doing?
I’m either skiing... or baking – I run a small cake business alongside the day job, so if I’m not designing pages or social posts, I’m usually designing and decorating cakes!