Being a creative brand manager
Jenny Smyth works as Senior Account Manager at Red Cow Creative consultancy. She has delivered creative marketing campaigns for brands like Mr. Men, Little Miss and Where’s Wally?
Moving career to marketing
"One of the first things you learn is the importance of ‘Product, Placement and Promotion’."
Jenny began her career by completing a degree in Economics from the University of East Anglia.
After academic training, she got a job as a Team Assistant in the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, which was an experience she really enjoyed.
“It was a great first experience as I worked abroad, working among different languages and I embraced the culture and heritage – it was a real eye opener."
Yet, the turning point of her career came when she was working on the trading floors in Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank.
"They were great financial companies to work for, but the work culture wasn’t for me. It wasn’t something I wanted to do long term.
“At the same time, I had two friends in marketing who had very interesting jobs. I was interested in what they were doing within events and brand development.
“I though they had a more interactive, central and exciting role within the business, compared to what I was doing. The more I understood about their role, the more I wanted to move toward a career in marketing.”
Gaining training and experience in marketing
After considering a number of options, Jenny opted to go through education to retrain in marketing through a Post-graduate Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) course with the London Metropolitan University. Her course experience in branding made an impact on her immediately.
"One of the first things you learn is the importance of ‘Product, Placement and Promotion’.
“I liked understanding how, subconsciously, consumers were exposed to marketing messages. For example, at a supermarket, placing priority brands at eye-level actually influenced shoppers."
When she had achieved her qualification, Jenny sought work experience at different organisations, like ICAN children’s charity, where she performed competitor analysis and produced newsletters. This experience confirmed that marketing was the right choice for her.
She sent out applications to vacancies, and got her first paid position with children's brand agency, Chorion Ltd.
“Social media, websites, phone applications and printed media are all important communication tools."
“My first job in marketing was working with the ‘Mr. Men’ and ‘Little Miss’ brands. To celebrate their 35th anniversary, the brand had two new characters released.
“I got to get really involved, working with Adam Hargreaves, the son of Roger Hargreaves who started the 'Mr. Men' stories. I wrote press releases and set up media features in The Times and Metro newspapers.
"Developing the brand with the key charity and licensing partners, I got to see the impact I had on these events and used a lot of my CIM training."
Ways to boost your marketing campaign
Working within other PR and marketing agencies, she was involved in marketing popular children’s brands like ‘Postman Pat’ and ‘Where’s Wally?’. This was where she set up campaigns using TV, social media and in-store offers.
"Consistency is key for handling the different channels for promoting your brand, company or service."
“Social media, websites, phone applications and printed media are all important communication tools that got key messages across.
"Consistency is key for handling the different channels for promoting your brand, company or service. For the ‘Where’s Wally?’ campaign, I made a Tone of Voice document.
"This was used globally to unify how we sent out communications. It also helped make sure that Wally has a single 'voice' to help bring his character to life.
"There are some things that you can do to boost your marketing campaign:
- Keep content current, especially when integrating social media.
- Follow industry developments and take on every opportunity to expand your learning and knowledge.
- Keep content brief – keep key creative messages to the point, and avoid text-heavy documents.
- Use visual media to help support your message – an image, web links or a video can help to grab a viewer's attention"
Five ways to building interest
Jenny shares five ways to build interest and improve the communication messages you send:
- “Press coverage is hard to get. If your budget allows, hire a specialist PR agency to deal with the media. Otherwise, you will need to begin building up your connections.
- “If you know journalists or editorial staff, keep in regular contact and be reliable when you work with them. They have to work with so many people – you need to stand out for the right reasons, not the wrong ones!
- “If your campaign is trade-specific to a certain sector or target audience, take time to investigate it. Research trade-specific magazines and publications, and use them when you want to buy advertising space.
- “When you draw up a press release, make sure you include the relevant websites and logos. Make the title very clear and interesting – if you capture a journalist's eye, they'll continue to read the rest of the information.
- “Finally, patience is a key requirement when it comes to keeping your connections happy. The connections you make will mean the difference between a lot of coverage and a little.”