Danielle is a Brand Strategist who redefines the role brands play in their customers’ lives.
What is your job description and what are your responsibilities?
As a brand strategist, I shape the way consumers experience a brand – defining how that brand should speak, act, and exist in the market. I am the brand’s eyes and ears for interpreting the outside world.
I start by identifying a brand’s unique qualities and cross-reference them with market trends and consumer insights. Keeping in mind a brand’s objectives, I then think through the entire customer journey and work with creative teams to build customized retail experiences that add value beyond product.
What career path led you to your current role?
Upon gradating college with a B.S. in psychology and no distinct goals in mind, I decided I needed to do some career shopping. I explored continuing my education to become a psychologist, I spent time working at a pre –school for autistic children, and I became a recruiter where cold calling was the only task on my to-do list. After a little over a year, I caught sight of a college friend’s post on Facebook. Her small marketing agency was seeking an intern 2 days a week at $50 a day. I jumped on it.
I ended up working at this marketing agency for 4 years, learning from amazing minds and getting involved in as many projects as I could. It was here that I got my “degree” in marketing. Having an open mind, and trying on all different roles at this agency helped me find the one I was most passionate about (and never even knew existed) – strategy.
Describe your day-to-day schedule.
I love starting my mornings off by catching up on the latest trends and industry news. I subscribe to many email curators and compile the most relevant in an internal newsletter to inform the rest of my team.
Everyday is different, which is what I love most about my job. Whether jumping from meetings with brands and internal teams, or researching and analyzing industry and market trends, or developing insights and writing them out so they are clear and concise… then refining them… and refining them again, I am constantly thinking.
What programs/tools do you often use?
I am always in Keynote. Its seamless ability to pair words with visuals allows me to say more with less, which makes it the best tool for expressing my thoughts in a presentation.
The thesaurus has become my best friend. I do a lot of writing and it really helps me find the exact word I am looking for. I also use it for inspiration when brainstorming ideas. Google image, Pinterest, and Instagram are very useful tools for when I need visual references.
Which aspects of your job do you enjoy the most?
Today, the sky is the limit for what brands can do, which I find extremely exciting especially as they take on more and more social responsibility and contribute to society in larger, more impactful ways. I enjoy challenging brands with new ways to improve people’s lives.
Which aspects of your job do you find most challenging?
I love working at small creative shops as I have a lot of flexibility to take on more responsibilities that might be split between roles at larger companies. I feel this has contributed to my personal and professional growth, however, it also means I need to balance and prioritize my time to manage a workload with tight deadlines.
How did you develop the necessary skill-set (e.g. courses, training, activities) to be a Brand Strategist?
I have always had a passion for psychology and love observing and analyzing human behavior. From this, I’ve developed an internal library of observations that stem from what I’ve read, seen, and experienced on my own. My work constantly references these observations, along with fundamental psychological principles.
The industry changes fast. I make it a priority to attend industry events, cultural activities, and educational courses as often as I can to learn new skills and hear about other people’s experiences. I find this very inspiring when I need to think creatively.
Is there any additional advice you would give students who are interested in becoming a Brand Strategist?
Don’t be afraid to voice opinions, even if they differ from those around you. Very often there is no right answer but it’s important to have a point of view.
Inspiration can come when you least expect it – become a student of life. This job is not all about the data. A huge component is intuition, which can only come from experiences… so try new things, talk to people, travel near and far, or watch Netflix on your couch – just LIVE.