Telling people I’m a brand & marketing director is a pretty rad party trick. To people with no experience in marketing, it sounds like a glamorous job and I don’t have to explain it much because I find most people think they already know what that means. It probably evokes images of me on set overseeing the production of TV commercials (which I sometimes do) or directing a team of underlings to do my bidding (which I never do).
On the contrary, my job usually looks like sitting down in my office at 7am and hammering away at my computer for the next 8-12 hours. Usually in my PJs. On any one day, I’ll do social media scheduling, copywriting, supporting my team with templates, answering questions about naming conventions, creating new memes and so much more.
I’m an intensely curious person who gets bored easily, so having a role where I get to do many different things, using many different skills all in one day ticks many boxes for me.
I’ve been working in marketing since 2008. The brand part happened due to my intense curiosity and the fact that it was difficult to deliver marketing collateral where little-to-no consideration was first put into the brand. How can I create a video if they can’t tell me who we’re talking to or what the brand voice and tone should be? Asking these questions helped customers see that they had jumped the gun, often skipping the brand phase altogether.
As a person who likes to have ducks in a row, it really helps to be the curator of both the brand and the marketing because they are two sides of the same coin.
The best thing about being in marketing is the ability to tap into my creativity and challenge myself every single day. It’s like a never-ending thesis paper. Every time I think I’ve tried it all, something else comes up and I’m excited to tackle the new problem.
The hardest thing is that it’s my job to pull thoughts out of people’s minds. Thoughts they can’t always put into words. And translate that into a physical manifestation be it a graphic or a piece of copy or a photo. Translating my point of view into another person’s language (and vice versa) is an exercise in patience for me and the person I’m communicating with. I’m finding this to be especially true working with software people because one word can mean a very different thing to a software engineer than it does to me.
It’s also hard to persuade or get consensus with people who aren’t accustomed to thinking about marketing or branding. They can be resistant when I’m trying to explain the importance of certain things. I’m thankful that my job at Rise8 doesn’t have this feature because my boss is in the know enough to not put these roadblocks in front of me. That can often be one of the most frustrating things and it leads to failure in my ability to do my job.
I’m currently learning -and trying to be ok with- the fact that I don’t have to know the answer immediately. The landscapes of brand and marketing are ever-evolving. I find myself constantly learning new things and can be really hard on myself when I don’t know something already. I want my brain to work like an AI robot please!
So what does this job actually look like on a day-to-day basis? There are things I do every day like emailing, talking to the team on Slack, scheduling the week’s social posts, replying to comments on Linkedin, talking to our designers about whatever graphics we currently have on the go with them. In addition to those things, here’s what a week in my life looks like.
By Monday, I’ve spent the weekend vegetating and powering down my brain. Monday is my most productive and clear-headed day.
- Look at my project management boards and handwritten to-do list to prioritize what I need to do this week. I’m easily distracted, so I prefer to write these items on a post-it so it’s in front of my face at all times.
- Decide what I’m going to tackle today
- Watch a webinar from the BrandStory people. Assimilate my notes into something coherent with action points.
- Someone asks if we have a brand theme in Slack. A missed opportunity. Mental note to get that done after my call.
- Write two briefs for a copywriter
- Riser asks if we have Zoom backgrounds. That’s been on my list for a while so I do it ASAP before forgetting. I make sure to add this folder to Trainual so new Risers know about it during their onboarding.
- Bi-weekly call with boss
- Work on rebranding slide decks which is something I keep going with every day. Some are over a hundred slides long.
- We’re filming a one-hour presentation with our CEO this week. I look over the script. I make sure we schedule the right room for the event. Brief the videographer. Work on the slide deck we’re using for this presentation.
- Make sure we’re ready for filming with the CEO tomorrow.
- Forgot the slack theme yesterday I put it at the top of my to-do list for today.
- Take the logo files sent by the branding agency and export in different sizes and formats for different use cases.
- Find a way to download an expiring video file from yesterday’s webinar so I can keep it forever. Am I a hacker now?
- Proof a piece of Riser content and provide feedback.
- Start feeling tired but still so many hours left in my day. I go to my local coffe shop for a change of scenery and keep working on rebranding old graphics for slide decks. End up making a whole stock of graphics for other decks while I was at it. An Adobe stock rabbit hole.
- Email our web devs to ask for a fix on our site.
- Zoom with new Riser who’s excited to write content. Although I’m having a hell of a day I put that on the back burner and turn my focus on her to celebrate and enthusiastically help her meet her week 1 goals. Often, supporting people looks like being a duck in the water: calm on the surface while paddling like hell below!
- Filming with CEO in Tampa. This takes up my whole day. Got other filming done while we were at it. Went home – thought I would rest but I was excited to see the video come together so I ingested the footage and edited until midnight.
- Get started super early because I need to break to take a kid to a thing in the late morning. Get a flat tire.
- Get tire fixed and work in the corner of the waiting room. Overhear another guy taking a work call. He’s in email marketing. Talk to him for an hour and learn a lot.
- Dammit! I forgot the Slack theme again. I do it and send it across to the team.
- Filming yesterday sidetracked me from everything happening in Slack so I play catch-up there.
- Discovered our devs launched the fix I asked for (adding author bylines to our blog posts). I make avatars and bios for all authors on the backend because it went live without those things. Looks amazing!
- Discovered Tuesday’s logo exports had a problem with the colors. It’s an Adobe Illustrator problem. Spend 6 hours troubleshooting. I call Adobe support. Start to explain the issue and call drops. Call over and over and calls keep dropping. Get on chat. Explain it again. They need to call me “in the next 24-48 hours”.
- Start planning for our next web events
- Complete writing the story of our rebrand which I’ve been writing for months
- Prepare monthly report of our Linkedin performance
- More editing on the video filmed this week.
- Bi-weekly happy hour call with the rest of Rise8.
As you can see, this role can be very diverse in the types of work I carry out not just day to day, but hour to hour. I write, design, strategize, film, and edit all in one day. I always hope that my customers are aware of the fact that not everyone is able to do so many different jobs and that I’m a bit of an unconventional brand person in that regard. I credit this ability to my intense curiosity and proclivity to not only be an autodidact but also my drive to want to try my hand at the things I learn with an insatiable search for knowledge.
It also helps that I’ve been working since I was 15 and I dropped out of college because I was too impatient and wanted to gain work experience over “education”. I’m in my 30s and I’ve been:
- A newspaper journalist for the Orlando Sentinel
- Pro photographer all over the world
- Facebook ads pioneer (ah, the early days!)
- Content designer and online class instructor for photography
- TV/video producer
- Podcast producer
- Creative producer
- Creative director
I love this role and enjoy increasing in knowledge each and every day. To me, the end of a great day means my head hitting the pillow exhausted and drained from having completed jobs well done.