Ever wondered about the different career opportunities at a brand design agency? To share some insight and inspire anyone thinking about applying for our London Studio’s new junior programme The Start (more on that here), we caught up with different people from our London team to find out more about their backgrounds, what their roles are all about, and what advice they have for people starting out.
Today we meet Hannah McDermid, Brand Strategist…
Hi Hannah! So, tell us, what is your job all about?
Brand Strategists work out the ways for a brand to win; converting our clients’ business objectives to inspire meaningful, relevant and compelling stories for design. We work closely with both clients and designers to simplify the challenge, add clarity within the context of the consumer, category, culture and commercial landscapes, all to create inspiring, well-crafted stories for brands to tell the world.
What does an ‘average’ day look like?
As a Brand Strategist, no day is the same, but ultimately it’s about thinking deeper and unlocking the opportunities for brands. In an average day we might be talking to clients about their projects, briefing creative teams and attending creative reviews, conducting research from consumer to category to trends, and formulating a point of view to share with our creative teams and clients.
Who do you work with in the Studio?
Internally we work with lots of different people around the business, but mostly with our client management and creative teams to ensure that our outcomes hit the brief and really make the most of the opportunity. We also work directly with clients, particularly when crafting their brand strategy. Understanding our clients and their brand, their objectives and their challenges is vital, so there’s lots of listening and debating to find the right direction for the project.
What kind of projects do you work on?
As well as the types of tasks that vary greatly, so do the projects! We work with lots of different types of brands, sometimes 2 or 3 in the same day all at different stages of their projects. Whether it’s defining a brand strategy, organising a brand’s range of products for consumers to navigate, thinking about a particular piece of packaging or creative strategy to inspire the design team, all the projects are different and you take each one as it comes.
How did you become a Strategist, what was your career path?
Having always had a love for art and design, I studied Industrial Design and Technology at Loughborough University; it was during my placement year working for a retail design agency that I realised that I wanted to focus on branding, particularly the thinking and direction to design. After searching for brand design agencies, I discovered a whole industry I’d never been aware of before! I came across Design Bridge and there was a client management and strategy graduate scheme at the time, so I applied and I’ve never looked back!
Since joining in September 2016 I’ve progressed from Strategy Graduate to Market Analyst to Junior Strategist, and then to my current role as Brand Strategist in December 2019. I’ve learnt a lot along the way and thrown myself into all of the opportunities that have been available!
What are you most proud of in your career so far?
Mostly, I am proud of how I have developed confidence in what I do and trusting my instinct about what the right direction is to take; this is reflected in a rising number of projects that are out in the world that I feel proud to have played a part in, projects that really transform a brand or even an entire category to make an impact.
Best thing about working at Design Bridge London?
The best thing about working at DB is the people; inspiring, supportive and ambitious – it’s all about passion for creativity and that is only achieved by collaborators!
If you could give one piece of advice to applicants of The Start this year, what would it be?
What will make us stop and think? Keep it clear and simple, focusing on how you can inspire us in the most powerful way – it’s the age-old ‘quality over quantity’. Sharp, provocative and compelling will grab our attention! We want to see your creativity, and the best way to do that is to be yourself.
Thinking back to when you were starting out, and with what you know now, how would you approach The Start brief?
Vision is all about painting a picture of the world you’d like to see, so first and foremost put yourself in you chosen brand’s shoes. Think about who your brand truly are and their deepest, most powerful ambitions. Then step back and consider that in the context of what’s going on in the world. Make a plan, whether that’s a storyboard or short narrative, before putting to work the execution. Be ambitious, be curious and think big!
And finally, if you weren’t working at Design Bridge, what else would you be doing?
This is a hard one because I enjoy being a strategist… but if I had to choose, I’d be drawing, painting, printing because I love crafting art and typography in my spare time.
If you’re at the beginning of your career and working as a Strategist sounds like your dream job, take at look at The Start, our new junior programme in London. The deadline for applications is Monday 31st May 2021. We have interviews with people working in our Client Management and Creative teams if you want to explore other pathways, too.
We’re also recruiting for other roles in our London team as well as across our other Studios – you’ll find the latest opportunities on our Careers page.