Natalie Prout is an English Brand Strategist working in our Amsterdam Studio. If you’re interested in working with us in Amsterdam, or how our Strategy teams work, then we’re sure you’ll find her story interesting…
Hello Natalie! First things first, how did you end up as a Brand Strategist at Design Bridge Amsterdam?
My husband is Dutch and we met when we were students in our early 20’s. We dated long distance between Brighton and Amsterdam for a year and a half before we moved to London together. I spent a lot of weekends in Amsterdam as a student with him, and always found it very pretty and fun.
After being lucky enough to live and work together in London, Los Angeles and Sydney, family circumstances brought us back to Amsterdam.
My background is predominately Digital and Brand Planning, and I’ve always intuitively been a drawn to how good Strategy can effect brand growth and potential. I’d been seeing time and time again that decisions were being made much higher up the food chain than I had influence or inclusion of, and I knew that I needed to find a role that had the scope to talk business, brand AND creative execution.
Design Bridge got in touch with me after hearing through a contact that I was interviewing in Amsterdam, so I came in and had a chat with Frank (Managing Director in Amsterdam) and Simon (Group Strategy Partner). I was excited to discover that the kind of role that I was looking for was exactly what was needed.
What’s an average day like?
A typical day will always start with coffee! This will be followed by a status meeting where I sit down with the Client Services Team and Creative Team to talk through what we’ve got on and who’s owning what.
From there I’ll get another coffee before ducking in to see how a new product development is going with the Creative Team. I will have defined the concept statements, and the Creatives will be figuring out how to bring them to life visually and tonally. I’ll try to be the objective one in the meeting; not feeding back on what my personal taste is, but what it needs to do to feel ‘on brand’ and right for the customer.
Then I’ll reply to emails, grab a sandwich and spend the bulk of the afternoon working on a Strategy document while listening to Spotify. I might finish the day by presenting some work to a client before heading home at about 6:30pm to walk my dogs and catch up on Netflix.
Have you noticed any differences between working in the Netherlands to other countries you have worked in?
The Dutch are definitely unique and have their own approach to life! For one thing, they generally keep their emotions in check and try to remain objective and rational. They raise their kids to value what they have, not what they don’t. They can seem very blunt at times, for some people that’s a bit confronting but I find it refreshing, especially having lived in Los Angeles where there’s a lot of agreement that can often lead to nothing.
I’ve also found my Dutch colleagues to be big believers in having a good work/life balance. People don’t stay in the office until 8pm unless they’re actually working on something. Most people leave between 6 – 6:30pm, which is great!
What are the best and worst things about living in Amsterdam?
The worst thing for me is adjusting to the slower pace of life. I’m a chaotic Londoner, so need to learn to appreciate it. The supermarket shutting 9pm drives me mad sometimes!
But equally, it’s also the best thing about the City for anyone who wants to take the time to appreciate life a bit more. Summers in Amsterdam are magical – being able to jump on a boat or drive out to a swimming spot with friends after work is unbelievable!
Sounds idyllic, thanks Natalie!
Inspired by Natalie’s story? Check our Careers page for Strategy roles, opportunities in our Amsterdam Studio, as well as London, Singapore and New York.
If you want to find to more about careers at Design Bridge, you can read Jo’s story about moving from London to Amsterdam as a Designer here, and discover how working as a Strategist has helped Dan to prepare for a new life as a teacher here.