Halo In Conversation with Claire Strickett
Claire is Brand Strategy Director at London digital partner Jellyfish. After gaining a masters in Gender Studies from Oxford, Claire started her career doing PR and copywriting for restaurants which led to a marketing executive role at Byron. After this she took the leap into strategy - with roles at VCCP and adam&eveDDB.
You will have seen her Effie award-winning work for the AA on billboards across the UK and she has even been brave enough to tackle the tricky question of “what is brand?’
In her current role, Claire works with the team at Jellyfish to help brands grow across platforms, globally. We chatted about the landscape of platforms brands have to navigate now and how this is changing the way brands interact with their audiences.
She’s also written a book all about wine.
Why strategy is never the plan.
After escaping the lofty halls of academia, Claire started her career where her passion lay, in food and drink. It was chance conversations with strategists along the way that led her to fall in love with strategy. Determined then to make her way into the world of strategy, despite never having made a PowerPoint before, Claire has never looked back.
On brand strategy; “It sounded so much up my alley, I almost couldn’t believe that this was a job”. - Claire Strickett
How to infiltrate the mysterious world of brand strategy.
Working in an industry no one’s heard of, and without a set career path, while it can help maintain an air of glamorous mystery, is actually pretty tricky for those hoping to get into. Claire’s top tips for finding your way into strategy? No experience is wasted - learn all you can in related roles, and read all you can from the freely available stuff on the internet. And last but not least, make use of things like Twitter and LinkedIn to get access to people in the industry.
We discuss how a varied portfolio can be a solid foundation for a career in strategy.
The changing landscape of brand - reconciling media and creative.
As consumers spend more and more of their time on digital platforms, brands follow in droves. But the world of platforms doesn’t work the same as the old world did. The rules are different. The way consumers and brands interact is different. What does that mean for brands and brand strategists?
“I know where I spend all my time, and while you can never use yourself as a focus group of one - I do spend all my time on tiktok and instagram not watching TV.” - Claire Strickett
We discuss the pros and cons of working in a digital first agency, where the norms of a traditional ad agency don’t exist. The frustration of a lack of a shared language and the freedom from ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it’.
The challenge of platforms for brands.
The changing landscape facing brands these days is much discussed. And a huge topic we can’t begin to cover off today, but we begin to talk about what’s different for brands now and what the big challenges are as brands navigate the world of platforms.
What’s possible now?
The potential for brands as they begin to engage with platforms is huge and some surprising brands are winning on platforms right now. Brands such as RyanAir and Duolingo who have quickly got a handle on the kind of content that is created and interacted with on specific platforms and have since achieved almost iconic status.
“The opportunity is huge for maintaining relevance or finding relevance amongst new audiences” - Claire Strickett
“How easy it is for relatively small brands to see a beautiful ad on Instagram and then before you know it, you’ve bought a new dress… so the opportunities for small brands to do that without having to do the historical spending years building a brand - so many opportunities, it’s absolutely fascinating!” - Claire Strickett
Speeding up time. Collapsing funnels.
One of the massive differences in digital is the transformation of the consumer journey. We talk about how we’re seeing the traditional marketing funnel, while never truly linear, almost collapse on digital platforms and Claire talks about the bespoke approach she takes with each brand on their journey of understanding the new landscape and the new ways the customer journeys work on platforms.
Enhance not degrade people’s environment.
Brands’ influence on people’s environment no longer just applies to the physical. Brands are with you on your laptop, on your phone - in your home, in your hand, even in bed with you.
“Brands have a wonderful opportunity to connect with consumers on these platforms. As someone once said, ‘it’s your role to enhance not degrade people’s environment’. The same is true of digital environments. There is a space for craft and creativity in digital - it’s not just cheap and dirty bottom of the funnel.” - Claire Strickett
Always remain true to your brand.
With all this change and the huge opportunities for brands, Claire is still convinced of the importance of brand strategy.
“You need those classic bits of brand strategy more than ever. You need to not lose yourself. Know who you are before you venture into the woods of the platforms because otherwise you’re just going to make very generic work that just gets blown in the wind of whatever the latest trend is on TikTok…you’re not gonna build a brand. But be humble as well. Be willing to flex in different ways for different platforms.” - Claire Strickett
A word on wine.
In which I admit to buying the wine with the prettiest label and Claire describes how her book “Which Wine When” is an effort to make choosing wine more democratic.
And finally, a moment for the John Lewis Christmas ad.
In which we gossip about adam&eveDDB, who invented the Christmas ad as an event, losing the John Lewis Christmas ad to Saatchi & Saatchi and are very excited about what both agencies will do next.
Massive thanks to Claire for her time. If you want to keep up with her and her cats, Twitter @clairestrickett is the place to go. To read more about her approach to brand, go here.
And, finally, if you’re looking for a digital partner, Jellyfish can be found here.
Now I’m off to read a book about wine. Which Wine When.