Here we go! After 32 years away from home, I'm thrilled to have returned to my home city, Birmingham. Bursting with passion, character and pride, HDY Agency has welcomed me with open arms as their new managing director. So, how did I get here?
Taking the first steps into my career, I dived into the world of branding. With a fascination for developing brand strategy and compelling brand identities, I was lucky enough to cut my teeth on large brand projects with EE and the National Trust. As the client services team leader, I became a trusted partner for businesses. I developed a greater understanding of the scope of a brands' impact, influence, and social responsibilities.
Wanting to approach the industry from a different perspective, I then decided to switch client side. Looking back on my eight years in senior corporate positions, my time with Premier Inn will live long in my memory. From managing their brand identity refresh across 700 hotels, guiding the launch of 'Zip' - a new hotel proposition, to delivering two seamless annual ATL campaigns, I must say I learned a lot!
Continuing down my career path, I became the marketing director for the global sports, leisure, hospitality, and events brand Sodexo Live!, which is responsible for the catering offer at a wide range of cultural moments and prolific events such as the Royal Ascot and RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Looking to enhance their voice, improve their engagement and gain a wider reach, I introduced an 'always on' content calendar for multiple Sodexo Live! B2C and B2B brands that simultaneously enhanced their digital customer journey. However, Sodexo Live! didn't stop there. As a brand that lives and breathes experiences, I helped to navigate the brand's successful relaunch into the UK market.
Now enough about me. Let's talk about the good stuff. The importance of brands! To be honest, I'm a total brand geek. I believe that expressing coherent brand-led narratives is crucial when building a strong relationship between businesses and audiences, even when developing tactical campaigns.
Strengthening the connections between brands and their audience requires a brand to be its authentic self. They must understand their purpose in the world and be consistent in expressing that internally and externally. In a crowded market of continuous messaging and information, the brands that will thrive are the ones with a joined-up ecosystem that employees get behind and consumers can relate to.
In summary, brands need to continue to uncover narratives that resonate and connect to strengthen audience loyalty and create a smoother buying journey across their touchpoints. In a world of increasing uncertainty, 'what you see is what you get' has never felt more resonant.
So, here I am now, joining the magnetic duo and co-founders of HDY Agency, Angel Gaskell and Ed James. Entering the agency at an exciting time, I'll support the fast-growing agency's vision of international growth and further strengthen its client servicing and brand strategy.
So, it's time for me to get cracking! I can't wait to see what happens in this next chapter on my return to my home city.
Pictured (left to right): Beatrice Vears and Angel Gaskell, joint managing directors.