7 min read
It’s Wednesday, so it’s podcast time! Ready for new experiences from the best in marketing? We never get tired of these kinds of stories. And the best part is sharing them with you.
Our guest today is Caroline Shumway – Global Campaign and Media Manager at Sennheiser. She is a creative marketer with a decade of experience on the creative agency side and most recently, the brand side.
Caroline has looked after a variety of brands in her career including UPS, Johnson & Johnson, Gerber, Philips, and Sennheiser. Most recently, Caroline led product campaigns for Sennheiser on the agency side at Ogilvy Amsterdam. As many agency people do, she made the switch over to the brand side continuing her work on the Global Consumer Marketing & Campaign team for Sennheiser. She’s got a passion for disruptive creative and creating market-specific awareness campaigns.
International experience is one of the best things you can do for your career
As a creative, you have to be very open-minded and versatile. Adaptability is very important for understanding your product and your customers. Sometimes, experiencing different environments or cultures can be useful for that. Let’s see Caroline’s perspective about that.
“I started out at Ogilvy and was there for three years. I transitioned to two other agencies in New York City and I always had this idea of going to work in a new market. I really wanted to follow that dream. I started looking into moving to Amsterdam. I’d reach out to as many agency people working in Amsterdam as I could find.
I was specifically targeting people who had come from different countries and moved to Amsterdam. I asked for all types of advice. How did they do it? How long did the process take? What are the best agencies? I asked any question I could think of. After 18 months of searching, I had the opportunity of visiting Amsterdam. I met with some of the people that I had been in contact with. Lo and behold, Ogilvy had an opening on a global brand that was a perfect fit for my career. And we made it happen.
That international experience is one of the best things you can do for your career. It’s just so important to see different markets and cultures from another lens other than your own. For example, in my day to day work headlines and product positioning in APAC are totally different from what you would see in the US or in Europe.
A lot of agencies believe that testing kills creativity, but it’s also one of the most important tools to ensure you’re not alienating a specific customer set. So I really do believe that having that a global mindset is really crucial and a piece of advice that I would give to someone starting out.”
Caroline had the opportunity to explore an European culture. She knew from her former colleagues that this is gonna be extremely helpful. And it really was. Adapting her life and work style, accepting different ways of thinking got her where she is today. Her creative vision was for sure boosted by this change.
Work from home productivity is all about breaks
Work from home was maybe a bit of an overused topic during this pandemic. But professionals who have been doing it for a while have some pretty cool tips. Caroline shared some ideas for keeping productive when you’re not with your team.
“I started working from home as soon as I switched to Sennheiser. They’re based in Wedemark, Germania, but I remained in Amsterdam. What I like to do is often set a timer and work for 30 minutes. After that, I get up, take a walk, work for another 30 minutes, get up again, take a walk.
I also really structure my day around the time that I’ll be at my computer. So I make sure that I get up for lunch and keep that schedule. Then I make sure that I sign off by six o’clock. I found that one of the challenges for me is to set boundaries for myself. Especially working on a global team where people are online all the time. You can’t just stay online all night long.
One thing new is that I started working out in the middle of the day. Instead of that hour for lunch, you can do a quick yoga class at your house. I think that has definitely changed the way that I work. It gives me a second boost for the afternoon”
Take time for your needs. Take breaks and refresh your head. Give yourself the time you need to recharge your batteries. It’s not a classic work environment, so you might need to try some unconventional habits.
Managing creativity is hard
Caroline was on both the agency and client-side. She pitched in front of the client and was also on the other end of hearing pitches. She had to analyze creativity from opposite perspectives. And she had the problem of managing it. What’s the right balance in managing creativity?
“I think managing creativity is very hard. You don’t want to be overbearing or a dictator, but you need to leverage the creativity that you’ve hired these teams for.
On the agency side, I always had to mold ideas into something I felt comfortable presenting to clients. Now on the client’s side, you have to judge the creativity in a different way. You have to consider all possibilities for how it could and will be perceived.
My agency experience definitely helped on this front, but it’s always something that can be improved. I still try to get better at it every day. Repetition helps you train your creativity. Look at new work and massage it into something that works in the market. Also develop a rapport with the creatives and agencies that you’re working with. It’s a crucial element.”
Creativity is something everyone can get better at. That’s the memorable part for me from what Caroline said. You’re never too creative. You can always improve it. As long as you keep exercising that muscle.
I got so many relevant insights about creativity, productivity, and diversity from this episode.
Here you have the whole episode. Listen in!