Welcome to the next instalment in our career interview series!
Today’s interview is with Julie Brander, an Account Manager, at Weber Shandwick in Aberdeen. Weber Shandwick is one of the partner agencies that work with us on MSc Digital Marketing and therefore Julie has kindly mentored some students throughout the Digital PR module. She’s provided us with support and advice, insight into her job and even a visit to the office. Not to mention, meeting with me to be interviewed for The Digital Scot career interview series!
Could you tell me what you studied at uni?
I studied Fashion Management at RGU. I did the Honours course and started in 2008 and finished in 2012, which was actually the first year that the course ran!
What is your current role and how did you end up working there?
I got to my current job mainly through placements and internships. I roughly knew I wanted to do something creative and that communications was also an interest and so I did an advertising placement, with McCann Worldgroup and Maybelline and L’Oréal, in New York. Following this, I wanted to do something a little closer to home so repeated this placement in London with the same agency, who are a sister agency to Weber Shandwick. Then after a stint at the Scotsman, I realised I didn’t want to work within the journalism side but instead the agency side. After this, I did a placement with Weber Shandwick for just a couple of weeks in Aberdeen then learnt they were looking for an Account Executive in Glasgow, so I did this. Nine months later, I moved back up to Weber Shandwick in Aberdeen to work where I am now.
In what way does digital marketing have a role in your job?
It plays a part in everything! Although I have only been here five years, the amount of change in that sense is massive. When I first started, although digital marketing and PR were there, it was mainly a focus on traditional methods. Now digital has become completely integrated to the point that we have hired whole digital teams and completely restructured. As a result, digital is much more of a focus and is leading campaigns.
Digital is a huge part of my day-to-day work, whether that is making sure that a website is updated, blogging content, influencer mapping, working with influencers, influencer press trips or checking Google Analytics.
Could you tell us what a typical day at work looks like for you?
The answer is, there is no typical day, as cliché as that sounds! Every day is different. Usually I come in with a to-do list and the news agenda very quickly changes or something comes in and that’s what I do. That is what I like about it though.
Generally my days look something like this. Firstly, I check the news agenda. I check to see if there are opportunities in the news for clients to comment on. Then I will push out my press releases for that day. I try to get this done early morning so it is out to the papers by 10 o’clock. Following this I will work on any content that I need to do. This might include a feature for Caledonian Sleeper, or a press release for NorthLink Ferries, or a photocall diary note, or a campaign proposal. Every day is so different though and I juggle many clients, who all pull you in different directions. It’s important when working for an agency to manage your time, as all your clients are just as important as each other. If you don’t do this, then you’ll end up in the office 24/7.
What is your favourite part of your job?
My favourite thing about my job is the people. This includes both the teams I work with in the office and the clients, which make my job really enjoyable.
My favourite aspect of my job is influencer marketing and planning and research. Influencer marketing is a huge part of my job at the moment. It’s something that I’m trying to champion in Scotland, because at the moment it’s recognised but not a hugely utilised tool here, yet it is making an impact elsewhere.
Are there any particular digital resources or tools you would like and recommend?
There are a lot of things online I read for work, that are work-related and I find help. The Chartered Institute of PR’s website contains useful content, as does their LinkedIn posts and emails, which I think are useful for best practice. In terms of influencer marketing and my type of clients and consumer information, Fashion and Beauty Monitor is great. They send out reports that can be digested really quickly and have really good tools to use.
In general, I like to read a lot of blogs. I like blogs that are really local, like Natbees and Foodie Quine. Alongside this, I like ones that are quite aspirational, such as The Londoner, Gal Meets Glam etc. I find these are also quite good for inspiring content, by being able to see blogging done really well.
Thank you, Julie, for participating in our career interview series. It was great to learn a bit about your career background and current role. Don’t forget, if you’re interested in learning more about digital careers, check out the rest of our career series interviews!