Katelyn Crawford’s work in advertising, sponsorship marketing, and brand development has taken her from the world of advertising to corporate, building and growing brands for Scotiabank and Cineplex Entertainment LP. Emma Bullen caught up with her to talk about her career path, tips for busy marketers, and how to build and maintain a strong brand voice.
Emma Bullen: Tell me about your career path. How have you got to where you are today?
Katelyn Crawford: I started working for advertising agencies so I could truly understand all the components that go into making an advertising campaign. Everything from briefing, the creative process, campaign execution and client management, I wanted to get exposed to (and learn) it all. That being said, I knew I wanted to transition to the client side of brand management, which is where I am now. I really enjoy being involved in all aspects of building a brand including strategic development, the customer journey and now that I’m on the other side, when I work with agencies, and I understand the process of how they produce work and where they’re coming from.
EB: What are the main differences between working for an agency and managing a brand?
KC: I love creative agencies; I love the energy that goes into the work and the opportunity to be creative. The challenge is that you might put your heart and soul into a campaign and hand it over to the client. It’s the client’s role to take that forward, and they don’t necessarily report back to you on how well it does.
The reason I was drawn to the brand side of things is because ultimately I help curate what an experience is about from brand voice to brand identity. It’s not just living in the moment; it’s also about how we evolve that the following year.
It’s not just living in the moment; it’s also about how we evolve that the following year.
EB: What’s the most challenging aspect of your role?
KC: I bring a passion to the job and every touch point. The most challenging thing is knowing when certain things need energy and when they need looking at holistically. How does everything come together and not getting bogged down by specific details? Details matter, but where do we draw the line on some things and look at the bigger picture overall? It’s also about knowing when to make those risky decisions. It’s important to determine what you’re doing now, but not falling in love with a concept. What works right now might not work in the future.
EB: What advice would you give busy content creators?
KC: I believe in doing fewer things exceptionally well, rather than trying to do everything for everyone. Look back to the business objective and ask, “why are we doing this?” If there’s a sound business goal, then, by all means, prioritize that task. If it’s not as relevant or is shifting focus, that’s where we start to pull back and say, it’s not the right time.
It’s important to determine what you’re doing now, but not falling in love with a concept.
EB: How do you drive that idea through to your stakeholders?
KC: In order to be successful, you need to get someone to invest in the idea. In order to do that, you need to craft the message to answer the question “Why does it matter to them?”. Put it into the perspective of how it benefits the audience and ultimately how it will benefit the business as a whole.
EB: How do you police your brand voice? How do you let go of it?
KC: Once you understand the core components of your brand voice, it’s easy to use that as a tracking measurement. Everything from the training manuals to the social media voice, to the copy to your website. It’s easy to do a pulse check — let’s go back to the brand voice. If you have a sound foundation on which to build something, it makes it easy to ensure your team are on brand.
If you have a sound foundation on which to build something, it makes it easy to ensure your team are on brand.
EB: What do you look for when you’re making a hire?
KC: New team members need to be open, friendly energetic, and playful. We hire for skill, but also for personality. Culture fit is really important. There are certain skill sets you can train, but there are certain personality traits that are natural and authentic.