January is what a few of us at The Influence Agency have been calling “Change SZN”. Many of our team members are kicking off 2022 with shiny (and well deserved) promotions and/or new responsibilities. As we get our feet wet in these new roles and tackle new challenges, I like to remind myself that change, even when it scares us, is a good thing.
Last April, I joined The Influence Agency as their new Brand Director; a role that hadn’t previously existed at TIA and also marked my very first foray into the agency world. Prior to this, my entire career was pretty much all on the “client side”. At 35, I’d figured by this point I was going to stay that way for the remainder of my career.
I’m almost ten months into my role as Brand Director and while I have learned and grown so much, I am still learning. When we give ourselves permission and the opportunity to grow, we realize it’s a never-ending process. So how am I navigating this growth? Read on to find out!
When the opportunity to join TIA came up, I was two parts excited and one part doubtful. Doubtful of my ability to translate all of my client-side skills and mindset to an agency and wary of my ability to take on the heavy “Director” title, even though it’s a role I’d been working toward for quite some time.
During my first few weeks at TIA, I wasn’t quite sure what I was in for or what to expect. So I leaned into that sense of uncertainty. I met with different individuals across the agency, everyone from our Director of Digital Marketing to brush up on my (extremely poor) SEO and Google Analytics knowledge to our paid media and social media teams, and asked a ton of questions.
I also made sure to connect with individuals across our Client Success team to better understand the scope of our clients and how we service them. Even though I don’t work on the client-side, it was critical for me to understand this side of our business. After all, it’s my job to promote and celebrate our agency so I better know what I’m talking about!
In your new role, take the time that’s needed to ask questions. Take it slow and don’t expect yourself to hit the ground running. You’re only going to be stressed and disappointed in yourself if you do!
Over time, as I grew more confident in my role, so too did the expectations from the team. At times, I would still feel overwhelmed and the feeling of uncertainty returned. New skills aren’t developed in minutes, they take weeks, months, and sometimes years to refine. Part of my role is delivering quarterly updates and reports. In my previous client-side life, these were prepared for me by MY agency partners which I would then digest and repurpose into post-mortems on our different campaigns. The irony is not lost on me.
I’m not going to lie, my first-ever brand report was not my best work and I lost too much sleep over it. In these instances, you need to put the ego away, untuck the tail from between your legs and lean into that feeling of uncertainty. Ask all the questions and slowly but surely keep working at it, until it’s a well-formed muscle. This is not to say that I am now a reporting genius — I’m really not — but I am way better than I was six months ago.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and stumble around. New skills take time and patience to build, you just need to be willing to work at it.
That’s not to say some of my past-life skills weren’t immediately transferable. Working in brand marketing, you learn very quickly to think in macro vs micro terms, or small and big picture strategy. Basically: a marketing strategy is the sum of its parts. Each element of a campaign, whether successful or not, will determine the outcome of your brand strategy. One skill I’ve worked on my whole career is to learn to focus on the bigger, overall marketing strategy. What is the concept? What are we ultimately working toward? From there, you put the pieces in place to bring that concept to life.
I was able to adopt this mindset while working on The Influence Agency’s brand and, for the first time, we developed a full 2022 Brand Strategy for TIA that I am super pumped to help bring to life this year!
Each skill you’ve learned will prove useful again and again; don’t ever think learning a new skill is a waste of time or one you won’t revisit in the future!
When something scares the absolute sh*t out of me, like taking on this role, I usually jump in with two feet and a blindfold on. Becoming the Brand Director at The Influence Agency scared me for all the right reasons. It offered me the opportunity to level up, discover a new area of this amazing industry and join an incredible team of talented individuals. I’ve learned so much in the past ten months and I’m still learning. It’s truly the best feeling.
2022 is here and she is looking promising as hell. Do yourself a favour and make the effort this year to put yourself in situations that can make you feel scared, uncertain, or uncomfortable and do the work to figure it out. The results will be worth it.7