We recently interviewed Lydia Taylor, Freelance Senior Strategist, to find out why she chose freelancing and more about being a Digital Strategist.
What is a Digital Strategist, and what do you do?
As a digital strategist, my role is to use digital channels to essentially make the audience do or believe what the brand wants them to. I work with client briefs, for example launching a new product, growing credibility with an audience or trying to gain market share for their brand. I pull apart the brand, get under the skin of the audience and dissect the market to give a point of view on how we can change behaviour through communications. I then work all the way through to the creative execution, briefing creative and ensuring the output is something people will notice.
How did you become a Digital Strategist?
I've always been interested in how people think, what motivates us? How can human behaviour be changed? After my degree in Psychology, advertising strategy seemed the perfect experimental playground to attempt changing behaviour in the real world. I've also always been very creative and nothing excites me more than creating work which evokes a feeling in people. Sometimes it's a compulsion to buy, sometimes it's a compulsion to cry after some heavy John Lewis-esque Christmas campaign.
"I cannot speak highly enough of Lydia's work. She came on to our team with a few tough briefs to crack and took it all in her stride"
Paul Stafford, Head of Digital Marketing at Pepsico's in house agency.
How long have you been freelancing?
I left my last full time role at social video startup, Vidsy, at the very end of last year, ready to jump into 2020 and new ambitions. So it's been 8 months freelance now.
Why did you decide to go freelance?
I've always loved having multiple challenges at once, be this, projects, brands or clients. After working across over 120+ brands in my last role, (usually around 9 at any given time), the idea of committing to one brand full time did not excite me. Over the past seven years my skills have made me an agile and adaptive strategist who looks for brands who are willing to take risks to make an impact - this seemed to fit perfectly for freelancing. I also believe that as strategists we need to go out and experience the world in order to bring new creative thinking to the table. Freelancing allows me the head-space to dive into new passions or travel for new experiences.
What's the best thing about choosing to be an independent professional in your field?
The best part is getting stuck into a new brand and challenge with every project and being able to immediately see your impact.
Has there been any negatives of your choice?
The hardest part is adapting to feel comfortable with uncertainty. You can’t see too far ahead, but at the same time you are in control and must trust your decisions.
What's one thing no one ever told you about freelancing you wished you'd known at the beginning?
A global pandemic might throw things of course for a little while.
How has YunoJuno helped you as a freelancer?
YJ has been a constant source of potential roles as well as making the invoicing and payment process incredibly easy.
"Lydia is an outstanding and impactful strategic and creative contributor. In no time at all she improved our social product and did so with grace, humour and fresh cultural insight."
Nicole Taylor, CEO, C14torce.
Can you talk about a project you're proud to have worked on?
A lot of my projects are top secret at the moment but I have a very exciting campaign underway for Pepsico which will see some quirky and kick ass creative run across TV and break the internet next year. It is focused on a Gen Z audience and we hope will create a lot of hype.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to become a Digital Strategist?
My three tips:
- Read the strategy books, they may sometimes be far longer than needed, but they are invaluable.
- Stay curious - look around for inspiration, watch campaigns, scroll through Cannes, D&AD, Campaign Mag etc. to see what is going on in the creative space.
- Be a secret sales person - Strategy is selling a well informed opinion, bring confidence to the table as a client’s trust is worth more than any supporting data you find.
If a client was reading this, why should they hire you?
When a project is important, there's no time for someone who you can't trust - only an experienced strategist who will hit the ground running and bring a wealth of thinking to the team will do.
But don't take my word for it...
"Lydia led strategy on some of our biggest FMCG and retail clients at Vidsy, providing vision and strategic thought, all the way through to implementation. She challenges the norm and provides creative thought when you most need it." -
Jonathan Davis, previous VP EMEA at Vidsy.
Lydia specialises in social creative, including, video, static, polls, TikTok. Not only is she well versed in the importance of measurement and how to drive efficacy, Lydia can help with positioning and messaging.