18 February 2021

Interview with a strategist – Tessa Hill

What made you want to be a strategist?

I started out as an account exec at a small brand design agency during a really exciting period of growth. There was a real emphasis on ensuring we were involved in all parts of a project, from brand strategy to artwork. I remember attending a client workshop one day where we went through a number of exercises to get to a creative positioning for a brand creation project. I saw then how defining a brand’s place in the world and getting to that single-minded proposition helped to shape the creative ideas and give the brand meaning beyond pack. My degree was completely unrelated to brand design or marketing, and I think everything just started to click from there. I knew that becoming a brand strategist would allow me to be more creative, and quite egotistically, I quite like being involved and having a say at such an early and critical stage in a brand’s creation or evolution!

Ecover OOH

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Is it a cliché to say everywhere? I certainly spend more time than most people reading pack copy and brand websites. I love a good piece of storytelling. I also make a point of looking out for OOH advertising when I’m out and about; it’s the best place to see how a brand’s positioning comes to life. But mostly, I think being in strategy means you really have to be switched on to the bigger stuff, the wider cultural context and how that might apply to your work.

Laundry against landfill campaign - a great example of storytelling and OOH

What piece of work at Brandon are you most proud of and why?

It’s still early days for me at Brandon, but I’ve loved working on such a broad spectrum of clients already. I’ve been so impressed with the designs produced for one client in particular that I can't name at the moment! It’s so important to be respectful of a brand’s existing framework when working on a refresh project and it was a tough balance coming up with creative territories that pushed the brand while remaining true to its core positioning.

Full brand creation projects are always fun to work on too and most recently I’ve worked on one for wine. I’ve really enjoyed being involved in a bit of blue sky thinking and imagination to come up with potential worlds which the brand could play in. Plus, its wine.

What category would you love to work on that you have yet to do?

I’d love to work on something in beauty or skincare. Either on bringing a new brand to market or working on something iconic and British, like Rimmel.  

Marmite - Tessa's favourite brand

Just for fun questions

Guilty pleasure: Taylor Swift – no shame

Fave movie: The Parent Trap – so nostalgic for me, plus I always wanted a twin

Fave brand in the world: Marmite – it’s delicious, distinctive and instantly recognisable, and just a random old ingredient that’s stood the test of time – I’m a lover.

You can take 3 things (not people) with you to a desert island what would they be:

  1. My ‘pride & joy’ Le Creuset casserole pot I got for my birthday
  2. Unlimited supply of Yorkshire Tea
  3. Hot Sauce, probably Tobasco

Is it bad they’re all food related?