If you joined us at YMS19 LDN last month, you would have seen Rachelle Denton hosting the Main Stage on Day 2. After achieving success as a Senior Creative Strategist at the BBC, she recently co-founded The Storm Collective with colleague Laura Colin. We caught up with her after YMS for a chat about her exciting career so far and the trends that are inspiring her as she launches her new business.
What would be your advice to a brand that comes to you concerned about how they can keep up with the ever-changing youth demographic?
Initially we would discuss the drivers for them having this concern. Do they want to engage a youth audience to increase market share? Diversify a product or service? Address the brand’s cultural relevance? Each direction would help personalise ‘keep up’, and be used to examine trends, observe behaviours, model competition and create an approach to integrate the continuous pursuit of a youth centric community throughout the business.
Who would be your dream client for your new business, The Storm Collective?
Dream client’s ambition is more attractive to be honest. For example, we would love to work with Netflix or Amazon Prime at commission phase, and be given enough runway to work together on something seriously disruptive.
What are the digital trends you’re most excited about for the year ahead?
The impact of the increasing focus on ‘Going Global’. We’re seeing behaviours that are indicative of working around marketing, legal and process driven legacy. For example? The alert, ‘Content Not Available In Your Region’, that is delaying access to globally anticipated TV? It doesn’t block the spoilers overflowing into conversations in global platforms, it only serves to spur creative work arounds. We’re going to see a lot more Gen Z creativity when faced with bureaucracy in digital spaces, and the smarter entertainment providers will maneuver around blockers, even if only to better engage with younger more savvy audiences.
What do you think businesses can do to better support women in marketing and help them achieve leadership roles?
Businesses should be demonstrating that they understand that creating options does not automatically make them viable. When addressing the probability that many women will be the default provider of additional unpaid work at some stage in their career - childcare, family care roles, domestic labour - the resulting solutions should be thoughtful, like flexibility, support, and practical ways to alleviate added commitments. Outside of implied increased remuneration, beyond offering choice without factoring in progression sacrifice.
Demonstrating transparency by publishing workforce demographics regularly will help if they run alongside actionable steps towards parity. Increasing visibility, though sponsor or mentorship programmes, and most importantly ensuring that women’s leadership is an agenda that is delivered and championed by all members of the workplace.
What are your tips on how to get the most out of attending events such as YMS?
I use a different approach for chairing and speaking, however here are my top tips for attendants:
1. Research: Study the agenda, choose topics of interest and find out what you can about the speakers (LinkedIn, watch or read any material you can find online).
2. Pool resource: If you’re not alone then it’s tempting to attend the same sessions as coworkers. You’ll get a lot more out of it if you split the sessions that are on at the same time, and share notes later.
3. Share your opinion: Use the format you feel most comfortable with - for example Twitter for live or Medium for a post event overview. Ensure you give your own opinion on what you heard, as it helps to synthesise learnings, as well as creating more opportunities for others to engage with you beyond your usual network.
4. Meet people: This might not feel natural to you, however, everyone is wearing a lanyard, they’re all in a space to learn and share. It’s one of the less confrontational networking opportunities.
5. Follow up: Thank the speakers that resonated, connect with the people you met, share highlights with your business. You might bring in the next lead, or even connect with a mentor or future employee.
What’s the one app that you couldn’t live without?
I’d be totally late and lost without CityMapper, lazy without Fitbit, and out of touch without Twitter… but I’d be missing international banter and critical work chats without WhatsApp, so it’s that!
What have you learned in your career that you wish you’d known when you started out?
It’s more than OK to develop into a new role entirely, as vertical doesn’t always mean progress, especially when you’re unsatisfied. Early on I was reminded that there is always someone out there that would give anything to do your job, and if you don’t feel that, then it’s time to consider why not.
Always experiment, be as creative as you can, and really get to know those in parallel roles to you regardless of if it is considered to be essential to your role. Unlocking cross team communications will always put you in good stead, and in my experience that is where some excellent innovation can happen.