Huge congrats to our homegirl Aimie Neighbour – Creative Strategist and all-around #GirlBoss – who has been listed in the 2019 Restaurant Marketer & Innovator 30 Under 30!
We caught up with Aimie to find out what her job’s like, and what it takes to be recognised by this prestigious awards body in the hospitality marketing game.
How did you get to the position you’re in now?
I’ve worked in either hospitality or sales and marketing for my entire professional life, never really knowing exactly what I wanted to do – just that it had something to do with these areas. When I moved back to London four years ago, I literally Googled “hospitality marketing agencies in London”, found Ignite’s website, read their values and knew immediately this is where I wanted to work, so I emailed them and asked for a job!
I started out as a part-time freelance Social Media Executive and quickly moved into a full-time New Business & Marketing Manager. Working in new business really got me excited about problem-solving – businesses would come to us with a problem (we need more bookings!) and I would consult with the team to propose a creative solution. This really gave me a taste for strategic thinking and everything started to fall into place; this is the role I had been training for, without knowing it!
As the agency continued to grow at an incredible rate, there became a real need for a dedicated strategy role. I became the full-time Creative Strategist over eighteen months ago, and I have loved every moment (even when I am insanely stressed and it doesn’t seem like it!). My next challenge is to find like-minded people to grow a fully-fledged strategy team (apply now) and steer the strategic direction of the agency. Watch this space!
What does an average day look like to you?
On the train on the way into the office, I write my morning pages (a practice I adopted when reading The Artist’s Way a couple of years ago, and have done every day since) while simultaneously trying to manage Bale, my/the office dog, who tries to make friends with everyone in the carriage!
I like to get in early before the chaos ensues and eat my breakfast while checking through emails, getting organised for the day and up to date on industry news – both hospitality and advertising & strategy related. Besides the 15 minutes of fresh air at lunchtime when I take Bale out for a walk, this is the only real structure in my day – everything else is in constant flux. I might be deep working on a strategy piece, in back to back meetings for client immersion or checking in with the other teams. Every day is different.
If I’m not heading out to meet friends or going to a talk or event after work, I do enjoy my commute home when I get some time to read. I don’t read fiction, I like to alternate between something that is work-related and something I’m just interested in – right now I’m halfway through Stephen Hawking’s final book Brief Answers to the Big Questions. Highly recommended.
What are the best (and worst) parts of your job?
I love the variety and challenges of my job; I never know what the day will hold and it keeps me engaged. I love the team I work with and being in a role that I can take anywhere, I have the opportunity to shape the future of strategy at the agency – that’s what really drives me.
… And I can’t complain about the fact that I get to go to travel a lot and visit incredible places – I just got back from touring a client’s vineyards in Cyprus and in 2 weeks I’m heading off to Florida to onboard two new clients.
The one thing that really frustrates me at work is interpreting client briefs. If they’re not painfully vague or even non-existent, they’re jumping to a solution, not considering a problem. It’s my challenge to educate, not just internally, but in the wider industry the fundamentals of how marketing and brand strategy actually works and how those principles apply in hospitality.
Where would you like to see your work going with Ignite?
When I arrived at Ignite, we were a pretty small team, I was employee #17, and now we’ve broken 50. As the company grows, I want to continue building a dedicated strategy team. I want to with work clients who are open to true collaboration and innovation, as well as working on more diverse and challenging projects outside of hospitality.