Emma SissonSenior Strategist – 2. Strategy
A day with Emma.
SENIOR STRATEGIST, LON, UK.
With a background in marketing and communications, Emma joined Saffron’s Madrid office as a Junior Strategist in October 2019. A lover of all things food and wine, a keen photographer, and a passionate explorer, when she’s not at the office you can usually find her in one of Madrid’s many terraces and wine bars, picnicing in the park, or hiking through the surrounding mountains. Always with a camera in hand.
Tell us a bit about what a Strategist does?
The role of Strategists is to build the strategic foundations to create lasting brands. We do this by identifying a brand’s essence and setting the direction to guide everything the brand does in the future. We then help to tell its story in a way that is authentic, differentiating and relevant so that it resonates with the right people.
Essentially, we are problem solvers. We listen to our clients to understand their challenges and then use strategic thinking and creative expression to solve them. We work closely with Designers to find the best solution for our clients and deliver on their needs to create powerful brands with lasting impact.
What does an ‘average’ day look like?
Given the nature of the work and the pace of the projects, no two days are the same. As a Strategist you can be working for many different clients at once, so your days are usually split across several projects.
The work varies depending on project deliverables and what stage a project is at. For example, one morning you could be developing a brand platform or crafting a company’s EVP, and then that same afternoon you could be working with a designer to script and storyboard a brand video. We also get heavily involved with new business - unpicking briefs that come in, devising points of view to solve the challenge at hand and delivering pitches.
We work with global clients, so in pre-pandemic times you would also expect to be travelling on a regular basis, which means much of the above would most likely be done on a plane.
It definitely keeps us on our toes!
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a project for the Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer (Spanish Cancer Association), and for The Valuable 500, alongside Jess and Andy.
I’m also wrapping up a project for Bergé Auto, a big mobility company here in Spain, and I’m about to get started on a couple of exciting new things.
What has been your favourite project at Saffron so far?
I’ve been lucky to have worked on a lot of projects that resonate with me, including the projects I am currently working on for The Valuable 500 and the Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer (Spanish Cancer Association).
SOS Children’s Villages was my first project at Saffron and probably left the biggest impression on me because I was given a lot of responsibility from the get-go and was able to really own the work. It was a beautiful project with a lovely team of dedicated and passionate people. I also got to travel to Vienna, which is always a plus.
At Saffron our employee value proposition is being “Open to Everywhere”. What does this mean for you in practice?
Our EVP is an expression of our natively global culture. It’s our promise to be open to and embrace difference in all senses of the word.
In practice, it’s a continuous journey, a work in progress, a challenge to all of us to be willing to constantly learn and evolve. Our EVP is the north star guiding us on that journey and we should never lose sight of it.
How did you get to the role you’re in today?
They say you should never put all your eggs in one basket, but that was the case for me with Saffron.
I had been working in marketing and communications for several years and decided I wanted to shift my career to brand strategy. At the time, I had a very clear idea that I wanted to work at Saffron, and only Saffron.
There wasn’t a position open for me when I applied, but I was lucky enough to be offered an interview and I think they sensed my determination and enthusiasm then and there. A week later, they offered me a role as Junior Strategist in the Madrid office to start straight away.
In my case it boiled down to sheer determination and not giving up, despite some initial hurdles. And there was probably some luck and good timing involved, too.
Any advice for someone wanting to join Saffron?
This is as much about what you bring to Saffron as it is about what Saffron offers you. Be clear on what your value proposition is, but remember that this is an opportunity to learn and grow, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.