Marketer Q+A: Amanda Brinkman of Deluxe
During these unprecedented times, we're focused on bringing you thoughtful advice from fellow marketing leaders across a variety of industries — all of whom are also navigating these uncertain waters.
Amanda Brinkman, Chief Brand Officer at Deluxe lays out her ideas on what's important for work right now and what "normal" will look like in the future.
To start, describe where you’re answering these questions from. What’s your setup like?
I have a card table set up in the basement - with shoeboxes currently serving as my camera stand for video conferences! I have my “desk” facing a window for some natural light and am actually digging my new makeshift “office.” I find it has been helpful to have a specific place I do the work. Physically, and from a schedule perspective, defining boundaries to when I am off-limits for questions from the family has been key to making sure I can stay focused on work.
What has been your biggest challenge leading a team through so many unknowns?
Helping them define success in their roles. Everyone at our company is trying to work quickly and help where they can but this creates SO many cooks...in ALL the kitchens. It was important that I actively help my team understand what was expected of each of them specifically during this time, what projects they should contribute to, or lead, that would be helpful in our overall response as a company. When crisis hits, everyone regardless of departments or silos comes together which is fantastic, but that doesn’t mean role clarity isn’t just as important as ever. It is vital that each person knows what they should be focused on, and understand how that plays a role in the larger solution.
What opportunities have surfaced for you and/or your team in the past several weeks?
We were in the middle of filming Season 5 for our HULU series The Small Business Revolution when the pandemic shut everything down. So we pivoted how we are capturing scenes for this year (lots of cell phone and Zoom recordings) but also created a new ancillary series that will be coming out within the week called “Small Business, Big Heart”. We will be taking our storytelling to the video conference reality we all live in and interviewing amazing small businesses who are doing remarkable things for others and for their community during this crisis. We love small businesses and we want to showcase the hope they are bringing across the country.
What advice do you have for other marketing leaders working through a time like this?
I believe now more than ever that companies can “Do Well by Doing Good” - there are so many people hurting right now, how can you use your platform and voice as a brand to advocate for something that could make a difference in the lives of your customers? The brands who figure out how to do that will weather this storm better than those who don’t, and it will be for the right reasons.
How do you think what’s happening now will impact the future of work?
I think we will all become more flexible with team members working from home. There used to still be a bit of a stigma with that as if people weren’t really working if they were not in the office itself but I think everyone is learning first hand how productive one can be no matter where they are doing that work. I also hope we learn to slow down a bit as we emerge from this and don’t just recreate bad habits when things go back to “normal.” Taking time to plan and execute is important, having a sense of urgency isn’t the same thing as a panic. There are lessons we can be learning as professionals - and human beings - about the pace of life we used to accept as normal - and maybe that wasn’t so healthy?
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