Meet the team – Emma Lanman
Emma is one of those team members that seems to be across everything all at once; we don’t know how she does it. We rely on her for her ability to simplify the complex, to keep projects on the straight and narrow, and to make everyone laugh when the going gets tough!
In this chat with Emma, we learn about what her day-to-day job involves, how she manages her busy schedule, what she loves most about her role and a bit about what she was up to before joining the Den.
As a Creative Principal, what exactly does your job involve?
There are two parts to my job. As a Principal, I’m responsible for growing the business by building relationships with new clients, understanding their needs and how we can help. I then work with our design, strategy and development teams to put together an approach for the work that we could do together, and work with the client to get this right for them. The other part of my title, the creative part, nods to the other work I do, which is helping to deliver creative projects, including getting involved in brand strategy.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My days are very varied. I usually start by checking all the places where I might have messages waiting for me from clients or colleagues. After getting back to anything urgent, I’m into my day. It might be a mixture of internal management meetings, preparing proposals, pitching for work, catching up with clients and checking in with our teams on projects that I’m involved in to see how things are going. There are stand-out days when I might be helping to facilitate a workshop, or visiting a client on-site where they are (in non-Covid times), but the norm is a mixture of writing and thinking, talking and planning.
Your days sound so busy, do you have any ways of organising and prioritising everything you have to do?
I use one of our design tools (interactive whiteboard) for my epic to-do list management. I move virtual stickies between boxes (urgent and important, or non-urgent but important – you get the idea) and try to spend as much time as I can in the non-urgent but important box. This was a tip from a mentor and it’s really helped. It’s a constant battle to stay out of the urgent box in a fast-moving, high growth environment like Den, but it helps keep me focussed on what’s important.
What’s your favourite thing about your job?
When we manage to develop a trusted partnership with a client; when we all feel like we’re on the same page, working together to achieve the same thing. When we’ve earned a voice in company strategy meetings and when we nail the creative that we know is going to deliver on their strategy – that’s the best!
What were you doing before Den that equipped you for your current role?
I’ve had a varied career to date, spanning Firefighter to entrepreneur. But a few things spring to mind in terms of really preparing me for this role. Firstly, I studied History of Art at university. Having a deep understanding of the very first explorations of combining form (reality) with feeling (subjectivity) in art, as well as how we see and experience visual stimuli has really informed my understanding of, and love for, brand. Secondly, running my own removals and logistics business and building my own brand has given me a deep connection to the importance of customer-centricity, as well as the ability to empathise with our clients’ biggest problems, and help them to meet them head-on. I ended up pitching my business in Dragons Den, which means no pitch will ever be intimidating again. And finally, in agency life, there’s always a bit of firefighting to do!