Q&A with Dragon Rouge London's Associate Director Kate Sheerin
A Q&A with Dragon Rouge London's new Associate Director for consumer brands
We recently welcomed Kate Sheerin as Associate Director in our London office, focusing on consumer brands. We caught up with her on her favourite brands, golden rules, and what we all need more of.
What’s your golden rule? Two heads are better than one. I’m a big believer in the power of talking things through. It’s how good instincts become great ideas.
What brands do you admire? The brands I admire most are the ones that follow through with actions what they say in words. They tend to be the brands for whom purpose really means something and who have a consistency in how they think, feel, speak and behave that makes them so convincing. Brands like Lush, Tony’s Chocolonely, Patagonia. I also admire brands that come in, shake up categories and make them exciting again. Mattresses had been marketed in the same way for decades – then along came Eve and Simba with their lifestyle led, direct to consumer approach. Or look at Seedlip, completely tearing up the rules of what a non-alcoholic drink could look like.
What do we all need more of? Focus. We’re all so busy these days. I hear it all the time - ask someone how they are and there’s a high chance they’ll say ‘busy’. And it’s true, we never put down our smartphones, we’re always moving onto the next thing. But it can be really liberating to just stop and focus sometimes, to cut out some of the noise. We’re starting to forget how. Focus is such a powerful thing – for people and for brands.
What's the best thing about your job?
No two days are ever the same and I’m always learning. That’s what I love about agency life – one day I’ll be analysing an emerging category like hard seltzers, another day I’ll be figuring out exactly why it is that people are embracing flexitarianism, and the next it’ll be time to get out the crystal ball as I look into the future of food.
Who has been your biggest influence? It would have to be my first boss – Bob Morrison, co-founder of Elephants Can’t Jump. He has this amazing ability to listen, and I mean really listen, which is actually quite a rare talent. He then always manages to say something insightful and smart that responds directly to what he’s heard, drawing on such a wide frame of reference – not just from brands, but from books, films and everything in between. He has been a big influence in how I approach strategy. And he believed in me right from the start, even before I believed in myself.
How do you think brands need to be behaving in the 2020s? Finding more emotional ways to connect with consumers is key. Consumers don’t just want to buy a product or service, they want to find brands they can identify with, that feel like part of their tribe. Staying ahead will continue to be important, knowing which trends to respond to and when, and finding ways to stand out. And above all, the most successful brands will be those that are single minded about why they exist and why they matter. I guess it comes back to focus again.
What’s your favourite word? Quintessential.
What keeps you inspired? Just living in London is inspiring. If you keep your eyes open there is inspiration everywhere. I love spotting a new brand launch, visiting an exhibition or stumbling across a new pop-up or flagship store. Only the other day I ended up spending half an hour in the new Adidas store on Oxford Street, learning about circular design from their head of sustainability who happened to be on the shop floor. Those that know me would say I’m a country girl (and it’s true, you can’t beat fresh air and open fields to give you perspective), but London is gradually winning me over. It’s an incredible place for the curious.
Kate Sheerin is Associate Director in Dragon Rouge's London office.