Inspirational Woman: Carla Raven, Social Strategy Director at SHARE Creative

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I’m the strategy director at marketing transformation company SHARE Creative, which harnesses data and technology to create best in class strategies and campaigns for its clients. I head up the strategy team which is the umbrella for all paid strategy, analytics, insights and data science disciplines. In a nutshell, in my role, I, along with my team, bring together fragmented data sources to help brands use data to inform the bigger brand objectives and solve business challenges (whether this be audience segmentation, market sizing, etc). I work very closely with the creative strategy director to help inform and deliver the creative campaigns and strategies.

My background is Psychology, statistics and analytics and I call upon these skills within my current role.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I was always fascinated in human behaviour and it is still my biggest passion point today.  I actually started out working on research projects within public health and then migrated over to the marketing industry. I truly believe that Psychology, data and research is the gateway into marketing and believe that the principles of this, when applied correctly, are what create truly ground-breaking work

Have you faced any challenges along the way? How did you deal with them?

Yes, my biggest challenge was moving = into marketing after six years of working in public health. I felt like I had to prove myself and learn a whole new industry, but once I had entered the marketing industry, I knew it was the right thing to do!

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you ever had a mentor or do you mentor anyone?

Yes, I have a mentor currently and I would always be open to mentoring others. I think it’s really beneficial. –  A mentor provides guidance and gives you a sense of reassurance whilst also challenging you when you need it.

If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?

 

It would be to make sure that all women feel totally supported juggling home and work life. This can happen in a number of ways from introducing flexible hours, work from home days and staggered return to work after having a baby. If a standard is set from the top down, then this is hugely helpful in distributing cultural expectations of what is and is not acceptable company wide. It is one of the most difficult things to juggle work and have a family for both women and men, so any workplaces that adopt a flexible, supportive and “no judgement” policy is a winner in my book! As a mother myself, it’s a topic that’s very close to my heart.

How would you encourage young girls or women into a career in STEM?

I think it’s important for women in STEM to attend talks, take part in discussions, provide advice in publications and generally make themselves available to the next generation of talent to raise awareness for the types of opportunities in the field. A key part of what I want to do is to break down the barriers females feel they face when entering into more traditional male roles.

More and more women are entering studies and careers in analytics, tech, data and mathematics, and this is no surprise to me. When I was studying at university 80 per cent of my classmates were female which was interesting considering a third of the degree concentrated on research and statistics – modules that are culturally often associated with men.

I believe that the appetite is there, it just needs to be nurtured through increased awareness of opportunities, empowerment and confidence.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Developing and working on SHARE Creative’s RAPID proposition. This is an audience demographic product that goes beyond audience demographics using psychographics in order to further understand how to effectively target each audience set. We use region, attitudes, personality, interests and demographics to fully understand each audience segment, how they live their life, and what they respond to. Brands use these insights to engage with consumers in a meaningful way. We took this product to market earlier this year and have already implemented it fully with one brand, which helped them shift their market position.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

I would love to design and release more products to take to market. At SHARE Creative, we have just finished putting together a market sizing product and I am now looking into what our next product can be based on market needs!

I really believe that measurement and analytics will become a focus point next year too. I would like to nail how we measure dark social and allow our agency to adopt an “everyone is an analyst” approach through one, centralised command centre. I also believe that there is a lot that can be done around forecasting trends and want to work on helping brands to mitigate risk better through effective use of statistics and data.

If you cannot already tell, I am very passionate about using data to help brands solve business problems. I believe that there is a huge appetite and need for this, so my main focus now and into the future will be not only using data, but taking how we use it to the next level in order to continue to help brands realise their potential!

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