By Rachel Vardon, EMEA Lead, Wanderlab @ Tripadvisor
How my day starts…
Articulating a day in the life at Wanderlab is tricky because, while it’s an overused phrase, no two days are ever the same. One thing is ALWAYS the same; how my day starts. Now I’d love to say I kick off with a yoga sequence and a cup of green tea but that certainly would not be true.
My day normally starts at some ungodly hour before 6AM, either by one of my two children (Noa, 6 and Rafi, 3) running in to tell my husband (Alex) and I about some sort of bodily function or a new exciting fact about plants, swiftly followed by getting winded by my dog, Peggy, excitedly jumping on my chest with conviction. After Alex and I engage in our daily game of who can pretend they’re sleeping for the longest, he normally gets up to make coffee and the day begins.
What we do
Wanderlab is Tripadvisor’s in-house creative and content studio. We create award-winning, innovative marketing strategies and campaigns for clients across the globe. As Wanderlab Lead in EMEA, I manage a team of absolute legends. Our strategists create 360-degree marketing strategies and proposals powered by a wealth of data and insight. Our producers and creatives make the magic come to life by activating these strategies both on and off Tripadvisor. We work with an amazing array of clients both non-travel (think finance, auto, CPG, retail etc) and travel (tourism organizations, hotels and online travel agencies, transport etc).
Wanderlab meets in our London Soho office one or two days a week and my schedule tends to be jam-packed with meetings; clients, agencies, industry and internal. As a busy creative shop, prioritization is key, so I meet with my leadership team to talk through our briefs and campaigns, what our deliverables are for the week, key call outs and any roadblocks that we need to address.
As we build our strategies in response to clients’ objectives, we start by taking a deep dive into the brief to identify what success looks like. We then brief our Research & Insights team that uses our treasure trove of first-party data, sentiment analysis and other relevant sources to create a tailored research strategy which acts as the foundation of the story we build to resonate with in-market experience seekers. As they say, it takes a village: we then work with stakeholders across the entire business to build our proposals; creative services, producers, product, planning, brand, PR and media strategy, to name a few. It’s not abnormal to work with 20 different teams to build out our strategies. We are a meticulous bunch and work tirelessly to ensure our proposals delight clients and explorers alike. When we’ve nailed the concept, then comes the tactics— how do we bring this strategy to life through new and innovative ways? Like creating our first streaming episodes for Turkey & Abu Dhabi, the world’s first voice experience on Alexa, street art with AR filters for San Diego or creating Pupadvisor for Hilton. All leading up to the pitch, the short window to articulate these strategies to clients and agencies, the part that thrills and terrifies us as strategists in equal measures.
Our producers are involved at pitch stage, especially as conversations progress. We’ve worked hard to create a well oiled machine that is seamless for clients, so that when we win a pitch, our internal campaign kick off has happened, again pulling in an incredible amount of talent across Wanderlab. When we win a pitch, the lead producer books a campaign kickoff meeting with the client to talk through the KPIs, how each element of the campaign comes to life and the all important timelines. Watching our producers bring our big ideas to life is nothing short of extraordinary.
As a global team with strategists and producers all over the world, we’re a close knit bunch all focused on driving innovation and delivering creative excellence. We regularly meet for innovation/trend brainstorms which lead to cross-region workforces building out strategies around key innovations and trends. It’s amazing to see where some of our “world’s firsts” have been born. Innovation is an always-on part of our job and it comes from many places. Each global team member is an SME for a topic or product and we encourage the team to get out to as many industry events as possible.
Throw in multiple client lunches per week, the reality that rather a lot of our in-office days end in the pub and you’ll see why it’s my husband who makes the coffee in the morning. Jokes aside, working at Wanderlab is a privilege. We get to produce award-winning work for clients, whilst having fun along the way. Now where did I leave that yoga mat?