We’re thrilled to announce that Director of Strategy Meredith Engelen is now a Partner at Superhuman! Her passion, drive and incredibly smart brain enrich the work we do on a daily basis.
CEO Van Horgen is also thrilled, adding these words: “From her very first day, Meredith’s commitment, intelligence and empathy has had a major impact at Superhuman. The decision to offer Meredith a partnership was quite easy. We are fortunate and honored that she accepted.”
Read more for Meredith’s perspective on building an eclectic workforce, humanizing people and transforming the industry.
What’s some advice Partner-Meredith would give to Day-One-Meredith?
Don’t underestimate yourself and don’t buy the Saab.
What’s your daily motivation for working at Superhuman?
Every day when I wake up, I’m genuinely excited to go into the office, with the exception of when there’s an April blizzard or it’s 30 below. Here’s why:
It starts with our people. Everyone at Superhuman is incredibly talented, supportive and an overall joy to work with. But they each bring something extra, too. Designers who write, bake and farm. Writers who draw, DJ and sing. Strategists who paint, run marathons and teach cycling. PMs who do improvisational comedy in their spare time. A CEO who’s a gamer and collector. It’s an eclectic, creatively-driven group unlike any other and that’s what makes them so special.
Second, the work. We love our clients and are fortunate enough to work with passionate leaders and their dedicated teams. They face very complex challenges. Reaching new audiences, generating demand, becoming a thought leader … these aren’t new, but are increasingly complicated when you’re building a brand that caters to decision makers whose needs differ from users. Or we may work with a brand that appeals to multiple industries within specialized categories. It’s messy and our clients aren’t afraid to take challenges on with us.
Third, we’re trying something new. Can we level the playing field, bringing great work to brands of any size? Could agencies and clients be on the same team? Do work and life need to have such a contentious relationship? We’re committed to building an agency that takes care of its people and its clients, enthusiastically and without compromising one for the other.
In summary, I just want to make sure that good feeling of walking into the office in the morning sticks around. Not just for me, but for the entire Superhuman team.
What drives your passion for strategy?
I’m biased, but I believe the strategy discipline is the most challenging and also the most rewarding. Someone once told me that nothing in life worth doing comes without hard work. Strategy is like that. Solving complex problems isn’t for the faint of heart. You have to tie bits and pieces of insight together to build a persuasive argument. It’s tough and requires you to start over and over again. But what I Iike about strategy is that at its core, it brings humanity to a brand’s target audience. It reveals their complexities, their ambitions, their fears and more.
One of the most fascinating projects I’ve worked on included a multimarket research trip where a colleague and I interviewed people in their own homes across the country. We spoke with them about how they spend quality time with loved ones, their favorite childhood memories, and what they looked forward to with their own families today. They came from all walks of life, too. Some lived in the city, others the country. Some were financially comfortable, others struggled to make ends meet. Some were social, others quite shy. But what struck me as remarkable was just how rich and multidimensional their lives were. Their joyfulness had nothing to do with material things and everything to do with the people in their lives.
People are more than the sum of their interactions with a brand or its product. They’re more than demographics. They are people, and they deserve to be known as such by the brands whose businesses depend on them. At the end of the day, I enjoy widening the view.
What about Superhuman’s future gets you most excited?
We work in a fast-paced industry, and I’m excited to work at an agency that’s built to stay one step ahead of it. If there’s one thing I know to be true, it’s that luxurious timelines don’t exist. Instead of trying to make an imperfect process into a perfect one, we recognize that brand challenges come in all shapes and sizes and develop solutions that work for them. We do that by focusing on how to break down barriers between our clients’ brands and customers. We also democratize branding decisions internally, empowering those outside of our clients marketing teams to have an informed say in the direction their brand will go. And finally, we build partnerships with our clients who quite frankly face some of the trickiest branding challenges, ones that very well may transform what it means to be a brand in 2019 and beyond.