May Employee Reveal: Natalie Hapgood, Head of Strategy

Who is Natalie Hapgood?

Having grown up all the way in South Africa, Natalie Hapgood, the Head of Strategy at revelation, found herself in New York as a result of her post-university travels. What was Hapgood’s end destination on her adventures? After a few months of traveling, and the courage it takes to move to the U.S. with nothing but a backpack and $500, she began her life in the United States working at a summer camp in Bear Mountain. Even having known nobody in the United States, she told us that she was still confident that it would be “the start of an amazing adventure in my life.”

A Roadmap From South Africa to Hapgood’s New York-Based Career

A large part of Hapgood’s career has been spent in the music industry. At the very root of this industry is the great content that has the ability to resonate with and move an audience, and she admits to loving the industry for this reason. Being able to make purposeful, valuable content across a mix of industries and brands was, and still is, at the core of Hapgood’s interests. In fact, it was her interest in content creation that inspired her to make another important move. This time, however, the move wasn’t across the world. Instead, it was right here in revelation’s Manhattan office, where she would have the opportunity to further advance her career as a strategist and content creator across industries other than the music industry. Eager to diversify the portfolio of industries that she has worked with, and work more closely with the brands themselves, we welcomed Hapgood to the growing revelation team.

When reflecting on this leap, Hapgood exclaimed…

There is a really great team of professionals at revelation, who are passionate and thoughtful about the work they do. Plus, the work itself. Making high quality, meaningful content for brands was really intriguing to me.”

And passion is the foundation that revelation is built on. In addition to pinpointing what consumers are the most passionate about, and how this connects them to us, we also work according to our own interests. At its core, this is content creation- and all facets of it. From the beauty to the gaming industries, to the insights, strategy, production, and publishing stages of content creation (to name a few).

The Importance of Relationship Building and Adaptability in Strategy Formulation

Hapgood spoke to us about the many moving parts that go into building strategy, and what her standard weeks as a strategist for her portfolio of clients are normally composed of. Just a few examples of these moving parts that she recognized was reading, researching, planning, and spotting and stay up to date with industry trends that she can bring to her clients- and a lot of it. Out of all the moving pieces that go into her job, Hapgood told us that her favorite part of it is “being able to touch lots of different industries from beauty to tech, gaming to hospitality.” The portfolio of brands that she has worked and built with at revelation showcases her flexible and wide range of skillsets that she adapts according to the uniqueness of her clients. 

But, at the very core of Hapgood’s specialty is the relationships that she builds with her clients in order to work towards a goal, whether it be long-term or short-term. She told us…

“I love working with clients to solve problems and build strategies to reach their goals.” 

The Rapid Shift in Consumer Behavior Through Hapgood’s Eyes

While a critical part of Hapgood’s job is staying up to date on industry trends, she has been no stranger to assessing exactly how Covid-19 is impacting consumer behavior and buying habits. In fact, when we asked her what current trend she finds to be the most interesting, Hapgood told us it was the shift in the behavior and buying habits of consumers during the pandemic. Interestingly enough, she brought up how unusual it is for such dramatic changes in behavior to happen so quickly. Given the nature of this pandemic, we saw almost every aspect of our daily lives and behaviors change seemingly overnight. According to her…

Usually behavior changes slowly over time, like with adoption to a new technology or using certain apps, but now people have to very quickly adapt their behaviors and all jump on board at once.” 

During these strange times of rapid changes, especially when the emotions and sensitivities are at their peak, brands must pivot themselves in a way that not only allows them to connect and communicate with their audience, but serve them. They must be mindful of these uncertainties and act in a way that is sensitive and relevant to the times. When discussing which brand responses have impressed her the most during the pandemic, Hapgood told us…

Brands that have been authentic and transparent with their messaging and most definitely companies that have put their people first. A number of companies stopped production of their core products to make hand sanitizer or ventilators, companies that did it without the pressure to do so are the companies that impressed me.” 

It is during times like these that your actions are celebrated in finding ways to make a difference. According to Hapgood, a company that chooses to act on and showcase their responsibility, and to go the extra mile in using its resources to make a difference, is admirable.

Hapgood’s Critical Advice For YOU

Interested in becoming a brand strategist? Luckily, Hapgood gave us the most important piece of advice that she would give you. According to her, you must have two things: curiosity and a willingness to learn from a network of people. In many ways, both of these pillars relate to what she has already told us. Curiosity is directly related to what type of strategy you can build to solve the problem you are faced with resolving. A willingness to learn from and converse with a network of people relates to the importance that Hapgood places on relationship building, especially with her clients.

We also asked her what piece of advice she would give a brand in its earliest stages of build their company’s content strategy. According to Hapgood…

Focus on why you started the company. Having a strong set of company values will help define the growth and keep you on course even if it means diversifying your services.” 

What Hapgood Thinks Content Creators Need to Start Thinking More About 

We already spoke about the shift in passionate, authentic and transparent messaging, but let’s switch gears and understand what is and will continue to be on Hapgood’s radar in the future. According to her…

Less is more. It’ll be really important to find ways to engage your audience and keep platform algorithms firing, but with higher quality, meaningful content. And there’s great tech now to make great quality content at home too.” 

While we are often encouraged to keep posting at a certain cadence to stay engrained in the minds of target-market, Hapgood is challenging this idea with the importance of refining and optimizing what you put out there. Rather than prioritizing the quantity of your content, hone in on the nature of it- how it will move or connect you to your audience. This will make all the difference, and should be something that marketers should always be thinking of.

Her Passions Outside of Work

When she isn’t working, Hapgood told us…

“I love being active and being outdoors. I also love culture whether it’s movies, books, live events, and anytime I can learn something new is exciting to me.” 

Some of Hapgood’s Favorites: 

  • Fun fact: “I used to ride a motorbike. I still have my license, but I don’t ride anymore.”
  • Television show: My Brilliant Friend (HBO)
  • Movie: “I love documentaries or movies based on true events.”
  • Area of New York: West village 
  • Type of food: Italian or mexican
  • Places traveled to: “I’ve been to lots of place but would still love to go to Japan and Italy.”
  • Animal: Lion 
  • Season: Summer
  • Music artist or genre: Everything!
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