Vikki Chowney | H+K Strategies
November 7, 2020

InterviewsVikki Chowney | H+K Strategies

Meet Vikki, she's the Global Head of Content & Publishing at H+K Strategies, and a Londoner in NYC.

Vikki At Work

Personal branding in the professional world is a popular concept these days. Do you have any advice for people on how best to position and define themselves?

Working out what you stand for is a great first step. People gravitate towards genuine passion and excitement for a topic, so if you build a brand around what you truly love – you can’t really go wrong.

Can you tell us one of the challenges of your role and if you have any advice to overcome similar situations?

Like most agency people, I think my biggest challenge is the sheer volume of different projects running at one time. I work with a really broad range of functions, each with very specific skills attached. Personally, I love the diverse nature of that, but it’s a lot like mental gymnastics to flip from social to data, to behavioral science and then back to creative. And that’s not even taking the different sectors and clients into consideration. The real secret to managing this is in your resourcing; if you work with strong leads who know their function inside and out, then working together becomes more like problem-solving the bigger issues rather than getting into the weeds. That, and time blocking, is vital. I use time blocks in my calendar as my to-do list.

What key actions/decisions helped get you to where you are today?

Leaning in to opportunities that felt right for me in the moment, rather than looking too far ahead. I always get asked what my five-year plan is, and the simple answer is that I don’t have one – and never have. I think 1, maybe 2 years ahead max. If you get too caught up in a long term strategy, you overthink decisions. And you never know when one thing might lead to another!

What skills would you say content strategy requires?

How to tell a good story. That’s the real heart of it. Everything else can be learned, but that editorial sense of why someone would care about your content is really the crux of it all.

If you could give startups 3 rules of thumb to use for their campaign planning and execution, what would they be?

Be authentic, be focused, and do it yourself. Nobody knows a business and its origin story like its founders, so in the early days you really don’t need to engage anyone to tell it for you. Being really focused with channels – as in, which place you tell that story – will make any investment of time so much more impactful.

Vikki After Hours

You’re a Londoner in New York City- Can you tell us some of your favourite places in NYC?

I’m really lucky to live within walking distance of Central Park and The Met, which are both two of my favourite places in the city. When I’m looking to chill out I’ll take myself away to Dumbo House, and my go-to eateries are all Italian! Grimaldi’s for pizza, Dante for the perfect negroni, and Bar Primi or Via Carota for a special occasion.

When you’re not leading teams at H+K, what do you love spending your free time on?

Planning things. I am a die-hard planner and my calendar gives some people hives. But I love colour coding and organizing trips & nights out to look forward to. Same for playlists, which I make religiously every month to capture what I’ve been listening to. I also cook a lot, which is really cathartic for me and reminds me a lot of home.

Can you take us through your morning routine? How do you make sure you start off your days and weeks right?

This looks very different to how it used to, but I always try to start the day with exercise of some kind. That used to be a steadfast commitment to the gym, and is starting to again now that they’re opening up in New York, but I also live close to the river so running there is as much a headspace thing as it is physical. Then I’m making coffee, taking my vitamins, and straight into my inbox.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Embrace your mistakes and much as your successes, because every single one will make you stronger.

What are your biggest motivations and inspirations?

I’m always motivated by shared success. When I feel the energy of a group coming together with a shared goal, and it paying off – that’s an incredible thing to be part of.

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