Ryan Cooper-Brown is the Senior Global Communications Partner at The LEGO Group where he is responsible for the development of global and local marketing and communications strategies.
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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your background and career?
Well, I’ve spent the past 13 years as a brand and communications specialist. Primarily agency side, which has included Exposure and M&C Saatchi.
I have been fortunate enough in that time to represent a number of iconic brands: Reebok, Levi’s, The London Underground, Coca-Cola and Adidas to name a few.
2) What is your current role and what does it entail on a day to day basis?
Most recently, I was appointed Senior Global Communications Partner at LEGO, where I work across multiple teams to deliver integrated and brand-specific campaigns.
Day to day, this involves planning, planning, planning! Although technology advances people still LOVE a meeting, all the more so in-house at a global brand. So, lots of catch-ups and status updates.
3) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Work with various stakeholders across the business to ensure that we are delivering on strategic and creative work. Everything from working with our external communication and creative agencies to developing new work streams.
As with any global business, working across multiple markets and continents, a lot of adaption is required. Which means there is a lot of oversight and segmentation required to ensure that there is a ‘red thread’ running throughout.
4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?
After years of working in agencies of various sizes yes, things need to get delivered and lack of time (or the feeling of there being a lack of time) is always a factor.
However, it’s important to realise that there are only a certain amount of hours in a day. So its key that you are confident to push back, prioritize and see “drama” or “I NEED IT ASAP” for what it really is/means.
On top of that, I use the Japanese work-slow system Kanban – simple but effective.
5) In between your job, life and all your other responsibilities, how do you ensure you find some sort of balance in your life?
Firstly, I am by no means an expert on work/life balance and how to get there. And in all honestly, I feel the only true solve is loving the work you do! Having said that, this cannot be the case for the majority of the world unfortunately.
For me, I have a word with myself and internally prioritise when and how I invest emotionally. Sometimes at work, I need be really emotionally invested to get things done, other times I pull back to leave space for everything else.
Of course, it’s hard to achieve this every day, but you need make sure that there is enough of you left at the end of the day to embrace the world around you and the people you care for.
6) What does work life balance mean to you?
Not worrying about a response to an email over dinner or over-thinking about a meeting you had earlier that day. It’s important to leave it on the phone or laptop and LIVE, or what’s the point?!
Also, making sure you find the time to do some form of physical activity outside of work, something that stops you from thinking for a while and gets the blood pumping.
7) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?
No matter the job, focus on the outside world! Don’t become siloed. I work in a space where it is expected of me to be up to date with trends, current affairs, legislation, economics and globalisation (things I enjoy engaging with).
Always find a way to bring your outside interests into your work. That is what will set you apart. No idea or suggestion is irrelevant. And i will challenge anyone who says otherwise!
Having a side project helps too. I founded a small non-profit that celebrates people of mixed heritage called @wearemixxedup. We released our first docu-short earlier this year.
Through my interactions with people and cultures from all over the world, not only am I more motivated as a person – I can bring those experiences and stories to my work.
In summary don’t forget to look out and look up.
8) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?
The books I read tend to have more of an apocalyptic feel. In all honesty, I use friends and network. The majority of your friends and those close to you are going through the same things.
I know, “please let’s not talk about work” is often how we kick off Friday beers. But it is really important that you utilise the experiences of others. Through this you can find out a number of different ways to achieve ‘balance’ Whatever that is!
9) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
Get in early! ALWAYS get to work at least 20 minutes before everyone else – I think it’s the most productive time of day. I clear away the backlog and small stuff and get cracking.
10) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
A former boss once told me, always do the most difficult task first, and I lived by that way of working ever since. You know who you are Jay Thompson!
Work should only enhance you, not take away. If that’s happening – it’s time to re-calibrate.
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