Creative Talk - With Olivia Davison, UK Account Director
Olivia Davison is a Kiwi living in London. She made her career move to London via New York. Olivia is a senior level Account Director working with Born Social in London. We find out just why she is so good.
Tell us a little about you – who are you?
Hellooo, my name is Liv and I’m a 28 year old young professional from New Zealand working in the social media marketing industry. I’ve been living the agency life for about 7/8 years now, hopping from New York to London and having a ball.
In my free time you’ll usually find me travelling, reading or eating out with friends. Any reccs you need, I’m your gal (@oliviajdavison on IG).
You moved from NZ to New York early in your career – brave move – how did this come about?
My first job in Auckland sent me to an amazing convention called Semi-Permanent (highly recommend attending) and I was just blown away by the talent speaking throughout the day — the common thread being that the majority of them were from these amazing companies, agencies & brands based in New York. From then on, I became obsessed with moving there and getting involved in the industry alongside the best of the best!
It was an obvious dream - “small town girl moving to the glamorous big city” and I was lucky enough to achieve it since I was newly graduated, so I could get my hands on a 1-year graduate visa called a J1. I ended up staying there for 4 years and had the time of my life! A scary decision for a 21 year old but definitely no regrets on taking that leap.
Was the agency in New York everything you expected?
I got a job about 1 month after arriving in NYC, at a small start-up digital agency called Experience-Interaction. I was young, naive and didn’t really know anyone in the industry or have much experience with it, so I don’t think I had many expectations. I just wanted to work hard, see success, and do cool shit, which this role definitely allowed me to do.
I started as a Social Media Manager, in a department of 1, working across a portfolio of different spirits brands — doing everything from copywriting, to reporting, to paid media, to community management, to live events, to art direction, to creative concepting... your typical first role where you dabbled in it all! Over the next 2 years, I worked my way up to a Senior Social Media Manager which allowed me to hire some more people for the Social department and have more involvement in broader company decisions & pitch work too, which was awesome.
Overall, I absolutely loved this job and the people I worked with were incredible mentors to me. I was so, so lucky. Not to mention I got opportunities to travel to LA, San Diego, Nashville, Miami, I went to incredible events like ComplexCon, Comic Con, Art Basel and worked alongside amazing people both across agency-side, client-side & talent-side.
You then made the move to the UK / London in the middle of Covid – clearly you like a challenge?
I think you mean, clearly you are DERANGED! It was a horribly stressful time, I think I landed in London about 3 days before the first lockdown with no job and no apartment, but thank goodness it all worked out. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best decision, but I was smart enough to start interviews before I left NYC and lucky enough to be working in an industry that didn’t stop in the face of Covid.
I do like a challenge and I do like change, it’s been 3 years in London now so who knows where I might hop to next..
You have been with Born Social since 2020 – and continue to grow your career from strength to strength – where to from here?
With my role as Senior Account Director at Born Social, I’ve been able to focus in on a lot of different areas that I needed upskilling in, which has really rounded me out. I’ve found passion points specifically in people management & culture, so my ideal next role would probably be a mixture of those two things.
What are the main differences in working style between NZ and New York, and New York and London?
I think agency-life is pretty similar no matter where you are, like-minded people coming together to work hard and be social. The grind in New York particularly was very real but I will say that London has a bit more respect for working hours, very much “5pm time for the pub” vibes.
I think the culture between New Zealand & London is a lot more transferrable than between New Zealand & New York, so naturally felt a bit easier to integrate here than there.
I’m so happy I made the decision to move away and get involved in the industry in some of the biggest cities in the world — I’ve experienced such amazing diversity and worked with some incredible Global brands, all of which I don’t think I would’ve been able to do as easily back home.
Do you have a particular career highlight/s to date?
I have been lucky enough to do some really cool things in my career so far, top 3 moments would have to be:
1) Working with Guinness, travelling around Ireland for a couple of days filming Lewis Capaldi & Niall Horan
2) Working with 1800 Tequila, on the social content to launch their 1800 Seconds platform, with Pusha-T as the curator (which we then replicated with Future as the curator the following year)
3) Working with Old Camp Whiskey, capturing backstage content at a Florida Georgia Line concert - highlight being pulled into their pre-show prayer (and whiskey shot) circle
How do you see the future of social / tech in the working world?
Social media is definitely the future of marketing and post-Covid I feel like a lot of businesses and brands have realised that. Budgets that previously used to go into big TV creative ads are starting to shift over to social, which is huge.
Technology is also developing at an insane rate, so tech like AI & AR is going to have a huge influence over what the next 5 years looks like when it comes to marketing, social marketing in particular. It’s a great time to get involved, plenty of job opportunities for sure.
Are social agencies overtaking mainstream agencies? Why do clients gravitate to Born Social?
I think specialist, forward-thinking agencies are potentially on their way to overtaking mainstream agencies! I work with lots of different agencies and when you have a specific specialty you hone in on, the expertise and focus really shines through in a way that clients value.
At Born, we pride ourselves on being on-the-pulse of social media. As an ever evolving and fast-paced space where it’s easy for brands or businesses to make a misstep, we’re a company that clients trust due to our social-first strategies and expertise.
2023 will be….
A year of growth & change! And my first full year in London without Covid (fingers crossed) — let’s party.