Adrienne Topping, Group Brand & Marketing Communications Manager, Sharp Business Systems UK Plc, picks the tools she uses every day and couldn’t do her job without
1 The team It’s an obvious one, but really everything starts with the team. I’m so proud of them and the journey we’ve been on over the last five years. Sharp has grown significantly through the acquisition of both Midshire and Complete I.T. and has seen the marketing team go from six to twenty members within the space of just two years. This has meant several restructures, and a major review of processes and the way we work. Bringing together all these new skills, experience, and expertise has been exciting and challenging in equal measure, but now we are really seeing the fruits of our labour. We’re in a very positive place, and everyone is keen to grow and learn from each other. Winning OEM Marketing Team of the Year at the PrintIT Awards 2021 really was the icing on the cake for us and was the culmination of a lot of change, growth, and hard work. I couldn’t be happier for every one of them.
2 Asna/Teams We’ve been using Asana since the Midshire days, it’s a really powerful project management tool. We introduced it at Sharp about four years ago now and the wider Complete I.T marketing team uses it as well. It’s now our go to app for communicating and collaborating on our projects and every team member has their own board. We can see progress at a project, person and task level so it gives everyone the visibility they need. We are also using Teams for our virtual meetings and for collaboration which has been a game changer.
3 Laptop/mobile/iWatch It’s crazy how connected we all are these days. Notifications and emails are pinging from the moment you open your eyes in the morning, to late on into the evening. I’d be truly lost without my laptop, mobile and now my iWatch, which keep me up to speed no matter where I am. But the most important thing I’ve learnt over the last 18 months is being able to find a healthy balance. As human beings we need time to unwind, switch off and reflect. We are more effective and make better decisions when we do. I made a commitment to myself over a year ago to take at least an hour every day which is just for me. Whether that’s walking the dogs, a wild swim or yoga, I feel so much better for disconnecting. I also do a ten minute meditation every morning using the Calm app on my mobile. This really helps set me up for the day ahead. Technology is amazing, but it can also be overwhelming, so you’ve got to find ways to use it to your advantage.
4 Adobe Creative Cloud I’ve been using the Adobe Creative Suite since I started my career as a graphic designer aged 19, and over the years I’ve really enjoyed sharing these skills and knowledge with my teams. We work with a select few external agencies when we need specialist services, but as a marketing team we pride ourselves on being very self-sufficient, hands on and highly skilled. The Adobe Creative Cloud software is used by me and the rest of the team daily, whether designing documents or digital assets, editing photos and video, or creating illustrations and branding – we certainly couldn’t do our jobs without it. The software has evolved so much over the years and despite other platforms like Canva it’s still the industry leader – at least in my book.
5 Act-On We’ve been using the marketing automation platform Act-On for about two years now and it’s completely revolutionised our digital and customer communications. The team uses it to build everything from basic internal, external and partner newsletters, emails, and landing pages, right up to very complex integrated campaigns and automations. During lockdown we also launched webinars through the platform as a way of helping customers through their technology and IT challenges brought on by the pandemic and shift to home working. Most importantly the results we’ve achieved since changing platforms has been very positive and we are constantly looking for ways to improve. The team at Act-On have been fantastic too, they’re very knowledgeable and supportive in helping us achieve our goals.