Levergy Managing Director Melissa Daniels has more than 15 years of experience in marketing and communications. In her newly appointed role at the marketing agency that specializes in sports and entertainment, Daniels is tasked with entrenching Levergy’s reputation as South Africa’s leading passion marketing agency.
As a leader in a predominantly male-led industry such as sports sponsorships, Daniels has overcome challenges and worked hard to find and use her voice. Her voice, confidence and knowledge have helped her overcome the biggest challenge in her career.
We caught up with Daniels to get her thoughts on the future of the communications industry.
What book, podcast or other media do you recommend to other comms pros?
The podcast explores how people think differently and he shares great leadership, life and behavioral lessons through his interviews. I think it’s important for any professional in communication or any other industry to hear different points of view, and understand how humans behave and think.
I also love The Jordan Harbinger Show – again really interesting interviews with practical nuggets for work, life and more. Plus some great participants who talk about real-world topics and content if you’re curious about what’s going on in the world.
What’s your favorite tool you use regularly for work?
Apart from coffee. I’m currently using Chat GPT to help refine research, and communication and to learn new topics faster. I think it’s a great tool that can assist anyone in their career. I do love my notes app on my phone and laptop. It always allows me to jot down quick thoughts; capture images or articles I’d like to revisit.
What excites you most about the future of communications?
What’s most exciting about the future of passion marketing/communications is the new nuances we’re identifying in people’s passions. They’re no longer linear or as generic as previously thought and I believe it gives brands a good opportunity to engage with customers across multiple passion points.
This coupled with the fact that customers are becoming more astute towards communication and advertising means the traditional rules are not always applicable. We’re constantly having to challenge ourselves to create messaging; experiences and engagements that don’t only delight customers but also ensure it breaks through the many advertising messages out there.
What communications challenge keeps you up at night?
In the passion marketing space, we’re constantly putting ourselves in the shoes of the fans and customers. This means being always on in terms of our immersion into their passions, how they experience them and how they will respond to brands who enter these spaces.
What they care about keeps us up at night, and in line with that, how can we effectively yet authentically integrate our brands into customer’s passions.
Marketing is becoming increasingly complex, with marketers and advertisers having to deal with so many factors. So we’re always trying to balance our passion marketing approach to ensure it addresses a few factors that will add value for our client partners.
From balancing brand and business objectives to dealing with multiple niche audiences and a myriad of new technologies and touchpoints. Ultimately creating work that works, work that breaks through and tries to deal with these many factors is what else keeps me up at night.
What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
The best advice I’ve ever gotten is to “lean in”. Lean into challenges, and try to learn through them. Lean into the team members around you – our successes or failures are shared, and you can’t be an expert in everything. And lean into who you are, because you can only operate at your best when you are yourself.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career?
Like most women, getting a seat at the table has been challenging, but finding my own voice and being comfortable enough to express it has been even harder. Women are still faced with spoken and unspoken challenges, perceptions and pressures our male counterparts don’t always experience and I’ve had to work on navigating and managing my own experience and perceptions to work through this. Being authentic to who you are, also means confronting your weaknesses and not just strengths – and this isn’t as easy as the Instagram inspiration posts will have us believe. For me, it’s important to understand and recognize what I bring to the table, be comfortable with my strengths and know what gaps I need to work on.
Often asking myself how I can leave whichever room or environment I’m in better than before. Better for the people I’ve engaged with, the women I work alongside, and those still to come.
Isis Simpson-Mersha is a conference producer/ reporter for Ragan. Follow her on LinkedIn.