MEET MELISSA HAWKINS

Culture Marketing at Red Bull, London, Age 26.

With three & half years’ experience, Melissa has worked on some of the most renowned branded entertainment events in the industry. I caught up with her to chat through a typical week and find out what life’s like working for a Global brand.

To put it simply, what does your job entail?

I work as a Culture Marketing Specialist, based in London Bridge. To put it simply, I work in music marketing, so day to day I could be doing anything from booking our recording studio for artists who are recording new albums; or project managing a live show or running a club night somewhere across the country.

What did you do prior to working at RB?

I studied Communication & Media at Bournemouth University and graduated in 2013. I deferred my final year in order to have a year’s placement, where I worked in Beauty PR for a year. This is when I realised beauty wasn’t for me! Whilst at uni, I spent a lot of time going to festivals, as well as finding work at events and doing promo work. In my final year, I joined the Red Bull student wings team and realised that this was the industry I wanted to work in. So I was lucky enough to see the graduate job and applied for that.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I wanted to be a journalist; I liked writing and my mum’s job meant she worked with magazines a lot which I found interested. I always enjoyed English as a subject. I also remember at times, wanting to be a fashion designer and a make-up artist! I’ve always known I didn’t want a normal office job.

Tell us about something that you’ve recently been working on.

We have a global recording studio programme and it’ll be my job to schedule sessions, projects and develop the studio strategy for the UK. So that means working with artists who want to come and become part of the RB network- either working on their own projects such as recording their own album, or working on a specific format that we’ve developed.

Tell us more about these artist projects?

As a brand, we’ve developed a strong network within the industry meaning we’ve become a credible player in the music marketing space. Artists regularly approach us in order to help them come up with creative marketing solutions for their own projects which results in us collaborating with multiple artists.  This could be anything from a simple album launch party, for example Julio Bashmore’s album launch last year; to an art project / exhibition like Little Sim’s Debut album launch. We’ll work on the creative concept, the production and oversee the whole event.

 Tell us about your typical day/ week

Busy! We have normal office hours but I tend to have events tied into my job meaning sometimes I’ll work evenings or weekends. This usually happens if it’s for something like the RBMA UK tour. As much as I spend a lot of time in the office, I also have a lot of site visits and meetings externally. This could be to scope out new venues and meeting suppliers, artists, management and so on. I also make a conscious effort to try and go to exhibitions, and also to check out competitor activity; to not only scope out the market but also to gain inspiration for my own event production ideas.

Describe your job in 3 words

Hectic, fun, all-encompassing!

Best thing about your job?

Having the freedom to come up with your project ideas and being given the resources to make them happen.

Can you give us an example of this?

I was able to work with the DJ Monki, in order to plan her UK tour in affiliated venues and support her with marketing and artist bookings. This was a really great project and we worked together closely to ensure she got a tour that she really wanted.

Worst thing about your job?

It has to become your life. It’s a lifestyle and not 9-5 and it’s very much a sink or swim mentality. For the RBMA tour we ran 36 shows, across 4 weekends in 4 cities!  This means you have to be prepared to sacrifice your own social life temporarily but it’s worth it in the end.

Where do you look for inspiration?

Pinterest is a good tool but I like to find time to get out and about and see what other people are doing. Last weekend, we checked out the new club opening Printworks for this very reason. I was interested to see how they’ve turned an old printing factory into the next go-to venue and am already thinking about what we could do here!

What are you most proud of so far in your career?

The Skepta Shutdown show which was pulled off really last minute! This was a pop up activation for Skepta’s ‘Shutdown’ single. We did the whole event completely under the radar and organised it in one week. The show took place in a car park in Shoreditch which he announced across his social platform a few hours prior and over 1,000 people turned up!

What did the police have to be say about that?

They shut it down! Ha…

Amazing… What advice would you give someone who is looking to get into the same line of work as you?

Be prepared to work really hard! Get as much experience as you can in as many different fields in the industry. It’s always useful to have generic knowledge; so knowing who the artist management companies are to also realising what your letting yourself in for! It might sound like a really fun job but you have to be prepared to dedicate your life to it.

Dare I say it, where would you like to see yourself in 10 years?

Owning my own business in a similar field. So for example a consultancy in brand and music activations.

Your ideal alternative career path?

I would love to own my own bakery which would be full of delicious sweet baked goods that I could casually snack on or eat them all!

What brands do you look to for inspiration for your work?

Nike, Converse, Spotify & Apple music

What are you listening to at the moment?

Dave. He’s an 18-year-old from South London, a sort-of rapper but also plays the piano and numerous other instruments. He’s insanely talented and features on one of Drake’s tracks.

If you were given £5,000, how would you spend it?

That’s easy; holidays! I’d like to go travelling to Japan or the Philippines or South America.

Random fact about yourself to finish?

I was in an extra in a British film once (dressed as a Bridesmaid!) it’s called the Look of Love!