Saturday, March 2, 2024

Unleashing Creativity: Insights from Anastasiia Neronova, Creative Director of ADME

Unleashing Creativity: Insights from Anastasiia Neronova, Creative Director of ADME
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Our guest is Anastasiia Neronova, the Creative Director of ADME, a digital marketing agency based in New York. Anastasiia Neronova moved to America from Ukraine in 2015 but obtained her prestigious master’s degree in International Business in France.

We will mention only a small part of the extensive list of brands and companies that Anastasiia Neronova has worked with:

  • Urbani Truffles — a global leader in the truffle market;
  • Luigi Bormioli — respected glass manufacturer, creator of the Chanel No. 5 perfume bottle, and leading global supplier of tableware and glassware;
  • Liberty Mutual — the sixth-largest property and casualty insurance company in the United States;
  • de Buyer —a French cookware manufacturer founded in 1830.

Notable mentions also go to respected brands such as Parmigiano Reggiano USA, Mionetto Prosecco USA, Longchamp, Empire State Building, Pandora, and NuFACE. 

Let’s get to know Anastasiia Neronova better. Where this remarkable young woman and extraordinary professional finds ideas, how she spends her work and leisure time, and how she manages a large team of creative individuals while maintaining her passion for the craft.

Being a leader in creativity is challenging these days. How do you manage to succeed?

All of us are bombarded with an overload of information every day, and while being distracted by the news and social media, it is also possible to start thinking that everything has already been created, leaving no room for new and influential ideas. However, creating is truly an art form, and in order to continue generating fresh ideas and innovative campaigns, inspiration is essential.

I personally find it really useful to interact with people of different backgrounds. Each person brings a unique set of experiences and views, offering fresh insights and sparking creative connections in your mind. By actively seeking out diversity in your interactions, you open yourself up to a world of ideas and inspiration. It is important not to confine ourselves within the boundaries of our social bubbles.

I also find nature to be a great source of inspiration. While it may sound basic, it undeniably enhances creative potential. Plus, living in a bustling city like New York can add up to stress level, which is also harmful if you need to think creatively and efficiently. So going away for the weekend now and then is a must for me.

Switching the usual routine also helps. Novel experiences challenge your brain to form new associations and connections, leading to fresh perspectives and innovative ideas. For example, I have just signed up for an archery class, which is something I’ve personally never been interested in, but I’m all in for embracing the unknown skill. Creativity knows no bounds when we step outside our comfort zones.

Being creative means constantly investing countless hours into creative work and generating numerous unique ideas. Could you tell me more about your brightest ideas and how you discover them?

As a Creative Director, I always encourage my team to stay curious to source ideas from diverse channels: brainstorming sessions, trend analysis, cultural shifts, and even coffee dates with friends. I also believe in cross-functional collaboration. Our creative team works closely with other departments to ensure that our ideas are rooted in consumer insights and align with the overall marketing objectives of a client.

Measuring the success of a creative campaign isn’t easy. It involves a combination of quantitative and qualitative metrics. But one of my favorite metrics is longevity. Most of our agency clients stay with us for years, and it is crucial to maintain a certain level of creativity and efficiency throughout the years. 

One of my favorite clients, Urbani Truffles USA, is a world leader in the truffle industry with more than 170 years of history behind the brand. It is difficult to navigate the fast-paced digital world when you are such a giant. And the digital world is dynamic and ever-evolving. So for me, being able to create strategies that include campaigns that resonate with customers and keep them engaged throughout all those years is definitely a result. It’s a testament to the dedication and collaborative efforts of my team.

Tell us about the team you lead.

I lead a team of eleven amazing and extremely talented people, graphic designers, marketers, social media strategists, photographers. Finding the right person to add to our team isn’t easy. It is a combination of a rigorous selection process and trusting my instincts. I prioritize both skills and passion for the craft. 

Creative people have a different way of seeing the world, people that are ready to experiment, contribute, share, and explore. Mistakes happened, as I’ve been taught to treat everyone the same. But it’s crazy when you think about it. Equal treatment, regardless of performance, character, or contributions, can lead to mediocrity. It is necessary to recognize and reward exceptional performance to foster a culture of excellence without additional pressure. Everyone is different, and I try to respect that.

Tell us more about your work using a brand as an example. How did you start, what was your role exactly?

There’s one incredible journey we embarked on to introduce this high-quality Italian glassware brand, Luigi Bormioli,  to the US market. Founded in 1946, this company had remarkable craftsmanship but lacked brand recognition in the USA. My mission was to change that.

We developed a comprehensive branding and marketing strategy that seamlessly blended tradition and modernity. I wanted to showcase the elegance and artistry of the glassware while capturing the attention of the American audience. My job was to align our creative approach with the desires of a customer, craft a compelling brand story that highlighted the rich heritage and exceptional quality of the products, and develop a robust social media presence. Our efforts paid off. This is one of our dearest clients now. Our strategic approach successfully positioned the Italian glassware brand as a symbol of refined elegance in the US market.

You create creative for a variety of brands. You must be broad-minded. Are you in constant development?

My main goal is to stay up-to-date with industry knowledge and practices, as well as technology (generative AI, for example). Some consider AI to be a disruptive technology. It has garnered widespread attention and is already transforming the way businesses and marketers approach marketing. But while AI can mimic human intelligence, human creativity isn’t as easy, so I’m learning to use it to our advantage, as a tool. Right now, I’m exploring ways for AI to help streamline video marketing campaigns at the agency.

How does your day usually go? How much time do you devote only to yourself?

A day in my life is a dynamic mix of professional, physical, and mental efforts. Over the years, I’ve found a personal balance that keeps me at my best. I kickstart my day with a cup of coffee. As part of my morning routine, I go for a run to get my blood flowing and clear my mind. While getting ready, I multitask by checking my morning emails, scrolling through social media, and catching up on the latest news. 

Once the workday begins, I usually start with a friendly chat with the team via Zoom. There are also meetings and collaborative sessions with team members throughout the day to discuss ongoing projects or pitches we’re working on. I review progress, brainstorm ideas, and ensure that our work aligns with the goals we’ve set. If there’s a photo or video shoot scheduled, you’ll find me on set, as that’s one of my favorite aspects of the job.

Between meetings and creative sessions, I do find pockets of time for reflection and idea generation. This could be scribbling down concepts, sketching rough outlines, or simply taking a short walk to clear my mind and recharge my creativity.

What keeps you from emotional burnout? How do you keep the team motivated?

There’s one simple rule to follow that everyone knows: establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Unfortunately, that never works for me, as I’m constantly involved in work. However, I do have certain rules in place, for example silencing my inner perfectionists (at least sometimes) and realistically evaluating how much work I can do in a single day or week (and trying not to do more even if I think I can).

Also, organization is critical. The less mental energy I spend on menial tasks (like file and email sorting), the more can be put into creating, developing, and dreaming up new ideas. 

And within the team, my number one goal was to create a safe space where everyone felt comfortable sharing their thoughts and perspectives. I also encourage creatives to take ownership of their work, explore creative solutions, and make decisions. To take calculated risks and learn from both huge successes and minor failures.

Three rules for success. What are these, in your opinion?

Make sure you love it: Passion is a driving force for success. If I don’t love what I’m working on, my work is not going to be topnotch, so I’d rather skip on the project or a client than do it with zero passion.

The art of delegating: Whether it’s personal or work-related, I keep building on my strengths and hiring on my weaknesses. 

Give and receive: I care about people’s journeys and growth, and it’s equally important to surround yourself with individuals who are givers as well. Your positive energies and willingness combined will elevate a business to new heights.

Do you read books?

In our fast-moving industry, most marketing/businessrelated books will be nothing more than a relic within a year or two of their release. But there are a few cornerstones of my philosophy in creative direction: “Aesthetic Intelligence” by Pauline Brown, “Selling the Invisible” by Harry Beckwith, “The Brand Flip” by Marty Neumeier. As for leisure reading, I appreciate the masterful storytelling of Stephen King. You can’t name a single one of his novels that I haven’t read.

Your main advice to young people who choose creativity as a profession and lifestyle.

Take time to improve on your skills and what you can offer to the world, as it will be one of the most profitable decisions you’ll ever make. Keep investing in yourself, and remember that time is the most precious investment.

Photo: Gari Markarian
MUA: Viktoriia Osychenko

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