In conversation with

Lucinda Toole

Strategist at Sonder & Tell

lucinda_toole

Introduction

Introduction

Lucinda Toole is Sonder & Tell’s new Strategist. And also one of the most recent hires to join our growing team. Not only is she fluent in French, but she has grasped the language of brand strategy and positioning, courtesy of her background working at brand and strategy consultancy, The Value Engineers.

For Lucinda brand strategy is an art. Something that she compares to the act of  “painting with watercolours”. When she’s not leading our clients through a brand positioning, story or tone of voice workshop, you might find her leading a yoga class, a practice that has helped her apply clarity in her life and work: “Leading a yoga class means talking clearly, concisely and with a little magic for up to an hour at a time”.

We spoke to Lucinda about the craft of brand building and what she enjoys most about strategy.

 

Question and Answer

You previously worked at The Value Engineers. What did you learn there?

My time at TVE was all about putting the customer at the heart of brand strategy and getting to distinctive positioning. I got to work with huge international brands as well as small independent ones, workshopping with amazing teams and working closely with them on projects that were fundamental to their future. I learnt about uncovering insights that really matter to brands, and creating brand positioning work that lead to real action. All in all, a brilliant schooling in all things brand strategy.

What are you most excited for at Sonder & Tell?

I’ve been a Sonder & Tell fangirl for years – the words, the brands, the philosophy. It’s exciting to be part of a fast-growing agency that clients love working with. But I’m most excited to be surrounded by people and working on projects that focus on the power of words in brand strategy. Now it’s a question of dusting off my thesaurus and filling my diary with workshop dates!

What do you enjoy most about the strategy process?

I love being a strategist because of the conversations you get to have with brands. You really dig deep into their ‘why’ and create a space where people can explore ideas and thoughts in a way they might not normally. And then the really fun bit is turning it all into a clear and punchy strategy. Turning what can feel like chaos into something that feels right and helps brands take their next step.

Have you read/watched or listened to anything that’s made you think about the craft of strategizing?

I’ve recently got into everything Mark Pollard puts out (with thanks to Vikki Ross who told me about him in a recent training session!). He talks about strategy (which can often feel pretty wanky and empty, if you’ll excuse my French) in a human and meaningful way.

“It really teaches you to be in control of your words and say what you mean. And then there’s all the emotional stuff that a yoga practice teaches you: letting go of perfectionism; pushing yourself beyond obvious answers; being calm in the eye of a storm”

Do you have any non-work related hobbies that help you navigate the world of brand building and the like?

Training to become a yoga teacher taught me so much that I apply to work, life and (occasionally) teaching yoga. Leading a yoga class means talking clearly, concisely and with a little magic for up to an hour at a time. You’ve got to pick up on each individual’s needs without even making eye contact. You’ve got to always be thinking two poses ahead. It really teaches you to be in control of your words and say what you mean. And then there’s all the emotional stuff that a yoga practice teaches you: letting go of perfectionism; pushing yourself beyond obvious answers; being calm in the eye of a storm… A little glimpse into the Lucinda life philosophy.

Every good strategist needs...

To remember who the star of the show is (hint: it’s not you).

Strategy is like...

Painting with watercolours. Trust the process and yourself. Have a plan but be prepared to tear it up. And of course, practice makes perfect.

Lucinda's Storylist

Books

  1. Circe by Madeline Miller
  2. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
  3. Three Women by Lisa Taddeo
  4. Educated by Tara Westover
  5. You’re Not Listening by Kate Murphy

Magazines

  1. The Cut
  2. The Atlantic
  3. Vogue
  4. Reductress

Newsletters

  1. Anna Jones
  2. The Friday Post by Hunter Harris
  3. Three Month Fever
  4. Much to Think About by Thea Bichard
  5. The Good Chat by Gina Martin

Podcasts

  1. Literary Friction with Octavia Bright and Carrie Plitt
  2. Sentimental Garbage with Caroline O’Donoghue
  3. Sweathead with Mark Pollard
  4. Is This Working? with Anna Codrea-Rado and Tiffany Philippou
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