New Talent: Rachelle DiGregorio
Since joining Big Spaceship as an intern in 2012, Rachelle DiGregorio has gone on to become a lead strategist on one of the most social brands in the world: YouTube. She even played a pivotal role in the agency’s landing of the account. If running all of YouTube’s social channels and working on such projects as YouTube Rewind isn’t quite enough, her Super Bowl strategy for Sonos in 2014 led to them being named the third most engaged brand on social, she runs the Big Spaceship social channels, helps on agency party planning committees, and is an active part of the New York Quantified Self community. Phew. We’re tired out just writing about it. LBB’s Addison Capper caught up with Rachelle to find out more.
LBB> Where did you grow up and what kind of kid were you?
RD> I grew up in Colorado on the edge of the Rockies and lived there until I moved to Oregon for college. As a kid, I was very into reorganizing my room, practicing my times tables, and leading my friends in awesome dance routines. Pretty average childhood.
LBB> You’re a social strategist at Big Spaceship - how did you wind up there? When did you join? Are social and advertising things that you’ve always been interested in?
RD> I’m actually not a ‘social strategist,’ just a strategist who’s primarily worked on social at Big Spaceship! I started as an intern in 2012 helping on everything from Ritz to Fiji Water to Sonos before finding a home on YouTube at the beginning of 2013. Since college I’ve thought advertising would be a fun place to play, and was especially drawn to the process of figuring out what makes people tick. Originally, I wasn’t sure about jumping into the industry when the startup world seemed so exciting, but I was lucky enough to find Big Spaceship, where everything is so rooted in digital and has an incredibly entrepreneurial and nimble spirit. In terms of my interest in social, it’s completely on a personal level. Social has been a huge part of my world since the middle school days, and has totally infiltrated our culture. I enjoy critiquing and perfecting, so I find the challenge of ‘doing it best’ pretty motivating, whether it comes to my personal life or professional projects.
LBB> The agency is older than the iPod and was one of the industry’s first digital agencies. How do you find the culture inside Big Spaceship now?
RD> It’s changed a lot since I’ve been here, but one thing remains true: there’s no ‘Big Spaceship’ way of doing things. And we all respect that. It’s up to the individual to step up and create the type of environment and work they want.
LBB> You work on the YouTube account. How do you find working as a strategist for one of the most social brands in the world? What are the key skills you require and trickiest tasks that come up?
RD> I’m grateful to be working with a brand that has a very clear purpose and authentic story on social. And is so deeply rooted in pop culture. It means we have a lot of room to play and a lot of people who find value in what we do. The key skill for working on the project (that I think all of my team members would agree to) is the ability to adapt. Our social practice has evolved so much to fit the needs of the account. We are always asking: how do we work better? More efficiently? More collaboratively with our clients? I love process optimization! Also, data literacy and analysis is incredibly important when working with a numbers-driven company like YouTube. My trickiest task has been keeping a pulse on emerging trends and behaviors while also working deep in the weeds with a specific campaign or marketing initiative.
LBB> You helped land the YouTube account at Big Spaceship. How were you involved?
RD> I worked in a two person team with Vic (now our VP of Social) in creating a set of Facebook posts that YouTube tested before we were officially hired. Once we started, I was responsible for creating most of the Facebook content as well as the processes for daily content review and approval.
LBB> Which YouTube projects have you most enjoyed and why? What other pieces of work that you’ve been involved in recently have you particularly enjoyed and why?
RD> YouTube Rewind 2014 has been my favorite project to date. Our goal was to trend organically on Twitter during launch day, and we did it! From past Rewind launches, we knew which factors of the video created the most buzz, so we leaned hard into those on social for 2014. It took a ton of strategic focus and work behind the scenes, especially with all of the different YouTube creators. But we met our goals, and made it one of YouTube marketing’s most buzzed-about campaigns. Plus, I got to meet Steve Kardynal on set (of Chatroulette / Call Me Maybe fame), which was pretty life-changing.
LBB> You’re an active member of the New York Quantified Self community. Why is that an important part of your life and how did you initially get involved?
RD> In college I double majored in advertising and math. When senior year (and thesis time) came around, I was trying to find tech and design projects related to math and I magically stumbled upon the QS community. I’m fascinated by the impulse to organize one’s life through data and inspired by the community’s interest in self-knowledge. After graduating and moving to New York, I joined the NYC meet up group and even helped kick off the QSXXNYC group for women.
LBB> What does 2015 hold for you?
RD> 2015 is going to be a big year. I’m working on a new (secret) project at Big Spaceship with a team and client I’m really stoked about. I’m planning to travel a ton (New Orleans, Santa Fe and hopefully Japan), level up my bookworming, and start a rooftop garden.
LBB> What else do you like to get up to outside of your day-to-day job to keep your creative juices flowing?
RD> I love trying out new restaurants, running, going dancing, going to jazz shows, and making fresh pasta. Typical New Yorker stuff.
Genre: Digital , Strategy/Insight