The Murmur team is comprised many unique talents. Our differences enrich our work and expand our creative capabilities. In celebration of this, we are delighted to feature Strategy Director, Angela Larisch, as part of an ongoing series of Murmur interviews.
Tell us a little bit about your career up to the present. What drew you into the world of brand strategy?
I have always been fascinated by psychology and communication, however I started my career in more traditional visual art and design. After earning a BFA in Applied Visual Arts from Oregon State University, I began working at agencies in Portland as a graphic designer, art director, and eventually associate creative director. During that stretch of my career, I was exposed to the world of brand strategy through frequent requests to execute or extend strategic direction for many of the leading consumer brands we worked with. With my keen interest in psychology and some great mentors, I was able to begin working directly on the strategies of my clients, and am now excited to work as a dedicated brand strategist.
What aspects of being a strategist do you find the most fulfilling?
I absolutely love learning about a wide variety of industries, brands, and communities. I learn something new on the job almost every day and feel it enriches my life in so many ways. I also enjoy bringing that broad perspective to my work, and find it deeply fulfilling whenever our team has one of those “aha” moments where we unlock the potential of a brand we’re working on.
What about working in brand strategy is frustrating or hard?
Quite a bit of what we do is about articulating ideas clearly and effectively, and sometimes it’s easy to feel limited by the words available in the English language! Even simple words can have such dynamic meanings depending on how they’re used and who’s reading them. Although I enjoy the challenge it creates when naming brands or writing mission statements, it can definitely lead to some feels-like-I’m-banging-my-head-against-a-wall moments.
What advice would you give to young strategists looking to get into the industry?
Active listening is a skill – practice it as much as you can and you’ll be surprised how much you can learn about the people and world around you.
Besides creating amazing work for Murmur clients, how do you spend your free time?
My 8-year-old son Wes is a serious history buff, so we spend our weekends driving all over Oregon to visit historical buildings and sites. I also have a small scent design practice where I design and develop scent prototypes and small-batch fragrances for artistic, environmental, and personal use. These two keep me quite busy, but I enjoy every moment of it!