24 Hours With… Nicola Gold, director and creative lead, Total Brand Activation

Nicola Gold - Brand Activations24 Hours With… spotlights the working day of some of the most interesting people in Mumbrella’s world. Today we speak with Nicola Gold, business director and creative lead of Total Brand Activation.

MORNING: Up at 6:30am I write down my idea for a new project before it evaporates. It’s for a vehicle launch: the ground rumbles and an off-road vehicle literally blasts forth out of the cracked, red earth of the outback in front of the guests. Now, how to make that happen…

I do a 15 minute lead meditation using an app called Headspace, there are a few words from Tim, who leads the meditation, then there is timed quiet. It does strike me that it is a bit ridiculous – basically paying for silence.

7:00am: Wake up two grumpy teenagers for school but thank goodness I have them or I wouldn’t have a clue who PewDiePie is (a Swedish YouTube gamer with 40 million followers, for those who don’t know). Very handy to have that demographic on tap for research, if needed.

8:00am: I sit at my computer and scan blogs and newsfeeds for something to catch my eye. I read about cult Japanese homewares giant,  MUJI producing architect-designed prefab micro-homes – how innovative is that for a homewares brand!

10.00am: Coffee at (so hipster it hurts) Brickfields Café in Chippendale to meet a graffiti artist and production house about an art video installation planned near Barangaroo. On the way to the office I notice a colour combination of a building, on the radio I hear a song phrase that sticks in my head… all become creative triggers and are mentally filed.

1:00pm: I am due to dial-in for a conference call with our Singapore office about a consumer activation for our client, an international ice cream company, set to take place during the iLight Festival – Singapore’s version of Vivid. Chatting with the team makes me miss living there. I loved the diverse villages, many cultures and rituals, but I don’t miss the humidity – every day was a bad hair day. Before I know it I’m slipping back into speaking Singlish.

3:00pm: Time to put today’s meetings and notes into context and on record. Ideas are fleshed out and expanded upon and fine-tuning for a pre-event bump-in is run through in detail. It’s going to be a long night. With that in mind, I…

6:00pm: …leave work a bit earlier than usual to make sure I get to the gym. I need to expend some physical energy to put me in a fresh head space and vent the stress of the day.

9:00pm: Bump-in is to prepare for a corporate event for an international brokerage and investment firm which will be transmitted live, globally. It’s an all-night job so we’re taking it in shifts to lessen the load. I’m on late shift – 1:00am to 7:30am – so I commit to catching some zzzz before…

12:00am: …I haul myself out of bed, thinking, ‘Kill me now’. It’s so hard to disrupt your sleep like this.

1:00am: I arrive at the venue – the ballroom of an inner city hotel – and all is well apart from last-minute changes to speaker slides and a few official guest titles, which need to be implemented across much of the on-screen content. Luckily, I remember how to get on the tools in an emergency, like riding a bike – you never forget. Only you do it half-asleep.

3:00am: Bump-in continues all night and I try and keep myself as busy as possible so I don’t fall back into sleepiness; I check all the elements are bumped in as per the plans and that all on-screen content is as it should be. I even gaffer the cables to the carpet to help out and keep myself awake.

6:00am: There is a tense moment when we check the video hook-up for the US speakers via the client’s technical centre in India. Not having total control of the show makes everyone nervous. It’s taking too long – breaths are held… then, we have connection – Delhi – New York – Sydney – all of us online.

7:00am: The client arrives on site and we are all smiles and super calm. On the outside. Client happy = everyone happy.

7:30am: The first guests are arriving and it’s time for me to leave. I am so tired I can’t blink. I grab a cab and head home. It’s difficult to wind down but a shower helps, and I fall into bed. It isn’t an easy job but I couldn’t do it if I didn’t love it. The actual event will be in full swing now, but for me – it’s a wrap.


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