Our Head of Brand Partnerships, Adam Walker had the pleasure of chatting with Emily Dunlop, Head of Marketing at Multiplier, about her fascinating journey navigating the hyper-growth environment of brand leadership.

With Multiplier recently earning a coveted spot on Fast Company’s list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2024, this conversation delves into Emily's pivotal role in developing the brand and communications strategy. Exploring topics ranging from the evolving landscape of B2B and B2C marketing to Emily's insights on fostering strong brand-agency relationships.

Join us as we uncover the secrets behind Multiplier's success and Emily's perspective on the ever-changing marketing world.

AW: Could you give us an overview of your role at Multiplier and share a bit about your career background?

ED: I'm Emily, the Head of Marketing at Multiplier, a global employment company based in New York and Singapore. Since April 2022, I've focused on enhancing our brand identity, boosting awareness, and driving demand through strategic communication.

My responsibilities include overseeing content creation, PR, social media, and events to promote our brand effectively. My career journey began in Berlin at a fashion PR agency, and I've since gained experience in London and Manchester, as well as in-house roles in e-commerce, SaaS, luxury, and lifestyle sectors.

I'm passionate about working with companies with a clear vision and thrive on helping ambitious brands and founders define and achieve their goals. This ensures that my role aligns with our collective vision for success.

AW: As the first brand lead after Multiplier’s Series B, could you walk us through your journey since joining? What were the expectations surrounding your role?

ED: Joining a hyper-growth business offers a unique opportunity to not only fulfil a designated role but also to adapt, pivot, and strategically focus on areas that can drive impactful outcomes rapidly.

Initially tasked with spearheading PR and social media efforts, I quickly felt the need for foundational work in areas like positioning, messaging, and branding. This groundwork was essential before crafting a comprehensive global comms strategy. In parallel, I tested other channels such as events to generate immediate impact while laying the groundwork for sustained revenue growth.

The approach was simple. Test, learn, iterate, and build a team of experts to amplify successful initiatives.

One of the most exhilarating aspects of startup life is the absence of bureaucratic layers. Unlike larger corps bound by rigid processes, startups welcome an environment where agility and innovation flourish.

To anyone navigating their career path, I would always advocate that should an opportunity to join a hyper-growth company arise, to grab it with both hands. The rapid learning curve, coupled with the inevitable highs and lows, will bring you profound personal and professional growth, resilience, and a significant sense of contribution.


AW: In developing the brand and communications strategy, what have been the major hurdles you've encountered?

ED: There have been many but all are unsurprising. Time, resources, costs, hiring. Working within a hyper-growth company often feels like the wild, wild west. It’s untamed, unpredictable, but ripe with opportunity. Embracing this chaos, remaining steadfast in our focus, and riding the waves of uncertainty has proven to be an incredible journey.

In this environment, we're constantly building and adapting on the fly, never quite having enough time to achieve perfection. 

For those inclined towards perfectionism, it's essential to learn the art of flexibility, to go with the flow, and to relinquish the need for absolute control. 

Managing not only our own expectations but also those of our teams, broader leadership, and hungry founders eager for results becomes a delicate balancing act. 

AW: A lack of pace is often emphasised in the B2B realm. What are your insights on maintaining pace in this sector?

ED: For me, maintaining momentum boils down to two key principles.

Firstly, to act with urgency has got to be ingrained into the culture and expectation setting from day one. If pace slows, instead of patching surface-level issues, you have to take a step back and objectively assess the factors hindering pace.

At Multiplier, this involves a comprehensive examination of processes, the efficacy of our tech infrastructure, the capabilities of our team members, and optimising workload management.

Sometimes, this evaluation can surface the need for tech upgrades or reallocating resources to focus on high-impact tasks.

Maintaining pace doesn't equate to getting bogged down in exhaustive planning or drowning in presentations. It's about having a clear roadmap, promptly identifying barriers to progress, and addressing them proactively to prevent them from snowballing.

Agility and proactivity are key!

AW: With the lines blurring between B2B and B2C, do you believe marketing efforts should adapt accordingly?

ED: I'm all for the blending of B2B and B2C—it's about time.

Traditionally, B2B was seen as formal, B2C as emotional. But, whether you're selling to a business or a consumer, human psychology stays the same.

This shift has breathed new life into B2B marketing. Now, it's all about making real connections through great stories and content, building communities, and teaming up with genuine and authentic creators to boost engagement and loyalty.

It's a win-win for both sides.

AW: Multiplier recently earned a spot on Fast Company’s list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2024. What significance does this hold for you?

ED:  Being recognised by Fast Company as one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2024 is a huge honour for us at Multiplier. As we mark three years, this accolade signifies a validation of our commitment to innovation.

To stand shoulder-to-shoulder with industry titans like Microsoft and YouTube is incredibly humbling. Fast Company's recognition underscores our relentless pursuit of innovation across product and category levels. It motivates us to continue pushing boundaries and redefining what's possible in our industry.


AW: Are there any brands that you admire for their disruptive approach within their respective industries? Who inspires you?

ED: I'm always inspired by brands that disrupt traditionally mundane industries. Pleo stands out as a personal favorite for its innovative approach to corporate spending, placing people at the center of its strategy.

Despite not being their target audience, Pleo's brand identity resonates deeply with me. Their marketing tactics like events, pop-ups, and digital campaigns, showcase a level of creativity and consumer appeal that's rare in the B2B space. It's a testament to their deep understanding of marketing dynamics, resulting in a corporate spending experience that feels refreshingly cool.

Another brand that impresses me is Apollo. They’ve set a new standard for customer marketing, advocacy, community building, and social engagement. 

In the B2C world, I love brands like Cereal, Monzo, and Duolingo for their ability to challenge norms and redefine the industry landscape.

AW: Not to open your inbox up to numerous agency sales messages but what do you look for when appointing new agencies?

ED: It’s a challenge that there is no straightforward answer to.

I value transparency and assertiveness—partners who aren't afraid to challenge my assumptions and blind spots, and are fully committed to our shared goals, and ready to pivot when necessary.

Clear, open communication is non-negotiable. We need to address any issues upfront, without sugar-coating, to ensure we're always aligned.

I appreciate agencies that bring fresh perspectives and aren't afraid to shake things up. We need collaborators who push back and drive innovation, not just nod along.

Ultimately, I look for agencies that dream big and show how they will execute like crazy together to make the dream a reality.

If you get that right then anything is possible.

AW: With experience on both sides of the industry, what, in your opinion, fosters a successful relationship between agencies and brands?

ED: In my experience, this all boils down to three pillars:

  1. Dialogue
  2. Communication
  3. Expectation setting

From the outset, clarity is the number one area to look at. Define success with laser precision, co-craft the strategic roadmap, and unite behind common goals. This is really challenging to do if you’re time poor but it’s critical.

Then, co-create feedback mechanisms, establish the structure for status updates, and architect reporting frameworks that align both partners.

This isn't just about collaboration, it's about creating a symbiotic relationship where both parties win.

AW: What is your biggest challenge when working with agencies?

ED: Promising the world but failing to deliver. It's disappointing when the vision sold doesn't match the reality, and both sides often share responsibility for that.

Plus, it's essential to recognise early on if the partnership is a good fit. Understanding the working environment upfront is crucial, and if there are any warning signs, it's best to address them head-on.

Transparency is truly key for a successful collaboration.

AW: Finally, if you could change one aspect of your industry, what would it be?

ED: I'm really passionate about seeing a shift where agencies and marketers fully embrace multi-disciplinary expertise. Gone are the days where branding and demand generation operated in silos.

Today, those traditional boundaries are blurring, and it's a positive evolution. Branding and performance metrics are becoming increasingly intertwined, each influencing the other in meaningful ways.

Given the tightening of resources for both brands and agencies, it's crucial to maximise impact and elevate standards. Brands are facing resource constraints, and agencies are feeling the pinch as well.

Let's move away from sporadic marketing efforts and instead focus on courageous, innovative, and purposeful strategies.

If you're preparing to build out your marketing strategy in 2024, make sure you're getting the most out of your resource. GO! offer cost-free advice on best-practise, provide independent agency recommendations, pitch management, and more - get in touch to get started.

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