10QUESTIONS with Steph Bridgeman
Our 10QUESTIONS feature asks members of the Freshfield community ten questions about their working life. Featuring client partners, colleagues and FF friends, our guests share some personal stories, views and fresh words of wisdom.
Steph Bridgeman is a leading UK media insight, PR measurement and media evaluation professional and the founder of Experienced Media Analysts.
1. How do you like to start your working day?
With a brew and a flick through the social media feeds. I’m trying to wean myself off my social addiction because it’s designed to foment emotion and I should know better – but it’s always good to know what the main topics of the day are.
2. How has the pandemic changed your working life?
We have clients in the healthcare sector, which remained front of the news agenda throughout, whilst others in travel and hospitality faced the challenge of communicating destinations and locations at a time of travel restrictions – it was an interesting time for sure. The period since 2020 has certainly opened my eyes to the power of the media in driving perception and human behaviour.
3. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
‘People buy people not products’ – it’s something my former boss at Metrica, Richard Bagnall, taught me. It’s true of course. While the media intelligence industry has sought to automate and contain associated labour costs over the decades, it’s safe to say the industry wouldn’t be where it is now without humans to sell the value proposition to prospects and explain insights to stakeholders.
4. Where and how do you come up with your best ideas?
When I’m not at my desk – either when walking across the beautiful Pennine Moors of Lancashire with my dogs, or when on the verge of falling asleep. I always keep a pen and notepad in the bedside cabinet.
5. What does leadership mean to you?
It’s about taking responsibility – for yourself and your team. I think it involves a lot of listening and empathy. I see it as a bit of a test of resilience, motivation and troubleshooting.
6. Which current or historical business figure do you most admire and why?
I admire the early pioneers of the co-operative movement – and proud they came from the North West of England. I’ve always thought of our team as a kind of co-operative of experienced media analysts. We are stronger together and can achieve more as a team than we can individually.
7. What is your most trusted source of news?
This is a hard one because my opinion has changed so much in recent years. We used to have influential figures in our news ecosystem holding power to account, producing content of interest and of benefit to the audience. Because the business model of news generation has changed so much in recent decades, with so few of us paying for content, publishers are perhaps more answerable to their advertisers and other stakeholders, than their audience. I feel this has been detrimental to trust in the media.
8. What is your favourite brand and why?
I’m not actually bothered about brands that much. I simply care that organisations treat their staff, suppliers and the environment with kindness and integrity. I’m certainly inspired by those organisations who put purpose at their core, and not just for perception. Recycling Lives in Preston are a perfect example, and have recently been recognised by the B Corp accreditation scheme.
9. What’s the most recent new skill you have learnt?
Hanging upside down – aerial yoga. I started doing this a few years ago, and I amazed myself that I pushed past some mental boundaries to swing and stretch from a piece of fabric suspended from the ceiling. It’s great for the bones, the mind and the mood.
10. We all use them… what management jargon phrase do you use the most?
‘Reaching out.’ The minute I say it I start singing Sweet Caroline in my head – and then lose my train of thought!