‘Don’t use pictures of bridges to market bridging finance’

By Laura Miller -

Leah Brunskill Market Financial Solutions 2

Before bridging, Devon-girl Leah Brunskill was a marketing executive at CQC, a global defence company providing body armour, among other things. But if she said any more about that she’d have to kill us.

She joins a long and illustrious list of people who, often inexplicably, find they “sort of fell into finance to be honest”.

Her fall came three years ago, when she joined the communications team at an alternative finance provider. “I loved marketing from the start and I was looking to apply across a variety of sectors”, she says. “I was lucky enough to be offered the role at Sancus Finance and that was my first foray into the world of bridging”.

A big gear change took place last September when she took over her current role as marketing manager at ambitious lender Market Financial Solutions. “The people and the pace” says Brunskill when asked what she loves most about her job at MFS: “It has certainly tested how many things I can be doing at the same time.”

Adept at juggling competing interests, as well as having almost a decade in marketing, she is also a qualified careers adviser, and a nutritionist, while embracing a range of healthy living activities that shames those of us unable to drag ourselves from the sofa and Netflix.

“I’m a keen crossfitter,” says Brunskill, referring to the hellish combination of high intensity interval training beloved by the world’s fittest, “and I also love hiking, camping, travelling and generally being out and about.”

While coronavirus has luckily kept the great outdoors open for Brunskill, the pandemic has created challenges for marketers.

“People have all had such different experiences in lockdown,” she says. “Some have enjoyed spending more time with family, and saved money. Others have been hit hard with financial insecurity and struggled to stay positive during the pandemic.

“The question for me becomes, how do you speak to all audiences at the same time without seeming disingenuous?”

Messaging in the time of coronavirus is fraught with pitfalls skilled marketers like Brunskill deftly try to avoid. But even in normal times communications in the bridging sector can go cringingly astray, she says.

Her advice for someone looking to enter the industry today? “Don’t use pictures of bridges to market bridging finance. Or if you’re going to, do it ironically.”

Finance, she points out, “can be slightly dry on the creativity front”, so would-be marketing executives seeking to get a foothold in the sector should show they aren’t afraid of individuality.

“Don’t be scared of showing that you can do something different, or worry if your tone of voice and direction don’t match that of other companies, it doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong,” says Brunskill. “If you have solid reasoning behind a decision – stick with it.”

It is a level of confidence in herself and her ability that is supported by her colleagues at MFS. “I have a great team of people around me, not only the marketing team, but the rest of the business too. That makes all the difference,” she says.

Her other favourite thing about the job? “I also love that Ugly Dumpling is only a seven minute walk from the office,” she says.

Even a cross-fitting nutritionist has her moments of weakness.