“Don’t Be Boring”: The Philosophy Behind the Interbrand Trio

Amanda Szylo-Duncan, Dan Steiner, and Rachel Diressen all have one thing in common: The need to be creative. 
With a myriad of experience between them, the trio is making their way through the industry with pride. Each brings something different to the table, where they work together with grace and appreciation for the work that is done. 
Amanda, previously a senior strategist for Landor and Moon Communications Group, has recently been promoted from executive strategy director to managing director of Interbrand. 
Dan, a writer by trade and previously a copywriter for UNiDAYS and content marketing specialist for UMM, has taken up the role of verbal identity director of Interbrand. 
Rachel is the newbie on the scene and started her internship with Interbrand in 2020. From there she was offered a junior designer position. All her hard work and dedication has paid off, with her promotion to midweight designer at Interbrand. 
This intrinsic need to be creative, coupled with the hard work and dedication of this trio, suggests that there are exciting days ahead at Interbrand. LBB’s Casey Martin spoke to the trio about their journey, and what the future holds for the brand consultancy.
LBB> First and foremost, congratulations! What are you most excited to achieve together?
Amanda> Thank you! It is a very exciting time. Two things take the cake right now – getting to work with the immensely talented and genuinely amazing people at Interbrand, and supporting them to take leaps towards their big goals. And continuing to work as an exec leadership team to deepen our partnerships with ambitious clients, both in Australia and globally, as we untangle complex challenges and create real growth through the power of brand thinking.
Dan> I’m a big fan of our team because we make each other better and, as a result, the work comes out better. I’m excited for more of that.
LBB> What do you believe the challenges will be for you stepping into this new role and how will you overcome them?
Amanda> With any role, you’ve got multiple priorities you’re managing – for me, it’s our people, our product and approach, and our client partnerships. Making sure each receives the attention it needs, not only in the moment but with a considered and critical eye on the future, can be make or break. We can’t get stuck in the busyness of now and the cycle of urgent over important.
In saying that, we have an incredible team of directors across all of our disciplines who are building the now and the next with us. And as an exec leadership team, Nathan Birch, CEO Interbrand AUNZ, Alex Creamer, creative director and Ange Pavlak, operations director are each individually amazing at what they do. And as a collective we can apply the right amount of debate and decisiveness. That gives me confidence that no matter what comes, we’re ready.
LBB> Do you have a creative outlook? How does it translate into each of your roles, respectively?
Dan> Probably more my general philosophy than a creative outlook: Don’t be boring. We’re here for a limited time only, so you might as well spend it trying to make people laugh, cry (in a good way), cheer, and reflect when and where you can. Words are one of the most potent ways to elicit all of the above—in your work and in your life.
Focusing on the work itself, it usually pays to look at it through the don’t be boring lens. Is this a forgettable, generic shrug of a thing? If so, figure out why and make it not that.
Rachel> While I’ve always been a creative, I’ve also always been an over-thinker.
They say bring your full self to work, so I quickly learned to channel that into designing with a strategic lens.
Coming to work every day with such incredible strategic minds, Amanda and Dan included, helped me make sure there’s a reason behind the creative decisions I make.
LBB> What has been something you’ve worked on that has stuck with you?
Rachel> I’d love to give specific example of a single project that I can say stood out from the rest, but the truth is what makes our work most memorable to me is the collaboration process.
Whether it’s with the client or internally as a team, it’s usually the excitement of problem solving or the feeling in the room when something feels really different and exciting that sticks with you. That’s when the most memorable work is produced.
Dan> Brand voice. Collaborating with clients to find and shape a voice that befits their brand (sometimes from scratch) is my fave. Just the opportunity to have in-depth convos about the role and value of writing is a pinch me moment for people like me who enjoy reading style guides (I recommend The Economist’s).
LBB> Finally, what does the future look like for Interbrand?
Amanda> We’re constantly pushing ourselves to listen first, be brave, and make it happen. It’s an outlook we apply everyday, and it pushes us forward in every project.
When I consider our agency within Australia and more broadly across our global network, we’ve got the talent, heart, and guts to imagine the next generation of icons with our client partners.

First published via Little Black Book