Tanya Joseph masterminded Sport England’s iconic This Girl Can campaign. Now, she has been hired by The Pool to apply the same marketing flair to the startup she believes is on the cusp of becoming a profit-pushing, agenda-setting, online media giant.
The Pool is the brainchild of radio and TV presenter Lauren Laverne and former Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Sam Baker, and was born out of need to better serve women with content they care about.
“We just talked to women: we felt as though that had been forgotten in the traditional media,” Baker told The Drum in March.
And their vision of how media should represent and talk to women “is based on the key insights” that defined This Girl Can in 2015, Joseph said of her surprise move into publishing to become the title's chair.
“One of the things we found doing This Girl Can research is that girls really early on are thinking that you have to choose between being a sporty girl and a girly girl. There is an awful lot of media, whether in print or online, saying to women this is the kind of woman you need to be,” she told The Drum.
“What The Pool is doing is saying again, you can be anyone you want to be, just because you are a feminist doesn't mean you are not going to be interested in beauty, just because you are interested in beauty doesn't mean you aren't going to be interested in politics or current affairs. We are multidimensional and lets have something that treats us like grown-ups who are interested in lots of different things.”
Unsurprisingly, it’s a strategy that appears to be resonating with readers. The two-year-old brand has accumulated over 35 million page views to date, and has close to 1 million monthly unique browsers. It has deals with major brands including Michael Kors, Lacoste, French Connection and American Express.
What Joseph brings is, arguably, the last piece in the puzzle as The Pool sets its sights higher: marketing.
“We are two years old and we need to take that next step, and having a stronger marketing proposition needs to be part of it,” explained Joseph.
“I hope that I can give perspective in this area because of the work I have been involved in and the work I have been doing around empowering women practically and on the social policy side for quite a long time.”
Joseph wouldn’t share specifics of the kind of marketing The Pool will be pursuing, or whether this would include behaviour change campaigns like This Girl Can. She said she simply hopes to be “an advocate for The Pool and what it is trying to do to champion women in multiple fields”, and to convince other brands to align with this mission.
The Pool, she added, is “head and shoulders” above everyone else in having a purpose and delivering on it, something brands are pining for.
“We have this combination of a really great commercial team but also an editorial team that is thinking about how can we make really interesting content which our community wants to engage with and which can be aligned to the values of our brand partners."
In her role Joseph will also spearhead The Pool's events business, where there is "increasing demand from clients for bespoke live moments", added chief commercial officer Jo Morrell.
The foundations have been laid. And Joseph’s remit, to focus on long-term business growth and areas of investment, will form part of the brand’s natural evolution. Because, as she said, there’s no point fixing something that isn’t broken.
“It's about taking what we have got and evolving it. Two years on, what do we do now. The sign of a successful business is not to standstill but think what have we learnt, what do we need to get better. Constantly evolving."