Brand Discovery 2023 Speaker Profile: Chryssa Rich

Date Posted: Mar 13, 2023
Tracy Lay

One of the best things about putting on events is getting to meet the fantastic speakers we bring in! I had the opportunity to chat with Chryssa Rich, Director of Marketing at Primary Health, who'll be giving you insights into high-level brand strategy at Brand Discovery 2023. In the meantime, read on to find out:

  • Why she went into marketing in the first place
  • What happened when she said NO WAY to her CEO
  • When she had to stop marketing because it was working too well
  • Why confidence is your biggest asset
  • And the most perfect tip ever for overcoming impostor syndrome

Interview with Chryssa Rich

So Chryssa, how did you get into marketing?

I actually started college as a music education major. <Laugh> I did not like it, so I thought, what do I like the most about my retail jobs? Because I loved working in retail, and it was anytime we got a special promotion or a special event. I grabbed the catalog of degrees available from Boise State (that's back when it was the book!) I found one called Advertising Design, and I thought, oh my gosh, that sounds perfect.

I went in and they said, well, we don't offer that anymore, but we offer graphic design. So I went the graphic design route, and absolutely loved it. I took some time after graduation to work and travel, and then ended up going to graduate school at UT Austin in Texas and getting my Master's in advertising from the Texas Creative Program and have just been working and growing my career ever since. And I love it. It is very hands-on and I'm still in a very hands-on role because that's what I like about it.

Let’s talk a little more about your career trajectory, what’s that been like?

When I started out as a graphic designer, I liked what I did, but I pretty quickly realized that I was just being asked to put the finishing touches on an idea, right? It was my job to make it look nice.

I wanted to be involved earlier in the process with the strategy piece of it because, for example, I'd be doing real estate design and they'd say, “Hey, we want to do this big promotion where everyone who buys a house from me gets a free TV.” And I'm thinking, no one's going to buy a house because they get a free TV. I don't care how big the TV is <laugh>, you know? But as a graphic designer, a lot of people weren't really open to my thoughts on strategy and bigger picture stuff.

So a big part of the reason I ended up going on and getting my master's was to get that piece of it, get the strategy piece, and then also experience with digital, which was considered new media at the time, not that long ago. And media buying research, getting all those extra pieces together around the whole marketing picture.

What are some of the biggest wins you've had in your career?

The first one that comes to mind would have to be our Pediatric Urgent Care Clinic that opened in early 2019.

Initially, our CEO at the time wanted to license the name of a children's hospital to give our clinic credibility. And I said, absolutely not. We are our brand. We do not need to lean on a hospital system that's going to confuse patients and take away from what we are doing here. This is us. They're not doing this right.

And so he followed my advice. We went down that road. I did focus group research. We did all kinds of research for the logo design, the look and feel of the clinic. I played a really big role in all of those steps. We had a really big grand opening rollout that was open to the public.

The kids got to bring their stuffed animals for teddy bear checkups. We did kids yoga classes. The place was just packed. I mean, the whole day, just packed, just swarming with kids and families.

And you know, they were concerned that the clinic might not be busy enough. The clinic was so busy when it first opened that they had me stop all marketing for four weeks so that the staff could catch their breath <laugh>. And I thought, okay, my job here is done. Right? Like, what a compliment, what a win to, to say, you're doing a great job, now stop. We have too many patients.

Is there anything that you would do differently in retrospect?

We did a debriefing and I took notes after the fact, and no, I don't think there's anything I would do differently in that kind of situation. We brought in the right types of people and we offered the services they were looking for. And then on the clinic staff side and the operations side, they were so great about making sure that in-clinic experience matched with what we were promising from a marketing side. I think it went really well and plan to use a lot of what we did as a blueprint for future efforts that need to be like that.

How do you ensure that line stays consistent, with all the different people and departments that have to have to come together to create a unified brand experience?

It's not something I can do single handedly. It's a culture. It comes from everybody understanding and respecting what that brand needs to be and how it needs to be respected. And that comes from HR, it comes from operations, it comes from training, it comes from involving the brand new hire at the front desk who's answering the phone. Making sure that everybody's on board with the brand and understanding the impact that it has.

And we celebrate the win. We do really well in terms of patient satisfaction. And so we'll often send out a recap of the month’s patient reviews that we get, sorted by clinic and by providers so it's easy for people to look for their own clinic and their own five star reviews. And we tie that into how important it is.

I always tell them the best TV ad in the world isn't going make a difference if they don't have a great experience in the clinic. So it's everybody. Everybody has to be doing their part and I think company-wide there has to be respect and understanding for the importance of brand.

What are some of the biggest lessons you've learned in your career?

Hmm. Biggest lessons. I can think of a few.

I think standing my ground and being confident in my own expertise is so important. I'll never forget a time that I was tasked with coming up with a new logo design for internal use at a company where I was working. And the other designer and I both brought a number of ideas to the table and the owners were there. I started going through the ideas, both mine and hers, pointing out what I liked, what I thought maybe was confusing, which ones maybe we could improve. The owner looked at me and said, well, you're sure opinionated. And I said, you better hope I'm opinionated. <Laugh> You hired me to do this job.

My personality's already a little bit like that. But I've definitely had to strengthen that muscle over time.

Also, look for those opportunities where you work with people who respect the expertise of others, right? You don't want to work for a CEO who thinks they're the best at everything. Because they're just not <laugh>. They hired people who are going to be better than them, or should be better than them in certain things.

So yeah, being confident and giving others confidence in going along with your recommendations and expertise is so important.

Any other great advice?

Thinking back, before Covid, there was a BSU program where you could mentor a student from Boise State. We would go out, usually take them out to lunch and answer their questions. And something that I always thought was so interesting is that the big, pressing questions they had were so easy for me to answer because I handled that a long time ago. Right?

So here's a good one, here's something I really like:

When you get your ideas together to either mentor someone or to teach someone, or even to explain to a new hire in your company what you do, that is such a great opportunity to look back and recap your own strengths and your own knowledge.

I think a lot of times we don't realize how much we're growing until we have to explain it to someone else. And then it's like, wow, I, I do all this, I handle all these things, I've learned all these things, or look how this process has improved over the years. I have a LinkedIn article about overcoming imposter syndrome by mentoring others because that's when you start to realize what those one-on-one questions are and think oh, yeah, I'm way beyond that <laugh>.

Putting your own knowledge and your own thoughts together to teach others can be a really great way to boost yourself and remind yourself just how much you know and how good you are at what you do.

Get more insights from Chryssa Rich at Brand Discovery 2023!

Chryssa has a fantastic interactive presentation that will help you define a clear brand strategy for your company. Join us at Brand Discovery for the full experience!

want to be exposed to new branding & marketing ideas?
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