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Merel van Helsdingen

Marketing & Partnerships Professional

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About me

I’m a dedicated, enthusiastic no-nonsense type person with global strategic partnership and marketing experience. Having worked at client and agency side, I have the background to develop and maintain a solid brand strategy in various industries whilst approaching marketing from a creative point of view. My most recent partnership roles in the startup world have encouraged my own entrepreneurial development, new business skills and boosted my proactive and hands-on work attitude. Through ongoing new business experience and my outgoing personality, I have to date established an extensive network of brand, agency, music, media & entertainment and startup connections.


  • Advertising
  • Partnership Marketing
  • Marketing
  • Digital Marketing
  • Brand Strategy
  • New Business
  • Trade Marketing
  • Business Startups
  • Keynote Powerpoint
  • Client Pitching

Work history


Sales and Marketing Director


Oct 2016
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Full Time
  • Vallie is a UK based tech startup offering on-demand valet parking and additional car services through a free app. Since I have started the number of daily parks have doubled. Vallie is a startup with 10 people in office and another 40 trained 'Vallies' in the field. The lack of any marketing / partnerships employees gave me a clean playing field and allowed me to set up and manage a partnerships team and work on product marketing, advertising and PR as well. Within the first few weeks I hired 5 people to ensure a strong B2B2C partnership army to boost customer acquisition and add a layer of trusted recommendation to Vallie due to the hit list of trusted, relevant, premium partners. Partnership marketing included developing a hit list and a bespoke approach per segment. The development of branded assets and bespoke proposals, implementing tracking Closed partnerships include: John Lewis, D&D London, Spabreaks, Theatre tickets direct, Soho House, Europcar, UBS, Caprice Holdings, The Restaurant Club, Harvey Nichols, The Strand Hotel, Tate, National Portrait Gallery, amongst others. Marketing responsibilities include development and roll out of user acquisition focused marketing campaigns on social and digital channels. To boost customer retention and recommendation we have kicked off customer research, insights and feedback systems to optimise service. I have started optimising the brand look & feel to align with our core target customer and have developed a suite of brand and product assets which are now used for marketing, partnerships and investor presentations.


Strategic Business Development Manager


Jun 2015 - Sep 2016
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Full Time
  • Crowdmix was a UK based music tech startup developing a social platform dedicated to music and culture. Crowdmix had built up a network of over 3,000 artists and music influencers for which it was building a monetised brand - artist partnership portal. In May 2016 a closed version of the app was launched with a user base of 5,000 (incl. top UK artists and influencers) and three live partnerships. The company and the app closed down in August 2016 due to being unable to fund the business. As Crowdmix was a startup, the partnerships team consisted of 3 people including me responsible for developing and rolling out the company's commercial partnership strategy from scratch liaising with internal stakeholders from the tech, management, marketing and artist teams. Later we later hired a team manager whom I managed throughout the rest of the year. As a team we developed the short and long term commercial offering for partners overall and personally I developed strategic & creative solutions for target clients in answer to a specific brief or proactively on Crowdmix. This included bespoke brand & talent campaigns on Crowdmix (for example promoting the new ASOS gym kit focusing on London Grime talent: Lady Leshurr and Stormzy). The partners I built relationships with include brands, agencies, talent (artists & influencers or management), labels, festivals & events. Partners I signed included: ASOS, VO5, Absolut Vodka, Patta and LWE (London Warehouse Events) for launch. Advanced partnership discussions included: Live Nation, MTV, BBC Three, Chelsea FC, Levi's, Burning Man, Gibson (Phillips) and sports stars building their music brand on Crowdmix: Mesut Ozil and Eniola Aluko. Our team was also heavily involved in marketing, leading trade marketing and helping when all hands were on deck on the product launch in May. This was lead by some amazing senior people from the music & entertainment industry. For me this was an amazing opportunity you don't come across often I would say which has massively inspired me and boosted my work experience in a short and very intense period of time.


Senior Account Manager

Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Mar 2012 - May 2015
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Full Time
  • At Bartle Bogle Hegarty I started as Junior Account Manager and worked my way up to Senior Account Manager before I left to join the exciting and vibrant startup world. Working at a leading global advertising agency has shaped me in my professional career to become a hands-on, proactive, deadline focused, detail oriented, strategic yet creative professional. Tight deadlines and high pressure have taught me how to cope with stress and how to manage and optimise relationships internally and externally. Overall responsibilities include delivering integrated advertising campaigns (TV, Press, OOH, experiential, social, paid digital, platform partnerships, content campaigns and influencer marketing). As an Account Manager I was responsible for financial management of my client’s business to ensure their growth whilst ensuring revenue for BBH and always delivering outstanding creative work. In the 2.5 years I worked at BBH I have consistently worked on the British Airways account being part of all the digital advertising work we produced in that period as well as above the line and partnership campaigns with the likes of Disney and YouTube. We pitched for the global British account in 2014 and won with help of some of the digital campaigns I ran like ‘Race The Plane’ which won Twitter campaign of the year. Perhaps one of the most important responsibilities as Account Manager are building strong relationships inside and outside of the business. My client relationships include: Virgin Media, Heineken (Sol), Jonny Walker, Britvic and Google. Partner / talent relationships: Nickelodeon, YouTube, Disney, Rovio, Jake Bugg, Shazam & Usain Bolt.


Digital Advertising Executive


Jan 2012 - Feb 2012
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Internship
  • Working at Apple in the EMEIA advertising team has not only attributed to a highly strategic marketing background, but also to the strictest level of attention to detail in the world. The beauty of the advertising role was that my team functioned as gatekeeper for any paid for communication from Apple going out into the local markets in EMEIA. This meant I got to work with most of the internal teams: iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac, iTunes, the web team, the online store, education teams and legal teams to ensure the work was on point, to the highest standards, targeting the right people with the right message at the right time delivering the strongest possible results. Besides relationship building and a strong strategic skill set, our team also worked with the external creative and media agencies ensuring they were briefed, creative got approved through local creative directors and cost sheets and media plans were approved and communicated internally. Weekly meetings and frequent inspiration sessions about the latest tech and opportunities in the advertising world brought me up to speed with everything, being one of the more junior person in the room this was such a privilege. Apple has given me a strong foundation for a future in marketing & tech and given me so much knowledge I am still tapping into on a regular basis as they are one of the strongest marketers in the world.



Master of Science in Marketing, Master in Management

ESCP Europe

Jan 2011 - Jan 2012
  • London, UK
  • Masters in Marketing & Creativity in London & Paris focussed on marketing & business whilst highlighting the importance of creativity in marketing. Highly intensive 5 day a week Masters program with 30 students from 11 different countries to create a highly creative and diverse group culture. Due to case studies, seminars and life projects with the likes of eBay, Lego, Pernot Ricard, Starbucks, Westfield and many more we were educated with real business cases through real companies.


Bachelor Arts

University of Amsterdam

Sep 2006 - Dec 2010
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • The Media & Culture Bachelors program was focussed on the media landscape, marketing and culture. I specialised in Film studies and wrote my final thesis on the impact of Bollywood cinema in the Western Film Industry.



Most Innovative Campaign of the year


  • Race The Plane was a Twitter competition for the launch of the new British Airways Dreamliner plane flying from London to LA on it's first journey. We created a life Twitter competition where the real BA Dreamliner raced a digital plane the Tweetliner. The Tweetliner was powered by Tweets #racetheplane. This was the most innovative campaign of Twitter, we were trending in the UK and generated over 30K tweets in 8 hours. Huge success.