Register

7 Questions for the Rising Stars of Brand Leadership

Conference

photo

Don’t miss your chance to hear from the next generation of brand leaders at #SMWLDN.

We’re so excited to honor the class of 2019 Rising Stars in Brand Leadership later this month at the QEII Centre during Social Media Week London!

Ahead of their interviews on the Brand Leaders Stage, we sat down with them to learn more about their career trajectories, biggest challenges, how they want to change our industry for good, and much more.

What’s your proudest accomplishment?

James Davies

James Davies

Head of Marketing, UK Commercial Banking, HSBC

My proudest accomplishments are in diversity and sustainability. Leading HSBC Pride (LBGT+ employee resource group in Hong Kong) we tripled our membership through an Ally programme and launched a multi-award winning campaign which involved unveiling rainbow replicas of the famous Hong Kong lions that guard our Asia Pacific head office. They sparked a debate across the region and generated media coverage in 21 countries around the world. Earlier this year I was named HSBC Global Sustainability Champion of the Year for work we had done to help business customers become more sustainable. I’m really proud to be able to work for an organisation that champions issues which are close to my heart.

 

Dani Hughes

Dani Hughes

Senior Marketing Strategist, British Heart Foundation

I had various marketing roles in the hair industry, media groups and retail, but really where I had my steepest learning curves were at Comic Relief and now, the British Heart Foundation (BHF). I’m most proud of growing the digital marketing expertise in-house at the BHF. When I started in 2014 it was just me looking after digital advertising and before I moved over to marketing strategy I had grown the team to 7 digital marketing specialists. I also upskilled colleagues across the organisation with a monthly learning and development workshop on digital marketing.

 

Alice ter Haar

Alice ter Haar

Senior Manager, EU, Deliveroo

Starting up my personal development side hustle alongside my day job at Deliveroo – it’s by far the hardest and bravest thing I’ve ever done and it’s constantly challenging me to quiet my self-limiting belief by forcing me out of my comfort zone on a mission to make personal development mainstream.I found this calling after graduating from The Marketing Academy Scholarship, a programme which was transformational in showing me the power of personal development and inspiring me to share its magic with others. I do this through speaking, training, writing and vlogging. I recently went down to a four-day-week at Deliveroo to dedicate time to building up the side hustle as a professional business.

 

As a brand marketer, what is your single biggest challenge?

Fatima Diez

Fátima Diez

Brand Manager, Picnic; formerly Five Guys

In the age of novelty and ultra-fast trends, a clear challenge for me is going beyond the “cool” factor to keep a brand relevant and enticing over time. This is a task that requires constant dedication to succeed, as it is harder to bring back the excitement for a brand that is seen as obsolete.

 

Fraser Stapleton

Fraser Stapleton

Social Marketing Manager, Spotify

The main thing is to avoid making assumptions about audiences you may not fully understand. In my opinion, that can be the main cause of marketing campaigns that miss the mark. To try to avoid this at Spotify, we make sure we use data and insights to inform our strategies. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had an assumption about what might logically be the best route to take for a certain audience, only to be proved completely wrong when we have tested out our hypothesis.

 

Helen Saul

Helen Saul

Brand Manager – Europe, Lastminute.com

A big challenge for me is identifying the right balance between achieving several things at the same time to meet everyone’s ambitions. Ultimately, brand affects all touchpoints, so a lot of people are invested in it, and there will always be questions around what is the most important goal between long-term awareness or proving in the short-term that your creative is making people act. Then you also need to factor in tailoring brand marketing to the right audience and the right locations, which can make it a bit of a balancing act.

 

Emma Martell

Emma Martell

Head of Social Content, Virgin Trains

Brands must be careful not to let the extreme opinions of a vocal few hamper creativity and humour. If you try too hard to please everyone, you end up with insipid campaigns that please no one. As brand marketers, it’s our responsibility to push back against fear within the business. I find the best way to do this is through data.

 

In your opinion, what is the top skill every marketer should have today to succeed?

Kate Peregrine

Kate Peregrine

Global Head of Social Media, Dyson

I think courage is the key skill every marketer needs today. Our industry is changing faster than ever and the skill sets required are getting broader and more diverse. It’s an increasing reality that marketers are going into roles which they won’t feel fully qualified for or where the objective is to do something no-one has done before and that requires a level of conviction and bravery to step forward and raise your hand and just give it a go.

 

Fraser Stapleton

Fraser Stapleton

Social Marketing Manager, Spotify

The ability to take a step back, and simplify things. It’s so easy to get bogged down in granular levels of detail which inevitably develops into some sort of hideous flow chart which no one can understand. At the end of the day, we are in the business of persuasion, and if the plan is unclear internally, it’s going to be even more unclear to your consumers. The best campaigns I’ve been a part of have all stemmed from simple briefs, the ones that concisely summarise the problem(s) being faced and with a clear idea of how to measure success. They give everyone a clear focus to rally behind, and a simple way to make sure you stay true to the core reason you are working on the project in the first place.

 

Alice ter Haar

Alice ter Haar

Senior Manager, EU, Deliveroo

Every marketer should have a comprehensive understanding of marketing in the digital world. That means having a thorough knowledge of performance marketing channels and testing and measurement. I can’t think of a campaign that sits outside the digital sphere nowadays, so having this depth of know-how is essential to create credibility and succeed.

 

What tools or tech that exists today that didn’t 10 years ago that you find has made the most impact in the marketing space?

Melissa Weston

Melissa Weston

Marketing Lead UK & IE, Zalando

We are lucky now that we have a wealth of data available to us to make our service better. I believe that emerging technologies like AI that enable more specific and relevant targeting will play a larger strategic role in Marketing moving forward. Programmatic advertising has already had a huge impact here using AI to automatically buy advertising space, using data, to determine which audience the ads should target. It will be interesting to see how influencer marketing is affected here and also how video marketing can adapt to become more personalized. In terms of SEO, I think voice optimization will become more key, as adoption rates grow.

 

Fatima Diez

Fátima Diez

Brand Manager, Picnic; formerly Five Guys

In my opinion, data tools and tech have been the most impactful innovations for our field over the last decade. Having easy access not only to detailed insight about potential and current customers’ preferences and behaviours, but also to information that ensures your message is exactly where it needs to be at the right time… That’s something that marketers could only dream about until recently.

 

Helen Saul

Helen Saul

Brand Manager – Europe, Lastminute.com

Working in a social-first brand department, it’s kind of crazy to think that Instagram didn’t exist 10 years ago. It’s one of many platforms over the past decade that has hugely increased our ability to target and tailor creative to the individual consumer in a way that allows them to seamlessly see a message which is relevant to their everyday routine. In an ideal world, marketing should be something which opens a conversation that consumers want to have, rather than an annoying interruption, and these kinds of tools can help us get closer to achieving this.

 

How are you making data actionable within your role and business?

Hannah Burns

Hannah Burns

Dove Global Marketing Manager, Unilever

Data is money. The more you can use it, the more targeted and specific you can be with your messaging, the higher engagement you will get. It also creates for a much more tailored consumer experience. The most recent way we have used it on Dove is through Project #ShowUs when we created precision social media campaigns across 14 markets to ask women if they wanted to be part of the initiative – to raise their hand to be cast for a future campaign. The engagement we saw was unprecedented and now we have a pipeline of 5000 individuals who are engaged, want to be part of it and have rich stories to tell. That’s casting for our year two campaign sorted.

 

Fraser Stapleton

Fraser Stapleton

Social Marketing Manager, Spotify

Data is key to the creative executions of our most well-known annual marketing initiative ‘Wrapped’. The experience celebrates how our users listened throughout the year, and the cultural moments that shaped it. Examples from last year included the FIFA World Cup and the ever-optimistic streams of ‘Three Lions,’ the much-debated ‘Laurel vs. Yanny’, and of course the weird and wonderful playlists our users create.

 

What is one example of a case where your brand utilized social media to better connect with your audience through storytelling?

Fraser Stapleton

Fraser Stapleton

Social Marketing Manager, Spotify

A great example of a campaign which uses storytelling to connect with our audience is the ‘Listen Like You Used To’ campaign. We really wanted to bring to life nostalgic moments and emphasise that while life may change as we grow older, classic songs remain the same. Off the back of this creative platform, we built some highly relatable and clever social content which pokes fun at the reality of growing older through the lens of music.

 

Fatima Diez

Fátima Diez

Brand Manager, Picnic; formerly Five Guys

Social media was a priority within my role at Five Guys, since we utilised it as our direct point of contact with customers outside of the store. We would actively encourage long conversations with new and returning fans, which of course often developed into shared stories, but for Five Guys the focus was always on the fans rather than ourselves.

 

How do you want to change the marketing industry?

Fraser Stapleton

Fraser Stapleton

Social Marketing Manager, Spotify

Leadership positions are still dominated by men, and women are still having to work twice as hard to ‘prove’ themselves in a time when equal opportunity should be a given. So if I was to change the industry, I would want to be part of the solution: empowering women to reach the very top across music, podcasts, marketing, or any other industry for that matter. Creativity comes from diversity, and helping inspire the change that would lead to more females in senior positions I believe would help us all become better at what we do.

 

Fatima Diez

Fátima Diez

Brand Manager, Picnic; formerly Five Guys

I believe as marketers we need to reconsider our take on personalisation, going beyond the customisation of products and delving into developing genuine relationships with customers in a personal way. This way we learn much more comprehensive insight into their needs and desires, and can develop enthusiastic brand advocates who understand we want to help improve their lives. There is a longstanding stigma around marketing being equated to deception, which I would like to defeat by proving to customers that we aim to positively contribute to their lives, and to other business teams that our work is based on insight and serves to increase revenue.

 

Hannah Burns

Hannah Burns

Dove Global Marketing Manager, Unilever

I would like to make it more bottom up – less ideas coming from ivory towers, more ideas coming from the people at the end of the supply chain. I think a world where we are doing more co-creation of campaigns and products with consumers is one where we give people agency, lift them up and ensure our products are more relevant than they are today. If the woman who features in the Dove campaign, is the same woman who decided how she wanted to be photographed, and what she wanted to say – it’s as much her voice speaking as it is a brand’s, and I think more and more, people will want to listen to her instead.

Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

WATCH THE SMWLDN 2019 PROMO




Newsletter Subscription

Get the latest insights, trends and best practices from today's leading industry voices.


Learn More

Write for Us

Interested in sharing your ideas and insights with the world? Become a SMW News contributor and reach 300k readers each month.

Apply Here