Marketers must look for inspiration and ideas beyond their circle of comfort, according to a panel of senior brand leaders.
The Marketing Society chief executive Gemma Greaves chaired a panel at the Festival of Media Global in Rome this morning (8 May) featuring Paul Graham, vice president creative and media services at Burberry, Nick Graham, global director, digital marketing and media at Huawei, and Sarah Mansfield, vice president global media, Europe and Americas, at Unilever.
The session address the need for marketers to learn to deliver success by “embracing failure”, with Huawei’s Graham commenting that leaders need to accept their own limitations.
Discussing an occasion he single-handed drove change within an organisation, he said the “penny dropped” that such an occurrence was the exception, not the rule. “The naivety of leadership is [believing] that it only takes one person [to deliver change],” he said.
He added that marketers must embrace a broader range views and ideas to ensure their communications are relevant beyond a core group: “We don’t talk about the experiences that lead to the authentic self. We often don’t have enough time [and find ourselves] chasing our own tails commercially.
“With Brexit, why did our communications get it so wrong? We didn’t engage outside of the ‘self’. What is the self? What did you put in? Are we feeding in experiences that are rich and engaging? How did you own that and learn from that?”
Former Barclays marketer Mansfield discussed the ambitions of the UK bank to introduce contactless payment, and that, by setting “hard goals” which it subsequently failed to meet, the brand “learned a lot” about how to do better in future.
Burberry’s Graham added that, while it is natural for marketers to their own “harshest judge”, he argued leaders should refrain from being the “harshest critic” of other team members. “Talk about your own failure before you talk about anyone else’s,” he said.