Ahead of our New York Braver Conference we spoke to one of our speakers, the CEO and Co-Founder of Mic.
How can marketers be braver?
The first step is putting pen to paper on what your organization believes in, and getting buy-in from top to bottom in the company.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
For a long time, I thought that leaving my job at Goldman to found a journalism company for millennials was a big risk. But what I've realized is that the biggest risks have large impacts on others. At Mic, we took a big risk in 2016 by stepping away from social-media driven content strategies, and fully embracing traditional journalistic values as the core of our strategy. It impacted many on our team, and millions of our readers. We had to believe that building a more trusted brand was worth the costs of walking away from a growing business that we weren’t proud of.
Which business leader do you admire most and why?
New York marathon weekend is becoming a personal anniversary for me, despite the fact I have never run a marathon. Two years ago I was sent from London to attend a conference in the city. I had been to New York before but traveling there on my own changed it for me. I started making inroads, a contact here and there, a sense of where I might live, the deliciousness of imagining something before it happens. That trip I also made a new friend, who, within two days of knowing me had set me up with the love of my life. Of course, I didn’t know that at the time.
Ahead of our New York Braver Conference we spoke to the Chief Brand and Sales Officer at LL Bean.
How can marketers be braver?
Be prepared to take more risks supported by a clarity of purpose and insights to quickly assess the impact of any decisions. Agile and forensic understanding plus a willingness to adapt and learn are vital to a brave decision making culture.
What’s the biggest risk you have taken in your career?
To move my family and career to the US and be part of the revitalization journey of a century adored brand.
Which business leader do you admire the most and why?
Mark Hunter President and CEO of Molson Coors. An incredible humble, human and empowering leader who encourages thoughtful risk taking and insightful learning.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
On an unusually warm Fall morning on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, a packed house of curious marketers convened to listen to a panel of senior marketing leaders talk taboos.
The occasion was The Marketing Society’s “Elephant in the Room” session, part of Advertising Week New York. In line with The Society’s Brave agenda, I led an honest and open conversation with these leaders about significant societal and cultural topics.
Here are some of my takeaways from our five panelists.
Doug Melville, Chief Diversity Officer, TBWA\North America
Nike’s new Colin Kaepernick advert has been effective at provoking the desired political controversy and polarised opinion: 30% of US consumers feel more positive about Nike after seeing the ad, but 39% feel more negative, according to brandgym research over the weekend. Nike is attempting to show it retains an ‘edge’, especially for younger consumers, on the 30th anniversary of ‘Just Do It’.
However, I disagree with most marketing commentators who claim this is a great example of ‘purpose-led branding’. I actually suggest that the ad strays AWAY from Nike’s brand purpose, “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete,” for reasons I explain below.
In case you missed it, the ad features American football player Colin Kaepernick with the text, ‘Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything’. He achieved fame not for footballing feats, but for kneeling during the pre-match playing of the national anthem in 2016, in protest against racial injustice in the USA. He opted out of his contract with the San Franciso 49ers to become a free agent after the 2016 season and has not played since.
Nike’s new Colin Kaepernick advert has been effective at provoking the desired political controversy and polarised opinion: 30% of US consumers feel more positive about Nike after seeing the ad, but 39% feel more negative.