Daryl is a CEO, NED and Author. Perhaps best known as the architect of Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty”, Daryl’s career includes  leadership roles in brand owners, media and advertising agencies.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Diversifying marketing’s talent pool
  • THAT Dove campaign
  • The Brand Book
  • The other books Daryl didn’t write
  • Being a NED
  • Marketing at Vodafone

Daryl Fielding

Workwise, she now combines board roles with a part time role as a charity CEO. She is a Trustee of The British Heart Foundation, The Academy of Ancient Music and Pelican Cancer Foundation and a Non Executive Director at the Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants.

She is part-time CEO of The Marketing Academy Foundation, which she co-founded, a Registered Charity enabling career starts for young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds. She has held executive director roles at Vodafone, Mondelez, Independent Newspapers and Ogilvy Advertising.

Daryl has just published “The Brand Book” a practical, no-nonsense guide to brands drawing on her personal experience and other world class examples and enjoys delivering keynote speeches on brands, marketing and diversity and inclusion.

Find Daryl on LinkedIn

Book Recommendations

Daryl’s book is The Brand Book: An insider’s guide to brand building for businesses and organizations

Strategy Sessions Host – Andi Jarvis

If you have any questions or want to talk about anything that was discussed in the show, the best place to get me is on LinkedIn or Instagram.

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Interview Transcription

This transcript has been done automagically using Happy Scribe and hasn’t been checked by a real person, so there may be some hilarious mistakes where the AI can’t work out our accents – I’m sure they’re trained on just the American accent.

[00:00:00.680] – Andi J

Eyup and welcome to the Strategy Sessions. My name is Andi Jarvis. I am the host of the show, and I run Eximo Marketing. I’m here today to just let you know that we’re interviewing Daryl Fielding on the podcast. I met Daryl at a conference, where I meet most of the guests, to be honest, and was dazzled, amazed, just awe-inspired listening to Daryl tell the story of the Dove campaign, the Real Women, one of the first campaigns to bring real women front and centre, as opposed to a supermodel chic, which is what was all the rage at the time. It’s an amazing story, but more than that, Daryl has been, I think, CMO or Chief Brand Officer at Vodafone, is now involved in diversifying marketing talent, and he’s just superb fun to sit and spend time with. So it was a really enjoyable interview. I hope that comes across. Enjoy the show. Let me know what you think. Thank you. Hey up, and welcome to the Strategy Sessions. I’m over the moon, delighted, amazed, and honoured to be joined today by Daryl Fielding. Daryl, welcome to the Strategy Sessions.

[00:01:04.910] – Daryl F

Thank you. And as we would say from my home county, if you do A up, I’m going to go, Good morning, my lovers.

[00:01:11.210] – Andi J

Good morning, my lovers. So for the American listeners, and there are a few, they’ll be going, What is going on? So you’re from the southwest of England?

[00:01:18.510] – Daryl F

I am originally from the southwest of England, where that is a very common greeting.

[00:01:23.860] – Andi J

And I understand that the Taylor Swift song, Lovers, was very popular down that part of the world because it just fit perfectly But I’m not going to sing it. We’ll move on. We’re not ready to sing.

[00:01:33.180] – Daryl F

I didn’t know that, so I’m pleased to hear it.

[00:01:35.800] – Andi J

There you are. So rather than have one of the world’s greatest marketing thinkers here talking about Taylor Swift, although that could be an interesting sideline. Let’s talk about your career and the things you’re involved with and the problem with marketing at the moment as well, which might be an interesting place to start. The problem with marketing at the moment is…

[00:01:57.730] – Daryl F

The problem with marketing at the moment is, in my opinion, that we could do a lot better on the capability and the reputation of that discipline. And I think there are two ways to do that. We need to bring in more diverse talent into the industry, and I can talk extensively about that later, but also reembrace investing in training people. On a bad day, I would roll my eyes and say that 90% of UK marketers are feral, which is probably uncind. Probably true. But fair, arguably. So I think at least half of my working life these days is really about amping up the marketing industry in a way in terms of the people in it and how capable they are.

[00:02:51.580] – Andi J

So diversity is something that is one of the core things I look at in Eximel marketing, where not so much as in doing diversity with clients, but about trying to, in a smaller way, broaden the thinkers and the people getting involved in marketing. There’s a presentation I have where I spend a couple of minutes telling the audience they’re weird and then proving that they’re weird. Because when you look at the stats of who’s into marketing or who works in marketing agencies, particularly, they tend to be very young compared to the UK population, very well-educated compared to the rest of the population from affluent backgrounds, compared to the rest of the And some people say, why does that matter? But it does, because marketing’s job is to sometimes reflect society, isn’t it? And it’s hard to do that when everybody went to a private school and had the same background. Yes.

[00:03:42.600] – Daryl F

Well, I mean, the stats on how middle class and industry we are are pretty shocking, actually. And this is an area of a special interest for me. Both the Social Mobility Foundation and Marketing Week surveys will give the same answer that 12% of people working in marketing are from working class backgrounds compared to 30%. So that’s a three to one, isn’t it? And that’s, first of all, it’s just wrong. So there’s nothing wrong with wanting to fix something just because it’s wrong. Absolutely. It’s not fair. And I’m quoted as saying that the bottom you fall out of at the start of your life should not to determine whether you get to work in marketing. And that is what it boils down to. There are some incredibly bright young people out there, and they struggle to navigate their way to the marketing industry. And the marketing industry is worse off if it only has… It is only populated by middle class people because their assumptions and perspectives are not going to reflect the Now, I’m not one of these people that things, you must be the audience in order to market well, because if you take that to its logical conclusion, you would never have any men working in lipstick marketing or something like that, or no men working for SanPro or something like that.

[00:05:21.900] – Daryl F

And to be a good marketer, you should be able to understand any target audience. That’s really what characterises a brilliant marketer. How However, homogenous populations of any kind is not a recipe for success. There is enough data out there that diverse teams perform better. And how do you define a diverse team? Different people, different viewpoints, different backgrounds, different skills and capabilities, and you bring that together, and you have a bit of a barney in that situation, but you all align around one decision and then you press on with it. And that’s what drives the benefits of diversity. I’m going to quote somebody else who I saw on a conference platform who said diversity is not about being nice. And I think that’s something also to make the point because it is about an enabler of high performance. And if you have a diverse team, what that is going to give you by definition is there’s going to be some differences. And if you’re ever trying to accomplish or debate anything meaningful, then you’re going to have some argument. And that can be courteous argument. I’m not advocating for a bun fight of abuse. But you are going to have some awkward conversations, some differences of opinion, bringing different perspectives and experiences to that debate or action.

[00:06:57.120] – Daryl F

But the the whole be greater than the sum of those parts because you’ll get a better outcome. So I think it’s about diversity is not about touchy feely, cuddly, let’s be lovely to everyone, but about bringing people together to accomplish something with quite a lot of argy-bargy in the process.

[00:07:21.900] – Andi J

There’s two points I want to pick up on from there, and the creative tension is one of them, and that’s the one I probably want to start with. The other one, just so I don’t forget to come back to, is that what does diversity mean and what diversity maybe isn’t. But we’ll come back to that in a minute. But the creative tension is, I think, really interesting. I remember as a younger chap than I am now, the first time I was in a meeting where I was asked to critique something somebody had done, I couldn’t do it. I mean, I could tell them something nice about them, about it, and I could blow some smoke up their ass about something else. But the bits that were terrible, I see it now, and much of it was terrible. I couldn’t tell them about it. It just felt like I was being nasty to Right.

[00:08:00.530] – Daryl F

You couldn’t tell them because you didn’t dare say it out loud or you didn’t- I was worried about hurting the feelings.

[00:08:06.270] – Andi J

It’s mainly where I was. And it’s only as I’ve got older and been in environments where I think the set up becomes important to allow people to be able to critique, but feel safe while they’re being critiqued, and also feel safe that you can give that critique to create that creative tension. Is that the thing you’re talking about, to create that safer space to allow those discussions to happen? Absolutely.

[00:08:29.750] – Daryl F

Absolutely. It is about creating a space where those decisions can happen. And one of the big enablers of that is, well, a couple of things, really. Inclusive leadership, whoever’s leading that team manages that conversation well. And and manages the people in the room at the time. But also the trust between the people. If you’re creating a team, if they are diverse, you need to create that trust. Great book, one of my favourites, Patrick Lencioni, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, who talks quite a lot about that building of trust in that team. Now, sometimes teams come together relatively quickly for a project, but I still think it’s worth the investment of time just to get to know each other a little bit as people and then to enable that critique. And there is respectful language and a respectful protocol around that that you can create. Encouraging people to seek feedback makes it easier to give. And there’s always things like start with the positive, then move on to even better if. And then the other lovely piece of language, which I’ve learned in the past is have you considered? So you can create a vocabulary and a protocol around that feedback that makes it much more comfortable for everybody.

[00:10:03.420] – Daryl F

But just an expectation that the purpose of it is to improve the task and trying to decouple it a bit from the person. Yeah.

[00:10:17.310] – Andi J

And tackle the ball not the man with the same football pilots.

[00:10:20.250] – Daryl F

Exactly. I’m not very good at sporting metaphors, but I’ll try. But yes, I think it really is about focusing on the task and trying not to make it personal and to encourage and train your people that that is what it’s about. In one of the things I used to say when discussing work, and people would often get very defensive, and this is probably a bit sharp, but it was like, when we run this TV commercial on the television, we’re not going to publish a list of apologies as to why it’s not better like credits at the end, are we? We’re going to have to make this better. If there’s a problem with it, we’re going to have to deal with it. We’re not going to provide a list of excuses at the conclusion. So I think if people get to really understand that this is all about the excellence around the task and everybody signs up for that, then I think that that also helps create that culture of the point of all this input is to make the outcome better. Now, this gets me to another type of meeting, which I am particularly against, which is, we could call it all sorts of things, but as this is going out in America, I will try not to swear, you have a very large meeting And then something is presented and then you go around the room with everybody giving their point of view.

[00:11:50.570] – Daryl F

And what you generally find is that they’re all very worried. And it’s often people who have no decision rights on any of it. So I used to call them in one of my corporate jobs, not to their faces, clearly, but the worried middle. I had decision rights on all of the creative work. So I was the person who was going to get my butt kicked if it wasn’t any good. But I I often have to tell the worried middle what I was up to, and they’d all be incredibly worried about what I was doing. So I think that being in a meeting and not being critical to look clever is super, super important. And another company that I worked with had another protocol around it, which I thought was just brilliant, that if you did criticise anything, you were always asked, what do you want instead?

[00:12:41.070] – Andi J

Right. So you had to not just criticise, but propose something that was constructive.

[00:12:46.320] – Daryl F

And that very plain English, what do you want instead? Will discourage, if you like, the, let’s call it clever signalling criticism. Arseful behaviour. Yes, I would potentially classify it as that. But if you go round a room, is a brave person who goes, I have nothing to say. Yes. And actually that should be okay. Or I love it. And I have been in a room and I’ve been quite a tearful executive in my day. I’ve been in a room where I’ve seen a presentation, I burst into tears because it was so good. I’ve presented to somebody else once who burst into tears because it was so good. And so I think that there’s that also, that sentiment about being able to be the stupid person that just says, I love it. And that doesn’t often get encouraged or enabled, because at the end of the day, you can end up with something impeccably mediocre if you worry away everything. And that’s the big jeopardy the worried middle.

[00:14:00.970] – Andi J

That’s what I was going to ask you. So how do you know the difference? If you’re sitting listening to this thinking, we need more of this creative tension. But how do you recognise when you’ve just moved from a creative tension that’s going to improve the process to a time by committee that’s actually going to make everything worse? What are maybe the signs that something’s functioning well and the signs that you’ve actually gone too far and it’s a pile of shit? That’s a technical term, by the way.

[00:14:27.050] – Daryl F

Yes. Well, I have experienced plenty of It’s a really good question. I think where you have to keep the debate centred is mostly around the idea and does it relate to the strategy and stop too much fiddling and small stuff. If the conversation starts to be quite particular and fiddly, you probably have gone too far. But if it is about the fundamentals of the idea or will it meet the objectives or major other concerns that maybe nobody has considered, which you should bring to the table. I’ve had one or two of those where I’ve been about to go and do something and somebody has then said, have you considered this, this and this? And I’m got, oh, shit, no, I didn’t. And stopped the whole project because it was just something that had not crossed my So trying to keep it to the bigger picture, I think, is one way. But at the end of the day, experience helps. You have to know what good looks like and you build that up to some degree over time.

[00:15:42.250] – Andi J

The advertising industry, I’m sure is full. There’s one particular story I saw somebody talk about the Drumming Monkey, Drumming Monkey, the Guerrilla from Derry Milk. Sorry. The gorilla from Dairy Milk, sorry. The Dairy Milk Guerrilla, which was one of the greatest campaign, voted it’s in the top five, if not some of the greatest campaigns of all time in the UK, at least. And I’ll put a link in the show notes if you don’t know what I’m talking about. And I’ve seen someone present about this campaign. And again, there’s lots of people who I’m sure claim authorship of this, but said that one of the account managers, someone mid Level in this whole process, took it upon themselves to say… Because every time it went up for approval, it was knocked back as in, this is the most ridiculous thing we’ve ever seen. This isn’t how we do advertising. And believed in it so much that pushed it through and through and through and almost put their job on the line. And this wasn’t the person who was doing the presentation. He was talking, you’re shining the light on someone else, but almost put the job on the line and said, I believe in this so much, it’s the thing to do.

[00:16:38.770] – Andi J

And you hear stories like this from the advertising world, where some bloody mindedness pushes it through and it ends up being the greatest out of all time, because it’s not death by a thousand cuts because everyone’s there. Does that, though, become this mythical story of advertising, that that’s how great advertising is done by some bloody minded creative? And actually That’s not really how good advertising works. Or is there a case for sometimes that is the way to do it as well?

[00:17:04.700] – Daryl F

Yes. Well, I think in order to… I was presenting to a group of young people about brands, actually, some time back, and one of them said, and I quote, Why are most brands such shit? And my answer was, Because excellence is hard. If it wasn’t hard, there would be more of it around. So I think In my career, where everything was effortless, it ended up being a bit mediocre, and where it did require a level of doggedness and persistence, it did lead to something better, and in some instances, greatness. So I think it is about… Somebody once said, How do you transform things? Because part of my reputation is taking something that was mediocre and making it great, and I’ve done that a few times. And I I said to the answer that you have to listen and not listen. And it’s almost a skill that’s a bit… A paradox. It is a paradox. But you have to have a degree of bloody mindedness Because unless you’ve got that drive, you’re not going to battle through the barriers and obstacles to excellence because there are barriers and obstacles to excellent. On the other hand, being that determined shouldn’t close your ears to input and to feedback.

[00:18:37.370] – Daryl F

And I think those that managed to do something really good have managed to do both, listen and not listen. And I can’t really give you a roadmap to that other than say, yes, be determined and be driven, but don’t be deaf.

[00:18:55.800] – Andi J

I think social media has made Did the world think that there is often a clear, pithy answer to every question, isn’t it? Or that there’s a really easy route to solve every problem. The reality, life is full of paradoxes, where listen and don’t listen is perfect advice, almost. And the difficulty is having the experience to understand what to listen to and what to ignore. What to listen to and what to ignore. You’re selling a course for 3997 to help with that. No, no. So before we get on to some of the campaigns you’ve been in, we’ll nudge back to talking about how we change the marketing industry. The story I was going to tell briefly was about the chancellors of the exchequer. We have Jeremy Hunt at the moment, but prior to that, we’ve had Quasi Quarteng, Sajid Javed, and Nazim. Nazim, I forget his last name, unfortunately. So basically, we’ve had three or four ethnic minority chancellors, which in many ways is something to be proud of and a wonderful impact for the country. However, when you dig into the background of the chancellors, actually, what you find is overall, I think the last 10 chancellors, there’s only been two that weren’t privately educated.

[00:20:09.320] – Andi J

And when you look at where they were privately educated, I think seven of them went to two schools. And only one of them, a labour Chancellor that wasn’t Gordon Brown, was not part of the same school set. And then you start to look at diversity. So when you were saying earlier, what is diversity? It is a bit of bugbearer of mine where people are like, oh, we’ve got a couple of ethnic minorities on this board or we have some women. But if all the women are from the same schooling system as everybody else or from the same, all the men are from this, that’s not really diversity, is it?

[00:20:42.700] – Daryl F

No, it isn’t. It might look good in a photo, but it actually isn’t going to be the diversity that it improves performance. And partly because I run a charity, the Marketing Academy Foundation, which focuses on young people enabling access to the industry for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds at the bottom 30% of home socioeconomically. I’m obviously particularly knowledgeable and focused on that. But I believe that your background is a bigger indicator of whether you’re going to bring difference to any particular conversation, and especially when most of the people in it are a middle class or even upper class, then than what skin colour they have. Now, there will have been experiences because of that ethnicity that people who don’t have that ethnicity won’t have had. But do I want to help the children of African ambassadors get into marketing? Honestly, I don’t. I want to help kids from the block, regardless of what colour they are. Honestly, that’s my shtick on it.

[00:22:00.120] – Andi J

I And I love you for it. I think it’s fantastic. And I’m always wary of, as probably someone who now fits most middle class caricatures going, but from a working class, we don’t talk about class in this country anymore, do we? Can politicians talk about honest working people. No one says working class. I go back to where I grew up on a council estate in Bradford, in a single parent family. Everyone talks about working class. Yes.

[00:22:28.620] – Daryl F

I think it’s one of those things that maybe has been redefined and layers of political correctness over it. But we tend to talk about the bottom 30 % socio-economically because we are actually going in the charity. We are focusing on that, and that is even, if you like, even less advantageous than the definition of working class. I think when those terms were coined originally, quite a lot of people didn’t at all. Almost everybody works now, so it’s becoming a little bit less well-understood. If you’re running a charity, you have to be pretty precise about your beneficiary definition. We are very precise about that.

[00:23:14.410] – Andi J

I do remember in the late ’90s study in politics at A-Level, we had a discussion about class, and the question was something along the lines of, is a builder working class? Everybody says yes. Is a teacher middle class? Everybody says yes. He says, yeah, but if you’re a builder earning £70,000 a year or a teacher earning £30,000 a year, who’s middle class? Right. Well, so it’s not as easy as it was to define maybe in Victorian days.

[00:23:43.450] – Daryl F

No, I think it isn’t as easy as defined. I think if you’re growing up, that your context is probably pretty easy to classify. Where you end up, whether you’re a builder earning 100 grand a year or you’re a teacher are earning 40, actually the outcomes are very different. And fortunately, we’re looking at young people between the ages of 18 and 30 and where they’ve come from, we know limits their life chances. And it’s wrong. And in a small way with an industry that once you’re in doesn’t care. That’s the thing. Once you’re over that hurdle of getting in, everybody is very relaxed about where come from. And there’s not really an old school tie thing going on in marketing, in my view. So we’re very… We’re lucky in the sense that we start there. We’re not changing the world. We’re changing the lives of a relatively small number of people.

[00:24:49.950] – Andi J

But you’re changing the world for them. You’re changing the world for those people.

[00:24:53.450] – Daryl F

Totally. We get young people into some of the top companies. We also have launched a new programme where we’re coaching employability skills, job hunting and succeeding skills with our group. And with really in I suppose, rewarding results.

[00:25:17.200] – Andi J

And I think it’s really important. And I go back to, it’s not just here to talk about the good old days for me. And I know from talking to people over the years, though, that careers advice, for example, at schools, hasn’t necessarily moved with the times. And I go back to the school I went to, nobody ever said, you should consider career in advertising or in marketing. It just wasn’t anything there. But any passing interest, my mum always says, I used to sit in front of the TV as a kid, more interested in the ads between the programmes than I ever was at the programmes. And if you look back at everything I’d done throughout early life and career, there was a career in advertising waiting to burst out of me, but nobody ever said it. I stumbled into it later on. Oh, that’s a thing. Who does that?

[00:26:02.020] – Daryl F

I wish there was more aptitude work done on young people in schools, and I wish there were better careers guidance. I think you’re absolutely right. It is lacking.

[00:26:13.830] – Andi J

The problem is no one ever grows up wanting to be a careers adviser. That’s true.

[00:26:18.840] – Daryl F

And I think what I have learnt is that if you build it, they will come, is not the case when it comes to tackling access to any industry with communities that are less affluent. You have to take the initiatives to them. And I think the idea that you can create a website with everything there for them, if they don’t know that it’s even a possibility, that isn’t going to get you there. There is a bit of a distribution problem from a marketing point of view. We tend to scoop up the people who are looking for a job in marketing because that is what we do. But there is a pipeline earlier than that in schools and with young people that can promote the industry. It’s not part of the job that the charity I’m running takes on, but there is a need for that. And I think the other thing that happens is, which I’ve heard from many of our beneficiaries, is if they are particularly the children of first generation immigrants, there is an incredibly strong focus on on those ambitious people wanting their children to be professionals, doctors, lawyers, accountants. We had one young lady who we found who was functionally homeless.

[00:27:50.340] – Daryl F

She was sofa surfing. And her parents had flung her out at 16 because she wouldn’t go into a career in medicine. She wanted creative career. We got her her first opportunity, and she is now working at one of the best companies in the category, which is very… But you just go, wow, that’s harsh.

[00:28:11.950] – Andi J

As a child of a first-generation migrant, I remember talking to my granny. I went to university to be a PE teacher. My other love, as well as watching ads on telly was sport. I went in with a sports degree. After the first year, made that sports and sports management and marketing because I was like, this marketing thing is much more interested in the sport thing. Got to the end of the three years and could not face doing another year to do a PGCE to become a teacher. And I remember vividly the conversation with my granny, and she was like, So what are you going to do then? I was, I’m going to go and get a job in sales and try and get into marketing. And she was like, But you went to be a teacher? I’m like, Yeah, but you went to be a teacher. And there was just this, why would you give up on becoming a teacher? Because teacher brings respect. It’s everything that she left the Caribbean for. Yes. And brought her children over as five, six, seven year old. Is she still alive? No, she died a few years ago.

[00:29:08.620] – Daryl F

Sadly, my granny- Did she see you succeed?

[00:29:10.270] – Andi J

And did she come around? Yes. It took a little while to get her. When you first job out of uni struggling your way through, you’re like, my granny was right. But you get there in the end. I think when they left and the struggles that migrants went through in the ’50s, in the ’60s, even now, it hasn’t gone away. But some of the struggles of early migrants of the Windrush generation and problems getting housing and problems getting respect in communities and all that thing. When you have a grandchild or a son who’s then, you’re going to be a teacher. That’s a position with respect. Are you going to be a doctor? That’s a position that confers everything that we always hoped we would get. And you just throw it away because you want to go in and do what? Do funny things on the telly?

[00:29:54.250] – Daryl F

Yes. I think that the earning potential is one very strong argument for helping to convince the families of people who perhaps don’t realise that it’s a job with tremendous upside. The salaries are good. There is a pathway to the chief executive via that discipline. I think the prospects in good marketing jobs actually are not always… You’re young people who want to take that step and not always equipped to challenge why be a teacher versus why be a marketer? And the sense that it’s a, a decent living, but also a decent thing to do. It’s part of what makes the economy go round. If you believe in commerce and business as a good thing in a country, then why wouldn’t you want to go and work in business? And it’s a big driver of business success. But I don’t suppose many sixth formers faced with the roth of a faith, a grandmother. What are you doing up for? Oh, God, if you could harness those nans, wouldn’t it be fantastic?

[00:31:12.180] – Andi J

As a complete aside, I’m sure it happens in other places, street angels. My mum used to do this in a nancy who’s not actually an Auntie, but basically, nans who go and stand out on the street on a Saturday night and just- Scoop up the drunk. Yes, scoop up the drunk, diffuse fights, and that thing. Yeah, we still have them at the end of the road. You can be as angry as you like and you’re going to start a fight and then somebody’s nan taps you on the shoulder.

[00:31:37.270] – Daryl F

I think if they were street nans, they would inspire a lot more respect from everybody. I think angels suggests a level of compassion, but maybe slightly lacking in the real power of a nan.

[00:31:50.430] – Andi J

Actually, to use the London vernacular, a road nan, as opposed to a road nan.

[00:31:55.420] – Daryl F

Yes. I’m inviting. Let’s get the road nans out.

[00:31:59.800] – Andi J

I’m going to see if the URL is available and we launch that, then it’s coming to a street near you soon. Absolutely. So let’s keep going. You run the charity, and you’ve moved from an executive career into a non-exec and a board career. What’s that like moving away from… Is it a different pressure? Is it just as pressured? Is it different? Is it easy? Is it difficult?

[00:32:24.420] – Daryl F

Yes, all of those things, I would say. I think the biggest difference, I think is the lack of day-to-day stress, if you like. I think there is an enormous amount of responsibility, but less day-to-day pressure. However, if something goes wrong and you are a director of that company, then you really feel the heat. I We had a situation a little while ago where there was a drama, and I really felt the heat of that. So I think it’s a different pressure. It’s a lot of responsibility and accountability. You don’t want to overreach and start to tell the executive team what to do. That’s not what you’re there for. But ultimately, responsible for the conduct and the delivery of that organisation if you have that fiduciary duty. So it’s a very different pressure. I was just getting to a point where I wanted to live more and work less. And I think that is… You get, depending on how many you take on, you have more time. I think you have a bit more agency over your own time apart from the defined board meetings, which are set up every year. And I think having agency over my own time was particularly important to me.

[00:34:07.670] – Daryl F

The one thing I find quite challenging about it, of course, is it’s quite stripy, if that makes sense, because you’ve I have present four roles. Is it four? Might be five, actually. And they’re all completely independent of one another. So something happening in one part of my universe doesn’t necessarily prompt me to remember something in another. So I’ve had to become much better at writing to-do lists and making sure. But I do forget things because it’s very, I’d say, stripy, lamina, vertical, however you describe it, you know your one minute you’re doing all about this, and then suddenly you have to slip into something completely different. The terribly elegant gala fundraiser for the Academy of Ancient Music, where I’m a trustee, versus we have an apprentice who can’t turn up for work on time in the Marketing Academy Foundation. Those things are so completely disconnected that you run the risk as I do of occasionally forgetting things. So I’ve got to get better at my to-do list and managing that practically. But I do enjoy it. I really enjoy it.

[00:35:22.620] – Andi J

So when you made that jump from executive career to non-exec career, you use a really interesting phrase for your at the end of your corporate career. And can we talk about why you use that phrase a little bit as well?

[00:35:36.360] – Daryl F

Yes, I always say that I ran screaming from the corporate room, which I suppose is more to be funny than that it was massively true. But I had had enough of roles that are incredibly demanding and fill your waking moment almost every day. I was quite good at protecting my leisure time at weekends. I’d had enough of that full on, full-time, no respite. I think it’s getting worse, and I don’t think it’s healthy for people. I just wanted more life and less work. Now, when I did run Screaming from the Corporate Room, I didn’t really have a vision for what my next phase looked like. People said, How did you come to do what you do? I’d like to quote Michelangelo, if that isn’t awfully pompous. He was asked, How did you create the… Allegedly, who knows? How did you create the sculpture of David? He said, I just chipped away the stone that doesn’t look like him. And I feel slightly that when I stopped my corporate job and income, like nothing, to where I am today, I tried a few things and didn’t like them. So it was like I did quite a bit of consulting and I really didn’t like it.

[00:37:00.620] – Daryl F

Now, I do some, but very, very depending on what’s required and very selectively. But I tried this and I tried that, and I started to chip away the bits of stone that doesn’t look like Daryl’s new career and go, Yeah, I really like that. And then I did a thing which actually was recommended to me by one of our wonderful trustees, Emma Harris, who’s a great believer in the manifesting part of figuring out what’s right for you. And she did a days course for our apprentices. And she recommended this visioning exercise. And I thought, Well, I’ll get that a go. Why not? And I did it properly. And actually I had a blinding flash of insight in that process that I liked either very defined and specific engagements or complete agency over my own time. And what I don’t like is being asked to jump on a call tomorrow morning at eight o’clock because somebody somewhere is in a flap about something. Now, of course, if the factory’s burnt down or there is some major problem, I’m more than happy to do that. But given that I have got some degree of choice in what I’m able to do, I realise that I like the board because it’s very regular and very defined.

[00:38:28.570] – Daryl F

I like working from home two days a week to run the charity because I can pick and choose when I work. I end up probably mostly doing more than my paid full-time. So that works for me brilliantly, but it took me about four years to get to that point of stone chipping and screwing up and binning things I didn’t enjoy.

[00:38:49.930] – Andi J

I think there’s a lesson to tie that back to what we talked about, about talent and diverse people coming into the industry. But I think one of the things that you hear when you talk to younger people is that They almost feel like they have to have this really clear vision of what their career is going to look like. And it’s great to hear that someone with a really successful career behind them gets to a new point in that terms of page. I’m like, what am I doing now? I love that. Because It does feel when everyone looks from the outside or you look at someone’s LinkedIn profile and you’re like, what’s such a perfectly manicured journey? I know.

[00:39:22.640] – Daryl F

Well, one of the talks I do, which I know that you’ve heard, is the campaign I’m quite well known for having delivered from the agency side is Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty. And when you read the narrative, sometimes it looks like the seamless logic of a bunch of geniuses. And it was not like that at all. We had a bit of an idea where we were going, but it was really like crawling over broken glass to get there. And we did things that were mad and we did things that were wrong. We did get there in the end to the point of listening and not listening and being pretty dogged. But, yeah, so I know what you mean, that I think there is an illusion of people who’ve got it all down and figured out. And I don’t think that’s true in most cases. I really, really don’t. We’re all just making it up. Yeah, absolutely. Have a sense of where you’re going. Have a plan to be in the northwest quadrant of the compass and not the southeast quadrant. And then put in place some actions and things to get you in that direction.

[00:40:29.340] – Daryl F

Be intentional, but don’t get the idea that you’re going to have it all figured out and it’s going to turn out as you expect. I mean, I’ve got myself on video for the Marketing Academy Foundation saying, I want to get this number of apprentices in one year, two, three. I didn’t do that at all. So thankfully, that is no longer in the public domain. We will find it. Yes, I know. Find it and shame me with it. But we did get to a certain place. We go, Okay, this seems to have more limits in terms of scope than perhaps we first thought, what else can we do to help more people? So that’s why we launched another programme. So it wasn’t what we expected to happen.

[00:41:12.690] – Andi J

I think JP Castling, who was on this podcast many moons ago, but has influenced me more than most people, talks about the stupidity of strategists trying to predict the future. And he was like, that’s not what strategy is. It really isn’t. Stop trying to predict the future. You don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s often about reacting to it, but not being reactive.

[00:41:34.320] – Daryl F

Yeah, no, exactly. When we set up the charity, we didn’t expect a pandemic in the war in Ukraine. That created total paralysis in the whole of the country, as far as I could see last year. With the impact on cost of living and so on. So navigating through that and actually reasonably well, I suppose, wasn’t what we had in mind as nobody did. The world unprecedented, we should say. Absolutely.

[00:42:01.790] – Andi J

And there’ll be people listening going, Oh, Daryl did the Dove campaign. Let’s talk about that. But before I talk about that, you did mention also the Academy of Ancient Music is one of the boards that you have. Now, firstly, wow. Secondly, who knew there was an Academy of Ancient Music? Well, certainly not me. So how did that come about? What is it, first of all? And don’t say it’s the Academy of Ancient Music, but what classifies as ancient music?

[00:42:28.140] – Daryl F

Well, it’s generally music that existed roughly before Mozart, so more traditional and old-school classical.

[00:42:38.530] – Andi J

My daughter of 14 would say ancient music is anything from probably before 2015 or something like that.

[00:42:44.440] – Daryl F

Probably, but-Definitions, important. And the instruments and the performances are historically informed. So in a way, what you’re listening to is something very close to how the composers would have actually heard that. And what the people that love it will say is that it’s actually much more visceral and you feel a more personal connexion between the musician and the instrument. And it’s actually quite elemental and less a sophisticated wall of sound that you might get with a more modern orchestra delivering the same piece, much more elemental, much more visceral, more human, and actually a more resonant, I suppose. So that’s how the fans of that music experience it. And the reason why I’m doing that, not because I want to just belong to another charity, that’s the word academy in the title. It’s like, we’re academies and A’s. All my board appointments have got A’s and academies. And I think it was really because I just wanted to do something bit artsy. Somebody asked me if I’d like to do it. And I went, oh, that sounds interesting. It wasn’t terribly… It was more opportunistic, I think, than strategic. So that’s how… And helping them to reinvigorate the perception of that organisation.

[00:44:17.180] – Daryl F

I mean, the product is brilliant. It’s reinvigorating the perception of the Academy of Ancient Music, which sounds all a bit frilly and a feat, doesn’t it?

[00:44:27.320] – Andi J

I suppose it’s one of those, Academy of Ancient Music. I’m thinking suits of iron, armour. We’re all studying loots. Yeah, and that’s everything. I love that. And again, I think this social media world has people thinking they have to be hyper You’re a specialist in just one thing. And I know from talking to earlier, you have a science degree, not an arts degree, you’re an author, you’ve been in a creative discipline, you run charities, you’re on an arts board. There’s a depth and a texture to talking to. That’s just fantastic. But I think sometimes people think in the earlier career, they’ve just got to be this specialist in a very narrow field to get on.

[00:45:09.520] – Daryl F

Yes. Well, I think, I suppose if I take myself to task over things, it is to try to be a bit more focused sometimes. I think I find almost everything absolutely fascinating. And there are a few things I don’t, but they’re rare. And so I have to sometimes give myself a talking to and go, now, hang on a minute, let’s try and keep yourself a little bit more narrowly focused. And I’m still working on that. I’m really still a work in progress, aren’t they? And that is part of my goal for 2024. I’ve got a don’t do list. Oh, excellent. Yes, I have. Not much on it. I’m working on that. I’ve got three things on it.

[00:45:58.130] – Andi J

Three things on it. Can I to maybe what is on that list? Would that be impolite to ask? Yes, you can.

[00:46:04.750] – Daryl F

Well, one I won’t say. But one don’t do is don’t come to London every week. So that’s one of my don’t do lists. And I think the other one is described in don’t take on any more charity trusteeships apart from those in the homeless space. Right. No. So I’m I would very much like to continue my orientation towards state education, disadvantage and poverty. And I want to try and restrict myself to that going forward.

[00:46:49.920] – Andi J

Excellent. And so a don’t do list. I like that. I think I’m a general.

[00:46:53.860] – Daryl F

I think a don’t do list. It’s not my idea. I borrowed it. I’m a terrible magpie. But I thought, What a clever idea. It really does help, I think.

[00:47:03.610] – Andi J

I’m a fan of this. Okay. So Don’t Do. Well, let’s move to Do Do. Do Do Do Do Do Do Do Do Do Do Do Do Do. So we met with you talking about the Dove campaign. And again, there’ll be a link. There must be something online we can link to to talk about the Dove campaign. If you’re thinking, what Dove campaign? It’ll be a link in the show notes. But it’s run for many, many years in various forms, hasn’t it? But you were there at the beginning.

[00:47:31.180] – Daryl F

Yes. I’m one of the very few, actually. I think there were five or six of us at the very, very start of it when we had a blank sheet of paper. And I think I was the only person on the agency side, because at the time I was working at Ogilvie, that saw it through from the blank sheet of paper to execution in 73 countries. Other people joined the team on the way and contributed massively to that. And then I continued to champion and own that campaign by doing talks about it because people seem interested to hear it. And it’s quite funny because it actually first ran in April 2004. So it’s coming up to its 20th anniversary. And in terms of my career, it’s the gift that has kept on giving because I’m still invited to do talks about it. And sometimes I feel a bit like Frank Sinatra singing my way, I’m doing this again. But I think in a way, having any campaign that has got that longevity, I think is pretty phenomenal. And people seem to like the story, and particularly the story of how we came up with the idea or why we came up with the idea, because there are a lot of myths around it, as you referred to earlier, one of which was that it was a seamless logic of a bunch of geniuses.

[00:48:57.380] – Daryl F

The other one is it was this, oh, we woke up one day and decided, wouldn’t that be a jip to have curvy girls in the advert? That is not how it began. It was an incredibly strategic campaign with very clear business objectives, and it was a solution to very clear business objectives. I’m a bit… I’m such a massive advocate for strategic thinking around brands and marketing. And so the opportunity to reinforce this notion that it wasn’t just a a notion that the agency came up with that they then had to force Unilever to adopt. It was a total client agency team that was joined at the hip over everything. We were in it together. And it was strategic, and it took quite a while to bring it, to figure it out, get it right, and bring it to life. I think that story is worth reiterating for the principles as well as the actual… It’s a good old story. It makes you laugh, makes you cry. You’ve seen.

[00:50:02.170] – Andi J

Yeah, it’s beautiful. And you rarely tear up at a conference listening to someone going to speak. I did. I was like, what’s that? It’s just something in my eye. It’s brilliant. But more than being brilliant for Dove, which I know it has been over the years, and it’s one of FEs and all sorts and various incarnations of it. But it genuinely changed the whole industry, didn’t it? And in that, if you’re a younger member of the marketing world and you’ve just clicked to look at the Dove campaign now in the link in the show notes, and you’re looking at that going, there’s curvy women in an ad for a beauty product, so what? These are people who have maybe grown up in a world of- More body positivity. Body positivity and gym wear being modelled by larger bodies and different things like that. But when this campaign launched, the Wunderbra campaign was what? ’95? ’96? ’96?

[00:51:00.030] – Daryl F

Something mid ’90s, I think.

[00:51:01.900] – Andi J

Mid ’90s? Within a decade of this hello boys perfection stuck on billboards, and that’s what every woman had to aspire to.

[00:51:10.400] – Daryl F

Yeah. Well, at the time, it was described by some, including some magazine editors who got a basket full of letters from their readers. It was described as shocking. The female body being shot, imagine. People of a normal size on a poster in their undies was described as shocking. It was so- Disgrace to dignity. It was so silly, but he said that. It was very, very radical at the time. We had an interesting discussion about what if everybody copies us? We were like, well, we have to be okay with that because our going in position was that images of perfection damage women’s self-esteem, proven by psychologists, and therefore, if everybody copies us, happy days. So we were okay if people copied us. What did surprise me anyway was that it took probably 15 years before you see much, much more of that. And you’ve seen it from brands, more contemporary brands like Boohoo and other, Vogue and other, absolutely at the pinnacle of fashion and beauty, taking on a slightly more diverse representation. It took a while. It took a while. But I think what is good about DOVE, and I’m not involved anymore, but keep a close eye on it, is because the insight was so very fundamental.

[00:52:47.440] – Daryl F

They’re able to evolve and adapt it depending on whatever is unhelpful to women’s self-esteem in the external world now and how social media is impacting the views of young girls. Now you’ve got retouching in the hands of almost everybody, how people are presenting themselves and how young girls feel about their bodies and their looks and so on. I think they’re able to reinterpret that insight for a more contemporary context. Just having somebody with a E-Cup, the boob eyes on a poster is probably not going to be as radical as it once was, but actually there’s plenty more stuff that’s going on that is having a deleterious effect on how young girls feel about themselves. And Dove is smart enough, and the Unilever team is smart enough to continue to fight that good fight.

[00:53:48.870] – Andi J

But there’s the really interesting thing about that. You talk about the Unilever team and the Dove team. Yeah. But let’s be honest, over 20 years, I’d be amazed if anyone is still on that team who has been on that team the whole time.

[00:53:59.940] – Daryl F

Yeah, no, there is. Oh, there is.

[00:54:00.970] – Andi J

There’s someone there. You’ve got me on my point. The point I was going to make is that marketers and brand managers and chief marketing officers tend to move through things fairly quickly, 2-5 years or so. And one of the easy things to do is to come in and put your own stamp on it.Of course.So that team must have, even though there’s maybe some people there, there must have been a lot of throughput of people who at every point have gone, the way to make my career is to make this better. When actually, sometimes the best thing to do is to just say, the way to make this better is for me just to shut and just to let it carry on.

[00:54:32.150] – Daryl F

No, I think that’s a very good critique of the marketing industry overall. And the worst reason to change a campaign is because you’ve got a new marketing director. And this is another big critique I would have of the industry that consistency of brand over time is really helpful. Being consistently wrong is unhelpful. So you have to know when to change and when not to change. But Unilever generally have some quite stringent guardrails and governance around teams changing campaigns. So they’re a very strong marketing-led organisation. And if they put somebody new in, they wouldn’t be allowed to do that on a win, which doesn’t apply in many cases in business. Interestingly, the person who was part of the team from the very beginning is a lovely gentleman called Alessandro Manfredi, and he has just been reappointed or reappointed in the last year or two back to lead the brand, having had a sojourn in ice cream at Unilever in between. So interestingly, there is somebody who was there at the very beginning. But I think the reason it’s maintained its consistency largely is because the brand strategy is decided upon very thoughtfully and isn’t changed on a at a company like that.

[00:56:01.410] – Daryl F

And that is right.

[00:56:02.780] – Andi J

And I’m aware that you know Rory Sutherland, previously of this parish. I do. Rory said in the last episode of the podcast, he was on something along the lines of Insights are the rocket fuel of marketing. Marketing or something along those lines. And you mentioned that this whole campaign came out of insights. You also mentioned really early on about marketers and people in agencies not being given enough time in their job to be untrained properly in their to be able to do these things. With those two things, is one of the things that suffers people understanding what good insight looks like or understanding the difference between data and then drawing insight from that? Is that one of the things that suffers when we make marketers really time-pressured, that they then start just making bad decisions based on incomplete or bad data?

[00:56:51.880] – Daryl F

Yes, I think that would absolutely be the case. I have in the past done a training course around and what’s a good one and what’s not a good one. And in most instances where things are not going well, it’s often because those practitioners who, where that’s happening, don’t know what good looks like. And you have to have the time to, first of all, understand what good looks like and to get there. We talked earlier about excellence is hard. Well, that might be that you have to take a bit longer, or you have to just work a lot harder to get to something excellent. And I think insight is a much abused term. Now, I think there are various calibres of insight. Some are very deep, very psychological, very emotional, that would underpin a brand strategy for quite some time. Others can be quite small and practical, like advertising retail offers. It works better in the morning when people are coming to work and can go to the shops than when they’re rushing to go home. That is a very practical insight, but it’s very, very true. And I think possibly the definition of a good insight is, would that be true regardless of whether we were involved or not?

[00:58:13.760] – Daryl F

There are so many insights that are really bad that the customer is just waiting and wanting the product that you’ve just invented. And it’s just a rephrasing of Anna is a busy mum, 33, who wishes there was a something that made her ironing more pleasurable. And you go, really? Does that sound like anyone I know?

[00:58:36.860] – Andi J

Sure, it is Anna. I know.

[00:58:38.530] – Daryl F

And you go, that is not an insight. A better insight might well be, Our audience, our mothers who sometimes hate their children when they do their laundry. That would be true regardless of whatever product we’ve got or whatever.

[00:58:56.570] – Andi J

It comes from having diverse teams of not 20 something year old, Oxbury educated chaps doing the decision. Exactly. There was another interesting point from a previous guest who’s a data guy in an agency, Thierry Ngotagori, who said that he hates providing dashboards to teams, because what that leads to is the team’s cherry picking a data point that supports what they already think and therefore isn’t actually benefiting anyone. It’s just reinforcing bad thinking. You’d rather talk to them about what they’re trying to understand, what they’re trying to find out. And then use someone who’s slightly disconnected from the project to be able to collect and then give them the useful information or the insights at that stage. Sounds time intensive, but also sounds like a great way of approaching it.

[00:59:44.010] – Daryl F

Yeah, I mean, I I really like that approach. And I think we always have to be… Any of us have to be aware of confirmation bias. It’s a fundamental human trait. But I think if you are the owner of the data and the insights in a company, you should also take as your responsibility that they’re not used and abused, otherwise you’re not really doing your job well. And to not withhold information because that’s not a good behaviour, but equally make sure that it’s not being used and abused, I suppose.

[01:00:21.890] – Andi J

And I think the other thing as well, and I don’t want to give everyone all the secrets of your dove presentation, but there is something you did later on to get to get it over the line. And I’m a huge believer in… When you mention data, people always think of ones and zeros and quant research, and that’s it. But the call stuff, bringing the voice of the customer into the room, I think is hugely important. But it wasn’t necessarily customers you brought into the room, was it? Can you talk about that?

[01:00:50.420] – Daryl F

Yes. I think one of the things that is hugely important in landing a brand strategy in terms is getting the organisational buy-in, and that varies depending on how big that organisation is who you’ve got to get on board. But it’s something that I’ve done well and I’ve done badly, and I can tell you doing it well is better. And you really do need to invest the time and trouble in that stakeholder management, and particularly with the Dove campaign, because Dove was such a huge brand at Unilever, and because an awful lot of the stakeholders who had to agree to it were men. We had to do that really, really well. And we came up with a plan. We found men didn’t quite understand the insight in the way that women did. So we interviewed the daughters of the senior leaders to find out how they felt about their bodies. And we brought that to life for those senior leaders because men generally just didn’t believe that women didn’t feel beautiful. It was what’s wrong with you? You are beautiful.

[01:02:07.970] – Andi J

Why would you think you’re not beautiful?

[01:02:09.240] – Daryl F

Exactly. And so that was the, if you like, the stakeholder insight that we had. And we used marketing in a way, internal marketing, to overcome that barrier. But it was a workup. It wasn’t something we did in five minutes. It was a big old programme. And Unilever invested a lot of time and trouble in onboarding everybody with this strategy. And then again, when we actually had the work, we did two major programmes of stakeholder management. Now, it’s a huge organisation with 400 marketers globally, I think, on working on the brand. So it was a big old effort, but really getting that senior buy-in because we knew that once it materialised, it was going to be a bit radical.

[01:02:55.720] – Andi J

My 2024 head is… That’s not actually what I meant. 2024 head? It is 2024 in my head. That’s otherwise, it’s mostly something I can’t even talk about my forehead.

[01:03:08.440] – Daryl F

I thought you had a perfectly clear forehead for one moment then.

[01:03:12.320] – Andi J

In 2024, I can just imagine You’re getting in touch with the brand manager’s PA or the chief executive of Unilever’s PA and going, just need to talk to his daughter. Can you get her on the phone for me? Just imagine the look he would get now. I’ll be like, Absolutely not.

[01:03:31.210] – Daryl F

No, I think we benefited from probably no GDPR. But when there’s a will, there’s a way. I’m a great believer in that. I bet if we were really keen to do it, we could have done it.

[01:03:45.770] – Andi J

The bit I loved, I’d done something slightly different.

[01:03:49.420] – Daryl F

We got the mums, by the way. We didn’t go and talk with daughters at school or anything appalling. We actually got the mum’s permission.

[01:03:58.560] – Andi J

There’s a couple of times I’ve presented ideas to clients that have come out of focus groups and things like that. You can sit for hours and you can tell people and you can show them all the lovely charts and all the lovely graphs, and you get the feeling that they’re on the bus with you a little bit sometimes. Or they’ve maybe got no idea what you’re talking about. But the moment where you just drop in the 30 second clip of the customer telling them about the problem, when I buy that car and I can’t get the push chair in the boot and it just make it, and then I’m late for school on it. And it’s just like, that’s what we mean by that data point there. And you can just see, I get it. And the voice of the customer in the room, I think is critically medical.

[01:04:36.080] – Daryl F

Totally agree. And it’s slightly sad that that is what it takes. But we’re bringing that human to life rather than describing them in a PowerPoint slide or a deck. It does help. It really does help. As long as they’re really typical. I still, I worked when I was at on Milker as a brand. And there’s just one customer video we had from some ethnographic research we did, which just brings everything to life for me. And it was just that little clip of video. And I was on the client side, but you just go, yeah, I get that insight because I’ve seen that real person doing it for real. And I think that it just makes it real and relatable.

[01:05:24.180] – Andi J

Absolutely. I don’t think it’s fair to ask you for an opinion on this, although if you wanted to give one, I would happily listen. One of the One of the last blogs I wrote, I don’t write blogs anymore, a podcast instead. But one of the last blogs I wrote was about Monalese and their lovely humaning position, which I don’t know. What position? Humaning. Humaning? They weren’t looking for human to human relationships. They were going to develop brands that were humaning. And I just remember reading, and you know when you’re like, this is utter bullshit. It’s like every single word of what was released was bullshit. The video released with it was bullshit. And I I can’t often do it. I was like, I just had to clear the diary for the moment. I was like, right. Started bashing at the keyboard.

[01:06:07.770] – Daryl F

Yeah, I think you’d have to look at it and go, is there a real positive underpinning and substance to that? Is it the language or is it the actual intent?

[01:06:18.790] – Andi J

I’m sure. I can’t imagine at a company that size, you would do something like that that isn’t research-driven and insight-driven. But there’s a bit where at some point you get to it and you have to then make it into something. How do you describe it?

[01:06:31.480] – Daryl F

Yes. I haven’t heard of it, so I’m rather happy.

[01:06:34.260] – Andi J

Hopefully, it’s been taken out the back and had a bump through the neck. It was a couple of years ago, so maybe it’s just been quietly killed. It sounds as though there’s some good intent behind that, but the language is just, it does make you underreach for the sick bag. Yes, absolutely. So we’ll move on from that. We are sat here with the Blue Bible. Oh, yes. Does Can I actually call it the Blue Bible?

[01:07:01.240] – Daryl F

I don’t know, actually. I mean, funnily enough, but when the publisher’s first cover designs were designed to look like a St. James’s Bible, but we decided against in the end and went for something a little bit more elementary, but thank you for the compliment. I’d hope that would be how people would regard it.

[01:07:20.920] – Andi J

So it’s The Brand Book, an Insider’s Guide to Brand Building for Organised… For business… Let me try that again. I might even see if we can edit that out. It’s The Brand Book, an Insider’s Guide to Brand Building for Businesses and Organisations by Daryl Fielding. Why did you write the book? That’s the big question. Why did you write the book?

[01:07:38.930] – Daryl F

Well, first of all, I didn’t want to die before I’d written a book at all. And this is actually the fourth book I’ve started and the only one I’ve finished. So that was part of the motivation. Secondly, I was becoming increasingly aware that brand thinking, if you like, was being deepositioned in the industry at the top and the bottom of the industry. And I felt I wanted to fight against that because for me, the brand is everything. The brand is the combination of product and reputation. There isn’t a chief executive in the country, in the world, who wouldn’t care about those two things. And the book is very much about taking that as a starting point and then everything you need to do to figure out your brand and execute it. But what I saw happening, which I wanted to at least try and drag people back from, was first of all, I think a lot of chief executives are possibly positioning it as little bit as, that’s what the fluffy people with the crayons are doing. And they’ve forgotten that brand is about those things, and it’s just about the compliance, the logo design, and the more shallow manifestations of the business fundamentals.

[01:08:56.110] – Daryl F

So I wanted to pull it back to being at the fundamental part of any business or organisations being. Then in marketing, at the more junior level, I think you get an awful… Because marketing has become so much more fragmented and specialised, You get an awful lot of people who are coming in to do digital specialists.

[01:09:18.600] – Andi J

And they’re not being taught about the bigger brand picture.

[01:09:23.730] – Daryl F

They’re just being taught about search engine optimisation or social media influencing or data analytics or what have you. And they then come across brand as the rather unpleasant people with the crayons telling them that they actually can’t do this, that, and the other without any idea about why. And so they then think of brand as a restriction to creativity and innovation and just a nuisance. But if they understood what a brand really is all about and why, they could then unleash their creativity and apply it in a more brand-appropriate way where it would stand more of a chance of actually flourishing and happening rather than just being told no by somebody. And I think the other thing that happens is as those individuals get promoted and rise up through the organisation. They get to a point where they can’t move on because all they understand the very specific skillset that they have because they’ve had no training and understanding of the bigger picture of building a business and a brand. So it was really to help them learn about where their career might go and also how they could understand the brand they work for better and be able to bring some of their ideas to life in a way that would be helpful to that brand.

[01:10:48.400] – Daryl F

So it was tackling this deep positioning of brand into the fluffy people with crayons or the miserable people with crayons who won’t let you do anything to really what I think it is all about, which is a fundamental underpinning of any business or organization’s success.

[01:11:07.900] – Andi J

And do you think that that move that you saw was turbo-charged by that explosion of Google and Facebook advertising, particularly, where they suddenly told you that you could measure everything and therefore you knew exactly what was going to be a success all of the time? I mean, it was never the case, but people Who believed it. And is that what was, well, we don’t need all this because we can just measure ROAS?

[01:11:37.320] – Daryl F

Yes. I think it was. I think that that attitude was turbo-charged by that. And I think it’s still present to some degree. And I think it’s jolly unhelpful. Of course, all those things matter. But the idea that there’s everything we ever learnt over decades about customers, emotion, and preference and choice can be completely thrown out of the window now because we’re just measuring everything. It can’t be right, can it? I mean, there’s always a slight falling in love with new stuff. But I did attend a conference some years ago at a major tech company where one of their staff got up on the stage and said, well, in 20 years, it’ll be a completely digital world, which we all look forward to because all the old people who don’t do digital will be dead. Now, as one of the older people in the room, I was so shocked. I didn’t have the wherewithal to leave and make a fuss. You put any other protected characteristic of an age in there, it’s absolutely unthinkable. So I think there was this notion that digital would be the be all and the end all. And it is important.

[01:13:02.250] – Daryl F

It’s time to get it in perspective. And all the other things we used to do are still as valid, and we just need to integrate them. And some of the best digital brands that we all admire, your apples, your Googles, I don’t know who everybody’s in love with at the moment, Airbnb or the latest whatever. They’re as avid as any other organisation in curating and managing their brand and understanding understanding what the logo is, what it stands for, what its purpose is, what its strategy is, who it’s aiming at, what its positioning is. They’re avid about that.

[01:13:38.820] – Andi J

I saw a stat the other day, which was, and again, I didn’t interrogate the stat. It was more something I was scanning. So take this with a slight pinch of salt. But Samsung generally outsells Apple, but not by very much in the mobile phone world or cell phones for the Americans. Apple spends about 30 % on advertising of what Samsung spends on advertising to be within fractions of a percentage of what they do. And the point it was making was that actually Apple invests in that in-store experience, the genius bar, which is very different to any other. But that’s not a retail proposition, it’s a brand proposition. And that’s why they can spend 30 % less for a very similar result to Samsung, because they invest in all those brand touchpoints. Packaging. The whole packaging design and product design, it all helps to add that in. And I’m always really wary about talking about Apple and Samsung on the podcast because so few people ever get to work with that type of brand. But it’s really interesting how they invest in everything along that brand journey, not just let’s throw money advertising.

[01:14:44.800] – Daryl F

Well, that’s the other bit about deep positioning of brand and the idea that brand is all about the advertising. Actually, that was the definition of it when I joined Vodafone UK as the director of brand. And I spent the first three months talking at Complete Cross with all my colleagues. And I finally had a big aha moment where I got, oh, when they say the word brand, they mean advertising. Wow. And it was the biggest brand in the UK. So I was slightly taken aback by that. So part of my job was to get the organisation to have a better comprehension of what brand really means, which is everything we do in a way. And I remember having this conversation with the I said, the customer spends more time with their bills than they do with our advertising. Everything we do is going to create that reputation as well as the product. And that’s where it’s reputation and product So in the book, we’ll be talking about the packaging, the pricing, the positioning, the visual identity, and even all other sensory equities that the brand might have. And I think the way Apple is packaged is a huge part of the creation and curation of themselves as a quality and premium brand.

[01:16:12.890] – Daryl F

The fact that people video un You go, there’s the ring. Yeah, it’s incredible. And packaging may not be desperately important for your brand, but if it is, then you need to make sure that it reinforces what your brand stands for. It’s often the first thing anyone sees of your brand. You’re a cheap and cheerful brand. You should have cheap and cheerful packaging. It’s not that everything has to be spangy and luxy. It has to reinforce what you’re trying to build as the customer’s sentiment towards your brand. So, yeah, I think just moving from the idea that brand equals comms or advertising is so important. It’s other stuff.

[01:16:56.010] – Andi J

I’ve been working recently with a car I’m going to have to talk in very vague terms. And not doing the major strategy thing, doing some very lower-level thing. And one part I struggled to get my head around is their price point for their product is significantly lower than most of the people for that type of product in the market. But they are insistent on telling everyone it’s a premium product. And I was struggling with this. And I can tell by your eye roll, this is more of a therapy session for me. And their point was that if you get in their vehicle, everything in it is premium and equal to or better than the premium priced product. And I just kept asking the question, I said, But price is a creative factor, and people will look at it and just assume there’s something not… Because it is significantly cheaper than the premium one. No, it’s a premium product.

[01:17:55.800] – Daryl F

Well, what they’re saying, it’s a high quality product, and they’re just using the wrong words, I’ll give it potentially. Yeah, potentially. But I know what you’re saying is, unfortunately, the price of something will create a perception about it. And I have a Interestingly, a similar conversation in another part of my universe, where what is their real objection to moving that price point up? So It’s an interesting conundrum. I know what you mean.

[01:18:32.310] – Andi J

Do they just make less profit?

[01:18:35.620] – Daryl F

Where does that value actually go? Are they got economies of scale? How could they explain that?

[01:18:42.970] – Andi J

With difficulty to the customer, And I’ll tell you off there a little bit more about it. But with difficulty to the customer, I think, how are they going to do it? In the end, when we looked a little bit more at a few things, I don’t think it’s going to be the thing that will hold them back on where they want to go I think they’ll get there anyway for a number of other factors. But it was really interesting because their brand team who we also had little dealings with, we were not involved in that discussion. That was just somebody else. So I was like, oh, well, not a brand team.

[01:19:15.260] – Daryl F

Yeah, I think that’s one of my other big beefs about the marketing industry is, and it’s particularly because brand being deepositioned into comms and marketing also in many organisations is just about communications and not about the fundamentals of price product and other aspects of what a brand is. And what I also see is you see a diminution of commercial skill in brand teams that end up with them being almost incapable of having a conversation with their commercial brand partners in the organisation who get furious with them and bully them because they’re just the fluffy people with crayons. And what’s the matter with you? Go and give us half a pound of awareness because that’s what your job is, matey. I don’t find that particular dynamic helpful either. But what the brand people need to do is equip themselves with enough commercial now to be able to have those conversations if the organisation is structured in that way and really bringing that value to those people. And as you say, the brand team weren’t even involved in those conversations. And that’s part of what’s slightly going wrong with the industry and marketing and branding is because those things are becoming increasingly siloed because those people are losing respect for each other and can’t have a conversation.

[01:20:46.560] – Daryl F

And to some degree, the brand book is trying to tether that. I mean, if I do write another book, it might be called the Money Book. I don’t know. Because the whole commercial skills. And I know Mark Ritzon with his MBA is also avid about that because I do think it’s a developing problem. I used to do a training course for the industry about writing good marketing plan. And the first bit of it was about setting objectives. There’d always be some in that course that we go, I don’t do percentages. I would be like from the exorcist. I’m like, well, kiss goodbye to ever being chief executive, love. Did you get a Maths GCSE? Yes. Well, then you can do percentages. We are not talking. You do not need differential calculus to be a good marketer. You need to be able to add up and you need to do percentages. You need to be able to interpret data. So get with that programme because not being able to do it. And then those very self saying people would describe that they’ve got horrible people elsewhere in the organisation that are yelling at them, but they lack the skill to have a conversation with those people.

[01:21:56.340] – Daryl F

And the language to be able to have that conversation. And if they’re the ones going, oh, I don’t percentages, then you can’t entirely blame the people who are more percentage-driven who own the PnL for the brand elsewhere in the organisation for being annoyed. So I do think we have to upskill the marketing industry on the commercials.

[01:22:15.880] – Andi J

I really do. And I think Ritzon is always very clear on his view of commercials that the number one job for most marketers in most jobs is to sell more stuff and get comfortable with it. Because your number is, oh, we’ve done this and we’ve done this and we’ve done this.

[01:22:29.400] – Daryl F

You’ve got a job in the arts. How many more things did you sell?

[01:22:32.740] – Andi J

I don’t know. You need to find that out. Yes, I know.

[01:22:36.060] – Daryl F

Be on top of your be on top of your numbers. Absolutely.

[01:22:39.710] – Andi J

Absolutely. I think it’s one of my big bugbears when I’ve worked with some agencies is I tell them to write the reports upside down. The agencies often give clients reports that start with some very lovely big numbers. And we did this. And then buried on page 73 or wherever is the thing that tells you how many more things that they sold. Put that at the top. Put that as a narrow a peak at the top and then explain how you got there and get wider at the bottom. That’s really wise advice. As opposed to starting with all the fat stuff at the top and coming down to the narrow point. Because you give the client the report, what’s the first thing they do? Yeah. Flip back to page. Oh, there’s the answer.

[01:23:14.560] – Daryl F

There’s the answer.

[01:23:14.950] – Andi J

Just give me a look. Absolutely. Even if it’s terrible. Yes. You build trust that way.

[01:23:18.410] – Daryl F

Yes, absolutely. Totally, totally agree.

[01:23:21.160] – Andi J

So you’ve said two things about books. You’ve written this one. Yes. And you might write another one called The Moon Book. I might. But you also said there was four you didn’t write. Which one was closest to finishing, or have any of them been anywhere near close to being finished?

[01:23:39.070] – Daryl F

Well, I’ve probably written half a book under a pseudonym about dating in my 50s.

[01:23:51.470] – Andi J


[01:23:51.860] – Daryl F


[01:23:52.190] – Andi J

Okay. Right.

[01:23:53.730] – Daryl F

And I’m aware that there’s probably only so much you can say on the topic. There is only so much I’m prepared to say on the topic.

[01:24:00.270] – Andi J

Excellent. Well, look, if the book ever comes up.

[01:24:03.340] – Daryl F

And then the other one, the other one I did begin was called, interestingly, Looping Back a little bit to diversity, but very much about gender diversity and women in senior positions was going to be corporate geisha, which was really all about roles that are decorative as opposed to having the power in organisations.

[01:24:28.200] – Andi J

What do the men in the publishing company have allowed you to call it that?

[01:24:31.750] – Daryl F

Probably not now. I mean, this is a while back, but it was very much about what are the power roles in organisations, and particularly with regard to women who sometimes Sometimes I think gravitate to roles that are more in a service capacity rather than those who own the commercials. So that was one of the other books. I can’t remember the fourth, actually.

[01:24:56.650] – Andi J

I’m never going to get finished. Are they…

[01:25:00.920] – Daryl F

I don’t think so. I think the one about dating, I think the slightly… The world has moved on slightly and it did get published online. So I just didn’t turn it into the book, which is going to tell my husband’s side of the story.

[01:25:18.970] – Andi J

I was at a discussion with a screenwriter the other week. I was just in the audience watching them. A couple of screenwriters, and one of them talked about the creative power of writing something and then just destroying it at the end. Okay. And how… It’s advice that someone had given some children years ago about writing poems and to just write it and then just destroy it. Because a lot of the time when you’re starting to try and be creative, you’re so worried about what other people might think of it that you stop yourself. So just write the thing that you want to do, write it, leave it, read it the next day, and then destroy it, and then do it again, and then do it again. And then at some point you’ll be more comfortable with what you’re doing that you’d be happy to share. And I think there is something slightly different in that process of you’ve half written some of these books, which has probably led you to writing this book. And if you wouldn’t have half written them, this wouldn’t have been it.

[01:26:14.090] – Daryl F

Maybe that’s possibly true. Yes, that is possibly true. I mean, that’s very much writing what I know. And actually the dating thing was published. It was published online. And the corporate geisha never saw the light of day. So maybe that’s what I did first. Then I did an online, and then I did a real, a real thwackable doorstep of a book. Absolutely.

[01:26:35.800] – Andi J

And obviously, as I’ve said many times, there’s a link in the show notes to buy the book.

[01:26:41.050] – Daryl F

It’s nicely written, she says modestly. I’ve written it because I wanted it to be completely free of jargon, because I wanted anybody, maybe somebody who’s got a corner shop or who’s opened an online bakery or anybody, I would hope would be able to read it and do something better as a result. So I defy anyone to find jargon in there.

[01:27:07.790] – Andi J

Excellent. So before we wrap up, one last question about Vodafone. When were you at Vodafone? I’ll ask questions about Vodafone.

[01:27:14.090] – Daryl F

Okay. I was at Vodafone from 2013 to 2015.

[01:27:21.200] – Andi J

I’m just I’m fascinated about the role of brand management in, A, such a big beast, B, A big beast in such a competitive market space. C, it’s very strangely competitive, isn’t it? That space in that there’s only three competitors and there’s probably only ever going to be three competitors because there was a merger and an acquisition thing killed about the time you were there. So it became clear that off-come we’re only ever going to let at the minimum of four, and nobody else really had the money to buy into the market anyway. Are you just essentially looking for fractions of percentages of growth in that world? Or how does that work in such a competitive, but strangely uncompetitive space?

[01:28:04.830] – Daryl F

Yes. Well, I think it’s interesting because, of course, there are the actual network providers who have the physical infrastructure, and there are four in the UK. There’s quite a lot of evidence, actually, despite appearance, is that it’s one too many because it’s actually quite a capital-intensive business. So you’ve got the actual network providers, but you’ve also got the virtual network providers, your Tesco Mobile, your Libara, your Smarties, all of which, Sainsbury, all of which are gif-gif, all of which use one or other of the core network providers. If you’ve got… It In the UK, it is not a very profitable market to be a network provider, actually. And if you’ve got four people competing for that business, it actually makes it very, very, very difficult for any of them to make money. Actually, three is a better number.

[01:29:05.830] – Andi J

There’s a little bit of that in the marketplace at the minute, isn’t there? Yes, there’s a merger on the horizon.

[01:29:10.380] – Daryl F

But there’s always consolidations, and particularly with people wanting to bundle in internet provision, television provision. There’s bundling and debundling because everybody’s trying to figure it out. One of the reasons the UK is a difficult market to make money is because of the planning permission on mast sizes. I mean, it sounds like a really practical thing. When you go on holiday, for example, you’ll see much taller masks than you’ll see in the UK, which create… You need fewer of them to provide the network coverage. So people never know that. What I found… Because I got a science degree, I love all that stuff. The engineering of providing a mobile network is a lot harder than it looks because you’ve got to have wires and masks and airway waves that get to the mobiles. People can’t understand why you can’t do it in the middle of a city. Well, it’s really hard to do it in the middle of a city because there’s loads of buildings getting in the way of those waves. No line of sight. Yeah. It is actually a very physical thing. Yeah, I guess it’s a very competitive market. I think the other thing that struck me when I joined, and this was a while ago now, was that you had an industry that grew up with real supply-side bias because people were suddenly getting mobiles.

[01:30:33.550] – Daryl F

Then you had the smartphone and the data. Mostly what the mobile network providers have had to do is just get the bandwidth and provide the linkage as fast as the customers want it. So they’ve never really had to create demand. Interesting. They’ve just… Captured what’s there. It’s been an exponential growth of that demand without many of the providers of those businesses having to do much to earn it. So you have a management who have been used to growth as a given and cannot understand when that growth saturates. So when I joined, there was a sense of bafflement about why they’re not growing. So the first step was, well, I’ll tell you what, we’ll reduce our prices. And then everybody else copied. This wasn’t at Vodafone, it was not Vodafone, it was in the So it’s just the industry. Somebody dropped their prices first. Everybody copied them. We’ve all got the same share. Now we’re all earning even less. That was a daff thing to do. So there isn’t a senior management culture in that industry that really understands how to innovate and how to grow brands. I’m generalising. And it’s a bit the same when any market saturates.

[01:31:52.000] – Daryl F

I came from Mondales, where I was Vice President of Marketing, where you’re working your tail off to drive three % growth in a mature market like chocolate. And you know how to do that. And then everybody’s moaning that they can’t grow. I’m like, Try me in chocolate, mate. I’ll tell you what. And then, of course, they’re looking at me going, what does this chocolate bird know about anything? So that was the culture clash. Just do some more brand, darling. That’s what we’ve hired you for. Oh, goodness me. So, yeah, I did improve the adverts and got some semblance of brand understanding into the organisation. But they’re very much, I think, one of my regrets in a way with Vodafone is that they do tend to change their brand theme and campaigns every time they change their marketing people, which is pretty frequently, unfortunately.

[01:32:51.630] – Andi J

It’s a very interesting sector, a really interesting market.

[01:32:56.040] – Daryl F

And I think the fundamental problem is you need somebody who’s run Unilever to go and run one of those companies and start getting into the brand thing. You’ve got it in the handsets. You’ve got Apple. They know how to manage a brand. But in that network, I think it’s been such a technical challenge of supply. Operationally, absolutely fantastic. They’ve got a very… Vodafone, in particular, have quite a military culture, which you need to create the infrastructure that they’ve had to build since the ’80s.

[01:33:30.690] – Andi J

And I suppose trust as well. What’s the phrase? Trust arrives on foot and leaves on horseback or something like that. But if your network starts to fall to pieces and doesn’t work, you’ll lose market. It doesn’t matter what you’re had to do, people will run from you. It’s as quickly as they can.

[01:33:45.780] – Daryl F

Yeah, so it has to be solid. I mean, Vodafone have a lot of corporate customers. And if their network failed, the country wouldn’t function. Yeah.

[01:33:58.060] – Andi J

And it has to.

[01:33:59.280] – Daryl F

Yeah, and so the actual capability within the company on that front is awesome. They’re a great company. They’re great at network provision and ethics, and in many, many regards, I thought they were just brilliant. The brand building wasn’t a skill that they’d really needed until more recently. Until you need it, so yeah. So it’s not that they should have always had it. I imagine if you got a bunch of Unilever marketers to set up a mobile phone network. You wouldn’t have such a great result if you had a load of really good military people and engineers. Yeah.

[01:34:36.960] – Andi J

They may never thought a bit like that. Yeah.

[01:34:38.720] – Daryl F

So it’s an interesting organisation. And I really was very… The culture in Vodafone UK was terrific. I loved it. Brilliant.

[01:34:49.370] – Andi J

Well, look, thank you very much for that. Let’s leave it there. I’ve commandeered your time to use a military phrase for an hour and a half.

[01:34:55.570] – Daryl F

So thank you very much for that. Thank you for having me on and letting me boff on. It’s been the pleasure is all mine.

[01:35:02.170] – Andi J

Thank you very much. You’re welcome.