Caroline Webb is the CMO of The Royal Mint, a 1100 year old organisation that makes the UK’s money. But they do much more than that. Find out how marketing helps.
Episode 9 Season 2
Listen // Watch // Download
In this episode we discuss:
- What the Royal Mint is
- What it’s like being CMO of a brand with 1100 years of history while still innovating
- Being shortlisted for the Data Driven Marketing award with Sky, Superdrug and TalkTalk
- What’s changed in marketing teams over the last decade
- Discussing how radio was first used in retail sales
- How ideas develop at the Royal Mint
- Lessons from a career in marketing
- What jobs Caroline is currently recruiting for
- Book recommendations
Caroline joined The Royal Mint in June 2021 as Chief Marketing Officer and is accountable for elevating the brand to engage customers and support growth.
Caroline leads the strategic marketing, communications, insights and product development teams – ensuring that brand sits at the heart of decision making, and delivers our promise as The Original Maker.
Vastly experienced in marketing and product proposition, Caroline brings insight and expertise gained at leading consumer brands including Oak Furnitureland, TM Lewin and BAA Retail.
Caroline on LinkedIn
And if you want to visit The Royal Mint in Wales
Nudge by Richard H. Thaler & Cass R Sunstein
The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip Heath & Dan Heath
Digital Marketing Strategy Course
My Digital Marketing Strategy Course in partnership with the University of Vaasa in Finland is available now via Teachable for just €249.
It’s perfect for small business owners, entrepreneurs and those who want to get a better understanding of what marketing strategy is and how to embed that strategy across an organisation.
Sign up for the programme here: https://univaasa.teachable.com/p/digital-marketing-strategy
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Make sure you subscribe to get the podcast every fortnight and if you enjoyed the show, please give it a 5* rating.
Andi Jarvis, Eximo Marketing.
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.
Hey and welcome to the strategy sessions. My name is Andri Jarvis and welcome to episode nine of
season two. Today I am joined by the amazing Caroline Web. Caroline is the chief marketing officer at the
Royal Royal Mint. If you’re in the UK, you’ve probably heard of the Royal Mint might not know exactly who
they are or what they do. They make coins, but they do a lot of other things. If you’re outside the UK,
you’d be thinking the Royal what now is Caroline royalty? Is she connected to the Queen? She may well
be. I don’t know. I didn’t ask. The Royal Mint have been around for 1100 years. They make their coins in
the UK Andi a number of other countries, and they also do a lot of other things, innovative things, which
you maybe wouldn’t expect an 1100 year old business to do. I came across Caroline when I was looking
at some of the shortlists for some national awards and was really impressed that their name stood out
alongside some really forward thinking, some brands and some really big brands, as you would expect. I
thought, this is really interesting. I’ve got to get in touch with Caroline and see if she’ll come on the show
and we can talk about it.
Andi guess what? She did. And I’m really grateful that people give up their time to come on this show and
share their insights with you and with me. Without further Ado, let’s get on to listening to Caroline talking
about marketing, about building teams, about working with the Heritage Organisation and her amazing
career that’s been taking her through lots of different directions. So here we go. Let’s get straight into the
interview. Caroline, thanks for joining me on the strategy sessions. How are you doing today?
I’m good. I’m glad it’s Friday, but, yeah, always good on a Friday or a little bit better than the rest of the
Once we get over the Hill on a Friday afternoon, everything feels better then, doesn’t it?
So tell us, you are the chief marketing officer at the Royal Mint. First of all, I suppose there’s people
outside of the UK who might be thinking who the Royal Mint is as an organisation, and then tell us what
your day to day role is there.
Yeah. So the Royal Mint is one of the oldest brands in the world. It takes back to the 9th century. So for
those of you who enjoy it’s about 10010 years of history that I’m now currently the brand Guardian for and
the marketing officer for. So it’s quite a big responsibility. But what the Royal Mint is, we produce British
coins, so we work with HMT, so the treasury and the government to actually produce the British coins that
are found in everyone’s pockets. So in the UK, 90% of people are kind of very aware of who we are. What
they’re not so aware of is what we are today. And what we are today is a hugely commercial business
that still provides currency to about 20 countries around the world. But also we’ve got a consumer
business that’s very much about creating commemorative collectibles so coins that celebrate important
events in British history and British culture. We have a precious metal investment arm where people are
able to access gold, and we try and make it as easy as possible for them to do that so they can invest in
their futures. Andi also we have a collective services division, and that’s very much about helping people
curate and own beautiful coin collections, because there’s some real keen coin collectors out there that
we have as our core customers, and it’s really important that they continue to develop their collections
Right. We’ll come back to your core customers in a moment. First of all, I want to talk about the brand,
because there must have been a moment when you got the job where you went. Yes, I’ve just got the job
of CMO at the Royal Mint. Oh, my word. One 10 years of history. It’s an interesting place, isn’t it? Taking
over a heritage brand where it’s an amazing place to be. But also, are you aware of the weight of history
Yeah, it plays quite a heavy role because we have processes and systems that have been dating back
hundreds of years to get us to do product design. And one part of my role is about product development
and what goes on those coins. So it’s really important. We’re really respectful of the past, respectful of
where we are in today’s culture, but making it contemporary Andi relevant for today’s market. So it’s there
all of the time. We’re fortunate enough to have an experience where you can actually go and see the
history behind the wheel, and that’s next to the office, so we can pop in whenever we want. It’s also open
to the public and then behind the scenes, we’ve actually got the depth of the archives of the Royal Mint
dating back all the way back to the earliest coins that have been found. So they’ve got evidence there.
And that was the mesmerising bit of when I joined. I think in my first couple of weeks, I paid a couple of
visits over there Andi really saw that history living. But the archives that go with that, I think most brands
would be very enviable of having.
So it’s a real honour, but it’s also made everybody’s got something to say about it. So all my UK
colleagues and friends and family go, wow. And certainly some of my family is the most proud they’ve
ever been when I told them what my new job was.
So it’s a real privilege and I’m really honoured to be that I am going to avoid trying to make this the most
boring podcast in history. Well, not for me. It would be the most amazing podcast in history. Talking about
the history of some of the coins that you found and things like that. But we’ll save that for maybe a history
episode rather than a marketing one. I know from early days in my career, I worked at Durham County
Cricket Club. And while it’s not the Royal Mint, everyone who came to watch Durham, everyone who was
born in County Durham felt rightly. So as well, they owned part of the club. It was part of them. And you’re
always aware of every decision you made. While it may bring in new fans and new people who love that
decision, there was an equal weight of people on the other side who are thinking, why have you changed
this thing? What have you done? Why have you made this all different? So it’s an interesting job, isn’t it,
trying to modernise and keep things moving from a marketing perspective when you’ve got such a
passionate bunch of fans who are really invested in your products?
I think I’m really lucky. I’ve joined the Royal Mint at a time where it’s going for a transformation. So a lot of
the time that I’m spending doing my job is focused on what that looks like. So where do we go in the next
five years? What kind of businesses could we launch that are still true to the Royal Mint’s heritage Andi
the story, but aren’t about taking the customer on a journey that they’re not comfortable going on? We’re
listening to our consumers. We’re talking to them, understanding what’s important to them in coin
collecting. But we’re also looking at things within the precious metals industry where we can really extend
the brand and use the trust and the heritage of the brand to create new opportunities with new customers
and bring that. And that’s certainly what we saw in the last few years. We’ve seen a real growth of a new
audience where younger audiences have come to us and they bought into our digital gold products and
actually sort of bought into them because of the trust Andi the heritage of the brand.
Let’s explore that a little bit more because you think maybe the core customer is a coin collector, which is,
I’m guessing here, but probably slightly older demographic or someone who’s been doing it for a long time
and has a lot of emotional investment in what they’re doing. But you’re seeing growth in younger markets
as well, and there must be a lot that you don’t come to that by accident, do you? It feels like there’s
research behind this, like there’s a whole process that got to here’s where the marketing opportunity is.
That the process, the journey you’ve been on?
Absolutely, because we’re really passionate about precious metals and gold, and it’s one of the materials
that we’ve seen work really well on some of our core products. So we’ve done coins in gold for a few
years, and we’ve seen a growing market there. So off the back of that, that’s where the kind of the
investment arm has really sort of grown and brought people to it. And then it’s about how do you make
that more relevant? Andi making a digital gold product where people can actually access it for only about
£25 a month, they can save for their future. So it’s a really accessible product. Whereas actually people
think gold is quite out of reach. It’s actually very achievable.
Brilliant stuff Andi just love the fact that it all still spins out of solid brand management principles. You
might have it when you’ve got 1100 years or eleven years of brand heritage Andi history, you’re building
all the new products off of that and spinning it off that service, which is I love this discussion and I love
this sort of information. So thank you for bringing it to us.
No problem at all. I’ve really enjoyed it and my first six months have been really kind of learning about that
history and the brand. And I’m not a history graduate, I’m a maths graduate. So it’s a really different kind
of skill set, but it’s a really fascinating place to be.
Yes. So the maths graduate thing is interesting. And again, we’ll come back to that when we talk about
your career in a little bit. But I want to talk about the Data Driven Marketing award that you want from the
Marketing Week Awards. Tell us about that, because again, you think Heritage Brand, you were up
against Sky, Superdrug Talk Talk and other people like that in the shortlist. So what was the project that
was involved and how did all that ecomm together?
So I can’t really take all the credit for it because it was done before I joined the Royal Mint. Take it, take
all the credit. No, I’m really not about that. I’m really about investing in teams and spending time really
praising the teams that are around me. And at the moment, I’ve inherited some great people who are
really passionate about our products the way we do it, but also our customers and how we can always do
it better. So that data driven was off the back of how do we use our data better on a day to day basis
through our email campaigns and our sort of automation process. So all credit to them for really turning
that around and kind of presenting it in a way that made a real difference and it’s made a real commercial
difference, which is why it’s able to kind of stand up there against other people and sort of stack up
against some of those bigger brands, not older brands, but bigger brands. In terms of more marketing
savvy. I think that some people would think the world meant was you mentioned.
Caroline, you have a maths background and there’s a debate ranges in marketing about do you need
marketing qualifications to get into marketing and things like that. So you started with a math degree.
Where was your route into marketing from there.
So I did start with a math degree because I remember someone saying to me when I was very young,
Just do what you enjoy. So for a lot of people, math is the least, the thing they like the least. And I really
loved it. So when I got to choose my University degree, I decided to do maths. But I didn’t just do math, I
did maths and management. So the management element had marketing in it and strategic marketing
and strategic management. And I just went, this is ticking quite a few boxes. I wasn’t interested in
investment management, I wasn’t invested. And I was in London at University and the general steer was
going to the city and do different things. And I went, no, I want to do marketing. So I really felt it when I
was studying it and I really thought, okay, this is what I want to do. I’m going to go for it. And then I put
myself out there and then I’m still here a few years later in a great role.
Fantastic. I think the skills you learn. I’m a big believer in marketing qualifications and people. You can
learn lots of things on the job, but sometimes that grounding is great. But I also like people coming in from
different backgrounds who bring a different view to the world. Marketing is often characterised as a
creative profession, but actually there’s a lot of the job which is not creative, isn’t it? It’s very numeric, very
spreadsheet driven. So does that grounding in maths really help as you were coming through your
Absolutely. I remember one of my first employers said the only reason you got an interview was because
you had a maths degree, because you were different to everybody else coming through. So that stood
out. And I think as marketing evolved is particularly over the last 15 years where it’s become more data
driven. One of the things I’m really proud of is that actually I understand data, but hopefully I balance that
really well with the creative skills because I enjoy those. So I’ve got this ability to look at numbers and not
be scared by them. And I think one of my bits of advice for anyone coming through marketing would be,
don’t be scared of the numbers, you can learn them, you can teach them, you just have to take the time.
And I’m lucky because I look at numbers and I get them. Not everybody’s that lucky, but you can learn
that kind of skill. And it’s really important to your point about getting diversity and thought and it’s all about
diversity of thought and having different people from different backgrounds is great.
I think it was Dave Trott, the legendary admin, who said, data is a fact, but it’s not the truth. And I think he
was sort of leaning into the interpretation of the data is an important skill or probably the most important
skill from there. And that’s a grounding of the maths and the management element I put together, I would
Yeah, absolutely. Andi quite often use the line data you can spin to any story you want and it depends
who’s telling the story. So you’ve got to be careful that you don’t just listen to the data because there’s
usually a lot more to it. And again, you’ve got to really trust who’s presenting that data to you, because
I’ve seen it from so many different angles and people go, It’s the right answer. And you’re like, but you
haven’t looked at the other lens that’s coming to that. And I’ve had digital experts going, well, you can’t
trust that data. And I’ve had offline experts going, well, you can’t trust that data. And it’s like you’re not
trying to judge the data together, you’re trying to look at it as a different view Andi a different perspective.
And I think a lot of marketing I once described, I do a lot of joining the dots Andi actually it’s about
connecting thoughts and bits of information that you gather through the day, through the week, through
the years, and you put those together into what makes good marketing. It’s all about that. And as I’ve kind
of progressed through my career, I spend more time joining the dots than I do actually marketing.
I once said to a bunch of younger marketers. It was one of the University courses I was guest lecturing on
about getting comfortable with, realising that you’ll never have all the data you really want Andi think it’s
almost the lie digital spreaders is that there’s enough data and you’ll get all the data you need all the time
Andi the fact that you never will, will you? You just have to be comfortable. You’ve got enough to support
that. You’ve seen the whole picture and then make a decision from there, because otherwise you just
become paralysed by it, don’t you? Waiting for more data to prove or disprove something.
And I think that’s a real danger as well for brands that aren’t making decisions quick enough, because
again, I’ve worked in places previously where if you wait too long for the decision, the opportunity is gone.
What I really love about where we are, we’re quite dynamic, we’re quite a flat structure, we’re able to
make quick decisions and therefore by doing that you can respond quicker to what you’re seeing.
In terms of being able to respond quickly. That comes you mentioned your team already, but having a
great team in place is an important part of being able to respond quickly because as CMO, you’re not
pressing all the buttons on everything, you’re reliant on people feeding information up to you so that you
can make a decision as a team. Over the last ten years, what changes have you seen in many skills that
your teams need or the type of people coming into your teams? Have you seen any change at all.
Yeah, I think a couple of things have happened. When I started in marketing, you used to do marketing
and you used to touch all sorts of disciplines. In the last ten years, I think people have become experts in
quite a narrow field, and I think there’s a lack now of more general marketers who are able to kind of dip
into different skill sets Andi bring those together as a bit of a unique combination. So I’ve definitely seen a
narrowing of skill sets. I think there’s an over emphasis on digital skills and offline skills. They’re the same
skills. It’s just a different channel. Andi the number of times I’ve had people tell me, well, you can’t do that.
You’re not a digital marketer. And I’m like, but it’s not about the digital, it’s about the customer, it’s about
the person that’s receiving that. It doesn’t matter which channel. You’ve just got to make the decision for
the channel that’s right for the customer, not what you think. Because you’re a digital marketer. It must be
Yeah, I did some teaching this week, which is why maybe it’s all top of mind at the moment, but I’ve been
asked to teach on a digital marketing strategy module Andi my response to the University was, I don’t
believe digital marketing strategy exists. So can you change the module or can I teach them something
different Andi think, maybe it came across as being a little bit artsy when I sent that reply. But the point I
was making was, I don’t fundamentally believe a digital marketing strategy does exist. You can have a
marketing strategy, you can have digital outputs of that. But if you have a digital marketing strategy,
you’ve already decided what’s best for the customer without considering what the customer needs,
haven’t you? So I was trying to explain that to somebody via an email, so maybe we’ll get a call about that
another point, but is that the sort of approach you think think of the customer first, not the outputs first?
Absolutely. You can’t define the way you’re going to speak to that customer until you’ve decided who that
customer is. And that’s been true again, all my roles I’ve done and not more so than at the Royal Min.
We’ve got to be really sure about who the end customer is and make sure the message is right, and then
work out where they’re going to respond to that message in the best way. But also create we’re working
on a product that people don’t need. So I’m not working on tea bags that people need a cup of tea in the
morning. I’m working on products that people just want to own and like to own or are lucky enough to
own, Andi therefore it’s got a slightly different relationship than a brand that you need every day.
Where do you land on the customer portraits, that sort of approach? Because some people get very
strong views on this. They love them or they hate them. Where do you stand on that? Do you have
different personas for each of your customer groups or do you take a different approach?
So the need for customer personas is absolutely there. We need to be sure who they are and what
they’re doing and why they’re buying into the Wyoming. I think we’ve got some work to do in that area. So
I’ve just recruited a new head of Insights. He’s arriving next month, so I’m not going to delve into the
Insights world, but what’s really great about that, he’s bringing other world experience to the brand and
helping do more work on the segmentation and the data and the customer types and making it one voice
for the whole business. Andi think that I’m less worried about the type of persona, the type of leader, as
long as it’s consistent through the business.
Yeah, no, really good point. I think you do tend to end up down blind alleys sometimes talking about
personas with people throwing things at each other, going, I hate them, you don’t need them, I love them.
Of course, you should put this information in. So it’s a really good point to focus on consistency, I
suppose, more than anything else.
Andi every job I’ve had has always had a version of it. I think it’s really important, but it could be as simple
as just the value of those customers Andi grouping them that way, or it could be about how they interact
with the brand. That’s fine, too. I don’t think we need to overcomplicate it. That’s probably not what I need
to say, but it’s true in what I believe. I just think sometimes again, it goes back to we’ve become very
specialist in individual bits. You’ve got to think holistically of how you’re going to use that segmentation as
well, because it comes to a point, you can have segments and you can have personas. If you can’t
actually use them, the value is gone for the business.
Yeah. Andi usability is probably an underrated skill. Keeping things simple Andi the value of a one pager.
I was in a conversation the other day, a one pager for Tom, he was called was explaining to me that a
one pager for him is anything up to ten pages. It’s more about being able to cut your ideas short, but then
he visualises it over a number of pages. I was like, I’m not sure that is fairly useful or not, but do you have
that sort of rigour in your organisation where new ideas are presented on one page and put to a group, or
are you a little bit more flexible than that?
Where the ideas ecomm from at the moment, I think we’re quite flexible in that anyone could have an idea
and feed it into the team, particularly in marketing. The PR team do a fantastic job of going out with really
creative ideas about launching coins. So we sent the Space Coins, so that appeared in Space with David
Bowie and Space Oddity. And the Olympics coin ended up last year, or the Team GB one ended up in
Japan last summer. So there’s lots of ways you can kind of be creative and think about things we can do
differently. But creative ideas for products is quite an interesting one because where do they come from?
What’s contemporary now isn’t necessarily contemporary in two years, which is when the product would
come out. So we’ve got to think really smartly about how we get that information and then how we ask our
customers what they would value and what they would want to put in their pockets.
Yeah, not so much what the process is in that, but how do you know when you’ve landed in the right
place with that? Do you get a feeling about it? Sometimes because there is you could go backwards and
forwards and look for more information and more data and kick it around again in the ideation process
until you launch something. But if you go undercooked, you could end up with a flop on your hands, and
too many flops becomes career limiting. So how do you know when you think, I’m comfortable with this?
Let’s give it a go.
Again. It’s about being flexible Andi free. So if it’s low investment in terms of marketing, actually try it,
because everything was a trial at one point, whether it was Facebook marketing or social posts, they
were all trials in their own space. Back in my early days when I was working at Devon’s, radio used to be
a new thing that retail didn’t really get. And then you got into all sorts of different conversations about
what was new. So you’ve always got to be willing to try something new and try Andi do it in a really limited
risk way. So we’ve got to be safe. We got to be secure. We’ve got to make sure that we put our due
diligence into it. That doesn’t mean you’ve got to kind of hold yourself back from doing the best for your
brand and the best for your product, because you’ve just got to get something that works Andi it’s moving
all the time. That’s the other thing that’s happened more recently. The world in the marketing world is
moving faster than it’s ever moved.
I’m fascinated about the idea of radio being new in fashion Andi retail. I just assume radio is always part
of their at least usually driving people to sales or something like that. But radio hasn’t always been part of
the retailers brand plans.
No. So when I went to Debbie, and it was a long, long time ago, so we won’t talk about exactly how many
years. But when I was there, I worked on their one day spectaculars. So one of the biggest sales events
of the year, a couple of them a year really successful for the business. And there it was very much about
radio was the last thing because it couldn’t be tracked. But these were the days when we used to spend
money on TV and it worked. Every time we had leaflets, we had local marketing going out to quite kind of
gorilla marketing. We had clowns running up and down Oxford Street at one point of my career that was
all kind of targeting those days to get people and the Theatre and the experience of shopping really nice.
But radio is one of those things. So I remember saying, can I just trial it? So we trialled it in half the
stores, in half of the locations. Suddenly you see percentage uplifts and everyone went all, next time we’ll
put that in everywhere, then we’ll put another day, then we’ll use it for other things. But it’s not logical.
It wasn’t in those days. It’s logical to use radio for retail didn’t understand it Andi we didn’t have that retail
online relationship that came through later. So when I was working on the money advice service, radio
Andi online worked really well because the service was fully provided online. Radio was able to drive and
interrupt those moments to drive people to take a little look at their money and their situation. So yeah,
lots of radio wasn’t necessarily the be all and end all that it is now. And I love radio. I used to love it all the
It’s such a, not a misunderstood medium, but again, younger market is coming through, kind of tends to
forget and disregard radio as a channel. But when you look at the figures Andi the listening hours and
when people have the radio on, they tend to have them for a long time. It’s just such an integral part of
people’s lives, isn’t it? It’s just a huge channel for reaching the right people with such great frequency and
on a really personal level.
Andi think even increasingly now we’re exposed to so many messages through our lives. Whether we’re
scrolling or looking at our computers at home everyday or looking at work, you’re constantly online. So
actually when you step away you’re probably more receptive to messages than you’ve ever been because
it’s a one on one. If I’m listening the same if you do an advert in the middle of your podcast, Andy, people
listen because it’s that one on one relationship that they’re really connecting to.
Maybe I should give a little pause and advertise my marketing strategy course, which is available in all
good universities in Finland, University in Barcelona. Link in the show notes Sorry, we moved back quick.
That’s the advertising out of the way.
Well, you have their attention, definitely.
I hope so. I’ll see how many clicks we get afterwards. That’s the important thing. You’ve had a career in
sort of retail and consumer roles across various slightly different sectors and some that really stand out to
me. But which one of the jobs, which sort of period of your career, would you think where you really
learned and you really developed and started to see things flourish?
I think, yeah. Looking back, Debenham was probably because I stayed there. It was one of my longest
ten years, so I was there for seven and a half years and it really kind of cemented a lot of the basic skills
because during that time the reason I stayed was because I moved around quite a lot and covered
different elements and that’s one of the things that’s kind of why have I taken all these different roles in
my career? It’s to try and build my skills out in different ways, rather than staying in one brand and
building out different disciplines. I’ve kind of moved to different brands and learnt different things. So
Debenham stands out because it was that real kind of nurturing was early in my career Andi really saw
me kind of take marketing much more seriously than I probably previously had and then other roles that
have kind of defined me, I would say actually TM Lewin was probably one of the first ones where I was
really taking ownership and leadership for the brands, the marketing Andi creative Studios sitting in for
me as well. So it was a real holistic role, so that really kind of cemented me as well at that kind of into the
executive level and kind of working directly with senior members of the team.
Andi then probably where I learned the most actually, and where I think I really thought differently and
started to think differently with the Money Advice Service, which I’ve already mentioned, which is a slightly
weird move in the middle of a very commercial career. I went to the Money Advice Service but I went
because I knew the person that was heading up the marketing and service delivery. She got me in to go
and help them really kind of think about their campaigns, the way they reported thinking holistically. And
there it was all about Behavioural, economics Andi kind of customers and how to motivate people who
don’t want to talk about money, to think about Money Unfortunately, everybody has challenging times in
their lives where money can be a problem or it can be really difficult and really challenging. And the
Money Advice Service was set off up on the back of the financial crisis back in 2008 and it was designed
to help everyday people with their finances. But getting someone to plan a budget or do a budget is really
difficult, so we had to find really clever ways to get them to think about it.
So it was like, how do you get them to think about everyday budgeting? They don’t. They think about it. If
they’re moving house or having a baby or something terrible happens, they lose their job and we have to
then be really sympathetic to that. But we were also targeting a completely different demographic to
everybody else, so we weren’t doing ABC one. So we weren’t doing a B, we were doing DV and trying to
think and really kind of try Andi be empathetic to how they were living their lives and really kind of do
things that were right for them and be sympathetic to that.
I always like, I think when I see people with commercial careers moving into more slightly government
roles and even the other way as well, because I think there’s a lot you can learn from how the different
approaches are. Andi certainly in that world where you’re trying to get to people before the problem
happens, it’s a real challenge, isn’t it, to get into someone’s mindset when they don’t care really about the
thing that you’re trying to sell them. So that must have been a really great learning experience there and
then you came back out of that. And there is one I want to ask you about your time at the Rank Group. I
say this because my first job at school, I was 16, I went to work at a bingo hall and after two weeks there,
there may be a bingo caller. So it should probably why I ended up with the microphone and all the kit
here, but I haven’t been in bingo for a long time. That’s again, from a money advice service through to
Travel Lodge and into the Rank Group. What were the learnings and the lessons you took from that job?
So I never made my career easy. I always went for challenging roles and that was probably one of the
most challenging because it was in an industry that wasn’t at its prime, the declining industry. But what
made it exciting was the rollout into digital, the rollout into kind of what else could we do? What else we
could create to drive new people to the bingo halls that we had in the locations? So it was a really
challenging time. What can I say about it? It was one of those I’m not sure I want to go back to gambling
ever, but it teaches you a lot about how different industries work Andi it was fun and we created new
events Andi worked with a great team of people we were constantly looking for. How do we bring new
people? And as I left, they launched Players, which is a new bingo format in Camden, which is trying to
bring younger people where it was more entertainment based and kind of out there. But prior to me
leaving, there were other formats like Bonkers Bingo that were running all over the country. So it was a
really interesting time because it was thinking about the proposition, thinking about the experience, but
also driving new people and getting people to kind of buy into it.
So yeah, not everybody’s cup of tea, but it was really enjoyable.
I do love that you touched on it there, that you’ve dipped into different sectors, mainly on consumer stuff,
but fashion, retail, into gambling, leisure, with Travelodge Andi furniture as well. Andi as you’re learning
along the way, and I don’t want you to say that your way is the only way everyone can do it. But do you
definitely think there’s benefits of that, stepping into different sectors to learn different things and bring
skills back to other roles?
I think you have to be really careful. So some of my moves were me choosing location or life stage or
different things. Some of them probably weren’t when I would have moved. So I think there’s a frequency
of move you need to be careful of. And I’ve certainly had feedback saying, well, you’ve moved too much,
so you need to be careful of that and you need to be mindful of it. But I think the other lesson I learned
was as long as you can tell the story as to why you went, that’s just as valuable. So why did you go to
Travel Lodge? Well, actually, I went to Travel Lodge because the marketing and service delivery director
from the Money Advice Service went there as marketing and sales director. She asked me to go with her.
I went with her. That tells a different story, because actually I was working for the same leader for three
years rather than one year. That sits quite oddly on my CV. I think you’ve got to be careful. It doesn’t work
for everybody. You’ve got to make sure that you’re learning and you’re constantly learning and it’s adding
So the point about, again, you make a decision at each time. Why did I go to Oak Furniture land? It was a
marketing director role. It was heading up all of the marketing function, had a big advertising spend and it
kind of had the retail footprint. Why did I then go to Royal Mint? Because I think it’s got a great opportunity
and it’s commercially moving in the right direction. Growth. We’ve got a lot of exciting plans ahead. We’re
announcing things about sustainability and we’ve done a partnership, which back in October we
announced with a Canadian chemical development startup where we’re able to process gold from
electronic waste. So again, we’ve got really exciting initiatives that are playing in our field, and to be part
of that is pretty incredible. But the story wouldn’t stack up if you said, well, why did you go from bingo to
furniture to the Royal Mint? The opportunities arose and I kind of took them. So my advice is make sure
you know why you’re going. Don’t just do it because you think it’s the brand. Think about the role Andi the
task that you’re going to be doing that.
Yeah, definitely. Andi wish you’d have told me this about 15 years ago when I made I still think it’s the
biggest career mistake I’ve made. I left one job, went to another job for no other reason other than a
whacking pay rise. And I followed the palm signs. And after, I reckon about eleven days in that job, I
realised it was the stupidest thing I’d ever done and if it had doubled the salary, it would have still been
the wrong move. And you just realised there and you’re like, I’ve just got to chew this up and suck it up for
a year just to make it look like I can stick it out. And it was hateful, but I learned a big lesson that day.
I think a lot of it. The other thing I would say is, go with your gut, you can tell quite quickly. Andi when I
haven’t gone with my gut, that’s when I’ve regretted it. And those are the mistakes, is when I haven’t gone
with how I felt. Andi again, it’s a bit cheesy to say this, but the Royal Mint, it’s all connected. I’m working
with a 50 50 exec, 50% of us are women, which is incredible. I’m working on a brilliant brand with a
brilliant team that’s got the opportunity to change and the opportunity to add things to that and actually get
new skills in and really change the way. So I feel like I can really make a difference. So it’s like the
Alchemy has come together.
Yeah, the timing is right, the job is right, it’s there for you. So in terms of looking forward then for the next
twelve months without breaking any ground of things that you’re not allowed to tell us yet, because out in
the open we’ve got a fairly big event for the Queen coming up next year. The Royal Mint must be ramping
up something for the Jubilee celebrations. Is there anything you can tell us about?
So we’ve already launched actually, we’ve already launched our Platinum Jubilee coins. We launched
them at the beginning of January because the Queen’s actually ascension to the throne. So her technical
Jubilee is on the 6 February. It will take a couple of days.
I might have completely got my history wrong in the show notes.
Anyway, so I did say it wasn’t my strong point, but today we’ve just announced as well that 1.3 million
coins are going into circulation with the Platinum Jubilee commemorative coin is going into circulation with
the post office on the 7 February. So it’s really exciting and really we’re already on that journey. We’ve
done lots already and we’ve got lots more of exciting plans as we build up to that day as well.
That’s the bit that fascinating me when I looked at it and I saw initially I was like the Royal Mint of one
Andi was like, that’s amazing to be on that short list. That was fantastic. And it started playing back in my
mind of all the Royal events that you have to be part of, but then all the other things that you do when you
start researching into it. So how does a project like that, which is very, I suppose, heritage driven, how
does that differ from the very new gold buying process that you described earlier, is that the same people
in the same teams doing the same thing, or do you carve the teams up into different ways to be able to
deliver those two events?
So for coins, we’ve got a similar team. So the product team is made up of a mixture of people who work
across the bullying and the gold products, as well as the kind of commemorative coins, but there’s a lot of
them who work on commemorative coins. So the idea is that we’ve come up with a theme. So we are
forward looking three to four years looking for events, notable events that we think we should celebrate
and commemorate. We then have to get those themes and we do research and customer research into
what kind of things might resonate with the customers. We take that research and we actually have some
committees that are part of our history. So the Royal Mint Advisory Committee actually are part of our
process. So they’re a group of esteemed experts in art and culture and Royal and kind of all of those
places that we need them to be experts in, and then they get to review themes and we do processes
through that to get them to refine what we might be able to put on the coins. We then work on what does
the design potentially look like that gets represented to them?
So it’s a long, drawn out process, but it kind of ends in a Royal population, which is right at the end of the
process where the Queen has to approve all of the designs that go onto the coins.
Which, again, is just, I think you’ve got the greatest job in the world. It’s just fantastic when you go through
that process of having your ideas, not just many marketers often complain that there’s people judging
their work who aren’t qualified to judge it, but your work is years, sometimes in the making that goes
through presented to experts. It’s almost like a PhD you have to present in and go through that again. And
then after got the Queen for signing off. That’s a tough sign off brief.
Absolutely, because they’re all independent and they have every right to challenge and make us do the
best work we can. But the good thing is they’re there to make us do the best work we can. That’s why
they’re there, definitely.
I mean, I used to do alcohol marketing in the Republic of Ireland, which is a very different regulatory
environment to the UK, and all social media posts had to go for approval and it was like a two week sign
off process, which for social media was just hateful. And we used to think we were hard done too. But you
have the Queen signing off your work, so it’s not quite the same, is it? You’ve got a harder sign off
process and we definitely had.
We got some challenges, but I think that’s what makes it exciting and unique as well. And to your point, it
makes it we’re able to have these kind of conversations.
Yeah, brilliant. So where do you go to learn to keep yourself moving forward? Are you more of an industry
qualification? Are you a blog reader? You’re a tweeter? Do you just ignore it all now because you’re far
too busy? What do you do?
I used to be a bit more a reader. I have got my CIM, I did my diploma way back when Andi do try and
learn, but I don’t have as much time as I used to do because I’m quite busy. But I know you like to hear
what books we kind of recommend Andi stuff.
Nudge. I talked about Behavioural economics, nudge and anything around Behavioural economics I think
is really important. I think increasingly as I’ve grown, one of the things that particularly in my role now I
think is around people and my team and how I get the best out of my team because actually I’m there to
support them as much as they are to support me Andi want to invest more of my time in getting better at
that bit because it’s really important to me, but it’s also important to the business Andi do read. And I was
looking at what I last read. I read The Power of Moments, which is all about experiences Andi haven’t
read it for a while and I picked it up last night Andi was kind of going, what can I talk about when I speak
to Andi tomorrow? And I found this book Andi remember there’s stories in it about how hotel in La has
made their experience so much better by doing certain things. And it was way back at the beginning of
when all the Instagram was becoming. But we’re doing it all the time because we’re creating moments
every minute of every day.
So it feels a little bit less unique than it did. But I do think there’s something about how as marketeers we
create memories and we create those memories that go forward in a really positive or with something to
look forward to. I think we have a role as marketers to really kind of work in that space.
Yeah. Getting those rituals for some brands there is that ritual of I get back to alcohol marketing, Corona.
The lime going in a Corona has next to no purpose at all other than it being part of a ritual to get people to
connect the two things together and it becomes an experience rather than just a commodity, I suppose at
that point, doesn’t it?
Yeah. And I think when going back to my retail days, it was all about the experience and bingo was all
about the experience. It wasn’t necessarily about the winning, it was the fact you could maybe win.
There’s a distinction. You didn’t always walk away with cash, but you have the feeling that you might have
done that’s quite magical. So how do you then bring that into other brands and other places that you do?
So back to what else do I learn? I use Flipboard, actually, as an app.
Okay. Andi you can put any subject you want Andi hashtag and it brings up the news. So I just flip
through that and if there’s something I want to dig into, I go a bit further. It makes it quick Andi that’s what
I need at the moment. I’m more bite sized than I am about reading a big book.
Yeah, definitely. I’m interested to go back to the Behavioural economics with Nudge. I’m not trying to drive
you down an alley with this, but there’s a lot of talk sometimes about the ethics of Behavioural economics.
Now, I’m quite comfortable on a general level, that if the product you sell does the thing it’s going to do
and it sells at a price that’s suitable for the industry, then actually all you’re doing with Nudges is trying to
move people through a sales process that they were already in anyway. I’m certainly against the
aggressive stacking of Nudges and people selling stuff that doesn’t work, that type of thing. But some
people think that actually we’re manipulating by using Nudges and that manipulation is unethical. Do you
have any views on that or any thoughts on that?
I don’t think it’s any different to data Andi using data, so I think it’s a different way of wrapping it up. I think
it’s the way you say things. I do think as a marketer, you’ve got to find the line that you’re comfortable with
and brands have to find the line that they’re comfortable with. So Nudge isn’t right for everyone
understanding that customers, there’s a bit of a trade off and the behaviour versus what they need to do.
Time, effort. We talk about it all the time, but it’s the same thing. It’s all Behavioural economics and all that
we’re trying to do as marketers is to bring the best out of our teams and the best out of our customers.
And that isn’t about annoying them, because guess what? Our NPS scores would go down, we’d start
losing them. So we need to be careful. But it’s not black and white in my view.
I think that’s a great point, that there is people in marketing. I’m guilty of this, of proffering an opinion of
how it has to work, and that therefore must be how it works for everybody. Andi it’s not really, is it? There
are shades of grey across all elements of marketing. And Kendall, who was on the podcast, Kendall
McDonald, runs an agency Andi we talked about that and she said Nudges should be rebranded as
biassed manipulations and people will be less likely to use them if you called it that, which I think is
probably true. But my view is that there isn’t one perfect product for most things. Most problems people
have there are many things which would provide a solution to that. So if someone’s looking at your
product, using a nudge to move them through that process to help them understand Andi decide if it’s for
them and then ultimately buy your product, just is a sensible way of approaching it. Yeah. But bias
manipulation would sound like a harsh way of approaching this if we decided to rebrand it that way. So it’s
not for me, not for everybody.
Not for everybody. But I think there are elements of it that you can use in whatever role you’re doing to try
and think about what the customer needs. But don’t use it if you don’t like it.
Absolutely. Andi if you’re not comfortable, definitely. Andi would say I definitely would advise reading
Nudge inside the Nudge Unit. Have you read that one from the Brick one? So basically it’s built on the
same work. But is it Cass Sunstein who wrote yes.
I’m also reading The Power of Introverts quiet at the moment.
But the type is a bit frustrating because my eyes have got a bit dodgy and the type is really small.
That’s the problem. You’re a physical book reader Andi not a Kindle.
I’ve got both. I mix it up sometimes quite often with workbooks. It tends to be the physical bizarrely.
I find it gives you like a break from otherwise you just feel like you screen all the time. So I got shot of a
Kindle years ago and don’t ever see myself going back to Andi especially not with video calls and video
podcasts and all of that. Thanks. Well, as we’re coming towards the end Andi will let you go because your
time is precious. But my question that I finished with every guest is what one question were you expecting
me to ask you that I haven’t asked you as yet. Horror of a question to throw people at the end to put you
on the spot.
It is a horrible question, but I kind of guess one of the things that I kind of just want to talk about is about
where I thought you might say what do I need to get a job at the Royal Mint kind of thing? Because
actually I’m recruiting all the time to try and get new people to join us because I need great people to
come and join us at the moment on our journey. Andi guess if you were to ask me, what would I be
looking for those people to do? I’m going to flip the whole question out to me is I’ve got roles across
products, across marketing, across. And if you’ve heard anything you’re interested in on this call and on
this podcast, please do get in touch because we are constantly looking for good people to come and join
What an absolute offer to have. Amazing. If you’re looking for people Andi are those jobs remote? Do you
need to be near the Royal Mint. Does it depend on the role?
It depends on the role, but we’re on a hybrid. So before the Pandemic, we weren’t really in this space, but
as we come out of the Pandemic, it’s about 50% of the time on site. Obviously, Wales have got slightly
stricter rules at the moment, so we’ve got the offices in Wales, but I’m down there ten to one, two to three
days a week. I really enjoy being there. We’re on the manufacturing site where the coins are made. You
get access to all the history. Why wouldn’t you go to Wales? And it’s a beautiful part of the country.
Yeah. You cannot be there. So we’ll put a link in the show notes about current roles and current
vacancies. Andi while we’re just talking about that as a follow up to the last question, I was reading
something by one of the Dragons on Dragons, then Steve Bartlett, and it’s not a kick Steve Bartlett
session, but it was a LinkedIn poster put up about avoiding jobs where you have to send in a CV or don’t
apply for jobs the way that everybody else applies for jobs. Just send something to the person who’s
recruiting. Do you have a view on that sort of thing? Because CVS have a place, don’t they, in recruitment
Yeah. You can tell quite a lot from CV. A lot of it. Is it in the content or is it in the way they look?
Sometimes that sounds. It’s amazing how many marketeers that I’ve seen in the last few months. Cvs
aren’t that great. They’re not very well formatted or someone had a date referencing 2019.
I’m looking forward to 2019 and then pay attention to detail in the next sentence.
Those are the things that as a recruiter, I’m really keen to kind of weed out and kind of do that. But a lot of
it is the sense you get. And you can usually tell by reading the first page of the CV whether there’s a real
value in it. I’ve interviewed for a number of jobs. I’ve done video interviews, I’ve done recorded four
minute bits of film with prerecorded questions. But if you run out of time, you run out of time and it’s like
stressful. I think we have a responsibility as brands and as recruiters to make the processes as realistic
as possible to what you’ll experience when you join the brand. So I certainly think we should make it easy,
not scary. If someone wants to send the video in, I’m happy to watch it, but just get your points across in
the first couple of minutes and don’t make it 40 minutes long. If you’re applying to a CMO, they probably
haven’t got much longer than a minute to look at your CV. Just be mindful where that CV is going and
who’s going to be looking at it, because that will help you.
It feels like we’ve come back to where we started, which is think about your customers and if you’re
writing a CV or if you’re making a video the customer is going to employ you think about them and make it
so it solves their problems for them. That seems to be the answer to the recruitment question absolutely
every time. Perfect. Well look on that note Caroline thank you very much for your time. It’s been wonderful
having you on the show and hopefully you get a flood of applications coming through the link which is in
the show notes below.
Thank you fantastic. Thanks Andi thank you for your time.
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