Flock Forum: An Evening with the Transformers


On a cold Thursday night 35 leading marketers turned up at the ‘Flock Nest’ to hear from five leaders in marketing and their views on marketing transformation. We were joined by Maite Leleu-Eponville, Director of Marketing Transformation at Coca-Cola, Margareta Mahlstedt, General Manager of Marketing at Porsche GB, Fredrik Borestrom, Head of Agency, International at LinkedIn, Finola McDonnell, CMO at Financial Times and Kate Bosomworth, CMO at M&C Saatchi. In an age where consumer expectations of brands far exceed a brands’ ability to deliver or match those expectations the demands on marketing have never been so pressurised. During the session we discussed how well-established brands and agencies are looking to move away from short term fixes and concentrating on long term transformation. It became evident that the gravity of the conversation centred around four core tenants.

  1. Brilliant talent – have you got the right people to make a difference?
  2. Data Intelligence – are you able to extract consumer centric data to improve the experience?
  3. Strong Partnerships – are the right relationships in place to deliver?
  4. Ways of working – is the talent able to leverage new ways of working to transform the end product?

Let’s looks at some of these in more detail.

  1. Brilliant talent
    Of course, having the right talent in place is certainly a tenant of any good output. However, the panel were quick to centre in two areas. Firstly, talent doesn’t have to come from the same pool of experience. In an age where inclusivity is important the panel discussed utilising film makers, artists, members of the public and data experts in the pursuit of ‘mixing things up’ and providing a fresher perspective on marketing. Secondly, there was a strong desire to break the silos of talent, bringing data closer to the marketing department and not ring fenced to the IT department.
  2. Data Intelligence
    There is no doubt that data (in any shape or form) and insight is driving the new marketing agenda – nothing new there. However, it’s interesting to mutually share the challenges that this beholds especially when the ‘ownership’ of that data is so critical. FT who have always had a stronghold on their data, being one of the first publishers to pull their app from the Apple Apps Store and to always have a paywall have a clear advantage on the total CX Journey vs the automotive industry who work with retail and the drinks industry that clearly has very little personal data.
  3. Strong Partnerships
    Leveraging talent and thinking from partners whether they are data companies, creative agencies, digital, big and small remains an important element in the DNA. However, there was a recognition this is was changing and the make-up and flexibility of this has never been so important.
  4. Ways of Working
    Adopting new ways of working, mixing things up, challenging the norm seemed to be the basis for breaking the status quo and invigorating new ways of working.

Even though these four critical tenants of marketing transformation were clear and shared, the outlying focus was that these should not be such a focus that creativity suffers as a result of it. During their panel there was an interesting anecdote about how Netflix commissioned House of Cards due to viewing insights on the channel for politically driven dramas. No amount of data can make a brilliant show, but creativity can. Data can provide the springboard for great marketing, but it shouldn’t be its slave. Interestingly The Grand Tour have been very vocal that ‘viewing data’ is provided by Amazon, and is used to influence decisions, but the creative direction is influenced by the team. Having a belief that creative marketing will win through, generates a vicarious heat around transformation that creates a sharp-edged tool for making decisions on how to transform.

On this note whether you are trying to transform marketing, a football team, some wasteland you need to have a clear vision or end point – why are you even bothering? At Flock we work very hard with major brands to help them understand where they are heading and what they are trying to do. This can be done via a series of workshops or in some instances a detailed appraisal to tease out the issues and opportunities.

35 senior marketeers left the session united by the challenges of marketing transformation and the shared desire that if you are clear on where you are heading the steps towards transformation are just that little bit easier to manage.

If you would like to hear more about how we can support your marketing transformation efforts or would like to attend a future forum then please do get in touch.