Monday was a big day. It was the first Marketing Academy ‘Lunch and Learn’ session, and my first event with one of its many legends. Accompanied by several other scholars (importantly, after much debate, not wearing a tie – Fraser almost showed us up, but we averted that disaster), we arrived at Birds Eye Iglo to meet Martin Glenn.
Martin joined Pepsico in 1992 and oversaw the successful launch of Doritos and dramatic growth of Walkers Crisps. In partnership with private-equity group Permira, he was appointed CEO of the newly purchased Birds Eye Iglo group in 2006, and has overseen the company return to form as an independent business. In 2008, he was named Best Marketer at Marketing Week’s 30th Anniversary Awards.
Needless to say, it was yet another inspirational experience, especially because Martin also started his career at Cadbury Schweppes back in 1981. What really struck me was how grounded he was – Martin’s advice just felt very applicable, he was so down to earth and I could tell what I’d do differently from the moment I walked out the door (even there’s a 25 year gap between when he and I started our careers).
In the spirit of sharing, I wanted to note down a few highlights. I’m sure everyone there took out different things, but here’s my top three that really made me think:
1. Come in to work prepared to be fired
There’s a difference between being bold and being reckless – don’t go into work thinking what kamikaze act you can commit today, but you need to pursue what you believe to be right and what you believe will lead to success.
2. Particularly in food, making a plan better is often preferable to making it different
If you make your start point “What can we do different to the market leader?”, you’ll lose sight of the real insight that will make you out-perform them. In this sense, it’s helpful to separate the proposition and the brand – the proposition has to meet consumers needs and wants better than anyone else, the brand needs to illustrate how that’s different.
(the exception is in advertising)
3. Know what you’re good at
We’re all trained, through 360 feedback culture, to work on the things we’re bad at. Often, though, that can make you lose sight of your strengths. Spend your time knowing what you’re good at and playing to your strengths, instead of trying to compensate for your weaknesses.
Loads of other great pieces of advice in the hour and a half we spent with Martin – not to mention some great fish finger wraps. But I’ll leave that to the others to build on the above.
My first mentor session is tomorrow – so watch this space for another blog shortly!