Ross and Marketing Week’s “The Annual”

Hello all,

I’m slowly catching up with everything.  Today I did a lot of copying into my Marketing Academy moleskine, which is something I’ve been putting off for ages because no matter how inspirational the notes are, writing neatly is never fun.  But nonetheless, it’s inspired me to finally write my “Marketing Week – The Annual” post.  I know you’ve been on tenterhooks.

Mark Choueke, Marketing Week editor and legend in the lives of Marketing Academy scholars, kindly invited us all along to their first “The Annual” conference.  This was an incredible privilege, as the number of cumulative years experience in the room was ridiculously high.

Others have written some posts on some highlights, and it’d be remiss of me not to mention Mark Ritson.  The Professor was on top form, and reminded me that should I ever find myself arguing about a font, I should throw myself out of the nearest window.  I have argued about a font in the past.  Never again.

But rather than re-cover Mark’s material, I thought I’d talk about a few of the key points from the two FMCG Marketing giants at the conference – Syl Saller, Global Innovation Director at Diageo and Daryl Fielding, VP Marketing for Kraft Foods Europe.

Syl Saller of Diageo
Syl gave an inspirational lecture on making things happen in big organisations – inspirational not because of the toolbox of handy hints she offered, but because of the human touch with which she delivered her message and which reflects her philosophy on the subject.

“Develop relationships where people really stand for you – through good times and bad.”
“Good relationships start with positive intent.  What can I do to help you?”
“Take risks in personal disclosure.  Reveal vulnerabilities.  This is strength.”

I liked this, because if there’s one big thing I’ve learnt out of this experience, it’s how important authenticity is to me.  There’s a strong correlation between when I’m having to put up a bit of a front, and when I’m unhappy.  And vice versa.  So the idea that in removing barriers you’ll build relationships that’ll help you achieve your goals was tremendously compelling to me.

Daryl Fielding of Kraft Foods
Daryl’s subject matter focused on delivering fantastic creative work, particularly on a global scale.  Fascinating subject as, if I’m completely blunt, I’m skeptical about global advertising.  But Daryl made me really interrogate whether that’s a view held because of preconceptions or genuine fact…

“To get the highest common denominator work, spend more time and resource finding big human insights”
“Be optimistic – if you believe you’ll make great global campaigns, you will.  If you go in thinking it’s unlikely, you’ll fail.”

I’d by lying if I said I’m completely sold on global campaigns always being a good thing, but in fairness Daryl wasn’t advocating that view.  Instead, she was explaining how to increase the chances of success.  And she sets a high benchmark for Kraft Foods, refusing to draw a distinction between work that wins at Cannes and work that drives the business.  This was probably the most inspiring thing I could have heard, as a new employee of said business!

Another mentor session still to be written up, but I’m speaking at a conference on Thursday and I think I’ve reached that point of panic where you think it’s all going to go down like a lead balloon.  I need to go practice…



About Ross Farquhar

The guy who gets in early enough to open the office at 101 London, Alumni at The Marketing Academy, and general loser of iPhones. Follow me @rossfarquhar for meaningless banter and the usual X-Factor nonsense.
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2 Responses to Ross and Marketing Week’s “The Annual”

  1. I’m sure it’s MoleskinE y’know..


  2. Cheeky monkey, well – at least you’ve corrected it now..

    If I only I had proof of the mistake somehow… 😛

    PS. Good post.

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