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A day in the life of...Brid O'Connell, CEO at Guaranteed Irish

Posted By The Marketing Institute, 04 October 2017

The Marketing Institute: What does a CEO of Guaranteed Irish do?

Brid O’Connell: Guaranteed Irish is a business membership organisation which represents over 300 homegrown and international businesses operating in Ireland. My role as CEO is to ensure that businesses who have chosen to invest in Ireland are heard at the community, national and government levels.  Together with my fantastic team, we network on behalf of our members to enhance conditions for business in Ireland, that in turn leads to job creation and community improvement.

 

MII: What were your key career moves to get to your current role?

Brid: Taking the decision to work for myself almost twenty years ago. At the time I was working in a comfortable, pensionable job, but the challenge of working for myself tempted me away. Having had that experience of running my own business has proved invaluable and is what attracted me to my current role, representing Ireland’s business community.

 

MII: What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

Brid: I joined Guaranteed Irish as CEO in 2016, and I’ve been tasked by the board with reinvigorating the organisation and making it relevant in the 21st Century. Over the past year, we’ve undergone a rebrand and set ambitious targets for the coming years. 

We now place equal emphasis on attracting both homegrown enterprises and international companies as members, and we’re open to members throughout Ireland. We’ve put in place a new appraisals process for membership applications: all companies applying are carefully vetted and must demonstrate they meet core criteria around jobs, provenance and community.

 

MII: What key skills do you need to be effective in your role?

Brid: Adaptability is crucial in this role where no two days are the same! Each day I’m meeting with members of Ireland’s business community, from large to small, who are all facing different challenges, and more often than not, have competing interests. Plenty of energy, ability to think on your feet and a clear long-term strategy are also critical to a good day’s work!

 

MII: Describe a typical working day.

Brid: Emails from 7am, meetings from 10am, phone calls in the car, so it’s all go… but that suits me! As a team, we work on great projects and we are sticklers for deadlines. By about 4pm I’ll check back in with my team and start to round up the next day’s to-do list. I feel like I can’t signoff for the day unless my list is done and that I’ve managed to get my 10,000 steps!

 

MII: What do you love most about your role?

Brid: The people that I get to meet. I have met some of the smartest brains in the world of business and I am always learning something new from them. Also, the team I work with - every one of them are creative and dedicated to supporting Guaranteed Irish - we really believe we are “all together better’.

 

MII: Looking ahead, where might your career path lead to next?

Brid: I’m 100% focused on the rebranding and repositioning of this well-known and well-loved brand. This has been a really worthwhile role, especially after the economic downturn when so many businesses suffered. I’m excited about where we can take the Guaranteed Irish brand to next. I have an amazing Board of Directors who have big ambitions for the only national brand of provenance; this is only the beginning of an exciting journey.

 

MII: To whom do you look for professional inspiration in your role?

Brid: Business people who do the right thing for society. That’s what inspired the Guaranteed Irish Hero campaign. My members inspire me every day - I am really spoilt for choice! I generally look up to people who have made a difference in society, not necessarily those who have made money. At Guaranteed Irish, we have plenty of members who have done both. 

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A guide to influencer marketing in Ireland

Posted By Rachel Purcell, Edelman, 04 October 2017

Over the past few years Ireland has seen an explosion in the number of brand partnerships with “influencers”. This in turn has led to a significant rise in the number and type of online personalities categorising themselves as influencers coupled with a corresponding erosion of trust in their effectiveness. Added to this, several bespoke influencer agencies have emerged and we’ve seen the introduction of new advertising codes aimed at providing more clarity to the public and the industry in general. However, there remain significant challenges particularly when it comes to transparency and trust, and the industry will have to combat these challenges if it is to build credibility with the public and ultimately secure more marketing investment.

Endorsements and the use of brand advocates and ambassadors to influence behaviour has always had a place in the marketing mix and this will continue to be the case. But to be effective, marketers must focus on quality and strategic fit over quantity and reach. While working with influencers who have a significant social media following helps increase the chances of your campaign driving reach, this should never be the key objective – an opportunity exists to use influencers to do exactly what they’re supposed to do – influence our audience perception of the brand and its products. The critical factor in all of this is transparency and authenticity. Genuine influencers do not align with non-relevant brands. They understand the value of their own brand and their followers which dictates what content they share.  When an influencer and brand relationship is authentic and relevant, this can be highly valuable to both parties and play a crucial role in the wider marketing strategy.

As well as a lack of transparency, inflated influencer costs are also driving negativity. It started off as a relatively low-cost way for brands to engage audiences but now prices have sky rocketed with little justification given the proliferation of brand associations and the consequent erosion of the value of those associations. This has helped fuel the emergence of micro-influencers who are more choiceful of their associations and provide a more targeted and more cost-effective approach to delivering strong results for brands.

The requirement to be transparent is everyone’s responsibility, strong advertising codes and enforcement play their part, but new developments from social platforms to allow sponsored content to become more identifiable across platforms will perhaps have the biggest impact. We’ve recently trialled a new Facebook feature which gives influencers the option to tag brands in their posts to allow them to promote their content but also clearly flag that they are partnering with the brand and it is sponsored content. So far, the results are really encouraging and in our view, it certainly helps with transparency by making it considerably easier for the audience to identify promoted content. Instagram have also added a new tool which allows influencers to clearly identify when they're getting paid by a brand by including a tag at the top of the Instagram post that reads "Paid partnership with (insert brand)".

So, what does the future of influencer marketing look like? We’ve seen a significant shift in brands seeking out micro-influencers particularly internationally. While micro-influencers might not have a massive reach they tend to have very high engagement rates in their niche and can deliver cut-through, relevance and the all-important third-party endorsement from a trusted source.

We’re also witnessing influencers develop new skills such as photo and video editing to help them generate incredible, standout content in an industry that is over saturated with bland branded content. They are becoming content collaborators who through their own point of view and engaging content are a very useful tool in a brands armoury in the battle to influence behaviour.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rachel Purcell is a digital account manager at Edelman Ireland. At Edelman Ireland, Rachel leads the influencer division in Dublin and works closely with the global Edelman influencer team. She works with a range of leading Irish and international brands to deliver successful digital campaigns.

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Who Won the Summer of Sponsorship?

Posted By The Marketing Institute & Onside, 27 September 2017

Interested in learning about what consumers, thought leaders, and your industry peers think were the highs and lows of this past summer of sponsorship? Then join us for another insightful marketing breakfast in partnership with ONSIDE as we examine the changing landscape of Irish sponsorship in 2017. Our expert panel will feature key sponsorship influencers from Ireland’s biggest brands, including new GAA All-Ireland Hurling headliners Bord Gáis Energy and award-winning sports and entertainment giants Vodafone. Further details on speakers to be announced next week. 
 
Be a part of the discussion! Tell us who you think ‘Won the Summer of Sponsorship’ by taking this short survey. Survey results will be shared and discussed during the event, and all participants who take the survey will receive a free Key Findings Snapshot Report of this research!
 
For more information or to register for this event, check out our event page.  

 

Take the Survey

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A Day in the Life of... Yvonne Kiely, Director at EY

Posted By The Marketing Institute, 27 September 2017
Updated: 26 September 2017

 The Marketing Institute: What does a Director of EY Ireland do?

Y.K: EY Ireland has a number of Service Lines but specifically I am a Director in EY’s Performance Improvement Advisory practice, specialising in Customer and Digital.

My role involves helping clients cultivate actionable customer insights and be first-to-market with differential customer experiences. Typically I will lead programmes and teams across utilities, retail, technology and financial services sectors, which aim to increase customer lifetime value. We work with our clients to identify a customer need or behaviour, co-create a tailored solution, and build the customer experience, operating model and technology platform to suit. Our research and experience shows that by focusing on making customers happy, businesses become more profitable – improving loyalty, attracting new customers, getting them to spend more and reducing costs.

 

MII: What were your key career moves to get to your current role?

Y.K: I believe that having worked in both professional services and industry roles has made me a stronger advisor today. Joining EY has also given me access to an enormous global network of experienced colleagues which allows me to continue to grow and also to build engagement teams that have deep knowledge and experience across all facets of any type of project.

 

MII: What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

Y.K: So many businesses have historically designed their products and services based on technology, processes and structure, resulting in fragmented and frustrating experiences for the customer. This usually has created a great deal of “legacy” infrastructure and entrenched behaviours that need to be worked around or sometimes radically changed in order to adopt a truly customer-centric approach. In addition, delivering end to end effective customer experience involves many functions across an organisation This type of change is difficult to progress at an accelerated pace without  highly empowered front line employees and C-level sponsorship. Securing these for a particular project is often where I invest my own time in order to make a project successful.

 

MII: What key skills do you need to be effective in your role?

Y.K: Leadership skills and the ability to prioritise are critical. Every day, I need to make sure that our team members are making the best use of their time, for the benefit of our clients, to grow our Customer & Digital business and to develop their own capabilities. I also need to be able to inspire a delivery team made up of individuals motivated by very different objectives, from different companies and backgrounds, to come together and achieve a common goal, rooted in customer insight.  As part of that, I must balance strong advocacy and listening skills in order to help define problems and opportunities accurately, as well as champion the client, customer and consumer perspectives.

 

MII: Describe a typical working day?

Y.K: A typical working day is very rarely the same – I may be on a client site delivering a service design workshop one day and the next could involve meeting with clients to help identify their key customer objectives for the next three to five years. When I am in the office, I might be overseeing activity in our Customer Lab, counselling members of my team on their longer-term career progression, or recruiting new team members to help fuel our growth.

 

MII: What do you love most about your role?

Y.K: Immersing myself in the challenge of exceeding client expectations on a daily basis which requires a focus on customer data and trends, commercial insights and building meaningful relationships. I love the culture of our team and of EY Ireland. It is genuinely exciting to see such rapid growth as it continues to open up new opportunities for people across the team to share in the journey as we help clients build more profitable relationships with their customers.

 

MII: Looking ahead, where might your career path lead to next?

Y.K: We operate in a very dynamic and exciting area of business often leading the charge around digital integration, pioneering insights to action, accelerating organisational redesign to drive customer centricity, and advocating for continuous improvement. That means we too continue to improve, challenge and champion as the team grows. As such we are continuing to expand our Customer and Digital strength in Ireland with additional service offerings and capabilities. With that comes further opportunity to enable our clients accelerate their own growth in truly innovative and differentiated ways that drive sustained firm value. I look forward to leading that next stage in our evolution and expanding our relationships so that we can continue to help our clients meet their objectives and work together in achieving these successes.

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A Day in the Life of... Ian McGrath, Managing Director at MediaCom

Posted By The Marketing Institute, 13 September 2017
Updated: 12 September 2017

ian mcgrath mediacom

The Marketing Institute: What does a Managing Director at MediaCom do?

Ian McGrath: As a communications business, MediaCom operates in a highly energetic, expansive and competitive environment. The extent of specialism across this industry, and its pace, keeps it refreshing. Our central belief in MediaCom is that our people defines us – People First. Instilling this across everything we do is my number one priority.

 

MII: What were your key career moves to get to your current role?

I.M: I’ve worked in media agencies throughout my career. If you know me, you know I genuinely love this business. Few industries are driven by such an extent of exploration, learning and proof as marketing is.

 

MII: What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

I.M: In one word – Leadership. I would not believe anyone who says that leadership is easy, but it is hugely rewarding.

 

MII: What key skills do you need to be effective in your role?

I.M: Our core purpose in MediaCom is to grow clients’ businesses. The capability and motivation of our team is what moves business forward. Understanding people is how you really grow penetration, so to be truly effective in my role I need to ensure this is the focus of everything we do.

 

MII: Describe a typical working day.

I.M: There is no day that is wash, rinse, repeat. As I mentioned, that’s what I love about this business. In MediaCom we work with a stellar list of clients, many in tough markets. No two days could be the same. I do like to get an early start as I believe that sets you up for the rest of the day.

Reading and exercise are important no matter how busy you are. And make sure you have time to think. Lasting solutions are often better than quick solutions.

 

MII: What do you love most about your role?

I.M: I believe that brands are cultural. Understanding how to influence choice, commitment and intent is something you have to immerse yourself in. I also like to know the technical ins-and-outs of how things work. Both these areas excite me.

The people in this business are also generally hard working, passionate and nice. That makes a big difference in any industry.

 

MII: Looking ahead, where might your career path lead to next?

I.M: I’m a big believer ‘that chance favours the well prepared’. I’m always open to opportunities, once I keep to this I’m sure I’ll keep finding them. In the meantime I’ll keep trying to improve myself and continue to learn.

 

MII: To whom do you look for professional inspiration in your role?

I.M: Sometimes people forget that musicians are big fans of music. There is a lot of inspiration to take from the Irish marketing industry over the years. We should be proud. And the privilege we have today is that it's never been more accessible. Please find it, read it and share it.

And lastly I can never overlook the support of my family and friends. I always have to give a special thank you to these people.

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