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A Day in the Life of... Darren Hardiman, Head of Operations, Marketing & E-commerce at DID Electrical

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 17 July 2019

darren hardiman

What does a Head of Operations, Marketing & E-commerce at DID Electrical do?

DID Electrical is an Irish family business, which has been delivering, installing and demonstrating the latest in home appliances, TVs, technology, mobile and the best in customer service for over 50 years now. I develop and lead strategy and execution of the marketing, e-commerce, IT, customer support centre, and project teams in the business to support our sales teams across 23 bricks and mortar stores nationwide and online.

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

I have a fairly broad background both in education and employment – which has probably been one of the biggest advantages in getting me to my current role. Having experience in a lot of areas:  design, media, communications, e-commerc, digital marketing, has helped lead me into an omnichannel retail environment – where all of those skills are very transferrable. Not ‘coming through the ranks’ in retail has also helped me perhaps have a different way of thinking or a different approach to certain projects/challenges, and that variety of thinking can bring something additional to support any business or team.

What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

The capacity for a plan to go up in smoke before the commute in - given the competitive nature of the market we operate in. Being dynamic in what we do as a business, though, is also a key strength of DID Electrical – it really goes right back to the origins of the business, the first in Ireland to deliver, install and demonstrate home appliances at a time when they were not commonplace. We try to champion that ability to out-manoeuvre the market in terms of bringing something different to our customers throughout the year, in-store and online.

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

Having perspective and the ability to bring the organisation together in the right direction across multiple departments. It’s important to have the ability see all corners of the business at once: see the reality from the perspective of customer first and then back, through finance, sales, buying, marketing, etc. to ensure what we’re doing is right for our customers and the business.


Describe a typical working day.

Up at 5am or 5.30 (depending on how many snoozes on the phone I can get away with). The rest is a blur.


What do you love most about your role?

The people I work with in DID are the most passionate and energetic people I’ve ever worked with. Coming to work is easy if the people you’re with are in it with you – on good days and bad.

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

Working for the last two businesses has taken me from graduating college to just turned 36. In that time, I’ve pushed myself and been given the opportunity to progress to new roles within each of those businesses. For me, I’ll do what I’m doing obsessively until I don’t obsess about it anymore – and then I’ll find a new challenge to obsess about!

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

I’m terrible with this sort of question. I suppose, everyone you meet in life has a nugget or two. You take those nuggets, apply your own thinking to them and hopefully the output is better than the sum of all the parts. I think a lot of people get caught up with having a mentor, or hang on to every word of one or two key people, in or out of work. I think you’ve got to first and foremost look at yourself, be inspired by your own potential, use the ‘nuggets’ and keep challenging yourself to be better.

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Marketing Matters… with Gerard Tannam, Founder of IslandBridge Brand Development

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 10 July 2019
Updated: Tuesday 9 July 2019

Gerard tannam Islandbridge

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role.

I set up Islandbridge in 2004, when my work with a number of clients both in Ireland and in Asia (where I’d spent ten of the previous fifteen years) suggested there was a real gap in the market for strategic and media-neutral brand development. Coming from a non-marketing background, I’d devised a range of tools to help clients survey, devise a brand framework, and prepare a brand action plan. One happy client in particular suggested that I set up my own business using these tools to offer a brand, or bridge-building, service to the market. Fifteen years later, we continue to work with that client, Michael Lennon of the Westport Woods Hotel, and many others, to build bridges that span the gap between buyers and sellers, between businesses and their markets, and between organisations and their audiences, in sectors ranging from financial services (Savvi Credit Union) to not-for-profit (Acquired Brain Injury Ireland) to hospitality (Maldron Hotels) and beyond.


Why did you choose a career in marketing?

In many ways, my career in marketing chose me! I’d served as a Senior Inspector of Police in Hong Kong, owned and operated an Art Gallery (Hong Kong) and an Events Management Business (Asia & Europe), and developed a seminal Road Safety Campaign (Ireland), learning from customers, colleagues and other marketers, and devising and adapting my own tool-kit along the way. My college studies in Philosophy had fostered my own life-long fascination with how things work, and people most of all, so I found myself building frameworks to enable me to grapple with questions such as ‘Why do people buy?’, ‘Why do people choose one course of action over another?’ and ‘How do people make sense of the world about them?’. These are all questions that concern marketers and influencers the world over.


In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge marketers are facing today? How would you tackle it?

The greatest challenge we face as marketers is the perception that marketing is more style than substance. For many people, marketing is seen as smoke and mirrors, part of the bag of tricks of the snake-oil salesman. Much of this perception is of our own making as marketers. In our work with Islandbridge, we tackle this by explicitly linking the work we do, the bridges we build, to the purpose of the service our clients offer to the world. When we frame the relationship between buyer and seller in this way, we set a standard for everything that our client says and does to build their brand. This gives substance to style. Our clients choose to work with us because we’re very demanding of them; we work hard to set the standards in their brand framework that match their purpose and then we work even harder together with them to meet and exceed those standards. Great marketing brings out the best in everyone concerned, and this is the great opportunity for us all as marketers.


What advice would you give to someone starting a career in marketing?

Get as much work-experience in other sectors as you can before and whilst you learn the basics of marketing. Hospitality, in particular, is a great training ground for marketers, and my own experience suggests that those who answer best the questions around why people buy are those who’ve served others face-to-face in often-challenging places such as hotels, restaurants and bars. There’s nothing like a happy or unhappy customer there to teach you a great deal of what you need to know about people and why and how and what they buy.  


What makes a great marketer?

Paraphrasing Julius Rosenwald of Sears Roebuck & Co, I believe a great marketer, like a great salesman, is able to stand on both sides of the shop counter at the same time.


What is your favourite marketing campaign of all time? Why?

Whilst I can’t trace this to a single campaign, I find the Toms’ One for One ( ) founding philosophy to be hugely attractive, particularly in terms of how it bridges the potential gap between its commercial and social purposes. Its campaign, and campaigns, to both make a profit and make a difference are a dramatic instance of the power and importance of marketing. Imagine if every marketer could span that apparent divide so effortlessly.


Where do you look for professional inspiration?

I look first to our clients and their customers. So many of them are working hard every day, doing the little things, the unnoticed things, the often difficult things, to make a difference in the lives of the people they serve. As part of our work together, we spend as much time as we can walking the shop-floors, the factory sites, the hospital wards alongside them. Or chatting over a cup of tea. Hearing their stories. Understanding what’s important to them, what they value. Almost always, the inspiration for my work as a marketer, and the stories we might help our clients tell to bridge the gaps, comes from there.

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Five ways to improve your learning

Posted By Steven Roberts, head of marketing at Griffith College, Wednesday 3 July 2019
Updated: Tuesday 2 July 2019

5 ways to inprove your learning

Technology and globalisation are driving change at an unprecedented rate. According to the World Economic Forum, 65% of children entering primary school today will end up in a job that does not yet exist. This has particular importance for knowledge workers – professionals such as marketers who rely on their skills and knowledge to perform and excel in their roles. As we reach the mid-point of the year, it is timely to reflect on how best to develop a learning mindset and maximise learning within a busy work-life schedule.

Knowledge workers will have to learn to stay young and mentally alive during a fifty year working life. Peter Drucker.


Develop a growth mindset

One of the best ways to approach learning is by adopting a growth mindset, as identified by the academic and author Carol Dweck. In her view, effort creates talent.

People with a fixed mindset focus on validating themselves in the eyes of others. Intelligence is seen as a finite resource, with all effort focused on being seen to be smart. A growth mindset, on the other hand, emphasises continuous development. Believing you can increase your mastery and knowledge is crucial. If you think you can become smarter, it increases your motivation and ultimately leads to higher levels of achievement.

It is the difference between a passion for learning and a hunger for approval. As Dweck says, “why waste time looking smart when you could be getting smarter”.


Use specific learning techniques

In A Mind for Numbers, Barbara Oakley talks about the benefits of alternating between focused and diffuse learning. She describes how famously creative people such as Thomas Edison used this technique. It involves switching between a meditative state and the focused effort required to complete complex tasks.

Oakley also highlights the dangers of procrastination. We all face this feeling at some point. The key is to push through this resistance rather than accept the immediate benefit of switching focus to another activity. Runners often face this with their morning jog – by working through the body’s initial reluctance they get into their running stride.

Author Cal Newport, meanwhile, talks about the benefits of Deep Work. Setting aside specific blocks of time, away from emails, phone calls and other distractions. Using time in this way, you can deliver projects that require deep thinking and significant effort. It could be building blocks of 2 – 3 hours into your day where you focus on a core project, or setting aside a longer period once a week to devote specifically to such work.


Use the compound effect – little and often

Process is a huge part of effective learning. You have to commit to putting in the time, making it a habit and part of your daily routine. We significantly underestimate what can be achieved over a long period. By adopting the compound effect, regularly undertaking learning and study over weeks and months, you can rapidly advance your knowledge in a particular area. No amount of talent or skill can substitute for the hard work and graft of continuous self-improvement.


Develop mastery

Mastery is one of the keys to autonomy, job satisfaction and security in the modern economy. The business world values knowledge workers – those people with deep knowledge and skills in a particular field; software engineers, legal experts and surgeons are just some examples.

Mastery requires time and effort. The 10,000 hour rule, popularised by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers, is one such example.

What are your strengths? Are there one or two key skills you possess that if you really focused on would lead to mastery? How can you build a routine into your day to make progress on your goals?

Brian Tracy talks about the golden hour, taking 60 minutes each day to focus on personal development. Darren Hardy, author of The Compound Effect, advises to bookend the start and end of the day for this purpose.

The key to both pieces of advice is consistency and routine. Concentrate your learning around particular goals or aspects of your life where you wish to develop excellence.


Keep ‘sharpening the saw’

Finally, don’t forget to keep ‘sharpening the saw’, in Stephen Covey’s famous phrase. Learning is a process, an ongoing project. We experience change on a daily, monthly and yearly basis – upskilling is the natural and required response, as Drucker’s quote advises. There is also a personal satisfaction and reward. We are committing ourselves to continuous improvement, and ultimately mastery in our chosen field.

So set aside an hour. Get out a pen and paper and start to identify the learning goals you need to achieve to deliver upon your overall objectives. Put in place a routine around these, one you can commit to, and soon you will see the benefits.


About the author

Steven Roberts MMII is head of marketing at Griffith College. A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and certified data protection officer, he writes on marketing, data protection and strategy.

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Marketer Pathways

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Thursday 13 June 2019
marketer pathways


MII Launch CPD Framework to accelerate careers of Marketers

Research reveals weaknesses restricting profession from claiming leadership roles 


13 June 2019, Dublin: The Marketing Institute of Ireland today announced the launch of a competency framework for the profession, to support the continuous professional development of marketers.

The launch of The Marketer Pathways Competency Framework follows a consultation process with the profession, which revealed that the careers of marketers are being held back by a lack of a professional framework guiding their development.

The research amongst over 50 senior marketing practitioners from across a range of sectors including representatives from companies such as Deloitte, LinkedIn, PTSB and Kerry Group alongside academic input from TU Dublin and UCD Smurfit School of Business, revealed a need for highly skilled strategic brand marketers who can lead teams to maximize sustained revenue and profit performance within their organisations.

Those consulted highlighted the opportunity for marketers to grasp senior leadership positions through exploiting their deep understanding of markets, customers, products and positioning, perspectives that are critical for strategic decision-making.Yet the profession has been hampered by its limited ability to generate a pipeline of highly qualified executives with the requisite competencies, particularly in relation to commercial acumen and financial literacy.  

Tom Trainor, Chief Executive, Marketing Institute of Ireland, said: “The role of marketers is continually expanding and evolving, yet still only a small percentage claim leadership roles in their respective companies. The Marketer PathwaysCompetency Framework has been specifically developed to support organisations and individuals in addressing this challenge and in fully realising the true potential of their business. Senior marketing executives must become leading candidates for Chief Executive Officer positions.”

The Marketer Pathways Competency Framework is a flexible and dynamic tool focused on marketing, business and people competencies, providing a structured approach to professional development which will be critical for identifying competency gaps, supporting ongoing professional development and in the recruitment of talent. The fact that it has been developed by the professional body with input from a large group of leading practitioners, educators and specialists, makes it all the more robust.

About the Marketing Institute of Ireland 

The Marketing Institute is the professional body for Ireland's marketing people. It exists “to enable marketers to build great brands and great careers”. It does this by sharing best practice, insights and expert content, building the community of marketers, and aiding marketers in career progression. The three themes of content, community and career underpin all Institute activities. The Marketing Institute also owns and operates the All Ireland Marketing Awards, the CMO Summit, and DMX Dublin, Ireland's largest marketing conference

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Amazon Tops the 2019 Brandz™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands Ranking

Posted By Kantar, Wednesday 12 June 2019

Kantar and WPP have just released the 2019 edition of their annual Brandz™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands Ranking. The valuation, commissioned by WPP and conducted by Kantar, is now in its 14th year.

A 52% increase in brand value year-on-year to $315.5 billion places Amazon at the top of the ranking, surpassing for the first time Google and Apple, which had dominated the ranking since 2007.

The ranking reflects consumers’ increasing expectations around customer experience, but also their demand for brands that are behaving ethically and being help accountable. With this in mind, it is no surprise to see Amazon at the top of the list, as they have mastered the use of data and innovation to create superior customer experiences.

Growing concerns over privacy and trust issues are challenging social media platforms, with Facebook stagnating at no.6. However, Instagram saw an impressive 95% value increase year-on-year, which makes it this year’s top riser.

The top 100 ranking includes nine newcomers, the largest number in recent years, which indicates a volatile market. These nine include four Chinese and two Indian brands.

Luxury was the fastest-growing category, driven by improved accessibility and use of technology, and demand from the East. It is closely followed by retail.

For more information visit or download the full report.


About Kantar

Kantar is the world's leading data, insights and consulting company. We understand more about how people think, feel, shop, share, vote and view than anyone else. Combining our expertise in human understanding with advanced technologies, Kantar's 30,000 people help the world's leading organisations succeed and grow.

About WPP

WPP is a creative transformation company. We build better futures for our clients through an integrated offer of communications, experience, commerce and technology. For more information, visit

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