‘Don’t be afraid to say no’

ALIS­TAIR MACROW Macrow is se­nior vice-pres­i­dent, chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer, at Mcdon­ald’s UK. He has re­spon­si­bil­ity for the brand in the UK, Ire­land, Nor­way, Den­mark, Swe­den and Fin­land, and over­sees the UK di­vi­sion’s busi­ness strat­egy and in­sight func­tion.

Campaign UK - - PROMOTION -

Don’t get bored of things be­fore your cus­tomers. Brands should be mod­ern and pro­gres­sive, but the speed at which they move must be de­ter­mined by cus­tomers. Avoid be­ing too dis­tracted by the next big thing. Un­der­stand it and work out the rel­e­vance it has to your busi­ness and the peo­ple you serve. But it’s the “cus­tomer thing” that mat­ters. Be cus­tomer-com­mit­ted, not cus­tomer-ob­sessed. Know­ing your cus­tomer in­side out is no bad thing, but it is point­less if you don’t act on what you learn. What mat­ters is fac­ing up to cus­tomer re­al­ity, deal­ing with the fact that it might not be what you want and tak­ing ac­tion based on that re­al­ity. Get to the truth. Be­ing com­mit­ted to the cus­tomer means we have to get to the truth. It’s our re­spon­si­bil­ity as lead­ers to have a hy­poth­e­sis for ev­ery im­por­tant is­sue in our busi­ness. Use ev­ery piece of in­for­ma­tion to test that hy­poth­e­sis and be pre­pared to re­fine it and test it again. Never stop ask­ing why. Ask it of­ten enough and you’ll have the best plans, based on the most mean­ing­ful in­sight, and you’ll ex­e­cute them in the most mo­ti­vat­ing way. If we stop ask­ing why when we hear what we want, we might fool our­selves but we won’t fool our cus­tomers. Ask why be­fore ask­ing what.

Ad­ver­tis­ing doesn’t cre­ate brands, ex­pe­ri­ences do.

Great mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions pol­ish a brand, shine a light on all that’s good about it and have the abil­ity to shift per­cep­tions. But they can’t cre­ate a brand when you’re pro­vid­ing a ser­vice to your cus­tomers. The brand that cus­tomers re­mem­ber is the one they ex­pe­ri­ence when they walk into your store, meet your peo­ple and pick up your prod­uct. Lis­ten to your first re­ac­tion. Be­liev­ing in your­self is brav­ery, not ar­ro­gance. Lis­ten to your first re­ac­tion. By all means an­a­lyse it and con­sider mul­ti­ple in­puts, but make sure you re­ally con­sider it care­fully as it is nearly al­ways right. Don’t be afraid to say no when you know some­thing is wrong. You’ll re­gret it if you let it go. Al­low the peo­ple you work with to be bril­liant. The great­est suc­cess comes when you al­low the peo­ple you work with to be bril­liant. The rule ap­plies to your team, your agency part­ners and your peers. De­scribe the des­ti­na­tion with clar­ity but pro­vide peo­ple with a sense of di­rec­tion, not turn-by-turn route guid­ance. En­cour­age them to make their own de­ci­sions but trust them when they take a dif­fer­ent route to the one you would have cho­sen. Make your­self un­com­fort­able by stretch­ing the amount of re­spon­si­bil­ity you give your tal­ented peo­ple. The more op­por­tu­nity you give them, the more you are likely to get back.

Make the most of what you’ve got. With all the in­gre­di­ents in place, the im­por­tant thing is to make what you’ve got count. It starts with the peo­ple you have around you. Con­cen­trate on strengths and how to max­imise them. It is so much more pow­er­ful re­leas­ing peo­ple to do the things they ex­cel at than spend­ing en­ergy to min­imise weak­nesses. Make sure ev­ery pound you spend and ev­ery bit of en­ergy you ex­pend makes a dif­fer­ence by en­sur­ing that ev­ery piece of mar­ket­ing ac­tiv­ity adds value to both the brand and the busi­ness.

Don’t leave a gap be­tween thought, word and be­hav­iour. Al­ways show up as your­self. Be hon­est and au­then­tic. Do what you be­lieve is right, treat peo­ple the way they de­serve to be treated, say what needs to be said, trust your in­stincts. It doesn’t al­ways make me pop­u­lar but it dis­plays in­tegrity, pro­motes trust and helps me sleep at night! Re­mem­ber, there’s noth­ing wrong with be­ing dif­fer­ent – those dif­fer­ences make you who you are and might just be what set you apart.

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