James Welch is a business transformation consultant who wants to share his love for data-driven communications. He's worked in agencies and consultancies across the globe while enjoying the surf (cyber and real) in Sydney, while eating many a chili crab in Singapore, and then Dubai, there he was building the ORCHESTRA. He's now relocated, en famille, to London. Contact him here: jamwel (at) me.com
Darren Woolley of TrinityP3 is a friend from the days when I lived in Sydney. And he recently had me consulting to his client Uber Middle East on a project, which was an eye-opener.
Darren has posted over 100 podcasts, entitles “Managing Marketing” with some great luminaries, including ‘my’ marketing professor, Mark Ritson. (I studied under him late last year.)
When he was in London we recorded our own podcast.
Darren has a flourishing introduction for each podcast episode. Here’s mine:
James Welch is a New Business Guru who has worked with and for Agencies in London, Singapore, Sydney and Dubai. Here he discusses with Darren the state of New Business and Business development across the multiple markets he has experienced and gives advice on what works and what to avoid when developing and implementing a business growth strategy in your agency.
The agenda of “bravery” comes to life in different shapes and sizes at the Marketing Society across the globe. It’s interesting to see how different, brave individuals are leading the way to face the future. And how they bring others along too to face their future.
Putting this in context of the recent event I attended in London – an evening with Channel 4’s Ant Middleton – shows the consistency of message that the Society is putting out across the globe. And the consistency of outstanding global – and local – content that is being generated and curated in each of its hubs.
Here in Dubai, I’ve just come from another inspiring conversation about bravery in the context of mental health in the workplace – in a part of the world that is known for a show-no-weakness office environment. Show-no-weakness was endemic in the military environment that Ant Middleton has come from, he told us.
In London, we saw Ant Middleton as a conflicted character. And he wears this on his sleeve. Middleton is a Channel 4 TV hero, a smiling, muscley, tattooed beast of a bloke, with an enthusiastic, cheerful disposition and a dark, menacing past.
When you want to get noticed – and you have time on your hands – you know you need to start writing articles, you know you need to find a place to have them published. Some go for medium.com; others prefer Linkedin. I’ll just go with my wordpress blog. And maybe I’ll repost elsewhere, like Linkedin.
Unless Exchangewire will take my articles. I caught up with Ciaran yesterday, so I think I’m in but it’s always TBC till you’re fully signed up, right? (Sorry for this snap, Ciaran!)
While I’m drafting articles and/or posts, I get out and go networking – among other things. I was at this event hosted by Phil Thomas, CEO of Cannes Lions, recently in Dubai – where I used to live.
This famous adwoman, Madonna Badger from New York, was talking about an important agenda item for Cannes Lions. And she started a paragraph – when talking to camera – with the expression:
Bee Tee Dub
WTF, I thought. This is taking TLAs* to a whole new level. Maybe BTW often gets shortened to Bee Tee Dub. But I’d not heard it. Do we call it an abomination or do we try to use it? I say, let’s use it.
So here are my articles that are coming up:
Bee Tee Dub: Dee See Oh
Bee Tee Dub: Dee El Tee
Bee Tee Dub: Prog-ooh
Bee Tee Dub: Too Cho
Maybe that’s a daft idea and I should just write them in English and let the publication make the title wackier, if they want.
DCO – creative optimisation and who’s getting left behind
Two months till we all arrive back in London. I’ve been away for 12 years. We’ll spend Christmas with family. But then what: need a job.
I’m excellent at networking but haven’t yet secured a job. I want to relocate back to the UK and find an awesome role. Not any old role. So, I’m talking to anyone who’ll listen. Looking for the ‘right people’ who can introduce me to more of the ‘right people’.
It takes a while to work out who the ‘right people’ are. And I’ve worked it out. Let me share.
The ‘right people’ in life – well, in my life – are the ones are break the mould. They stand out and they stand for something. And they tell bloody good stories.
I met Ant Middleton the other night here in London. He’s an ex-special forces, now TV show, hero in the UK. Ant Middleton says he doesn’t brief his tv production teams about the scary details of the upcoming shoot. He tells them the risks aren’t as high. And leads them along the way.
Ant Middleton says,
Don’t be a sheep. Be yourself. The best version of yourself. Be a shepherd.
Ant Middleton finds a positive in every negative. And he’s a complex character. The evening was another amazing event by the Marketing Society.
The next day I met Richard Shotton. I worked with him 15 years ago, but now I’m just one of his fans… Yeah, #fanboy. He’s recently published a book called The Choice Factory. If you haven’t read it – and you work in business of any sort – you should. It’s all about short cuts for getting people to think differently. The format of each chapter is what you want from a business book. Engaging!
I had an epiphany on Rich’s behalf. I’ve suggested that he now builds upon one particular section of the last book… and start to manipulate thinking among groups that society wants to manipulate. EG rehabilitation of young offenders. I told him:
Imagine if you did a ‘reality show’ with Ant Middleton as the trainer of young offenders and you’re doing the ‘live-on-air’ program adaptation to help remould the young offenders.
If it happens, I’d be delighted. But I think they are both building their own fame independently for the meantime. Fair cop.
And that’s the problem with job seeking, I keep finding roles for other people who are quite happy with their existing roles. But it helps me with my own stories, my own positioning. My own job seeking. And it helps me find more of the ‘right people’.
Two months till we all arrive back in London. I’ve been away for 12 years. We’ll spend Christmas with family. But then what: need a home.
William, 8 years old, has a new school starting in Surrey in January. We need to find a place to live near there. Rent first, buy later.
Went house hunting this weekend with my parents. Had a pub lunch. Bumped into a family that we know from Dubai in the pub. Small world. They have just relocated to the area too. Great news – what shortcuts can they offer? Things they wish they’d known or are glad the already knew that we might not. Handy.
This is a story of how to ‘audition’ for a new job in digital transformation. Pull in favours from friends!
This is also a story of poor hiring policies: getting people to go above and beyond the call of duty when actually there is no job to apply for!
I’d applied to join an in-house digital transformation team. The team that is being built to drive change in a big retail conglomerate with an HQ in Dubai.
I’d had three face-to-face interviews by now, where we’d talked tech, experience and measured appropriateness for the role in Dubai. Then came the email from Group HR, asking for me to audition to be part of this business transformation. The email read:
We would like you to send us a Digital Audition through any digital medium of your choice. We would like this to be as flexible and convenient for you to complete as possible and some of the key things we are looking for from you are:
– An introduction to yourself
– What are you passionate about?
– How do you think you can impact our culture?
– What keeps you up at night
– What does transformation mean to you? How do you envisage it?
The collection of senior marketers at each Marketing Society Dubai event grows more diverse, interesting and whatsmore, engaged each month.
On this occasion, two years since our launch, on arrival there were senior marketing execs from Dubai Airports, Emirates NBD, The Entertainer, IBM, Majid Al Futtaim, MBC, Unilever sprinkled with a handful of senior agency and consulting folks.
Each event gets busier and with a bigger buzz.
And that’s why we keep coming.
The conversations amongst this growing community before the main attraction are often as meaningful as anything said on stage.
Regular marketing community interaction, beyond big festivals, is rare in this part of the world. It’s becoming vital to catch up on unfinished conversations from the last time; great to build upon growing friendships; a delight to share ideas, opportunities and general chit-chat.
Then we remember that it’s the food for thought that counts the most, in theory.
In early 2017, when we sat down to discuss the format, the purpose and the opportunity of the #OnTheCouchWith series, we didn’t anticipate the foresight inherent in all the people we were yet to meet on the couch.
We created many episodes and not all have made it to light as yet. Other projects do get in the way of “house” projects like these. For example the 140-episode series that we undertook for Emirates Group’s ‘Be There’ campaign which has enjoyed over 150 million views. Across this project and all others, we work with clients to produce a series of ‘wow’ moments that can lead to transformation.
And here’s a new ‘wow’ moment: now is the time to bring Ash Banerjee’s insights to light. The Managing Partner of Lighthouse was setting up his consultancy around the time of filming about a year ago, and you’ll hear him speak about the dangers of unmoderated algorithms and data. The present-day focus on the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook debacle makes his prescient observations extremely relevant.
In Episode 54, Ash talks about how data can help build amazing customer experiences, citing Disney’s Magic Band as an example.
In Episode 55, he expands on how using data appropriately is quite critical to informing and building excellent customer experiences.
In Episode 56, he says big platforms such as Google and Facebook need to be careful. “Algorithms are machines and machines don’t have morals,” says the man who can see around corners, as he stresses the importance of data ethics and data governance.
The Marketing Society Middle East is the fastest growing element of the MarSoc world (London, Edinburgh, New York, New Delhi, Singapore, Hong Kong). So it’s a delight to put on our first conference in an excellent venue, the Vox Cinema in Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, The Brave Conference. #braveleaders.
Recurring themes underpinned the excellent and unique presenters. Unique in their storytelling and unique in their outlook. All demonstrating different themes of bravery. Let’s look at some of these themes.
Honesty and relevance are key to bravery. Ros Atkins, presenter, Outside Source, BBC World News and BBC World Service, gave an honest story of passion, preparation and purpose. Which turned out to be the three Ps of #braveleaders in business as a whole and marketing in particular.