Speaker Spotlight: Carol Smith (WRG)

In today’s edition of Speaker Spotlight, WRG’s Director of Brand Engagement Carol Smith, reveals the importance of ‘Trust’ when it comes to brand engagement.

Don’t miss Carol’s session: Trust me – I’m a brand at the masterclass in Leeds on 14th July.

What inspired you to enter a career in brand marketing?

Ads. I distinctly recall a phase in my teenage years when I realised that I was looking forward to the ad breaks more than the programmes. I started to wonder who had made them? How did they make them? Why? This was pre-internet so after a few frustrating sessions at the school careers office, I eventually landed some work experience with TBWA (then BDH) and the rest as they say is (my career) history.

In your opinion – What is the single biggest challenge that brands face when it comes to ‘Brand & Audience Engagement’?

I think one of the key challenges that brands face is the degree of trust we’re all placing with strangers online – and how to control or influence it. Trip Advisor, Amazon, Yelp – more and more we’re relying on reviews from people we don’t know. Social Media is punching above its weight in terms of influence – at times it can feel like your brand’s a tweet or review away from reputation meltdown.

 What is your career defining project to-date?

My most enriching experience has been outside my day job. For the past six years I have been a member of the charitable fundraising board for Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital – this always feels like marketing with purpose!  www.rmchcharity.org.uk

Who would be your ‘Dream’ client – if you could win their business?

Right here? Right Now? The Labour Party.

What is the 1-book that changed your thinking and approach to your career/job?

Disruption by Jean-Marie Dru. The TBWA network of course handle Apple who remain one of their greatest examples of Disruption. I was lucky enough to witness first hand, in downtown Los Angeles, the relationship and trust between Steve Jobs and Lee Clow. In terms of how it shaped my career, it was – to coin a phrase – priceless. It taught me the importance of ‘changing the rules’, wherever possible and never being afraid to challenge convention.

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