5 Additional Masterclasses Added to 2015/16 Roster

Say Hello - Marketing Masterclass Series

I’m delighted to announce that a further 5 masterclass events have been added to the official roster for 2015/16.

After the successful launch of the Marketing Leaders Masterclass in Leeds in association with Elmwood and Network Marketing on 21st April 2015, the events schedule has been further increased with an additional 5 events that will aim to provide senior marketers in the North of England with a unique opportunity to network and continue to develop their skills across multi-disciplines including: digital, brand communications, content, creative, insight and marketing strategy.

Upcoming Events:

  • Brand Engagement Masterclass – Tuesday 14th July 2015
  • Digital Leaders Masterclass (Leeds) – Tuesday 6th October 2015
  • Content Leaders Masterclass (Manchester)- Tuesday 24th November 2015
  • PR & Social Leaders Masterclass (Manchester) – Tuesday 26th January 2016
  • Brand & Creative Leaders Masterclass (Leeds)) – 19th April 2016
  • 2nd Annual Marketing Leaders Masterclass (Manchester) – 28th June 2016


If you’d like to attend or present at any of these masterclass events, please get in touch.

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.

Speaker Spotlight: Tim Leonard (Elmwood)

Elmwood’s Brand Provocator Tim Leonard shares an insight into his career defining work on the Morrisons Market Street project.

Tim’s session ‘The Death of Who: The Birth of Me’ at the Brand & Audience Engagement Masterclass will look at the changing face of demographics and how smart brands are responding and rethinking the very meaning of targeting.

What or Who inspired you to enter a career in brand marketing?

The amazing planet we live on and the fascinating creatures (humans) that run around on its surface! I’m personally very interested in behaviour and consumer insight. The better we understand people, the better we can make the experience when people come into contact with a brand. Ultimately this will make the world a better place, and it’s my job to try and make a difference.

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

Indifference. It’s the anaesthetic of the familiar. The bland, the safe and the unadventurous has no point of view. It can’t hope to bring people out to play.

What is your career defining project to-date?

Morrisons Market Street. We needed to set Market Street apart from the other supermarkets – create a more engaging customer experience, give Market Street a sense of ‘theatre’ and develop a unique and ownable new identity and personality. During the initial strategy work, we carried out customer journey mapping to gain a better understanding of how customers shop and where we could optimise the experience. A very involving project with an impactful end result.

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

Whilst I love working with small challenger brands (rule breakers are so much fun) I’d love to work with Lego. A multi-generation brand that blends physical and digital – phygital if you will!

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

Made to Stick: Why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck. By Chip Heath and Dan Heath. Would definitely recommend it.


Speaker Spotlight: Nicola Carey (Jaywing)

In today’s edition of ‘Speaker Spotlight’, Jaywing’s Head of Strategy & Planning Nicola Carey shares her thoughts on all things brand engagement.

At the Brand & Audience Engagement Masterclass BEMLeeds, Nicola will deliver a session on – The Dating Game: The importance of brand seduction in the age of information

What inspired you to enter a career in brand marketing?

When I was in my early teens I didn’t have photos of Take That on my wall. I had Absolut Vodka Ads. (Not sure what this says about my upbringing!) Also, and I know it’s a cliché of advertising, but whenever I need lifting I watch the Guinness show reel – the idea that a brand through its communication could make me ‘feel’ something was what brought me into marketing.

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

I do think there is a big challenge in cutting through all the ‘buzzword bingo’ to enable brands to get to the heart of what engagement means for customers as individuals. It may indeed be that the engagement sticking point is one of ‘making sense of all the data’ or ‘creating exciting content’ but in my experience, it is very rare these play out consistently for brands across sectors or even audience groups. I guess you could say that the greatest challenge for brands is actually defining their own ‘rules of engagement’.

What is your career defining project to-date?

That’s a difficult question as my career has been pretty varied! I would have said it was spear-heading a 12 market insight project for BBC News which saw me understanding the role of the BBC brand and how it engages audiences in everywhere from Afghanistan to Seattle.

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

For me, this changes all the time. I’ve been lucky enough to work with a number of brands that might be thought of as classically ‘sexy’ brands to work with – Red Bull, Diageo, EE and most recently First Direct. However, and without wanting to sound too earnest, it’s the unique challenges and problems and the client’s attitude towards tackling them which makes a client a dream client.

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

Neither of the two things which come to mind are actually books. Simon Sinek’s whole ‘Start With Why’/Golden Circles philosophy (as best summarised in one of his TED talks) really helped bring to life brand purpose for me in a way which felt meaningful. Being a planner, I also often look to my peers for inspiration. There are so many good blogs out there but the one which stands out for me is Richard Huntington’s Adliterate, full of interesting thinking and provocations.


Strong Line-Up Confirmed for Brand & Audience Engagement Masterclass

I’m delighted to announce that the speaker line-up for the Brand & Audience Engagement Masterclass has now been confirmed with leading experts from Elmwood, Jaywing, WRG, Wolfstar and Igniyte  – presenting a series of engaging sessions on Tuesday 14th July 2015.

The masterclass in association with Network Marketing and the University of Liverpool will provide delegates with a powerful series of insights, strategies and tactics from five industry leaders who will share their latest thinking on brand and audience engagement.


  • Developing the right brand engagement strategy
  • Creating and promoting powerful content through owned, earned and paid media channels
  • Tactics for driving customer acquisition and retention through better online brand engagement
  • Measuring the effectiveness of brand and social engagement
  • How to deliver an engaging online user experience

Who’s attending?

  • Head of Marketing Operations, O2
  • Global Vice President – Brand Strategy, Arla Foods
  • Professor of Marketing, University of Liverpool
  • Marketing Director, Joe Browns
  • Marketing Director, Taylors of Harrogate
  • Global Marketing Manager, Mamas & Papas
  • Head of Community & Social Media Marketing, Premier Farnell
  • Head of Marketing, WageDayAdvance
  • Digital Marketing Manager, Irwin Mitchell
  • Regional Marketing Manager, DLA Piper
  • Marketing Manager, Yorkshire Water
  • Senior Manager – Brand Operations, Lloyds Banking Group
  • Customer Strategy & Planning Manager, Yorkshire Building Society
  • Customer Insight Manager, Asda
  • Marketing & Communications Director, Capita
  • Brand Activation Manager, Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate
  • Digital Marketing Manager, The Co-operative Group
  • Senior Manager – Online Content, Brand & Communications, TD Direct
  • Head of Customer Knowledge & Insight, TD Direct
  • US Marketing Coordinator, Pure Collection
  • Digital Content Coordinator, Pure Collection
  • Retail Development Manager, Warburtons
  • Brand & Social Media Manager, Superbreak
  • Customer Retention Manager, WageDayAdvance
  • Customer Retention & Engagement Manager, Satsuma Loans
  • Communications Manager, Xerox
  • UK Marketing Manager, Smoothwall
  • Marketing Manager, University of Leeds
  • Head of Marketing, Pets Choice
  • Social and PR Manager, Pets Choice

If you’d like to attend, please complete the contact form or call me on +44 (0)7796322894.

One question to always ask yourself during a negotiation

We do it everyday in our personal lives – don’t we? We are in the supermarket doing ‘The Big Shop’ when we are suddenly faced with a number of exciting promotional offers as we walk down our favourite aisle. So many choices, but which brand do we buy this week?

As much as I love shopping, I don’t want to stand in the cereal aisle for any longer than I have to, so a decision is made and I go with the store’s own brand of Fruit & Fibre.

As a marketer who may be responsible for spending your organisation’s budget, you have many important decisions to make, as it’s your job to deliver a strategy that will help  your business ‘defend and grow’ the client base, turnover, market share and industry reputation.

Upon embarking my agency-side marketing career back in 2005, I found it confusing when faced with so many different media options for raising the brand profile and generating leads. To me, there appeared to be too many industry events and awards – all claiming to deliver something uniquely different. In truth – not many actually did. The only difference was the huge price that the account manager was demanding for my agency to come on board.

Today, things have not changed that much in terms of the options that are available, however, my greater experience and understanding of my market has equipped me with the tools to quickly assess the value of any proposition being sold to me.

Ask yourself – why should I pay more than I have to? In reality, you don’t and should never, as long as you can benchmark the opportunity cost during a negotiation.

In 2013, I decided to invest in an event that was £60k less than a competitor was paying for a similar event. The decision-making process was very simple, because I knew what I wanted to achieve and how this event could deliver what I wanted. It was nice to save my agency a lot of money, however, I was simply doing my job and my experience and assessment of the opportunity cost meant that I could free the marketing budget up for other things. The event delivered!

If you can continue to develop your marketing radar to the point where you know the right price to pay for a service, based on the ‘Opportunity Cost’ – your ability to negotiate becomes a lot easier.

Why passion is everything when negotiating

We all know that in life and at work, being passionate about what you do makes a big difference. It not only enables you to enjoy what you are doing, but it also radiates to those around you and can sometimes inspire – if channeled in the right way.

In the build-up to my negotiation training workshop, I wanted to touch on its importance as a key ingredient when trying to reach a desired outcome with suppliers, as it may help you achieve a better result.

To be a truly effective negotiator, you must harness your passion with your in-depth market knowledge and ability to communicate with people, as without this spark – people may not be as responsive to your demands.

I remember travelling to London a few years back to meet a supplier to discuss an event sponsorship package and was immediately lethargic and negative upon meeting him – why? Well, I can honestly say that this person did not have a passion for what they were selling and it made me feel uncomfortable during the chat.

I am  not saying that you should jump through hoops and sing from the rooftops, just enjoy what you do and this will make any negotiation more fun, productive and fruitful.

On the other side of the coin, there are many people I have had the pleasure to negotiate with and I must admit their integrity and enthusiasm made the difference in agreeing a mutually attractive sponsorship.

It’s not too late to register for my workshop, so I hope to see you there!

The importance of reputation when negotiating

The ability to negotiate effectively depends on many core ingredients, however, one of the most important is your reputation and how you are perceived by your suppliers and peers.

What does this mean?

It is very important that when developing relationships with your key contacts and suppliers, you do not breach their trust. A good negotiator is not someone who gets a fantastic deal once, but someone who through their ability to develop honest and sound relationships can deliver the maximum benefit for their organisations on a consistent basis.

If you have managed to agree a package with your supplier, always deliver what you promised, as this failure will come back to haunt you in the future, as reputation is everything.

I always enter a negotiation with a clear understanding of what I want and what I will be happy to agree to, and will always deliver on my end.

If you become known as someone that can’t be trusted or who always fails to deliver on a promise – you will find it impossible to succeed at anything.

If you would like to further develop your negotiation skills, I will be running a training workshop in Leeds on Tuesday 24th February – get in touch if you are interested.

Why every marketer needs to be a good negotiator

As a soccer mad Tottenham fan, transfer deadline day is a special time of the year – when I am truly gripped to my TV until midnight.

It’s that time of the year when every football fan stays up late to find out which superstar their manager has signed and also what big signings have been made by the competition.

We all know that some managers are special at this time of the year because of their ability to negotiate a great deal,  and a skill which just might make the difference in what position they occupy at the end of the season.

As a marketer of 15-years it made me reflect on one of the most important skills a marketer must possess and continually refine – the ability to negotiate.

A marketer who is strong in this area will not just help boost the effectiveness of their organisation’s marketing output but also make substantial savings in the process – something every CEO loves!

I have had the pleasure of working for some amazing companies and people in my career and yet I have rarely come across a marketer who feels comfortable or enjoys the challenge in being able to negotiate a fantastic deal for the brand they represent.

I must admit, I personally find it one of the most enjoyable parts of the job, as it provides a real opportunity to put your ability, career experience and people skills to the ultimate test.

On Tuesday 24th February, I will be running a negotiation training workshop in order to share my experience and provide a series of practical tips that will help marketers deliver more for less.

Hope to see you there!