Unstuck: Top Five Tips for 2023
It’s been a memorable first year for the Unstuck podcast! More than 4,000 people tuned in across 21 countries. Broadcasting to our 4,000 strong community were 38 marvellous guests. They generously shared their experiences and offered invaluable advice. We had entrepreneurs, CMOs, agency leaders, sports stars, food buffs and more. To help compile the top takeaways from our first group of guests, we’ve produced our top tips for 2023. We reviewed every episode, identified the most important messages, and found five core ideas that stood out.
1 – Start with insights
Being marketers, we often focus a lot of effort and headspace on delivering content as fast as we can. The market is demanding and the number of channels to reach them is constantly increasing. However, before we strategise about creative concepts, content types, and channels, we need to study the data. Dr Marcus Collins (our Hip Hop Doctor!) reminded us that every story starts with data and being aware of its significance. The doctor determines that “It begins with insights, what are insights? Insights are converting facts into meaning.”
In order to create expressive content and campaigns we need to be able to translate our insights into meaningful information. Simon Francis, CEO of Flock, felt that the best method of data analysis was to ‘hunt the edges’. This meant looking at the ‘edges’ of datasets, in the areas you don’t usually explore. By discovering and analysing new data you can open a world of opportunity for different journeys. Of course, it’s critically important that you know how to interpret the information once you find it. In the words of Emma Montgomery, CEO at Leo Burnett, “When I was doing deep analysis for media and research I would ask ‘What do the numbers tell me?’ rather than ‘What are the numbers?’” So, when you’re developing your marketing strategy and content plans for 2023, make sure you begin with exploring and understanding the data!
2 – Pivot and Reinvent
Regular listeners will be very aware of the importance of being able to pivot. Our third guest on Unstuck was Amanda Lannert, CEO of Jellyvision. Gamers will be familiar with Amanda’s company as they once developed video games on CD-ROMs. When the CD-ROM business died, Jellyvision had to completely reinvent itself as a B2B tech agency. In Amanda’s words “pivoting is life or death.” She reminded listeners how important culture is within the transformation process. Sarah Hofstetter, President at Profitero, described this process as ‘selective destruction.’ Companies often iterate in minor increments, but Amanda and Sarah believe this is too risk averse. Sometimes we need to pick out areas that are not performing and rewrite the rules. So don’t be afraid to rip it all up in 2023 and start again!
Emma Montgomery was also an advocate of reinvention. She insisted it’s more risky to stay on the same course than chart a new one. “Getting stuck isn’t always a bad thing. When you get stuck – ask why? We’re not growing – why?.”
It’s critically important for your company to be able to pivot and reinvent. However, it’s just as important that you can develop your own personal story too. In the words of Sarah Hofstetter “don’t be afraid to pivot or completely change course in your working life. You need different chapters.” The enlightened Rishad Tobaccowala had a similar idea “remember your career is long. Try to make sure you don’t get stuck for too long. Constantly reinvent yourself by doing new things.” On this note, why not make 2023 the year you revise your company, marketing, or personal playbook?
3 – Keep compassion at the core
When it comes to talent management, the first component is compassion. Before tuning up resource management, skills profiling, and job matching, you need to make your team feel important and appreciated. Beth Ann Kaminkow, Global Chief Executive Officer of VMLY&R Commerce, summed this idea up for listeners, “My secret ingredient for unlocking talent is ‘loverage.’ I’ve always led with love. That means every transformation comes from a place of love.”
Trish Thomas and Nichole Wilson became our first repeat guests on the podcast. They came back to tell us the story of Every Body Eat and why the name is so significant. Humanity and compassion are at the core of the company’s culture. Trish and Nichole have used their food enterprise as an engine to give opportunity and education to disadvantaged areas. Furthermore, their compassion extends to providing second chances to people that may not get them elsewhere. Trish proudly stated, “At Every Body Eat, your past does not dictate your future with us.” Every Body Eat provide a job, life hacks, and growth opportunities for their devoted team.
Once they became business owners, Trish and Nichole could “see the systems and processes that hold inequities in place, and dismantle them from our side.” Another guest that is breaking down barriers to lift people up is Samantha Kolkey. She is the Executive Director at Options for College Success. Samantha is a neuro diverse leader that is leading an entirely neuro diverse organisation. Compassion drives understanding about neuro diversities and unique talents. “The neurodiverse model focuses on there not being a right way of thinking. We must remember that everyone is wired differently. There’s vulnerability to the term neuro divergence. However, when you say it as a matter of fact, it’s accepted.”
4 – Purpose begins within
We often hear of the importance of purpose-driven marketing. Brands that practice purpose driven marketing are those that openly put core values at the forefront. But how can you create content and campaigns that are captivating if your own work is lacking purpose? The purpose driven philosophy begins within the walls of the office (or virtual space). We need to be able to find purpose at work and feel connected to our endeavors. Rishad Tobaccowala shared a thoughtful message with listeners. “Life is a journey through time in search of meaning. Therefore, you need to find meaning at work.”
This narrative continued when we were introduced to a C-suite exec from Atlanta. Craig Robinson reminded us that we need to make an impact through our work. Fulfillment comes from belonging and we are all compelled to leave our stamp. He passionately remarked, “If I’m not here tomorrow, did I make a difference? Did I leave a mark on a corporation? Does my employer care about me? What was my purpose?”
5 – Don’t accept the odds
The final lesson of Unstuck in 2022 is an important one. Do not accept that you’re not good enough, or the right fit, or not from the ideal background. Several of our inspiring guests defeated the odds to be where they are today. We learned about poverty, societal chains, dangerous environments, and life threatening illness. All of these adversities were overcome by Unstuck guests which reminds us that anything is possible.
We mentioned Craig Robinson in our previous section. Craig climbed to the top of the real estate ladder against the odds. Growing up in a disadvantaged Atlanta neighbourhood it was unlikely he would break out of societal shackles. He went on to graduate from Harvard and became a successful C-level executive. Another inspiring Harvard graduate was introduced in episode 37. Mawi Asgedom’s first education was a refugee camp in Sudan. Who would have thought that this war displaced asylum seeker would give a commencement speech at Harvard? Our Unstuck guests overcame life threatening circumstances too. Gina Jacobson was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer four years ago. She beat the odds and the doctor’s diagnoses to be here today. Gina leads Starcom Worldwide and continues to create special work while defying expectations.
Hey presto, we’ve concluded the Unstuck 2022 recap and shared our most important tips from guests. We hope you’ve learned as much as we have this year. Please come back and join us in 2023 for more inspiring stories and practical advice!