Insights from the two men leading our Brands division
Describe your career in 5 words
DW: Fun, Pragmatic, Integrity, Alive, Rewarding
RM: Lucky, Relationships, Loyal, Diverse, Challenging
Both the UK and North America continue to be leading sport industry markets and are hugely important to our business. What is it that’s made your market so successful and what could your market learn from the other?
DW: In short; adaptability, creativity, personalisation, quality and cost.
The UK market continues to evolve and to be successful in it, you must have the flexibility to change with it. We also have global properties and global brands which see the UK (London) as a stepping stone into Europe and beyond.
RM: The scale and scope of the North American market alone makes it successful, but also technology has always been a driving force. From television innovations to in-stadium enhancements, technology today is even more important as fans look for reasons to attend and watch games live. Saying that, nothing is more important in sports than fan passion, and North America could seemingly learn much from international fans on how to not have to rely on technology to enhance the fan experience but rather to rely on pure fan love for the game.
You’ve both been key to integrating a number of brands under the CSM umbrella, what has been the most interesting part of the process so far and why does this strategy make sense for the business?
RM: The most interesting part so far has been the attention we have given the roll up under one brand internally…we have been focused on the “brand” while our clients and prospects are focused on our people and our work. It has been slightly humbling. But the strategy of going to one CSM brand makes sense because clients today are looking for consistency and integrated offerings. One CSM will provide clients efficiency and ease of use – “one throat to choke” – which is important in today’s procurement-driven, price-focused and chaotic age.
DW: It was a brave decision and the right one. The diversity of our offering now is difficult to match and a huge value-add to our clients and future clients. The challenge for us now is to maintain our agility and flexibility to ensure we stay ahead of the growing number of boutique, single capability agencies. By continuing to hero our entrepreneurial nature, which is ultimately what the business is built upon, we’ll do exactly this.
The most interesting element? The communications challenge. Keeping people informed with what, why and when we’re doing things. There shouldn’t be any surprises. It’s essential that the perception of change, both internally and externally, is a positive one, highlighting the opportunities to improve and grow as a result of it.
CSM’s new brand positioning is to ‘create impact by challenging convention’. Are there any brands, rights holders or governing bodies that stick out in your mind for being brave enough to do something differently and being successful because of this?
RM: There the brands we all read about, such as Red Bull, Nike, Google, etc, and there are rights holders looking to challenge convention through partnering with Twitter, Amazon, and others, but what continues to stick in my mind is the Refugee Olympic Team in Rio. How prescient is the IOC now, to have enabled Refugee Nation, made up of 10 refugees and not a single country? Not only was the involvement of the Refugee team a success on its own, but the Refugee Nation campaign and licensing program has generated millions of dollars and impressions globally.
DW: Uber, Air BnB and Comparethemarket all come to mind. Three brands who seemingly came from nowhere but have disrupted and now dominate their sector. They are driven by an entrepreneurial mind-set, a bravery to take risks and a flexibility to change as fast as the market in which they operate. For CSM this is our model. Operating in an industry where the speed of change is as fast as any, you have to ask yourself, can a five-year strategy work in today’s market? Instead we must be brave and flexible enough to change our direction, or our client’s direction, if the landscape shifts. Those three brands have been and their success speaks for itself.
What is your most memorable sporting moment?
DW: There are countless, but I’ll pick out two.
The first, the final day of the Ashes Test Match at Trent Bridge in 2005. A famous victory for England, one that ultimately sealed a first Ashes series win in more than 30 years, but it was actually the masterful, destructive bowling display of Shane Warne, that made chasing 129 runs to win feel like an eternity, is my lasting memory.
Secondly, ‘Super Saturday’ at the London 2012 Olympics. I wasn’t there live but jumping up and down on the sofa, doing the ‘Mobot’ with my two-year-old son as we shouted ‘Go Mo! Go Mo!’, as Mo Farah stretched clear to claim one of three Gold Medals for Team GB in 44 crazy minutes on that balmy August evening.
RM: As a fan, Super Bowl XXV is still the most memorable. I went last minute with a friend, connected with colleagues to get a hotel room, tickets, etc and watched my Giants win in the last minute. All that under the cloud of the Gulf War. Lee Greenwood, Witney Houston, wide right!
When not at work, where might we find you?
DW: Playing sport, at home with my family or cutting the lawn.
RM: Home, or actually anywhere, with my wife and 2 kids.