Daryl Fielding is the former Director of Brand Marketing and Communications for Vodafone UK. Prior to this she held senior roles at many large multinational firms, including VP of Marketing for Kraft Foods Europe and former managing partner of the Ogilvy Group. Since leaving Vodafone Daryl has built an impressive portfolio career.
Through Nurole she was recently appointed Non-Medical Trustee for the British Heart Foundation.
Why do boards need independent directors with a marketing background?
Strong marketers will bring customer focus, commercial acumen and understanding of how to grow and leverage the organisation’s reputation (aka brand) to the top table. Marketers generally have a long term perspective as they are used to customer behaviour and attitudes changing relatively slowly. They can therefore help to mitigate short-termism, an inward orientation and ensure the customer remains paramount.
What role should the board play in brand strategy?
I define brand as product or service plus reputation, so the board should of course be fully vested in the brand strategy. Unfortunately many organisations wrongly define brand as image advertising, and marketing as communication tactics - neither are weighty matters for a board. A board should be very clear on the quality and competitiveness of the products and services offered and the organisation’s standing with customers and stakeholders. These should have KPIs that are just as heavily scrutinised as the financial ones, as they are the drivers of growth.
What should companies looking to replicate the success you had with Dove’s real beauty campaign focus on?
Deep customer insight and understanding and the courage to disrupt the category whilst staying true to the values of the brand. It’s easier said than done.
What should you look for when hiring a Chief Marketing Officer?
Vision on brand strategy and strong leadership qualities. CMOs now need to bring clarity and cohesion on brand to the whole organisation, because of the disaggregation of customer touch points and the pace of communication. It’s no longer possible to control the marketing channels anymore and CMOs need to lead all departments that connect with customers.
How do you judge if your Chief Marketing Officer is not the right person?
Like anyone, if they are not delivering results. But the pace at which results are expected needs to be realistic.
What is the most common mistake you see companies making with their brand and how can it be avoided?
Chopping and changing strategy. Companies need to develop a strategy that is customer led, sustainable and well thought through. The executive team and board need to buy into it and commit to it. It then needs time to be allowed to work and imperfections ironed out, as first iterations are rarely perfect. Too often, the brand strategy changes every time the CMO changes, which is a scandal.
What has characterised the best boards you have worked with as an executive?
The appetite for real debate combined with the drive to a decision. This underpins what it takes for diversity to flourish. If matters of importance are under discussion and different perspectives and experience are brought to bear, then outcomes are enhanced. If nothing worthwhile is energetically discussed, the board meetings are pointless.
What advice can you offer to aspiring first time non-executives?
Ensure you are a good fit with the essential skills required. Assume you are fighting other equally senior and capable people, because you will be, and be anything other than complacent. Let your motivation and personality come through in your supporting statement.
When have you got it most wrong professionally and what did you learn?
I failed to act swiftly when I was undermined. I should have had more courage to challenge and confront the individuals. I tended to be reluctant to build relationships with more senior colleagues, which I still battle, but try to take myself in hand and just do it.
If you could give someone just one piece of advice, what would it be?
Bring your personal warmth to work.
Your Nurole Experience
How did you hear about Nurole?
Recommended by NED community at WACL (Women in Advertising and Communications London).
What made you sign up?
More diverse range of opportunities from Public Sector to Private Equity to Not-for-profit.
How have you found the experience as a member?
Very motivating to be in the driving seat by being notified on roles rather than waiting for search firms to call.
What advice would you have for members applying through the platform?
Learn to be succinct.
In one sentence, how would you explain what Nurole does to someone who doesn’t know it?
It creates disproportionate results for members and organisations by multiplying the effects of high calibre applicants, volume and an applicant-led process.
About You - 10 Question Quick Fire
3 words the person who has worked most with you would use to characterise you?
Driven. Bright. Self-deprecating.
100 Years of Solitude. Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
"To be irreplaceable, one must be different." - Coco Chanel.
Professional achievement of which you are most proud?
The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty.
When does your alarm go off and how many hours of sleep do you have on average?
7.00. I nearly always get 7 hours, but if life is fun or busy I’m fine with 5. I am blessed with the ability to sleep anywhere at any time, Olympic calibre capability that helped when I had a global role.
Best idea for a £10,000 investment?
Donation to The Marketing Academy Foundation, which I run, enabling young individuals from tough backgrounds to begin a career in marketing. Or a 1980s future classic car.
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