“To crack the glass ceiling you don’t need a sharp stick, you need a sharp suit”, says one of the tube ads. It got me thinking, what do women need to do to succeed in advertising? It used to be a Don Draper dominated industry, but it is not the case anymore. Our recent research showed that women are a 55% majority in Arena and we are better educated than men around us*.
Following that emancipated thinking, four of us went to The Young Women on Board meet up on Tuesday where successful women in media told us how they got there. The room, filled with 100 girls beginning in the industry, listened with anticipation and a lot of laughter – cheers for a brilliant stand-up comedian MC and free wine!
David Brailsford, head coach of British Cycling and Team Sky Pro Cycling, was at Advertising Week Europe on Monday, where he addressed an audience of ad-landers on the topic of winning. This is the third blog post in a series on David Brailsford’s nuggets of wisdom.
David Brailsford and his British Cycling team are well known for their excellence in sport science (from nutrition, to conditioning and equipment) as well as their meticulous attention to detail, but I was equally interested to hear Dave’s take on people management.
He recognised early on as a coach that there are two ends of the coaching spectrum – the data-driven coach, whose brilliant technical analysis can give an athlete a competitive edge through the best training methods and tactics; at the other end of the scale is the ex-pro, they have been there themselves, they know what it’s like for the athlete, and they know how to relate to the athletes at a human level. They are, what we might say, ‘people’ people. The best coaches combine both the technical and the personal into their team management.
Given that we are talking about the field of sport, I was expecting Dave to say his people management style was a kind of tough love, cruel to be kind approach (you know like a personal trainer – “give me 5 more” when you’re in agony). I imagined him shouting at athletes that weren’t putting the hours in, who didn’t have the right attitude, who didn’t keep pedalling until they fell off the bike vomiting.
In fact Dave revealed a much softer approach to people management. Most, if not all of this you will have heard before in one place or another, but when Dave explained it you really got the feeling it was borne out of years of experience, and something he had figured out himself, not something he read in a manual somewhere. Here are his top tips.
It was standing room only at Advertising Week Europe yesterday with everyone wanting to catch some pearls of wisdom from ‘Martin’ – not Arena Media’s own Martin Greenbank (it will be him one day) – but unofficial head of ad land Sir Martin Sorrell. He was holding forth on the topic of ‘winning’, accompanied by David Brailsford – Head of British Cycling, Team Sky Cycling, the architect of Britain’s rise to the top of world cycling, and Bradley Wiggins’s victorious Tour de France.
Dave (no need to call him Sir Dave, apparently) clearly knew a thing or two about winning, and over the course of an hour he gave a rapt audience some fascinating insights into building a performance culture, which I will attempt to distil into a couple of blog posts over the course of this week.
Dave explained that for all the data and sophisticated sports science around physical conditioning, nutrition, and equipment, it was equally important to be able to manage the individuals in the team and their mental state of mind as they approached a race.
Team psychiatrist Steve Peters developed a model which explains human behaviour in the face of stressful situations or challenges – and only when you understand how the brain is wired can you gain full control over your emotions and perform to your absolute best under pressure.
It’s called the Chimp model, and it says that basically, deep down, we are still very instinctive animals, still cave men: liable to react emotionally or aggressively to a situation; the fight or flight instinct.
The London Underground is a graveyard for civility and human kindness. Catching the eye of a fellow commuter sends tension levels to unmitigated highs, a nudge can turn a West End office worker into a feral beast, and if you haven’t got your Oyster card out by the time you reach the top of the escalator, expect to be deafened by a chorus of tuts. Keep your head down, your headphones in, and your thoughts to yourself.
In a world of engaging and sharing, this hardly seems a natural stomping ground for advertisers, does it?
Now’s a good time to point out that I’m a big fan of OOH. The tube has some good formats – Google’s much-referenced voice search campaign is a testament to this – but there seems to be a challenge for advertisers in actually producing content which is going to drag eyes away from Kindles charting the exploits of Christian Grey or Angry Birds: Zero Dark Thirty or whatever version we’re up to now. Mobile will, inevitably, have a part to play in this. With the expansion of wi-fi services and with plans to eventually install this in train carriages, the advertising experience has to become so much more than a static ad shouting at people who are barely out of bed.
Here’s a brilliant chance for brands to change the face of the tube journey and, in turn, change the course of someone’s day. Challenge set.
We commonly see how sport and numbers come together like twins.
In the last set of Six Nations rugby international games, we saw Ireland have 80% of possession but still lose to Scotland. In 2004, Arsenal football club went on a record 49 consecutive top-flight league games unbeaten run. No team wanted to play them.
Or what about the wheelchair tennis ace Esther Vergeer, who retired after being unbeaten for 10 years, winning an amazing 470 successive victories?
But can you use data to improve your own sporting performance or that of a team? Most definitely!
Content is king
What does the future of TV tech hold for the average high street consumer, and, more relevantly to us, what does it mean to the ad world? Is the smart TV something we should forget about until the prices drop and families begin arguing over which app to use rather than which channel to watch? Obviously not. While the marketplace for TV tech is set to get very crowded and confusing, it’s important not to get distracted. Content will continue to rule throughout. The future of television is less about the TVs we watch and more about the way we choose to watch – the apps we favour, and the schedule we build for ourselves.