Who doesn’t need some extra love for a Monday and so who better for B&T’s latest Women In Media profile than eHarmony’s Nicole McInnes? Here she talks what drives her, why she hates liars and Kung Fu Panda Quotes…
Describe your average day?
At around 6am my “alarm clocks”, aka my six and seven-year old boys, gently wake me using the latest ninja move they’ve picked up from all their educational screen time, on my shins or stomach. Once recovered, I try and squeeze in 10 minutes of meditation before I face the hectic morning routine.
Most days work starts with a call with the US, and then, between meeting with the team and our agencies, I am either buried in data and dashboards looking at how to optimise the business, or working on creating and aligning brand vision with all of our channels to market.
What’s the most challenging thing about your job?
Inspiring people. Your team won’t go above and beyond if they don’t understand why the company exists – neither will your customers. So right now I’m focused on defining that, and getting everyone aligned and engaged with that internally before we start planning on how we take that to market.
What drives you?
Two things keep me doing what I am doing. One: I love connecting with people through creativity and emotion. I do a lot of writing and design still and I love working out ways to make people feel more, enjoy life more deeply and think more. There’s a richness to life that brands and products can bring if they understand what makes people happy, and I have made sure to work for brands that want to do that too.
Two: I love to change things, not for the sake of it, but because if the problem is always changing, then the solution is never going to be the same. I don’t innovate or disrupt so I can make a name for myself, I do it because if you are focused on the best solution in business you won’t be able to help but change things up.
What’s the hardest brief you’ve ever received or the hardest job to execute?
Delivering a brand campaign for Pandora in an 8-week timeframe, with no creative agency on retainer. Luckily, our media agency was set up to mobilise creative talent, and we were able to deliver a beautiful fully-integrated campaign within the deadline. The outcome was a 670 per cent uplift in listener growth rate in the first six weeks. It was the hardest 8 weeks of my career, as well as the most rewarding.
What has been your favourite job in media, and why?
My current role is definitely my favourite; it is a perfect mix of science and emotion, which when combined opens up a world of possibility. My second fave was Dell because despite the stakes being so high, they were an intense meritocracy, entrepreneurial and way ahead of their time. It’s where I learnt how to optimise a media mix in real-time, and added strong commercial acumen to my creative side.
What would be your ultimate role?
One where I am working with people who are smart, curious, brave, warm (and preferably hilarious, too) and most importantly aligned towards a common goal that is on a higher level than self-interest. I’ve been lucky enough to have experienced that twice now in my career and the plan is to keep finding or creating those environments in the future.
What’s your quirkiest attribute?
I have a wicked sense of humour, and at times have been known to pause a meeting if something hilarious is too funny to not highlight, even if it’s at my own expense. Basically, a less funny cross between Jerry and Kramer.
One thing no one knows about you?
I quote Master Oogway from Kung Fu Panda occasionally, like now: “One often meets his destiny on the path he takes to avoid it”.
What are advertising / marketing’s biggest challenges?
Becoming obsessed with trackable media and forgetting that some of the most effective media, and indeed that which drives digital efficiency, is untrackable. Crossing three layers of data, with device ids and social profiles is great. That level of targeting and re-targeting has its place in the media mix but far too much focus is put in this area, and not enough on the fact that humans engage with a brand when it makes them feel good, and most importantly when it aligns with their values. Right time, right place does not replace “right message”, if you haven’t got that right, then there is no right time or place.
What do you think are the most exciting things in the marketing and creative world at the moment?
The same thing that has always been the most exciting – and elusive: how do you connect with your customers beyond the transaction? Channels and technology are just the vehicles; what’s exciting to me is how VR or the internet of things is used to create a feeling inside another person, not the technology itself.
Hardest lesson you’ve had to learn (in or out of workforce)?
Ego and fear in leadership destroys morale and culture faster than any other force in a team.
Any movie with Melissa McCarthy in it, and reading Joe Hildebrand’s and Rosie Waterland’s columns.
What’s your favourite TV program?
Would I lie to you? A British comedy panel show with Rob Brydon, Lee Mack and David Mitchell.
What turns you off?
My biggest turnoff is, ironically, people who lie. It fascinates me, actually, because it is such a useless pursuit given most people can see straight through it. The best policy is just to be yourself – quirks, vulnerabilities, strengths and all. This is even more important if you are lucky enough to be leading people.
What profession would you not like to do?
Have you ever felt like giving up?
Absolutely, many times! But I am SO glad I didn’t because although I didn’t see it at the time, the challenges you need are the ones you get! And I am enjoying my work now more than ever.
What are the pearls of wisdom you know now, that you wish you knew when you were younger?
Face your shadow, accept the “bad” side of yourself and get to know it …well. What you find is there are positives from having that side to your nature and it actually isn’t bad at all. So you don’t have to run from it, by pretending you are perfect or blameless – that just leads to inertia. Embrace all of yourself and know that every element is there to make you your perfect imperfect self. Only you can create the life you want to live.