Women In Media: It’s MashUp’s General Manager Karen Spear

Women In Media: It’s MashUp’s General Manager Karen Spear

It’s Karen Spear, general manager, of retail customer experience agency MashUp. Here, the former marine biologist discusses her love of oceans, her inspiration and the retail experience…

B&T Magazine
Posted by B&T Magazine

Managing POPAI’s transformation during my tenure as general manager has been one of my biggest achievements…
Along with a small team, I strategically repositioned the organisation to make it a shopper marketing force dedicated to educating the industry and sharing expertise.

My career goal would be to help a brand evolve in a never-before-seen scale in Australia…
To lead where many have feared to venture. While Australia is investing in connected retail experience, no brand has achieved the scale of transformation like a Nike or Burberry who have seamlessly integrated technology into everything they do and their customers’ lives.

I’m professional diver and a marine biologist…
So if I wasn’t working in this industry I’d be happy to make a boat or beach my office.

I’m inspired by many people for different reasons…
But the two standouts are former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts for having a vision of digital integration well before anyone else in the industry and Nike’s Mark Parker for taking risks with new technologies such as 3D printing and truly integrating connected experience for customers.

If I could change anything about the industry I would do away with or at least refine the competitive pitching process…
I don’t think the pitch is necessarily the best indicator of how agencies and teams could work well together and deliver results.

The Ferrari Model LEGO collection campaign for Shell that ran in the UK is one of my favourite campaigns…
It was a brilliant execution of shopper marketing engagement that combined three well-known brands, advertising, in-store, ambassador engagement, publicity and, most importantly, fun!

The most challenging thing is getting everyone on board with the pace of change…
Agility is an imperative in our hyper-connected world, but not everyone adopts this approach to working – especially brands steeped in legacy-based systems.

Shopper and customer behaviour and what makes people tick will always fascinate me…
I love breaking down what affects people on a fundamental level and building stories around that. Outside of work I am passionate about diving and the ocean, its tranquility and life.

I believe in treating people with respect and helping them to realise their potential…
I’m inspired and privileged to get the opportunity to help grow and shape young talent. I know it is an oft-touted definition but I very strongly believe in leading by example. Leadership to me is about building your team and working as a team. I think leaders should be willing and ready to get their hands dirty and do what is required to get the job done. Be passionate about your vision, do your research, bring it to life and communicate with clarity and conviction.

I love the why behind things!
I studied science in university and I am eternally curious about how things function, their purpose and influences. The same curiosity drives my work now too.

The pace of change and technological innovations are the most amazing things shaping our industry at the moment…
These forces have redefined not just the industry, but the very concept of experiences, loyalty and storytelling – it is exciting to be part of this shift and lead the transformation

If I was running the country I would…
Pass a marriage equality law, invest in our education and oceans as they play integral roles in our future.

I’ve always been involved with retail and marketing from early in my career…
From junior roles at swimwear brand Zoggs, that gave me a taste and flavour, for retail to the global exposure in my role at POPAI, the dynamic and transformative power of the industry keeps me inspired.