Meet Nicole McInnes: B&T Bootcamp Masterclass Host

Meet Nicole McInnes: B&T Bootcamp Masterclass Host

B&T Bootcamp is two weeks away but don’t worry, there’s still time to grab your tix (but they’re selling out quick sticks so make sure you don’t miss out!)

In the lead up to this not-to-be-missed event we thought we’d interview some of the amazing mentors and masterclass hosts you’ll hear from on the day, and their thoughts on all things media, marketing and advertising.

B&T Bootcamp takes place on 18th March at the Federation Conference Centre in Surry Hills. Check out the full line-up on the website and grab your tickets today!

Today we’re talking with Nicole McInnes, CMO of Telco firm OVO, who will be running the masterclass: The Pragmatic Myth of Work

Work has long been thought of as a pragmatic environment, where cool heads, logic, and facts rule. But anywhere that humans congregate involve unseen forces that play out on a day to day basis and can shape our perception and experience of the workplace. It is easy to blame a culture or environment but there are many tools at our disposal to deploy once we are aware of the true dynamics between people at work and how illogical, energy-based and unwritten our behaviour is. Nicole’s session will explore some big human brain explosions from personal experiences and seek to provide advice on how to handle the fact that everyone is as emotionally-based as the next.

Here are Nicole’s thoughts on some of the big issues in the media, marketing, and advertising space.

How vital are young people to the marketing communications industry?

Young people are vital to every industry as they are our next leaders – I think the key for marketing is that so much of it will be automated so we owe it to our younger marketers that they understand consumer behaviour and what inspires them to interact with brands, more so than technical skills that could easily be automated.

How are young people “disrupting” the marketing communications industry?

I don’t think they are, no more than any younger generation has. If anything, they are skewing marketing in a way that is generating short term results and incrementalism instead of understanding the larger role of reach and long term brand distinctiveness and the power these levers have in generating long term defensible growth.

What can the industry do to attract and retain young talent?

A lot of what is on offer is surface level “attractions”, don’t get me wrong, free lunches, free yoga or healthcare are all great, but nothing replaces a culture with purpose and clarity of how an employee is contributing to that purpose. Free food is easier to supply than solving the bigger issue of clear vision, roles and responsibilities and firm action when bad behaviour between employees occurs. But if you take that harder road you will not only waste a lot less money on the stuff that is ultimately ineffective, you will create a team of people that love coming to work for the company as much as for each other.

What’s the biggest challenge young people face in the marketing communications industry?

Having their specialist technical digital skills being done by robots within the next decade.

How can young people avoid ‘burn-out’ and create a better work-life balance while working in the industry?

Always start a job how you want to finish it – if you start by working 50-60 hours a week people will expect that from you because you have trained them to expect that from you. Set boundaries and try to be firm with them – remember if you are working for someone who is playing you off against others to get more hours from you, you are working for the wrong person. So by not playing that game, you have nothing to lose. Your life, your boundaries, do what you know is healthy for you – and train people to expect a healthy approach to work from you.

If your intent is good and you show you care about your work and do it well, the right people won’t be worried about how many hours you are doing. Equally, though don’t take advantage and end up not doing enough hours under the guise of I have to spend two hours a day in the gym to be happy. There is a balance and your conscience should tell you when you are tipping too far in either direction. A good litmus test is if others are having to pick up your work or errors – that is a sure sign you are not contributing enough, and on the other side if you are forgetting to eat, or answering emails 24/7 you need to put the hand brake on and get a hobby!

What was your biggest learning as a young ‘adlander’?

It is about understanding the universe – young ambitious people think they can take what they want through relentless hard work but when the opposite happens they get disillusioned. You need to know that you already have within what you need and then calmly approach life and work – you will be surprised how much more those around you will give you if you take a step back, relax and be yourself.

If you could re-do the start of your career, what would you change?

I wish I would have known that if you find a workplace where you are valued and you fit in with the culture that it is a rare and precious thing. I’ve learned that those places are hard to find again if you choose to leave them. So I wish I would have had more patience and not sweated the small stuff and valued the big things that were so right.

What wouldn’t you change?

I wouldn’t have changed leaving my first job to go to Europe for three years. My lecturer from UNSW who got me the job was horrified that l left under two years – but living and working in Europe was the making of me and it was the best thing I ever did.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give young people starting out in the industry?

On the personal side: No matter what, listen to your gut, understand truly who you are and what makes you thrive and don’t be anyone but who you are. If it feels wrong – it likely is wrong. Embrace your flaws, know them and accept them and lean into your strengths. You are always going to be working in a team and your strengths are someone’s weaknesses and vice versa – so they are nothing to be ashamed of, you don’t need to hide any part of you – if you do it will just come out in weird projections onto others so it is a useless pursuit. Be you and own the good and the bad.

On the technical side – always look for the root cause when you are solving a problem – surface, or bright shiny “solutions” are for those gaming the system and in the end, they help nobody and nothing, least of all themselves.

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