Were there any hiccups along the way that you eventually learned from?
In the past, I worked very closely with an agency. When everything between you works like a well-oiled machine, you forget to challenge each other and you end up creating ‘artsy’ campaigns that look fantastic, but don’t sell. Another mistake I made was when I started to lead teams and I was being too nice to people. However, you don’t let people grow by always giving them what they want. Even negative feedback can be considered as positive attention.
What challenges Hasbro is currently facing?
The consumer behavior is constantly changing. Kids grow up faster and know better what they want. Another challenge is the changing media behavior. Back in the days, creating a TV ad was sufficient, but now you also need to have an online presence. Also, from a retail perspective, there is a big shift towards e-commerce for which we need to be ready because those customers have different needs.
How do you find a balance between your professional and private life?
Finding a balance is easier for me now than a couple of years ago. To be able to function and reach your objectives at work, you need to plan time to recharge your batteries in your spare time. And even at work you sometimes need to have a break since you keep several balls in the air.
Luckily, at this level you are your own boss and can decide on your own agenda most of the time, which means that I can be flexible every now and then and come home early to spend more time with the kids.
Is marketing nowadays more complex than 10 years ago?
The fundamentals haven’t really changed because it is still about bringing a relevant message at a relevant time with the biggest possible impact and at the best possible price. However, today you need to be able to keep up with the different platforms and channels, and understand how consumers have changed their mindset.
Which key competencies are crucial for young marketers entering the job market?
Everything starts with self-awareness and understanding your strengths and weaknesses. Secondly, the willingness to embrace change and thrive in a fast-paced environment. And last, but not least, the guts to dare to ask for feedback and be vulnerable. In our society, there is a lot of pressure to be perfect, but if you want to become a better marketer you will need to ask for feedback.
What makes Hasbro a great place to work for young talent?
Not only do we create great consumer brands like Monopoly, NERF, Play-Doh and Transformers, we also make the toys for Disney brands like Marvel, Disney Frozen and Star Wars. Moreover, since 70% of our turnover comes from products that didn’t exist the year before, we have a very high innovation pace which requires a lot of communication towards consumers. That translates into loads of campaigns and plenty of exciting projects to put your teeth in, so to speak!