Propeller visits AWNY, DMEXCO & FoM 2019

By Louise Watson, Account Director

Over the past couple of months, I have been fortunate enough to visit a number of events including DMEXCO in Cologne, Advertising Week New York and Festival of Marketing in London. I always find it interesting to see the trends and themes cross continents, clearly indicating the shift in focus for marketers globally. 

From the environment to diversity, corporate responsibility was the key theme for many of the sessions across all of these events. It’s something that marketers are becoming more comfortable to discuss in more detail, no longer simply providing lip service to these important topics, but actually discussing ways to address some of these challenges. 

In New York specifically, this seemed to be the focal point of the event. With the UN Climate Action Summit taking place on the other side of the city, it was hard to ignore the pressure that was being put on businesses and governments to help address this hugely important issue. And some big brands were there to discuss it, with Ben & Jerry’s CEO, Matthew McCarthy,  discussing the importance of putting social responsibility at the core of everything that you do. 

However, what I found inspiring was the focus on how we confront the huge challenge of diversity within organisations, and this is something that Advertising Week New York managed to address, with an amazing line up of women at the top, a special content stream called ‘Future is Female’ and a push for more businesses to sign up to ‘Diversity Best Practices’. One particular session that stuck in my mind long after the event, was a panel chaired by Lindsay Stein, US Editor at Campaign, featuring Jill Baskin, CMO at The Hershey Company, Sarah Thompson, Global and US CEO at Droga5, Heather Malenshek CMO at Harley Davidson Motor Company and Leanne Fremar, Chief Brand Officer at JP Morgan Chase. 

The panel discussed some difficult topics around the challenges that they had faced, the best and worst pieces of advice and the inspirational people they had worked with. The part that really made this panel stick with me, was when they discussed the inspirational bosses that they had looked up to. All of the women spoke about the lack of female role models in their journeys, and the fact that their inspiration had mostly come from their peers, other women that work within the industry at a similar level, in an informal network they had set up to push each other forwards and be each others’ sounding boards. I found it inspiring that women were reaching out to other women across different brands, seeking out alternative sources of support outside their immediate colleagues, and helping each other ultimately succeed, this is certainly something that we could all learn from. This would likely push us all forwards. 

These events have a vital role in pushing these issues to the front of the business agenda, and it’s been brilliant to hear from a number of inspirational people about their views on what we can do to succeed in driving corporate responsibility. I am looking forward to seeing how the conversation continues at other events coming up.