In the Hot Seat with Seen Presents’ Frankie Speakman.

November 1st 2017

This month we are putting a focus on all things Event & Experiential related, consequently we have put SEEN Presents CSD Frankie Speakman in the hot seat to get her take on working in the industry and what the future holds for Events and Experiential:

At Stir, we believe that through enquiry we learn and by learning, we enrich the quality of our work…What is the most useful thing you have learnt during your long and illustrious career in marketing?

Over the past 10 years, I have worked in digital, experiential and integrated marketing agencies and I think one thing remains true no matter the discipline in which you work and that is to not make assumptions and to speak directly to consumers.

It’s so important to dig deep, and get face-to-face to consumers when asking questions about their relationship with brands, sometimes the answer is obvious but that isn’t always the case.  In a lot of instances if you ask a question you presume you know the answer to you will most likely will be surprised by what you get back. Using audience insights to create great creative work is really important to me as a marketer.

If you could choose anyone in the world to be your mentor (alive or dead, famous or unknown), who would it be and why? What do you think you could learn from them?

I’ve been extremely fortunate within my career to have worked at agencies who have extremely brilliant female leaders, and I often use these as my inner compass / guide in terms of how a woman should and can show up within a business. I don’t believe women need to use only masculine energy and traits in order to get ahead in business, which was perhaps true historically, for me the most important attributes a leader needs, and ones I would want in a mentor, are to be; authentic, empathetic, approachable, creative and inspiring. It’s not a case of discriminating against gender either, I think both men and women can make equally great leaders and mentors, and at times need to borrow from what we know more traditionally as feminine and masculine traits to be effective.  

PR is all about positively influencing audience perception and/or behaviour through the power of advocacy.  Empathy, trust and attention are all key facets to successful persuasion. How do you rate your powers of persuasion and how have you used them to your advantage, professionally?

I am a huge believer in the power of empathy and trust especially, these to me are key to building strong professional relationships with peers, clients, and suppliers. Empathy isn’t something which comes naturally to everyone, but I am fortunate to have a natural level of emotional intelligence which I believe has allowed me to excel in my professional world.

Marketing as a whole is about building brand affinity to drive sales, and it’s people who make up those sales and ultimately drive the results of the work we do everyday, so having the ability to understand how the human brain works, and what role emotion plays allows you to be far more effective and strategic in the work you deliver. Thinking through an emotive lens professionally both in terms of the relationships I have built and also the campaigns I have delivered, I believe has allowed me to have the cutting edge on most occasions.

In the future, when the world is run by robots what role do you see your particular area of the marketing mix playing?

Firstly I am not sure the world will every fully be run by robots, but who am I to say that?! So lets say the world was run by robots, I think experiential will have an even bigger role to play as will many other services the creative industry offers. I think the instinctive and human nature of creative work means that this isn’t something in my opinion could be undertaken at least in full by robots and machines. With experiential marketing the human interaction is so vital at Seen Presents we believe that using emotionally engaging narratives enhances the impact an experience can have, and as emotion is such a complex field, I personally can’t see what role robots could play to plan an experience, although for some brands they could have an interesting role at the heart of event, in terms of execution and delivery, if used in an interesting way and not just for the sake of showcasing tech!

What is the most impressive campaign, that you have thought “yeah, those guys know what they are doing” and why?

I have to say my current favourite brand in terms of experience would be Air BnB, they have managed to execute some really clever and insightful activations, such as the living Van Gogh painting they rented out via the Art Institute of Chicago, which clearly define who they are as a brand and the service they offer, whilst also being genuinely appealing and interesting to their consumer. The 2016 campaign, Live Like a Local, remained truly authentic with the local city guides they produced whilst also being imaginative with their clever partnership with the new Jungle Book movie, which featured a £100 off treehouse deal in an ATL ad, showing the breadth of accommodation they have to offer globally.