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Meet John Broome, CEO of AANA
I was born in… Holmfirth, Yorkshire. For the Brits that’s where they filmed Last of the Summer Wine. I was raised just north of Derby and became a die-hard Derby County Football Club supporter (still the case today despite all the misery). I returned to Yorkshire for my studies at the University of Leeds.
I studied to become a… soldier of all things. I was sponsored at University by the British Army to go on and complete officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. However, I changed my mind in my last year of studies for love and a small marketing text book called Offensive Marketing by Hugh Davidson. Both changed my life and I’ve been married to both ever since (my wife and a career in marketing!)
When I started in the advertising/marketing industry… all new entrants to marketing got a solid training in the fundamentals of marketing and brand management. So little of that is going on today as the industry becomes more fragmented and training budgets are squeezed. Companies complain about the lack of talent but do so little themselves to fix the problem. I am sad to say I am worried about the quality of marketing the industry is now practising.
My proudest personal/career achievements are… I don’t believe in big event pivotal moments. Success is best measured by a series of modest achievements which build on top of each other over time. Success is also never down to just one person. However two successes I look back on with satisfaction are winning a Grand Effie for Nestlé in 2010 and prior to that, at Reckitt Benckiser, being part of the team that developed an entirely new brand proposition and business model from scratch with the launch of cleaning products brand Cillit Bang/Easy Off Bam in 2003 across 68 markets globally in 6 months yielding $300m of new business in its first year. We quite literally took P&G, Unilever, SCJ, and Colgate to the cleaners!
Our priorities are… increasing advertiser representation by increasing membership and completely reconfiguring our member value proposition. I’ve been studying some of our sister associations overseas, will ‘borrow from them with pride’ and we are now actively evaluating adding marketing capability to our value offer and hard wiring this to our subscription model. The insight is that training costs and subscription fees are found in the same budget centre in most companies. Therefore, avoid the ‘either-or’ situation by solving for both.
A very specific challenge in the marketing industry in my country is… we are facing the same challenges everybody else is facing. Its symptomatic of the global economy we live in. Digitisation, pressure on budgets, lack of transparency, challenges to self-regulation, alcohol/food marketing, talent, client-agency relationships, etc. are issues common to us all. However, this suggests common problems can be met with common solutions and I am optimistic about this. This is why we need a strong WFA!
If I could change one thing about the industry today, it would be… develop some form of accreditation for marketing training similar to other professions such as accountancy. Developing a recognised and valued entry level standard for young marketers would eventually drive the professionalism and productivity of the entire profession.
What most people don’t know about me is… I’m off on holiday to North Korea later this year having been to the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica earlier this year!
Three things about my country…
- There are three animals found in my garden that can kill you if you leave a bite untreated for more than 30 minutes.
- It takes six hours flying time just to leave the Australian coastline to get anywhere.
- We’ve had more Prime Ministers than Italy in the last five years.
This is part of a series of monthly interviews with heads of national advertiser associations in WFA membership.