“Madness is to think of too many things in succession too fast.” (Voltaire) Do you know that every year – on the 20th October - hundreds of thousands of people all over the World celebrate an “International Overload Day”? During the day, people are asked to stop checking their emails every time they pop up, log in in the email client only five times, turn off the ringtone of their smartphone, including the vibration (to avoid to continuously check the SMS). Nothing surprising for any of you, I suspect. We were told that we now live in a new Working Arcadia. A time in which you can work anywhere, anytime, informally and without limits. Be Informal is now the New Formal, Be Flexible is now the New Mainstream. The Internet is giving us unlimited and democratic access to all the information you could dream of, no barriers! Our tech devices are more and more sophisticated, providing a powerful boost to our capabilities and potential. They are even changing our relationship with the World around us, which is now more and more Virtual…
I’m no psychiatrist, so it only recently clicked with me that mental illness is simply the fuzzy, cerebral, maybe even spiritual twin, of physical illness; that feeling stressed, anxious, depressed, with pounding levels of cortisol surging through your brain, is just as ‘painful’ and, arguably, just as treatable, as having a slipped disc, or a broken foot. It also struck me that it’s no bloody wonder that mental illness is such a hot topic as more of us British worker bees buzz frantically round the clock doing cerebral jobs, rather than the traditionally manual jobs we did in the past. During The Marketing Society's ‘An Audience with Ruby Wax’ at The Royal College of Physicians, Ruby revealed that the red mist, as she calls depression, now costs an average £1035 per employee in the UK in terms of treatment and time off work. This in turn amounts to a staggering 4.5% of our GDP. And one would imagine that sum is rising.
Here at the Society, being brave and tackling taboos has been at the forefront of events and content this year. Back in April we held our first mental health event, where members talked openly and candidly about their issues. We created what we hoped was a safe space, and were frankly overwhelmed with the positive response we got on the evening. Since then we've had mental health campaigner Hussain Manawer speak at our Summer Party, and we had Ruby Wax speaking at our Audience With, as part of the official launch of our new initiative, Marketing for Change. At our Audience With Ruby Wax we asked our members, what pledge will you make to reduce the stigma around mental health?
In an age where celebrity is perceived as king it is powerful when those in the public eye speak out about their struggles with mental health. They normalise the subject for us mortals while their celebrity sparkle boosts the number of column inches devoted to the issue. And Ruby Wax, speaking to Marketing Society members on Wednesday, did that in spades. The comedian has become one of the country’s most vocal supporters of mental health issues, speaking out about her own experience of depression in her stand-up tours and a series of books. It may come as a surprise that Wax doesn’t think stress itself is a problem in modern society, saying instead that the problem lies in the degree to which we get stressed about being stressed. “Why are we so mean to ourselves?” she said. “You wouldn’t treat your pet this badly. We’re always so wired, scared about what’s going to get us next – salt or North Korea?”
Meet the Chief Marketing Officer of Tough Mudder Inc, the military-style obstacle-course events which have just been shortlisted in our 20 Brave Brands of The Year. As CMO, Hiquet is responsible for overseeing Sales, Marketing & Product Innovation Strategies globally. In just three years Hiquet has increased the Media investment Performance by 50%, implemented the 1st Brand Campaign for Tough Mudder and launched a new Corporate Sales Program, generating a 7-figure in sales since the 1st year. Like Tough Mudder which encourages pushing yourself to the limit, it's clear that its CMO has been pushing his own boundaries, stepping out of his comfort zone and taking brave risks. So we talk to Hiquet - who is also our Society's New York Board Member - to find out how marketers can be braver. What’s your golden rule? “Ideation without execution is hallucination”. To get things done is the most difficult things and need a lot of focus and discipline.