An interview with Mark Wilson
Elen talks to Mark Wilson, CEO of Aviva, about trust and influence, what makes a good CEO – and what Brexit means for business.
What does bold marketing leadership look like?
Differentiation, innovation, risk.
What do all marketers need to know about their CEO?
The best CEOs are ones that understand the customer and live by strong values, using them as a guide to take decisions.
What advice can you offer someone who wants to increase their influence within an organisation?
Just as you’ve got to understand the customer, you’ve got to understand your stakeholders. And you’ve got to understand the numbers. Don’t use weasel words; padding and fluff.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about trust since your time in the insurance industry?
Trust has no logic. There’s no proof, no tangible measurement for it. It’s like a balloon: when you’ve got a lot of it it’s easy to see. But it can be gone in an instant.
In a service industry like insurance, so much of the idea of a brand is wrapped into the people. How do you make sure Aviva’s people reflect the brand’s values?
You reflect the values by living them, talking about them. Using them as a guide to take decisions.
As you yourself said, “There’s no insurance policy against Brexit”. How does British business make the best of this situation?
The best business people in the world are those who spot opportunities, often in times of crisis. Of course Brexit creates risks. But it also provides extraordinary opportunities.
What advice would you offer your 17-year-old self?
Believe in innovation. Believe in intuition. Believe in the numbers. Believe in the ability of the customer to make a choice.
What book is on your bedside table?
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.
Tell us a secret.
That’s a contradiction in terms.
Mark Wilson is just one of the speakers at our Global Annual Conference on November 17th alongside McDonald’s global CMO, Silvia Lagnado, Nicola Mendelsohn, VP Facebook EMEA and NASA astronaut, Ed Lu.