Interview with Mick Doran

Interview with Mick Doran

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Head of Research, Planning & Brand at Sainsbury’s Bank

Mick has spent over 20 years seeking to understand the needs of consumers across the globe. He started his career with Procter & Gamble, enquiring about ladies’ skin care regimes, which led him to London from his home town in the middle of Ireland.

After 6 fruitful years he moved to an area even closer to his heart, Food and Drink - working for PepsiCo, initially in Asia & then across West & Eastern Europe and then Heineken. Mick moved to Financial Services in 2015 where he is Head of Propositions and Innovation at Sainsbury’s Bank.

Mick is the newest Chair of the Marketing Society Scotland & lives in Edinburgh with his wife and 4-year-old son.


Having been on the judging panel before, you’ll know the process inside out. How many times have you been a judge and what do you enjoy most about it?

I have been a judge a couple of times & the best part of the process is being inspired by reviewing great entries. As individuals most of us have a tendency to see the world the way we are and not the way it is – we’re stuck in a cycle of thinking everyone thinks like us. This of course is not reality. Taking time out of your day to day and signing on to be a judge exposes you to other peoples thinking, and that is a powerful source of inspiration. It can also help you approach opportunities and challenges in new and creative ways and should never be underestimated in terms of payback for your own development.

Why do awards still matter?

They matter for a number of reasons.

Firstly, they can be a great magnet for attracting talent. Success breeds success and who doesn’t want to work with and/or for an award winning brands & organisations – there is a kudos to that.

Secondly awards can also serve as a benchmark against which creativity and effectiveness can be measured. Most folks in our industry will be aware of the groundbreaking research presented by Les Binet and Peter Field (IPA publication The Long and Short of it) which demonstrated that campaigns that win awards for creativity are, on average, ten times more effective. 

Third and specific relevance for Scotland is they add to the sense of community we have within our industry here. We get to come together every year and share in our community’s success stories & this is a very important objective for the Marketing Society to help build a world leading marketing community in Scotland.

Finally, if you are nominated or win an award you can brag about it to your friends & family and make your mum proud & we’ll raise a glass to you next April at the awards ceremony.

Apart from ticking the main criteria boxes, what kind of thing sets a great entry apart from a winning entry?

Clarity of thought & closing the circle. Being able to describe simply how what you have done has resulted in an effective outcome. Sometimes, we have a tendency to overcomplicate submissions with information or observations that don’t need to be included. Less sometimes is really more.

The awards have been ever developing, with new categories, criteria and judges. What are the most exciting prospects about the 2018 Star Awards?

The great news is we’re keeping what works so well which is getting our members to have their input and to be exposed to the some of the great work as well as looking to make some additions to this years awards.

Personally I’m excited about the Brave Brand Award. I’m always interested how smart brands overcome challenges creatively to produce impactful results, whether that be to grow market share, encourage or create positive social change or create & satisfy new sources of demand. I’m a big fan of Adam Morgan’s thinking & along with Mark Barden they have written about great examples of this in their book A Beautiful Constraint. It’s great that we’re going to create an award to specifically recognise these brands and the people behind them.

What three things would you say to convince someone who was perhaps dubious about entering their project into the awards?

1)    Great learning experience

2)    Fantastic awards party... do you need a third reason?

3)    Industry wide recognition

Obviously winning is the ultimate goal for anyone who enters. But the entry & judging processes and the awards night are also about celebrating everyone’s hard work and the marketing talent we have here in Scotland. How would you describe the process and Star Awards event for attendees?

The Star Awards committee and Lux Events do a superb job in making the whole process run smoothly. It’s easy to become a judge and I would urge all our members to get involved – think of it as helping with your development or “bringing the outside in” – a buzzy phrase I hear a lot these days – it isn’t a real drag on your time.

As for the award event itself – well the MSS are well experienced in throwing a good party and it’s no different for the Star Awards. There is a palpable air of competitiveness on the night but also a real sense of community as folks come together to recognize the best in our industry in Scotland. It’s a great night for everyone but even more so for those lucky few who make their way to the stage to pick up some silverware.

Any advice for enthusiastic entrants this year?

Invest the time to submit the best possible entry that you’re going to be really proud of. There is always the day job to keep you busy but as we come close to Christmas put some blockers in your diary so you have a chance to storyboard your submission. Think who you’re going to need to engage to showcase your entry in the best possible light. Get time in their diaries and agree a plan so you get your entry in on time.


Mick on Twitter

Mick on Linkedin

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Author: The Marketing Society
Posted: 01 Jan 2017
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