- Do you have the brain of a leader? Read this week’s cover feature where we explore the personality traits of the world’s top marketing talent
- Read what other Marketing Academy scholars have to say on marketing and leadership
- Winner of Marketing Week’s 2012 Rising Star Engage award, Fiona Marshall, head of marketing for womenswear, Asos, gives her view on what it takes to be a leader
Founder and director
The Beans Group
As an entrepreneur, James Eder carries his brand on his shoulders. He co-founded Studentbeans.com, an online portal for student discounts, while still a student in 2005, and today it employs 30 people.
It is no surprise that personality tests reveal him to be an enthusiastic and outgoing networker – a necessary skill for someone promoting a start-up business. His interaction style gets the maximum scores for being both warm-hearted and socially bold. His profile suggests he is “very confident when it comes to approaching and initiating contact”.
He also scores highly as being both radical and abstract in the way he thinks. This suggests he likes to experiment with ideas and approaches – also perhaps fitting for someone who had the vision to start his own business.
But Eder admits that he needs to be aware of when these traits might hold him back, and find ways to counteract them.
“My profile suggests that my high spontaneity and need for variety may mean that I am good at starting things but not so good at finishing them. While this may be seen as a weakness, recognising this means that I can build the right team around me to complement and overcome any weaknesses.”
Pedigree senior brand manager
Gemma Howells won Marketing Week’s Rising Star award in 2010 for her work on Innocent Drinks’ kids range, securing a substantial increase in the marketing budget for its ‘back to school’ campaign. She is now senior brand manager for Pedigree dog food at Mars Petcare.
Howells’ personality report shows consummate balance in her thinking and decision-making processes. She shows an ability to maintain equilibrium between being tough and tender-minded, and between radical and conventional ideas.
The report describes her as someone who is likely to be good at mediating “people who are too fanciful, abstract and creative and those who are too detailed and practical”. These traits would probably have served her well when she spent a year in Hamburg, launching the Innocent brand in Germany as part of a small start-up team.
“It was pretty accurate but there are two things in the report I disagree with,” says Howells. She says she is more discerning than the report suggests when it comes to trusting people to carry out tasks, and disputes the suggestion that her personality means she wouldn’t enjoy presenting on stage. “That’s definitely not the case,” she says.
Inderveer Tatla has the unusual job title of ‘intrapreneur’. It is the embodiment of what her fellow Marketing Academy scholar, Unilever marketing manager Hasseb-ur-Rahman, sees as the future of the marketing role in general – that of an entrepreneur within a larger organisation.
Tatla has been responsible for developing a new consumer offering within the £50m business-to-business brand ByBox. It runs a network of electronic lockers located outside railway stations and supermarkets, where recipients of parcels can pick them up while running their everyday errands, rather than missing a delivery to their homes.
Prior to this role, Tatla was marketing manager for ByBox’s business-facing operation and developed the company’s marketing programme, both for the UK and for its international subsidiary Logibag. Her record indicates an ability to take projects on independently and bringing them to fruition.
Tatla’s work style, as described in her personality profile, is likely to be an asset to her in delivering results single-handedly. She is far more likely to be radical than conventional, and to be enthusiastic rather than sober in her approach to work. Tatla refers to herself as “driven, confident and energetic”.
The Times and Sunday Times
“A lot of my job is about how I manage people who don’t directly report to me,” says Jennifer Elworthy, marketing manager for The Times and Sunday Times at publisher News International.
She is responsible for directing and approving all communications that form the multichannel marketing campaigns for the newspapers, websites and apps. Being a good co-ordinator of people is therefore crucial.
It is appropriate, then, that Elworthy’s personality report marks out her team role as that of a “resource investigator” – someone who develops and extends the contacts that are useful to a team. Her influencing style is assessed as being very trusting and emotionally stable, and she balances herself delicately between being dominant and accommodating, the report suggests.
It also indicates that she is more likely to see the advantages than the disadvantages of working in a group, tends to give people the benefit of the doubt and copes well with setbacks. With team leadership being paramount, Elworthy says that enhancing her awareness of personality types is something that will benefit her working relationships.
“I also want to spot my team’s strengths and weaknesses, and how we can all work together,” she adds.