To embrace data it has to be ‘married to the culture of the brand’

The culture of a brand affects the way data is valued in the organisation, says Direct Line’s director of digital, Ash Roots.

Direct Line, Harvey Keitel

Speaking in a panel session on developing an agile innovation-led culture at Marketing Week Live today (30 April) Roots said: “The enabler of data is the marriage of culture and data, with agility thrown in as well. If data is not valued within your organisation, whether you have the best system, processes and people, you don’t utilise it and embed it in what you do.”

Direct Line is hiring data scientists and admit there is a complexity behind what system, approach and processes needed to embrace it and admits that it’s easier for start-ups.

“When you’re starting from scratch it’s quite easy to do this than when you in a position that Direct Line is in with years of legacy of banking and financial ways of working,” said Roots. “You need to think about physically moving walls as well as mentally moving.”

According to a survey, by SapientNitro and Ovum into digital transformation in Europe, out of 50 CEOs 64% of aim to start their digital transformation this year.

It also finds that while the CMO is the person who is charged with dealing with customers, they aren’t the first port of call for leading digital change. All 50 CEOs interviewed viewed themselves as the leaders of digital transformation

Richard Singer, European managing director at TravelZoo, who was also on the panel, advises organisations to first create a framework for innovation and growth.

The company used data and insight on mobile to change the culture of the organisation to improve customer experience. Currently 50% of TravelZoo’s traffic is through mobile and the brand says it’s making a sale every 1.5 minutes.

Singer said: “So few of the big travel brands have mobile optimised sites that we were introducing our members to so the experience when they got there was terrible. We have taken steps around this and it really does change everything from the type of copy that we have to the type of marketing. It changed everything we do today – it really has to be part of the culture of the organisation.”

However Singer said that although there was no legacy at TravelZoo it’s important to have a “leadership element at the top” and that because the key people in the business are “very focused” it means everyone is pushing in the same direction.

In addition he said: “Consumers force companies to change because how they are changing has a big part to play.”

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here