Mark Given admits that learning to “be humble enough to recognise the need to keep growing” was a valuable lesson. Stiff competition may be hindering Sainsbury’s growth at present – it recorded a 0.4% fall in like-for-like sales for the three months to 9 January – but the supermarket is once again finding its way into the nation’s hearts thanks to a string of memorable Christmas ads. Given reveals his proudest achievements have been working with director Kevin McDonald, the Royal British Legion and children’s author Judith Kerr on the supermarket’s last three efforts. Reviving Kerr’s cartoon cat for ‘Mog’s Christmas Calamity’, brought Sainsbury’s a season of brand goodwill and CEO Mike Coupe hailed it the company’s “most successful” ad yet. It contributed to 30 million customer transactions in the seven days before Christmas, up 2.6% year-on-year. Since then, Given has been working hard to find out what Sainsbury’s customers really want. “A CEO once told me that marketing people need to remember they were given two ears and one mouth for a reason. I’ve worked hard on being a great listener ever since.”
Lightbulb moment: “Realising the difference between ‘fixed’ and ‘growth’ mindsets."