Here is a transcript generated by of The Content Mix podcast interview with Kerry Anderson, founder of Indelible Comms, on working freelance vs. at a marketing agency:

Shaheen Samavati 0:13
Hi everyone, I’m Shaheen from The Content Mix and I’m excited to be here with marketing and brand consultant Kerry Anderson. She started her consultancy, Indelible Comms, late last year and she’s worked with major brands such as Tesco, Huawei, Dixon’s, Carphone and BT. Thanks so much for joining us Kerry.

Kerry Anderson 0:28
Thank you very much for having me.

Shaheen Samavati 0:33
So let’s just start out if you can just tell us a bit about yourself, in your own words.

Kerry Anderson 0:37
Yeah, absolutely. So I’ve been in marketing for more than a decade, fresh out of university, so in 2009. I started out focusing more on the comms side of things and actually doing a bit of B2B technology. Since then, I’ve probably focused more on the consumer side. Really my passion lies in brand building, long term strategy and making sure that any marketing hits the bottom line and is seen as a success by the business.

Shaheen Samavati 1:14
So you had been working in-house for different companies and just decided to go out on your own as a consultant this last fall. So what made you make that decision?

Kerry Anderson 1:25
Yeah, a bit of both. So I primarily started out at an agency and I did that for several years. It’s incredibly fast paced as all people in agency would be able to confirm. There’s so much going on and I felt like my next step was to go in-house and primarily work in-house. Obviously, this past year has been a challenge, it’s been difficult for a lot of people and there have been a lot of changes. It just felt right for me to focus on freelance consultancy again, which is what I had done before going in-house. So I was very familiar with it, the setup, and I actually really enjoy it because it gives you a lot of freedom to focus on projects that you are passionate about. It also gives you that opportunity to have an external, outside view on projects and clients and where they’re at in the market.

Shaheen Samavati 2:19
Yeah, absolutely. So by the way, you’re based in in London right, in the UK?

Kerry Anderson 2:24

Shaheen Samavati 2:25
And where are you from?

Kerry Anderson 2:27
I’m from New Zealand and Germany. So I’ve grown up in both countries. My mom’s German, my dad’s Kiwi, I’ve got a mixed family. So I am bilingual. Although I think that my German could use some refreshing every now and again. So that’s my background, I’ve lived in Australia as well and then I’ve now been in London for more or less the entirety of my career in marketing.

Shaheen Samavati 2:54
Okay, so maybe you could tell us a bit more about your background and also how you ended up in London. Well, you mentioned a bit that you started out in marketing early, but what about your first experiences?

Kerry Anderson 3:07
Yeah. I actually, funnily enough, it was when I lived in New Zealand. I thought about what’s going to be my next step, where do I go after this point? Of course, I had to make a decision on university and things like that. I was actually incredibly passionate about acting at the time but it was difficult, of course, as it is today. I applied for a couple of the big acting schools and they advised that I come back a little later, once I’m a little bit older, because I was 17 at the time. So it was just emotional intelligence and maturity. So I was looking at options and I was talking to my brother in law, and he had lots of experience in the media market. So he was like, you know what, you would be great in marketing and communication, so that’s really something that you should look into. Then I looked into it in more detail and I was like, gosh, I love this. Then I’d always wanted to go to London and go to the UK. So I made a major decision. I was like, I’m up and going. I think my parents weren’t quite that pleased about my decision to just move overseas at 18. Then I started growing into the industry. I think when you look at it from the outside, there is a lot about marketing that you don’t understand, or you don’t see that it’s all marketing. The more you get into it, the more you see the different layers that there are and the different specialisms and areas, but also the innovation in the industry. That’s really what continues to get me excited about it. I’ve done pure UK marketing, I’ve done Western Europe and I’ve also done global. I think every single one of those markets and areas really fights a new challenge and a new perspective.

Shaheen Samavati 5:16
Okay. So what would you say is the big difference from working on a more local campaign versus something global?

Kerry Anderson 5:24
I think it’s really about understanding the market and understanding the consumers and the consumer mindset. So the maturity of one market over another when it comes to a topic that you are marketing to them. So for example, if you’re talking about new technologies, where there was like 8k back in the day, there’s certain early adapters and then there are ones that are a little slower on the market. I think you can really see that in markets as well where it comes to what they’re used to and what they’re not. So I think that’s a key difference. Of course different cultural nuances, although it’s a global world, there are very much cultural nuances that you have to be aware of and cater to. There is no global, one fits all approach in my book.

Shaheen Samavati 6:27
Absolutely. So could you tell us a bit more about what kinds of projects you specialize in and what’s your typical day like now?

Kerry Anderson 6:36
Yeah, so I love as I said in the beginning, I love brand building. So when it comes to the long term views, I really enjoy doing my customer research and insight side of things and working out what it is that connects the company and the brand with the consumer. So trying to find that common ground and what is that messaging that has to pass through basically all that will try to get the consumer to think about us. I think that’s a really interesting part especially in the last year, that’s something that’s been changing a lot. Then the segmentation of the market and working out where we should be going and where we shouldn’t be going. Then the actual positioning and the objective. So I think that’s really interesting, balancing long term brand building with short term activations, you need to have both which I think is incredibly important. That’s an area that I love. Then when it comes to tactics, making sure that it all ladders back up to the strategy and the objectives that you’ve set. So you’re not just doing some tactics for tactics sake, it’s really grounded in your insights of the market and the consumer.

Shaheen Samavati 8:01
So could you share an example of maybe a campaign or a project that you’ve worked on, either currently in your consultancy, or previously, that you’re especially proud of or that worked really well?

Kerry Anderson 8:13
So it’s confidential, so I can’t reveal the client, but at the moment, I’m very much looking at how tactics and campaigns that are going out are laddering up to the overall marketing objectives, but also the wider marketing strategy. It’s like what we’re looking to achieve and whether it is actually getting through to the consumer and where it isn’t, what are the changes that we need to make. So either it’s changing the messaging, or changing the channels and the overall campaign focus. That’s something that I love, because I’m looking at all the brand tracking and perceptual map information, looking at the wider landscape and the competitors and working out, where are the opportunities for my clients? Where are areas that we don’t need to focus on as much because it doesn’t give us the return on investment?

Shaheen Samavati 9:16
Okay, I was curious which channels you tend to work with the most or the types? Because you’re working at a very high strategic level, and then are you working with others, I guess, to do the execution on different channels? Or how does that work?

Kerry Anderson 9:30
A little bit of both. So because I set out at comms focusing on PR, social media and wider things like video content and SEO etc that’s still something that I’m very, very comfortable with and I do on a daily basis. So when it comes to that stream, I very much still take challenge and understand what I’m doing, what I’m looking to achieve and how to do that. So I think it’s still a channel, PR can be used in so many different ways. But it’s also the focus on content, like having your content strategies and your pillars and the wider more holistic approach to it. So looking at search for example, and getting people to talk to you and get excited by what you’re writing about and them feeling like this company really knows what they’re talking about because of blog articles they’ve read, for example. So that’s something I really enjoy. When it comes to specific PPC and things like that, I would mostly get someone to support on that because there are definitely specialists who are very good at optimizing data and content to reach your goals. I love social media, I think it’s important to just be wary of which channels you might use for your clients. Once again, I think it just depends on where the customers at that company want to reach because you don’t always necessarily need Twitter, you don’t always need Instagram, you don’t need Facebook it just depends on your target audience. So overall I’m very channel agnostic. But then obviously I love Instagram, but on a personal level I also really like LinkedIn, I think it’s grown in my interaction with it over the past year, because I think with people going into COVID they’ve just needed that professional community more. I think that’s really come to the forefront.

Shaheen Samavati 11:46
Absolutely. I wanted to ask you about first of all, how content marketing plays into what you do a bit more, because on The Content Mix, we focus mostly on the content marketing side of things. You also mentioned social media channels. Do you think there is any difference anymore between content marketing and social media marketing?

Kerry Anderson 12:04
No, I think there are blurring lines for sure. I think almost any content you produce, in a way, that’s content marketing, its content lead. You’ve got, just in the past few weeks there was the Heinz and Weetabix meme that went everywhere, you’ve had Ikea and Bernie, those kind of things. Actually, one of those originated from an agency, another one was actually just a designer who came up with the Bernie IKEA idea and it was a mock advertisement. IKEA took that on and then did their own version of it. So I think there’s a lot that stems from external sources, but it is content at heart. So I think it should be used and seen as content. I don’t think the consumer looks at it, like Oh this is video content, or this social media content, I think it’s generally different content that they engage with.

Shaheen Samavati 13:07
Yeah, absolutely. I was curious what do you think people get wrong, or some brands might get wrong when it comes to content marketing?

Kerry Anderson 13:17
Consistency. So I think that’s a big one. People need to hammer down the same messaging over and over and over again. As brand or marketing teams we can get a bit bored and we want to do the new thing or something someone else is doing. But from a consumer perspective, they are not as focussed on a brand as you are. A lot of that will just fly by, they won’t necessarily pay attention to the ad that’s running on TV or that one social media post that you’re incredibly proud of. So I think just be incredibly consistent and be consistent with your brand assets, really hammering your brand code is incredibly important. I think that’s something that a lot of brands get wrong. The other thing is jumping on bandwagons, looking at what other companies are doing and wanting to do the same even if it’s not right for the target audience and the market that they’re in. There are of course always ways that you can adapt certain things, but I think you just have to always be true to your brand and be true to your target audience.

Shaheen Samavati 14:29
Yeah, that’s a really good point. Do you have any tips on how to do that, how to make that happen?

Kerry Anderson 14:37
Yeah, I think when it comes to brand codes and assets, for example, just making sure that everyone in the business is really aware. So when any documents go out, any ads or social media content, that you almost have a little bit of a checklist. You only have three codes or something, whether that be your logo, your colors, your fonts, things like that. Just making sure that you’ve ticked that off and nothing gets put out into the public without those being present. So I think that’s a really nice thing to do. Then just being really focused on your key messages, everyone in the business should be able to have the same lines when they’re asked about what the business does, what they’re looking to achieve and wider topics around it.

Shaheen Samavati 15:32
This reminds me of an issue that I think a lot of brands face, now with social media and so much content being created by different members of a team, I think it’s increasingly difficult to make sure that everything adheres to brand guidelines and is on brand. Do you have any advice on that?

Kerry Anderson 15:55
I think it’s just making people aware of the effects. It is a bottom line, it’s not just like this marketing coloring in department, just a beautiful activity, it is not that. There’s science behind it and it’s focusing on things like your codes should be present in all of your marketing materials, anything that you put out. But it’s also very much about the messaging and providing everyone in the business with that context. If you continue to get that messaging right and the brand codes right, you will hopefully build brand equity, then with that also brand salience. So people, when they go into the supermarket, they will think of your brand because it’s fresh in their mind, hopefully. So that’s what you want to achieve. Then obviously, if they do that, then it hits the bottom line and the bottom line is good for everyone in the business, it’s salaries, it’s the success of the business, it’s just everyone. I think providing that wider picture and explanation does go a long way.

Shaheen Samavati 17:09
Next, I just wanted to ask you, you’ve worked in a lot of different industries, I was just curious, what is the most diverse industries that you worked in? What’s the biggest difference in working with one versus the other, like your approach to marketing and branding?

Kerry Anderson 17:25
It is interesting. I’ve worked a lot on consumer technology, for sure, but I’ve also done a lot of lifestyle. Then most recently, I guess food and dining, which is not an area that I was focused on before. I think it’s really the emotional connection that differs, when you talk about things like holidays for example, your essential items as we all know from the past year, they are much more emotional when it comes to seeing your family or spending quality time. We may be able to spend a little too much quality time with certain members of family. But I think that’s much more emotional. Whereas if you’re talking about technology, in the sense of your latest mobile phone or those things. In essence, they are not emotional, it’s then about finding that emotional connectivity. So obviously, the technology that allows you to call your friends, message with them, share videos, photos, that kind of thing. So it’s trying to find that emotional connection, where possible, which can be really difficult. So I’ve even worked in financial services and finding an emotional connection when you’re talking about money and bank accounts is just a bit dull. I think it’s a real challenge and it almost goes back to understanding the consumer and understanding their drives. If you have that full on understanding, then it’s easier to find the connection. I think lifestyle is lovely because everyone can relate to it, but when it comes to the more financial products, it’s challenging.

Shaheen Samavati 19:16
I’m curious, though, have you come across any particularly creative way of evoking emotion in something for a financial product or brand?

Kerry Anderson 19:25
A little bit, in fact it’s not a brand that I’ve worked on, but in the UK, there’s Lloyds, one of the big banks. They have got that horse that they use in all their ads and I actually love watching the ads. Ironically working in marketing, I’ve definitely fast forward through ads, but I stop when I see that coming up on the screen because I just feel like it hit a mark with me. So that’s something that’s worth thinking about, something that makes you feel some way. In terms of myself it is a bit difficult, I think it’s more about the experiences that allows you so. Obviously, MasterCard has got money can buy experiences, that’s really what you focus on more so than the technical benefits or features of a bank account.

Shaheen Samavati 20:34
Yeah, absolutely makes a lot of sense. So switching gears a little bit, I wanted to ask you what you think are the most important skills for marketers today?

Kerry Anderson 20:47
There are a few different things, it’s being a bigger picture person, understanding the bigger picture, being assertive and choice full, when it comes to your options. I think having the ability to think long term and short term. But the most important thing is the ability to listen to consumers and the people around you because as a marketer, you’re not the audience. Even if you think you’re the target market, you’re not. As soon as you start working for a company, you’re no longer part of that group. I think that’s the most important thing for people to understand. So that’s why then listening to everyone around you becomes more important.

Shaheen Samavati 21:42
Absolutely. How do you do that? What’s the approach for getting that feedback from your target audience?

Kerry Anderson 21:51
So focus groups, for example, I’ve raised. Looking at like all these amazing insights reports, you’ve got the big guns. You’ve got Minter, Global Web Index, you’ve got Euromonitor, there’s so many interesting bits. But you can also get a lot of free content that you find either on LinkedIn or generally doing a Google search and some research. So there’s a lot that you can find there. Then it’s really taking it to your consumers, whether that’s loyal customers that you’ve had for a long time, with your email marketing you’re reaching out to them more or less on a daily basis. So you should be talking to them. So that’s one thing. Then, of course, you can have a more specific scenario where you have your focus groups as well.

Shaheen Samavati 22:42
Okay, then I wanted to ask what advice would you give to someone starting out now in marketing?

Kerry Anderson 22:50
Be flexible, you have to adapt. But most importantly, learn the crucial points of diagnosis and your strategy, which includes segmenting the market, targeting and positioning. Learn how to do it properly and everything else will fall into place.

Shaheen Samavati 23:18
Okay, go to the basics first.

Kerry Anderson 23:21
Yeah, exactly.

Shaheen Samavati 23:23
The fundamentals, I should say.

Kerry Anderson 23:24
Yeah, but actually they get forgotten about a lot in day to day because you get the demands of tactics. We know we need to do some PPC ASAP, we’ve seen a competitor do it, which is all fine. You need to be able to be agile and adjust. But if you don’t have a strategy in place, everything else is not going to be as beneficial to the company because you’re wasting money. So if you can be the voice that says, actually, according to our strategy, this is what we should be doing or this is not going to work for us long term. Then that’s what you should be focusing on. The other thing is really promotions. There’s so much discounting going out, how are you really going to build an emotional connection with your consumer by just focusing on price?

Shaheen Samavati 24:19
Yeah, absolutely. That’s a super fundamental, strategic point that needs to be clear. Okay so going to your some of your recommendations and advice. What’s a productivity hack you can share?

Kerry Anderson 24:37
Well, I’m incredibly productive in the morning. So I love to block out my mornings where possible, so I don’t get meetings put in and then I use the afternoon for meetings. That’s one. The other one is lists. It’s not new, It’s not innovative but I love a good list. I use Apple notes and even in the evening when I walk the dog, I come up with things I need to do, I just pop them on my list because it means that it’s out of my head and I’ll remember it the next day.

Shaheen Samavati 25:11
Yeah, that’s a great tip. Then who’s a professional role model or a source of inspiration?

Kerry Anderson 25:18
Marc Pritchard is definitely someone who I think is incredible, there’s been a lot of conversations about digital marketing, for example. I see digital marketing as marketing overall. It’s like everything is now digital so there shouldn’t really be a difference between the two. If you’re talking about things like search, for example, it’s a tactic. It’s not a strategic piece that you should be focusing on. I think he’s done a lot in that sense. Obviously he’s been with PNG for about 2, 3, 4 decades. So it’s just a wealth of knowledge and an incredible marketer, I would say. Then I think, overall, you can’t miss a beat with talking about Steve Jobs. I think he’s one of the people I got most excited about at the beginning of my career. Obviously, there were a lot of conversations and announcements from Apple, and he had this incredible ability to get you excited about products, which I said before, it’s a mobile phone, like, what’s the big deal, but for some reason, he just made it the most exciting thing that you have to have. That’s just an ability that you don’t see too often.

Shaheen Samavati 26:45
Absolutely. I totally agree. Do you have a favorite software tool or app right now?

Kerry Anderson 26:52
Yeah, a couple of ones. Actually, Headspace is a big one for me that I use a lot. I think a lot of marketers or creative people get distracted really, really easily. So if I have to work on a big document, I listen to Headspace. They’ve got lots of soundtracks that just get you in the flow, one of them is like Hans Zimmer, it’s 80 minutes long. So I just keep it on repeat for however many hours it takes me, but it keeps me really focused and blocks out any noise. Then personally, I just love Slack, as well. It has allowed me to have lots of conversations and specific channels with people, share documents and be able to find them again in future.

Shaheen Samavati 27:41
Yeah. Gotta love Slack. I’ll have to try Headspace for that purpose.

Kerry Anderson 27:45
It’s brilliant.

Shaheen Samavati 27:48
Yeah, very cool. Then I just wanted ask, how do you stay up to date on marketing trends?

Kerry Anderson 27:57
Lots of LinkedIn. So I’ve just been working on my LinkedIn profile, not my profile, my feed I should say, a lot. So connecting with people who are interesting and share interesting content from around the world. So that’s something that I would definitely talk about. Then there are certain publications like marketing week, I read a lot of marketing week, The Drum. Then just general social media and what else is going on in the media. But marketing focused trade publications and LinkedIn.

Shaheen Samavati 28:30
I’m curious, how do you work on your feed? You mean following people who are posting interesting things? Or are you also optimizing what actually shows up on your feed?

Kerry Anderson 28:40
Yeah, so even if I’m connected with people, if they are sharing content, that’s not of interest to me most of the time, even though there might be a contact for whatever reason, I will mute their outputs a lot and focus on people that I do like. Then there are certain people I follow, certain companies I follow, because I feel like they are contributing to what I see. There are quite a lot of agencies as well, just because agencies obviously work with a lot of different brands. So you see a lot of great content coming out.

Shaheen Samavati 29:14
Okay, yeah, that’s a great tip to maximize my LinkedIn feed. Do you have a favorite marketing or business book?

Kerry Anderson 29:23
I think marketing, definitely The Long and the Short of It by Les Binet and Peter Field. I think they’re both incredible. They’re both practising and it’s going back to balancing the two. You can’t have short without the long and vice versa. You need both in today’s world, they’re really good at bringing that to life. Then you’ve got How Brands Grow by Byron Sharp and Jenny Romani. Very interesting, a little bit of a drier read, but still worth it if you are in the industry.

Shaheen Samavati 29:56
Okay, very cool. I’ll check those ones out. Then any other resources for marketers that you recommend? Communities, other publications, podcasts, things like that?

Kerry Anderson 30:07
Yeah. So there’s another podcast I really love which is Everyone Hates Marketers. It’s just some really, really great people on it, you can learn a lot. I also have been taught by Mark Ritson who’s a big personality in the marketing industry. I obviously am well connected with him, but also I follow his content, which is great to see. Actually, he does a few mini MBA courses and has communities that are exclusive to that. So you do have to take part of the course but that’s something I’m part of and I learn a lot from constantly.

Shaheen Samavati 30:49
Okay, so the Mark Ritson mini MBA you’d recommend as a learning resource?

Kerry Anderson 30:53
Yes, for sure. Very, very helpful. Then actually also on Coursera, for example, there are some excellent courses that don’t cost a lot of money, where you can just keep learning. So I’m currently doing a course in pricing optimization and economics with the University of Virginia, which is really, really interesting and got some great notable names.

Shaheen Samavati 31:22
Super cool. Yeah, we’ll definitely put links to those resources in the blog post that we’ll publish along with this episode. So we’re reaching the end of the interview. So I just wanted to ask if you have any parting advice or final takeaways to share with other marketers in Europe?

Kerry Anderson 31:37
Get excited about the industry, there’s so much that we’re all doing and I think it’s about celebrating each other and celebrating great creative and great marketing. I think everyone’s seen enough doom and gloom. So when you see great stuff, share it because people like to see it.

Shaheen Samavati 31:59
Well, that’s a great note to end on. Thank you so much, Kerry, for sharing your insights with us today. So how can people learn more about you if they want to know more?

Kerry Anderson 32:07
Definitely come visit my LinkedIn profile. It’s Kerry Anderson, so it’s not difficult to find. If you’re interested or have got any questions feel free to send me a note.

Shaheen Samavati 32:19
All right, excellent. Well, thanks so much again and thanks to everybody for listening in. For more perspectives on the content marketing industry in Europe, check out and keep tuning into the podcast for more interviews with content experts. See you next time. Bye.

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