Professionally Authentic

Total authenticity is an oxymoron.

Being the same you in everything you do is less real than if you played by your gut.

In Tell The Truth, Unerman and Salem-Baskin say:

 “Truth doesn’t have to mean full disclosure of every possible fact. It means marketing with honesty.”

You are no less true, real or authentic if you aren’t the same in every situation all the time.

If that is the case, where should we maintain consistency?

In the TV show The Wire, Stringer Bell faces this question through out the show.

Stringer Bell (alongside Avon Barksdale) owns most of the West-side corners in Baltimore.

He rules with an iron fist but flexes based on what makes business sense.

He goes to college to learn about business and also starts to play in the property game.

He moves between the role of the master, student and collaborator to be consistent in his purpose.

This is where we find the answer.

We all have different layers and we need to choose which one we are consistent at.

Is it your way of talking?

Your way of thinking?

Your approach to everything?

Your goals?

Or is it your principles?

Brace Lee said:

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water.

When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup.

When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle.

When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot.

Water can drip and it can crash.

Become like water my friend.”

By adapting and changing who you are to suit the situation you can be truer to your guiding principles than by being rigid in your ways.

Professional authenticity means finding the best result for the business in a pragmatic way that gets the most out of everyone.

What are you true to that is dragging you down?


Find the place where you want to be appreciated

Every company has an ideal employee.

A way of behaving, communicating & being is wrapped up in the values of the company and its leaders.

The masterful amongst us can blend in anywhere anywhere and that’s something we should all aim for however until then, find somewhere – and someone – that matches your values and throw yyourself in.

It’s exhausting trying to fit in and conform to someone else’s opinion, as well as distracting you from doing your best.


The thing most non-digital people don’t understand about the digital world is that it is unnecessarily complicated.

Whereas all other marketing channels are effectively launch and leave, with few options for variance, digital has an infinite amount of opportunities, processes and things to look at before, during and after.

This is not a good thing, we need to get to marketing thinking in digital, not platform metrics, but that’s not for now. 

What it does mean is that there is huge opportunity for change, error and – worst of all – opinion.

Unfortunstely, we live in a world where opinion is more important than fact.

For example, pitches are not based on principles, but on how good you make clients feel. How else can you explain the arrogance of a pitch process.

Client ways of working are the product of the emotional melting pot and this is exacerbated in the digital world.

I once had a client who would fly off the handle at any change in the dynamic. 

Responses would be overly harsh, you couldn’t respond with logic and (previously agreed on) principles and they couldn’t see any of their own faults.

We therefore had to place everything in the frame of consistency and their control but have to manage the right outcomes, all the time remaining in adult mode.

The only thing you can do, is be in adult mode, and be consistent in it. Stick to what was agreed in less emotional times and be clear.

3% of the UK are depressed

According to MIND, 2.6% of UK adults are currently suffering from depression, and one in five suffer it at some point in their lives.

Depression doesn’t always have to have a cause, but it can last for months and impact every area of your life.

I suffer depression in bouts and it’s horrible, demasculating and withering.

At times I want to just curl up in a ball in a dark room and dissappear. Other times I’m close to tears for no reason, or have seemingly insurmountable rage.

The hardest part is trying to work out why I should feel depressed.

On the face of it, my life is fine. A loving, wonderful wife, a child on the way, over-paid, own my own house and relatively high achieving.

This makes it worse in that I feel I have no right to feel the way I do, but I do.

Talking has helped, crying has helped, thinking and being positive has helped.

But it’s not something that can be avoided if you’re just happy or fortunate – it’s the common cold of mental health, so don’t be scared of it and treat it.

Go without and love more

When I was younger my parents would rarely get the taste sensation that is a Sara Lee Chocolate Gatteaux.

Every time I’d be given a small sloce and every time I’d want more but I was denied so I didn’t become greedy.

Fast forward to 19, I’ve just moved into my first house as a student and I have my own shelf in the fridge and the freezer.

First thing I do is buy my own 16 person Sara Lee Chocolate Gateaux.

I get it home, take it out of the box and gleam by the fact it is surrounded in solid poly plastic packaging- it’s not everyday you get a dessert that needs a physical structure for it to keep its integrity.  

I spend 8 hours watching it defrost and I sit down with a spoon and attack it. 

What amounts to about 3 slices later, I am.full of regret, nausea and thirst. 

I had got too used too something and lost appreciation for the component parts.

As Harvard professor Michael Norton says, echoing the stoic philosophers:

if you love, every day, having the same coffee, don’t have it for a few days. Once you have it again, it’s going to be way more amazing than all of the ones that you would have had in the meantime… It’s not “give it up forever.” It’s “give it up for short periods of time, and I promise you you’re going to love it even more when you come back to it.”

Standing out is simple

Standing out from the crowd is what everyone wants.
To be special, recognised, the best, the cleverest, the most different, the leader.

All of these are easy to achieve and it takes one thing – courage.

The courage to do, the courage to fail, the courage to stand against the tide.

Courage comes from conviction. 

You need to stand for and believe in something to have the courage to back yourself.

Find something in yourself and your mission to believe it and be it.

Choose between more digital or less digital

Today you need to make a choice.

Are you going to be more digital, or less digital?

When I started, to be head of digital you needed to be a specialist in affiliates, display and search. 

Now, the ‘head of’ role brings a huge amount of things together.

Dispersing channels, gray areas of responsibility, an attitude to want the new and to understand the pros & cons of it, the connected digital system, expertise in tech, channels and behaviour.

So as we grow in this world, are you going to be more digital? Are you going to dive deep into & master adservers, algorithms, technology, pipes and data?

Or are you going to become less digital, where you see everything in a connected system, working out which bits are worth investing in, what signals are most helpful and where the humanity lies in it all? 

You need both to be successful and both need each other to keep perspective.