In our first instalment, Rachel Wheeler chatted with Ant Duffin, a highly experienced digital leader that has worked with global brands PZ Cussons and Reckitt Benckiser, to discuss his biggest professional achievements and lessons, 2021 digital trends and the advice he would give to his younger self!
What is your biggest professional achievement?
I was proud to have partnered with The Hut Group and lead cross functional teams, setting up new websites across multiple brands and markets with associated back-office operations in multiple countries. Within 6 months, we set up new IT integrations and capabilities, created marketing and trading plans and formulated and streamlined processes and working methodologies.
What is the most important lesson you have learned in your career?
I have a learned a fair few lessons in my career, I think the most important lessons have been about my leadership journey. For me personally, I have learnt that it’s so important to live and breathe the following:
Be authentic to yourself and not to try to be someone you’re not
Be approachable and empathetic
Be positive and enthusiastic, but in testing times you have be resilient and keep moving forward
What do you think are the biggest digital trends we will see in 2021?
I think 2021 consumer trends are going to continue on from previous years, where consumers want convenient, on demand experiences that are going to help them escape or improve their mood in what’s been a challenging 12 months!
Streaming - I think that Netflix / prime video are going to double down and accelerate content creation to keep the captive audience happy. Amazon prime video advertising creates an opportunity to reach target consumers.
Podcasts - They aren’t new, but they are going through a resurgence with subscriptions, especially podcasts that help with key topics right now like health and well-being with experts. It’s an interesting space for brands consider.
E-commerce acceleration - although predominantly driven from the closing of the high street, it’s driven a shift in consumer behaviour that will stick, because those who didn’t shop online before have now experienced services like Amazon Prime and realised how easy and convenient it is.
New digital biz models / partnerships - Brands are exploring new business and go to market models as a result of Covid such as D2consumer / D2business models. I think you’ll start to see an acceleration and scale of perfect partnerships such as grocery / convenience stores like the Co-Op working with likes of Deliveroo and Uber Eats.
Privacy and fraud - Digital fraud is on the rise and people are more concerned than ever about their privacy. Cyber brand and consumer protection will be at the core of all businesses and brands ESG strategy, i.e. asset protection, data governance, martech security etc.
4. If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Be curious and learn from those people who have been there, seen it and done it! Also, just because it didn’t work in the past doesn’t mean it won’t now or in future.
Keep your eye out for our next Digital Leaders Series installment! If your business would like to work with Ant Duffin, or you are looking for your next Digital & Ecommerce opportunity, please feel free to get in touch. You can also checkout our latest roles.