Worked in: UK, Australia and New Zealand
Name an innovative idea or business solution for which you are most proud. Setting up The Lab at OMD International, a unit dedicated to the growth and development areas of our business. International client service has traditionally been centered around network coordination. Damian had already instigated bringing on board specialists from a creative, social media, mobile and insight background amongst others. Seeing the opportunity to combine talents across disciplines and make our specialists more commercially savvy, he then bought them all together. The Lab is now a unit of 30 people covering everything as diverse as data analytics, sports marketing through to communications planning; defining the future of international communication client service for OMD.
What is the biggest challenge you face in applying innovative thinking to international projects? The perception that each market is different and therefore they resist ideas that are driven centrally. While, of course, Damian experiences different working cultures in his constant travel around the regions for work, he also tries to open people’s eyes to the similarities and the opportunities that can work and be tailored across countries. Changing behavior both internally and externally with clients across markets remains an ongoing challenge.
Why do people see you as an innovator? Damian always challenges his team to think about new solutions to problems and better ways to approach the new challenges we get from clients. He is constantly inspired by ideas and thinking from outside our immediate industry. But most importantly, he is focused on action and making sure that inspiration turns in to service innovation for our clients.
What role does innovation play in your marketing strategy today? Ideas are at the heart of OMD’s global positioning and Damian focuses on making that clear in the way that we talk to clients, prospects and partners. All of which is underpinned by the creativity he spots through connecting with our global network.
Dictionary definitions aside, how would you characterize innovation in the work you do? An action that is genuinely game changing – whether that is creating a new business model, a different way of working internally or a different client service offering.
Any other interesting aspects to your international background? Damian’s current pet project is a new business strategy around working with fast growing companies in emerging markets who are looking to expand their product in to Europe. Something that would lead us to very different types of pitch meetings as well as growing our core international business. Through many years of working in international media, Damian always points out that the personality trait that travels best is diplomacy – the qualities of being polite, respectful and funny (even with Damian’s jokes!) seem to go a long way wherever you are in the world.
Damian’s immediate family gene pool is a combination of Portuguese, French and South African. He is also a massive foreign language movie fan with his current favorite being the Indonesian film “The Raid: Redemption”.