Worked in: London, working with MEC teams and clients around the world from Moscow to Miami
Charlotte Wright, affectionately known has Charlie by her friends and colleagues, has numerous advocates. She received many nominations for Agency Innovator, which speaks as much to the global influence of her work as Head of Strategy to her expertise and approach when interacting with teams and clients in numerous countries.
What role does innovation play in your marketing strategy today? “As an industry we’re often too quick to put innovation in a box—whether it is characterized by developing ‘three year innovation horizons’ or allocating a percent of a budget to innovation. We should be braver, and leverage modern evaluation techniques to organically test ideas, and evolve those which are most successful into mass market platforms. Innovation and creativity should not be the purview of a few people, but a real culture which we embrace looking as much at the way we work as the output we create. Innovation needs us to go ‘all in’ and not dip our toes in the water.”
What is the biggest challenge you face in applying innovative thinking to international projects? Processing the rate of change is the biggest challenge facing agencies and clients today, local or international it makes no difference. It’s becoming less about creating a fixed idea and delivering it perfectly, but more about developing the start of an idea which can be implemented and evolved live. This is as much about developing new ways of working as it is about exploring new ideas or emerging channels, and it impacts every facet of agency life.
Dictionary definitions aside, how would you characterize innovation in the work you do? Innovation is about taking something we’re doing and giving it a twist, often colliding it with a new thought, to deliver it in a more engaging way. It rarely seems big but is capable of delivering seismic change. It’s also about simplicity.
Some of the best planning work Charlie has been involved in has been all about boiling two months of work into a simple word or sentence which powerfully expresses the core idea or concept.
Name an innovative idea or business solution for which you are most proud. Charlie’s recently been involved in developing “Are you in Control Enough to Let Go” for MEC. The element she’s been most involved is called “3-3-3.” This is a more consumer-centric way of reframing the time-periods used for planning and evaluating brand communication. The “3-3-3” concept stands for three minutes, three months and three years, and it forces the consideration of different short-, medium-, and long-term strategies developed for judging success. This has the potential to impact the way the agency works and is structured, while also delivering better business results for clients.
Why do people see you as an innovator? Charlie finds a way to answer the difficult questions other people can’t. She can always work out how to think through the issues and get to a great solution. She breaks problems down into their component parts, providing a fresh perspective which sparks brilliant ideas.
Any other interesting aspects to your international background? Throughout Charlie’s travel’s she’s learned many interesting things; key findings are a) stables in Poland are possibly not the best places to stay while on business b) falcons love white knitted bobble hats as a place to perch and have a breather c) not under any circumstances include tequila as a part of training exercises.