Brand Growth Strategies For Challenging Times: Insights from CPG Marketing Expert Gareth Turner

    September 4, 2023
    The Digital Shelf Cast Podcast Gareth Turner

    In today’s fast-paced business landscape, where inflation and changing consumer behavior create complex challenges, brands are constantly searching for growth opportunities. To navigate these hurdles successfully, it’s crucial to have a clear and practical growth strategy in place. In our recent episode of The Digital Shelf cast we spoke to Gareth Turner, a seasoned expert in consumer-packaged goods (CPG) marketing and the founder of Big Black Door, a strategic marketing consultancy. With a wealth of experience gained from working with major brands like Heineken, Arla, and Weetabix, Gareth brings a refreshing approach to brand growth that cuts through the noise and focuses on what truly matters.

    Finding Growth Amidst Challenges

    Inflation and shifting consumer behaviors have disrupted traditional growth pathways. As consumers become more price-conscious, and private-label products gain ground, brands must find innovative ways to grow. Gareth suggests that a strategic approach involves making your brand easy to think of, easy to find, and easy to buy. While textbook principles like these might sound simple, they can provide a solid foundation for overcoming challenges and driving growth.

    Balancing Short-Term and Long-Term Strategies

    In the current market climate, brands must strike a balance between short-term performance and long-term brand building. Short-term strategies help maintain immediate sales, but long-term brand building establishes emotional connections, fosters loyalty and drives repeat purchase. Gareth emphasizes the importance of measuring and tracking these efforts, employing tactics like brand tracking and rudimentary market mix modeling, to ensure a holistic view of marketing performance.

    Visibility and Awareness: The Cornerstones of Growth

    Gareth underscores the significance of visibility and awareness, especially in today’s digitally driven world. Brands must focus on making their products easy to find and stand out on the digital shelf – whether in physical or digital stores, ensuring your brand resonates with shoppers in your category is key. Gareth cites practical examples from his experiences to illustrate how this strategy can lead to increased visibility, driving growth even in challenging times.

    Approaching Emerging Technologies and Trends

    The ever-evolving landscape of emerging technologies like generative AI and platforms like the Metaverse can be daunting. Gareth’s approach is grounded in strategy. He advises brands to ask themselves if the new trend aligns with their target audience and objectives. Rather than getting caught up in the hype, brands should focus on whether these technologies genuinely contribute to making the brand easier to think of, find, and buy.

    The Power of Simplicity

    Amidst the complexity of today’s marketing landscape, Gareth’s core advice centers on simplicity. His decades of experience have taught him that many marketing challenges can be addressed by keeping the strategy straightforward and by focusing on the fundamental principles of making a brand easy to think of, easy to find, and easy to buy. He acknowledges that big household names like Diageo and Heineken will test trends more easily based also on a need to be seen as ‘cutting-edge’. For smaller, scaling brands with very finite budgets, keeping to the basics and close to their strategy is essential.

    Key Takeaways

    In our latest podcast episode Gareth Turner’s expertise and practical insights offer a refreshing perspective on brand growth in the face of challenges. By aligning strategies with the principles of simplicity, visibility, and awareness, new as well as established brands can create resilient and effective growth plans. In an environment where change is constant, these timeless principles can serve as guideposts for success.


    In one way or another brands are always looking for growth: whether it’s bringing in new shoppers, expanding into new channels, tapping into new occasions or trading people up to new premium options. Growth is always high on the agenda. But finding growth in the current climate is far from easy. Inflation has created enormous challenges for brands. As concerns about the cost of living have increased in many markets, how and where shoppers shop has changed dramatically. And that’s not all how shoppers feel about brands and how loyal they are to those brands has also changed significantly. Recent Kantar data for the UK grocery market suggests sales or value to private label ranges are up 41% year on year, and private label is gaining ground in many other markets as well. Finding growth under those circumstances is a tall order, but my guest for today’s episode knows how to help. Gareth Turner is a CPG marketing veteran who has held senior positions at major brands such as Heineken, Arla, and Weetabix. And he is now the founder of Big Black Door, a strategic marketing consultancy. Gareth is an expert in driving growth for brands. So I’m very excited to talk to him and find out what practical steps brands can take right now to continue to grow, even in those very challenging market conditions. Gareth, welcome. Thank you for coming on the show.

    Gareth Turner 02:11

    Veteran. How dare you? I was gonna say thanks for having me on. But thank you, Julia.

    Julia Glotz 02:16

    Extensive experience is what we’re going for here. Before we dive into today’s topic, we’ll start the episode The way we start every episode here at the Digital Shelf cast by quizzing our guests on their own online shopping habits. So, Gareth, tell us about the last thing you bought online and whether there was anything that stood out to you about the shopping experience?

    Gareth Turner 02:39

    Well, I’ve been buying my groceries online since before the pandemic. I was, I was all in there that helped me know and get stuff delivered during the pandemic. But the last thing I bought online was some coffee from North Star Coffee Roasters era, I’m based in Leeds, they’re based in Leeds as well. They’re local to me, I love their coffee, I love their sustainability, their ethics, their design, the recyclability of their packaging. And it seems to me that they have really flourished during and since lockdown, I went all in with them during lockdown. What I like about that shopping experience, specifically, is how easy it is for me, a creature of habit, just to reorder what I ordered before. So they’ve made it very easy. I order five bags at a time. I can order loads of different stuff. I choose exactly the same stuff every time. But it’s great coffee, great backstory, great design, easy to use website, what more can you ask?

    Julia Glotz 03:38

    Fantastic. Now in my introduction, I described your business as a strategic marketing consultancy. But it can mean quite a lot of different things to different people. So, I wonder if you could give us a bit of a taste of the kind of work you do at the Big Black Door.

    Gareth Turner 03:53

    I mean, I’ve been lucky. I’ve been lucky in my career that I’ve worked at some of those brands that you talked about. And in those big household name businesses, you get bags of experience with big budgets, and you get trained. And so I’ve got that training, I’ve got that experience. I’ve made loads of mistakes. I’ve learned along the way. And I’m now able to bring that experience bring that training to help smaller scaling brands to help them to grow, to cut through the complexity and the BS that helps them get to great, well-grounded practical growth plans and stops and making rookie mistakes because they of all people can afford it less than these big brands where I’ve where I have made all those mistakes already.

    Julia Glotz 04:41

    Is there a typical Big Black Door client you talked about scaling businesses, but what situation do they typically find themselves in? What challenges are they facing that makes them go? Oh, we better talk to Gareth about this.

    Gareth Turner 04:55

    I’ve been very lucky to have worked with a number of great brands since setting up my business. I suppose the absolute epicenter of what I do is in the brands I have worked with. I’ve worked in food and drink FMCG brands. And I think those skills are transferable. I mean, that’s the wheelhouse center of my wheelhouse to use that phrase and I have more immediate impacts with those sorts of clients. But I’ve worked with audio book clients, I’ve worked with large international charities, worked with distilleries, all sorts of different clients. But they all have a similar need when I was thinking about this, that need is there just need to start doing their marketing properly. And it sounds like a big sort of grand thing that could be because they’re scaling. And it’s no longer good enough for them to sort of kick and scramble their way their way through, they need their spend to be efficient and effective as they’re looking to scale. Or they need their team to be set up in the right way. Or it might be that there’s a larger brand, who has got a blockage, I just need that fresh pair of eyes, this is all still about seeing that problem and getting a good robust marketing plan in place. Because of most of the brands, I’m dealing with our challenger brands, and they just don’t have those huge budgets that I had, that other people, other people have got. So, we help them get to that practical to do list as efficiently as we can. Yeah, we might, we might not do the big 100,000 pounds piece of research for a skating brand. That’s not appropriate for them. But I can take the knowledge I’ve gained on doing number numerous ones of those over the years and we can be honest, we can make a few shortcuts in in foreknowledge and full transparency to help people get to a perfectly good enough PGE approach ‘perfect good enough’ for the size of brand they are.

    Julia Glotz 05:42

    And it all ties back to this point around unlocking growth and helping brands grow under those difficult circumstances. What does your personal approach to growth look like? Do you have a specific framework that you use with clients or a set of steps that you would take clients through.

    Gareth Turner 07:09

    One of my mantras here is that it is very easy to overcomplicate marketing, there are plenty of people who are building careers on the premise of being complicated that they take pride in over complicating it. The simple truth is, I think, if you go back to the Bible ‘How Brands Grow by [the] Ehrenberg-Bass [Institute] go back to that, you can pretty much boiled it down to one thing, which is, I think, getting more people to buy your brand tomorrow than were buying it today. That can be quite complicated. But that’s my job to take that complexity into the background. As a sifter, I will, I’ll deal with that complexity. I’m like a duck paddling away under the surface, I hope to be elegant on the surface and to share some practical, practical solutions to get to the brand growth. But if you take that ‘How Brands Grow’ book and how to get more people to buy my product tomorrow than we’re buying it today? Well, there are three things you can do, which is make your brand easy to think of, easy to find, and easy to buy. So just do those, just do those three things. And you can have a pretty good chance of growing your brand by improving those three things. And broadly that translates into mental and physical availability in how brands grow. But in that simple practical language, even the most inexperienced marketeer can understand that it makes intuitive sense that a brand’s easy to think of is going to be easier to grow and will sell more of it than other brands.

    Julia Glotz 08:45

    Absolutely. And how would you say that approach is different to what brands may be used to from other agencies and consultancies? You talked about that tendency to overcomplicate marketing, is that the main point of difference? Or are there other areas where you think you are pushing brands in a slightly different direction to what they might be used to from others?

    Gareth Turner 09:06

    The truth is that there are hundreds of people, 1000s of people doing the same as me, right? Let’s not, I’m not going to pretend that I’ve got any sort of magic wands that other people haven’t got, and some of them are pretty good. I know some of them, some of them are pretty good. I’m not gonna tell you they aren’t. What I bring though, and what my business brings, is that experience. Between us we’ve got over half a century of brand marketing leadership in a number of different businesses, from scaling brands to big household names, top 10 FMCG brands . We’ve got a balance of that experience and pragmatism. So, balancing the real world with this textbook approach and I hope I’ll just start demonstrating some of that idea of ease to think of find and buy as translating a textbook into language that hopefully a sales force could understand or that the team on the production line understand and getting the business galvanized behind that is, is good. There’s that straightforwardness, I think, and life’s too short for politics and, and nonsense. So, we just cut through and get to some practical solutions pretty quickly. 

    Julia Glotz 10:18

    Now market conditions right now are really tricky for brands, especially challenger brands in many ways. What’s your advice for how brands can hold their own given all the challenges around inflation and the cost of living and lots of growing competition from ‘private label’?

    Gareth Turner 10:37

    Master million-dollar question. I’ve literally got the multi-million dollar question. Again, this is where I temper the textbook with the practicalities of it. So, the textbook said there was a great article way back in 2010, from the Harvard Business Review. And that book was called Roaring Out of Recession, not succession. And that talks about investing to grow, grow your brand. The brands that come out strongest after recession are the brands that continued to invest. But there’s a pragmatism here that a CFO if you haven’t if you’re lucky enough to have a CFO? Yeah, great. Thanks. I understand the textbook tells me that you just lose a million pounds of your budget. So, there’s a practicality of where do you do that? And you trim costs in the right places you trim, your non-working spent money that isn’t activating for consumers. You get rid of any nice to do projects, but you protect at all costs your brand building activity. You keep an eye on what is going on with your brand. The reason you have to keep that brand building activity going on, you need to give people an emotional reason for more reasons to buy your brand and emotional best and emotional reason to buy our brands so you’re not getting dragged into this price war. So that could be Cravendale, for example, Cravendale, when I worked at Arla, that’s a brand that has doubled the price to Cravendale is the pricing now. But yeah, roughly double the price of standard fresh milk. And the idea is it’s filtered to last longer. Well, if that’s a benefit that most people who buy Cravendale can trip off their tongue. So people have been given a reason so intangible to hold on to that means that it’s worth paying more for. So, keeping your brand salient, keeping a brand saint for a thing, does understanding where your sales are going to and coming from so if you are seeing if you’ve looked at your sales data, and you’re seeing some decline, where do you know that that volume is going to private label? Or is it the people just cutting down? Where are you getting people coming in? Are you losing some out to private label but then are you then seeing people coming in to you trading down from in for food or people premium food that you might find in the grocery store? People might be trading down from eating out into buying Taste the Difference range from Sainsbury’s, for example. So what is the source of your one volume? And where’s your last volume going to? So again, just going back to that model, think about how you’re gonna get more people to buy into your brand? Is it easier to think of, is it easy to find? Or is it easy to buy? So, the suggestion here is that if people are moving to ‘private label’ that it’s, it’s probably a combination of easier to find and easier to buy. It’s easy to buy, because it might be at a cheaper price, but easy to find, because it might be more ubiquitous in the store. When you put your head in that game, and you know, when you’re playing by those rules, what you need to do to grow your brand or protect your brand against other people. And that the idea of discounting is something that as a brand that doesn’t sit easy to compete on price, but I wouldn’t be advocating that you should be one should be protecting the value in your brand. But I notice my categories, alcohol, some brands are Value Engineering at the moment. So, I saw recently in marketing week that Foster’s has knocked off. Some ABV but protecting the RSP, three, three acronyms there, but they’re holding the price, the shelf price to consumers, and they’re propping up the profitability by reducing the alcohol, which is a duty to the government. So, I don’t know how much of that has been shared with the retailers. But there’ll be an element of that which those two those two parties in that three-way relationship, those two parties, the retailer and the supplier are protected. 

    Julia Glotz 14:49

    And I suppose just sort of linking that back to a point you made earlier, it’s about I suppose questioning some of those narratives around what’s happening in the wider market and really looking at whether that is true for me and my own brand. You know, there might be a lot of media coverage about people trading down to ‘own label’. But is that true for what’s happening with my brand taking that sort of slightly more granular approach, rather than just assuming those broad truths are true for everyone?

    Gareth Turner 15:20

    Yeah. Because they’re, they’re averages, aren’t they? Right? There’s. So, there’ll be winners. They’ll be winners and losers. And there’ll be many brands that are winning right now. So yeah, absolutely. Right, just what’s going on to me, and my brand, rather than the big picture has been put out on the news at 10. 

    Julia Glotz 15:40

    Aside from an ability to look beyond those quite broad narratives, what are the smartest brands getting right about growth? Right now, those brands that, you know, as you just mentioned, are still winning. What are they doing that others aren’t?

    Gareth Turner 15:56

    I think there are plenty of brands that are growing at the moment. I was looking at some scaling brands that are growing. I’m working with a brand called the Sauce Shop, based in Nottingham, Amazing Sauces. If you’re in the market for sauces, I think they’re a great example. What are they doing? They’re emphasizing their quality. They’re talking about a point of difference. They’re distinctive or differentiated. They might not be doing too much communication. But they did have a great PR machine there. And they’re working on the brand they did, they were on the Gordon Ramsay, sort of food apprentice thing recently; there was a sauce episode. So, they are talking about their attention to detail, their quality, their building trust and certainty and consistency and a great brand reputation. These are all the things that people want. I think, then once you’ve won the sale, or having incredible customer service, consistent, reliable product quality, so that people don’t feel they’re ever going to be let down, having great relationships with retailers to help the retailer grow or protect their category value and having the ability to monitor and adapt your tactics. This is where smaller brands do very well is the ability to be agile and nimble when needed. I think larger brands in bigger organizations take a longer time to turn that oil tanker around. So, for me, some of these probably nimbler, more agile but growing brands are doing.

    Julia Glotz 17:33

    You often talk about the importance of visibility and awareness as well, and particularly for brands that are looking to drive growth. Why are those two so important? And what are some practical steps brands can take to boost awareness other than perhaps doing some clever PR and finding yourself on a Gordon Ramsay episode.

    Gareth Turner 17:55

    But I mean, that’s great. It’s a good example. But there are plenty of cereal brands out there, for example, who are doing a great PR job at the moment. They’ve got no distribution, but they’re doing a good PR job, I would suggest they’re pushing for distribution with the help of the PR activities they’re doing right now. But I suppose if you go back to those three steps, why is awareness and visibility important? Because that’s making your brand easy to think of, and easy to find in store. So, if your brand is unknown to a shopper, and they see you in store, it’s unlikely you’re going to win that sale because there needs to be a kind of recognition of the thing. So, you’re unlikely to win the purchase if there’s no awareness. So, I think focusing on generating scale awareness as big as your budget will allow for as many of your category buyers as possible. That should be a priority for more people from the majority of brands, sorry. And that was even a priority for us at Weetabix. So, we have 98% prompted awareness. And we’re still focused on maintaining that level of awareness because that was so important for us. But then the key differentiator for us was this visibility in store and when we did some activity with the Football Association to put players on the front of pack and then doing an in-store promotion that was about generating visibility in store rather than necessarily the on-pack promotion. So, by putting Harry Kane and the players on the front of the pack during the Euros, that gave us front of store visibility, and it grew our visibility in store by 300%. And as a result, in that six-month period, we put two percentage points of penetration on so it wasn’t that the awareness didn’t change, or pricing didn’t change. It was just the visibility in the store that changed. And that was great. That was a significant seven figure deal with one of the biggest sporting properties on the planet. Not everyone can afford that. But you can think about visibility in the store. So, you can think about my packaging singing and leaping visible on a shelf, is my SRP working on the shelf? I’m talking here about physical stores. What am I doing digitally? Given this podcast. What am I doing with people like dunnhumby? Citrus? I think they’re called Criteo now. What am I doing with them to maximize my visibility in quality marks stores? That’s very, very important because in several categories that I’ve worked in, when you track brand awareness, and you’re asked What’s the driver? Where did you hear about this thing, ie total brand communications awareness and the source of awareness. In most of the categories I’ve worked in, the number one driver of communication awareness was in store. Not TV: there have been brands heavy on TV; Weetabix has been on TV 52 weeks a year. But in store communications was the key driver of brand awareness and of communications awareness. So it shows just how important it is to get that right. And so, if you’re a scaling brand you need to think needs to be more agile, but nimbler to do brand partnerships with somebody else, can you get a field sales team to do some, some FSD use or am use in the front of store? Can you work with the store managers? It takes a bit more effort, but you can’t get it all done at head office. So it can be done. But it’s perhaps a bit trickier.

    Julia Glotz 21:40

    And you just mentioned that obviously, we are the Digital Shelf Cast, so we’re really interested in growing on and optimizing for the digital shelf specifically, and you just touched on the fact that obviously, having good visibility on the digital shelf is absolutely critical if you’re looking to drive growth. How do these considerations around the digital shelf and around ecommerce typically show up in the work you do for your clients? Is there a difference, for example, in how you approach digital media channels versus more traditional media?

    Gareth Turner 22:11

    Each channel needs to be approached with the ambition to get the best work and most appropriate work on that channel. There’s a great presentation from Cannes this year. Not invited. I watched it on playback – if anyone’s listening, please invite me next year – with Tom Roach, Grace Kite and Les Benett and they were talking about the attention economy. They talked about things like how different channels have different levels of attention. And Tom Rose talked about the normal narrative arc of a TV ad being quite sort of just one arc. But in a YouTube ad, for example, you have several; it’s much more volatile, you need to get your branding in at different points. You need a different slot, that classic three-part story you can get away with in a TV commercial, it’s different. So using the right tool for a job, I think, is important. And the same thing goes for the digital shelf. You can’t just take your TV ad and put it on YouTube, and you can’t just take your in-store point of sale and stick it on the digital shelf. You need to get some experts in, you need to know what works for those media channels and do it properly. Tom talked about a different grammar that you have in different channels. And so, you need to learn that grammar, lean into it. So, I think in terms of the digital shelf, the job for most brands is to work out how they can reach as many of their category buyers as they possibly can for as long as they possibly can. And the digital shelf is a very important way of doing that [as we’ve seen] during lockdown [with the] growth of online sales. That makes it even more important to get the balance right between long term brand building and shorter term performance marketing, the top and the bottom of the funnel. Getting that balance right, certainly for scaling and smaller brands is very important. And the digital shelf should form a decent chunk of your budget if you’re an FMCG scaling brand.

    Julia Glotz 24:18

    How do you recommend brands approach measurement and tracking when it comes to their marketing investment? Remember, you mentioned a little bit earlier, it’s so important for brands and the current climate to really take a differentiated view of where they’re spending what they’re spending their money on and saying actually, am I getting enough bang for my buck? So, what have you seen that work well in terms of measurement and tracking? What’s perhaps not a particularly good use of money at the moment? 

    Gareth Turner 24:47

    Well, I mean, ultimately, the ultimate KPI, the ‘K’ of KPIs is sales. So, there’ll be no long term if the short term isn’t isn’t taken care of with certainly scaling brands. So, we have to look at that and what is it that’s, that’s driving sales? And there are a number of ways of doing that. So, I think there are two, two textbook pieces of measurement that I would have in place for any brand I work on, or have worked on. I’d have some sort of brand tracker, which is just measuring the perceptions and the awareness of my brands, I’ll be measuring awareness, what are people? How often people came into a purchase my product was a claimed penetration? What are people saying about my brand in relation to its competitive set? To set that up, I’d need to know what the key category drivers are, what category entry points to use for how brands grow? What are the category entry points for the category I’m working in? So, for lager, it might be refreshment, for many foods, its taste. So, what are people saying I’m tasty in that, in that example. So, there’s a brand tracker. And I’d probably put that in place before I’ve done any coms. So that I know where my baseline is, and the things I’m doing and nudging that forward as they want. And then the second would be some sort of market mix modeling. That’s expensive. But you can do a kind of Heath Robinson rudimentary market mix modeling to have a look at by isolating some geographies, or sometimes or some media, you need to separate a variable. And look at how the sales were affected in those separated areas. So, for example, we’ve done some work with one of my clients looking at their rate of sale in a couple of cities where we turn some media on. So we turned the media on, and the rate of sale was 72%, higher than it was in the controlled cities. Okay, that sounds like a good thing to double down on now. So, you might, you might expand it out into more cities, or you might expand it out into another media channel, or you might expand it out to a longer period of time. So there, you can isolate these variables. Now, market mix modeling, and brand tracking, if you go to the equities in the Kantar Milward Brown to this world, that’s, you know, there’s hundreds of 1000s of pounds, that can be, but there are some perfectly good enough ways of doing that. Not not as robust, and not as beautifully crafted without as many beautiful presentations. But there are a number of ways we can track that for scaling brands. And I’ll set those up for you know, a few 1000 pounds for the client. So it’s, it can be done, I recognize a few 1000 pounds for some clients, it’s still a lot of money. It can be done, you can probably do it yourself, if you’ve got the time. And the bit of the know-how.

    Julia Glotz 27:45

    What are some blind spots that you find brands are likely to have when it comes to growth? Are there opportunities they tend to miss? Or are there particular areas they’re perhaps not paying enough attention to?

    Gareth Turner 27:59

    I suppose it’d be about getting caught in the tactics, not the strategy. So not looking at the long term, getting fixated only on the short term. There’s a balance here that I said, there’s no there’ll be no short term, if sorry, there’ll be no long term if the short term isn’t good, but the classic IPA paper called ‘The Long and the Short of it’ it’s not the long, or the shorter it by Field and Benet and that that combination of the two, make sure shorter term marketing more effective. So having an eye on strategy, knowing what your strategy is, and then making sure that everything you do is pulling in the same. Not getting distracted. A slightly made-up example would be when Tick Tock launched, maybe it’s Threads now, but when Tick Tock launched, I’d have a number of people coming, “but you need to be on Tick Tock Gareth.” Why? Why do I need to be on Tick Tock? Is my audience on Tick Tock? Everyone’s on Tick Tock. Look at the dancing videos you can make. That’s all interesting. But that’s not grounded in understanding my shopper and my target audience. So, bringing everything back to an understanding of my target audience and how I’m going to help them to be aware, to think of me, to find me into buying me rather than a tactic, which is there’s this new thing called Tick Tock this new thing called Threads. That’s not a strategic approach to brand building.

    Julia Glotz 29:26

    Which brings me nicely to a few trends and industry talking points that I was keen to also get your take on. And when we’re talking about very buzzy things such as Threads, I guess a few months ago was the Metaverse now everyone’s talking about generative AI. And it’s obviously something that brands are thinking about, and they’re wondering, what does it mean for me? What does it mean for my marketing? What are some of the opportunities? What are some of the risks? What is your take on it and how do you encourage your clients to think about, you know, emerging technologies like generative AI or you know, as you said, emerging new social platforms in a way that is structured and measured, as opposed to driven by hype.

    Gareth Turner 30:09

    So, the Metaverse is  interesting. So, it’s about, for me, are my audience there unless you’re trying to create something. This is another reason for doing so as long as there’s a strategic reason for using that channel. Then I suggest you don’t do it or you’re doing it for in the foreknowledge this is a test and learn and experiment thing, which potentially has no bearing on what my sales gonna be. For most brands, that’s a luxury, right? So, but some brands, the classics like Diageo or Heinekens of the world will be on the Metaverse because it keeps them at the forefront of being cutting edge marketers, and that suits them when they’re trying to recruit people, for example. So, there’s another reason for doing that. But for me, I’d bring it all the way back to strategy. So, in media channels, how am I going to make my brand easier to think of, find and buy? And can this thing achieve that better for me than the stuff I’m already doing, and you might do a quick test and learn and see how it works. But for marketers with things like generative AI, I think it’s very important for marketers to be aware of it, to perhaps use it as a starting point where a human can add a bit less value, perhaps, or as a sparring partner, for when you’re a one-person band. So, I’ve used Midjourney quite a bit to help me bring concepts to life. When we put some concepts into research, rather than having an illustrator in the concept groups, I can quickly get to some, for me, good enough, perfectly good enough solutions to get some concepts visualized for my clients. I’ve used ChatGPT, to help me brainstorm on my own. As a sparring partner. I hosted a stage at the Digital Marketing World Forum recently. And one of the guys on that stage likened AI to a good intern. It is a great intern. They did great work. There’s some that do great stuff. But you wouldn’t put it in front of the CEO without checking it first. I thought it was a great way of summarizing it. But you’d want to check the stuff first. You know, I can’t tell you but there’s a I’ve seen written before I think that’s been written by AI. I can’t quite tell you why I know that. But there’s a sort of, but there’s for starters, if you said in there when it should be ‘s’ in England. But there’s, there’s just a feel to it that you can tell. But it’s a good starting point. But it doesn’t stop the need for me as if I want to be if I want to write some thought leadership work, I need to write some thought leadership work. I can’t just let ai do it for me.

    Julia Glotz 32:52

    Gareth. We’re pretty much out of time. But finally, in a sentence or two, you have to sum up your one essential piece of advice for brands who are looking to continue to drive growth in the current climate, what would that be?

    Gareth Turner 33:07

    I think you could probably guess that you could do a lot worse than keep it simple by making your brand easy to think of, easy to find and easy to buy. And remember that there are plenty of people out there with a vested interest in making this thing seem more complicated than it really is.

    Julia Glotz 33:24

    Fantastic. Gareth, what’s a good way for people to connect with you? Where can they find you? Threads of

    Gareth Turner 33:31

    Obviously, Threads, they can find me, they can actually find me on Threads I signed up that morning. The reality is the best place to find me would be a slightly boring middle-aged LinkedIn, Gareth A Turner or website, Big Black Most of my ramblings are on there.

    Julia Glotz 33:47

    Fantastic, Gareth, thank you so much for coming on the show.

    Gareth Turner 33:53

    Thanks for having me.


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