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10 questions with... Jo McClintock, brand director at Moonpig

In an attempt to showcase the personalities of the people behind the media and marketing sector, The Drum speaks to individuals who are bringing something a little different to the industry and talks to them about what insights and life experience they can offer the rest of us. This week's 10 Questions are put to Jo McClintock, brand director at Moonpig.

What was your first ever job?

Selling fruit and veg in a small town, surrounded by the rolling hills of Somerset, for £2.50 an hour. I learnt some hard graft and spent a fair amount of time chasing Brussels sprouts down the street as they spilled out of crates piled high at Christmas time.

Which industry buzzword annoys you most?

“Customer-centric”. Vast misinterpretations and differing commercial agendas lead to this idea frequently not manifesting itself as truly customer-centric. Faithfully understanding customers takes a lot more than simply throwing out buzzwords.

We’re in business because of, and for, our customers. Our purpose is to solve their issues and meet their needs. Specifically, at Moonpig we believe we’re in the “their” emotions business, not the occasions business. We’ve got an incredibly important role in servicing our customer’s closest relationships - bringing care, love, happiness, support and laughter. For us it always starts with the customer and how they want to make someone feel.

Simply saying you’re ‘customer-centric’ doesn’t do justice to the complex emotional space we’re working in - this is real for us and too often fiction in other cases.

Who do you find most interesting to follow on social media?

I always look for inspiration in all walks of life and social media is no exception. Social can offer learning moments and the content I engage with more often than not comes with a cultural backdrop - whether negative or not. These posts can offer a realness that makes greater use of the platform’s impact, and ability to influence positive change.

One example of this is the amplifier for radical inclusivity @i_weigh founded by Jameela Jamil which is championing positive body image, leaning into supporting change and tackling a global crisis in this area.  

The idea of amplifying positivity aligns with our thinking around social for Moonpig; leaning into real human insight, engaging with relatable uplifting content, and in relevant campaigns - such as our Artist Series, or The Joy of Giving - landing our brand purpose in fun and lovely ways. It’s not always about chasing followers but social should always deliver great engagement. 

Highlight of your career (so far?)

What we as a brand team have been able to achieve at Moonpig in the last six months has been truly epic - all whilst delivering double digit growth via our major Christmas, Valentine’s and Mother’s Day campaigns.

I’m particularly proud of working on the creation of our new brand purpose “To unleash the caring instinct and cultivate the caring habit”.   

This idea is focussing on tapping into people’s innate desire to care for one another and giving them the tools and confidence to do so more often. We’ve fully integrated this ambition within the wider business strategy, our commercial proposition, our product and the customer experience. 

Yet, the most impactful work of all was in really getting to grips with our customer’s emotions on a personal level. This was possible thanks to a meticulous and thorough combination of market segmentation, cluster and factor analysis, TGI integration, ethnographic research and transactional data - all of which led us to align with absolute focus on a specific set of typologies.

Unbelievably yet wonderfully, we discovered that we assess 24 variables in the act of giving - conscious and unconscious - such as the relationship, the occasion, how you want to feel in the process, how you want to make them feel, and so on.

This brand and customer work has become the bedrock of all we do and acclaimed by our board.

What piece of tech can you not live without?

My phone - Slack, WhatsApp, Facetiming my husband and kids, Instagram and so much more can be wonderful in facilitating and inspiring life, but at the same time taking it away. I have therefore fully embraced Apple’s new features around screen time reporting and try to pop it out of reach as much as possible, to be more present.

Who or what did you have posters of on your bedroom wall as a teenager?

The work of artists Andy Warhol and Bridget Riley as well as Jamie Redknapp - a love for pop art, stripes, Liverpool FC, and a good looking chap!

In advertising, what needs to change soon?

Actively being more human - in Moonpig’s case, as a brand that is enabling caring from person to person - we represent a spectrum of positive human emotions; love, gratitude, kindness, joy, humour, celebration and understanding, all of which are uplifting.  As a brand that is also an advertiser, we believe and have acted on removing ourselves from digital advertising via websites that promote hate speech, lack humanity and directly conflict with our purpose. 

What is (in your opinion) the greatest film/album/book of your life?

Old, wet and windy days have been renamed “Casablanca days” in our house and are times to curl up and recall the most famous sayings from the greatest of scripts. “Here’s looking at you kid” - “Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world she walks into mine” - “Play it again Sam”.

For me, it’s the nostalgic and romantic moments that evoke masses of warmth - I’m a hoarder of such feelings - cards included!

 Which industry event can you not afford to miss each year and why?

I’m a fan of little and often. Small and interactive with a specific business challenge in mind or industry insight where there is an opportunity to learn from experience. I prefer an event focused on a single area that digs into the details, than a huge event that only scratches the surface of each topic. I’m always looking out for more - suggestions appreciated!

 What's the best piece of advice you have ever been given?  

I have to have two - one functional, the other a lot more emotional.

1. The three-box model - change it, influence it or f*ck it. If you can’t change or influence change then don’t stress and double down on what you can achieve.  

2. To always have hope - so much so I named my daughter after this idea.

More installments of 10 questions with... can be found here. 

Featured by The Drum