creativebrief: How has your career path led you to marketing at Vodafone?
Dan Underwood: I left university knowing that I wanted to go into something both creative and commercial and landed in advertising and marketing. My first job was in a media agency working on PepsiCo’s portfolio of brands, which was a fantastic experience and this then took me to a role in a sponsorship and events agency, where I worked on sport and music projects for Vodafone and McDonalds, amongst others. Next, I finally moved client side to Vodafone, where now I lead sponsorships and partnerships for the brand.
creativebrief: Why did you choose a career in marketing?
Dan Underwood: I’ve always been interested in brands and their influence on society, but principally their power to tell stories. Brands are part of our everyday lives and I was attracted to the social and material impact you can have in marketing. As well as the creativity that comes with it, you can get real satisfaction from being part of a process that works with so many different people to bring something to market from scratch and see how it performs. The diversity in the industry is enormous and with an ever changing media landscape it is a job that means no day is the same.
creativebrief: What do you think makes a successful career in marketing?
Dan Underwood: It’s a career that demands you to almost be a jack of all trades, as you work across multiple business units, and deal with people from a range of skillsets and backgrounds. So, you need to be a leader to drive forward your vision and own it. So, for me ultimately a successful career is about having a vision, being brave with it and having the resilience to push it through - even when those around you doubt your ideas.
creativebrief: And who is a great example of this?
Dan Underwood: Steve Jobs (Apple) is the best example, as is Phil Knight (Nike) or Elon Musk (PayPal/ Tesla)
creativebrief: What do you think are the main challenges facing marketers today?
Dan Underwood: For me it would be the proliferation of media channels and the movement towards anti-ads online. Brands need to anticipate needs and be where their audiences are before they even get there, so it is a huge challenge to keep up, remain relevant and stand out.