Interviews

Philip Raperport

Marketing Manager at BBC Four, Arts & Music

Ben Somerset-How

Client Director

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creativebrief: How has your career path led you to marketing BBC Four, Arts & Music?

Philip Raperport: I left university convinced my experience with Universal Music would translate into an instant career as either an opera singer or a music mogul. Three weeks and a few reality bites later I started applying to advertising agencies. After an interview in the pub AMV BBDO shot to the top of my list and I started in account management there working on retail giant Sainsbury’s and then Guinness.

After nearly four years my interest in creative businesses with purposeful brands led to a career shift into marketing and a move to the BBC. Initially working across all of Journalism I reframed our Current Affairs output, tried to make The Budget sexy and launched a black soul puppet called D-Love to promote Digital Radio. Channelling my passion for music and the arts in January last year I became Marketing Manager for BBC Four, Arts and Music, leading the strategy for the BBC’s most innovative multi-genre TV channel and launching the BBC’s Music and Arts brands. It can be pretty W1A at times but no other organisation does more for Music and Arts in the UK.

 

creativebrief: Why did you choose a career in marketing?

Philip Raperport: I really did want to be an opera singer, but I also didn’t want to live with my parents until I was 45. Marketing gave me the opportunity to use my creative talents and connect with audiences but in a different way. To use storytelling to disrupt the routine of everyday life and educate, entertain and inspire people. I also love the combination of art and science, the fast pace and the necessity to embrace innovation.

creativebrief: What do you think makes a successful career in marketing?

Philip Raperport: Instinct. Of course you need the ability to understand the audience data, build a strategic marketing plan and ensure the business model is financially viable, but the instinct to choose that crazy idea your agency never thought you would buy, or embrace that new piece of fledgling technology, combined with the clarity to justify it and the conviction to galvanise your business behind it, is what will ultimately set you apart.

creativebrief: And who is a great example of this?

Philip Raperport: I am in awe of entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk. He has built an empire based around “Do what works. Right now.” using his killer instinct to strategise where his audience’s attention is and invest in the most effective new marketing platforms to engage them. I’ve never met him but I imagine Gary Haigh who bought Guinness Surfer would also qualify.

creativebrief: What do you think are the main challenges facing marketers today?

Philip Raperport: Encouraging and maintaining loyalty amongst audiences who have a multitude of options and more noise around them than they’ve ever known. The digitisation of the marketplace, which not only means supremely informed consumers but also greater transparency than ever before. And optimising your audience targeting to deliver ROI – if I hear another debate about programmatic I might jump out that window!

creativebrief: How do you keep up with constant stream of innovation in marketing comms?

Philip Raperport: I read industry publications, get Google alerts and attend as many conferences and lectures as I can. I have a couple of friends involved in digital start-ups and the other scholars on the Marketing Academy are always at the cutting edge!

creativebrief: How does this impact your relationship with agencies?

Philip Raperport: We are building an internal creative team and introducing a new flexible roster of specialist agencies precisely to address these challenges. At the same time our newly appointed lead agency should ensure that in our rush to embrace innovation we don’t compromise on the values, purpose and tone of voice of our BBC brands.

creativebrief: How do you know if you’re getting the best from your agencies?

Philip Raperport: It can be hard to see past the quality of the creative ideas, but if my agencies can demonstrate they understand the business and are passionate about it, can be honest and aren’t afraid to challenge and push me, I know the relationship is working.

creativebrief: Of your recent work, what makes you particularly proud and why?

Philip Raperport: There are times when the BBC comes together to capture the public’s imagination in a way no other UK brand can. I like to think we achieved this with the BBC Music ‘God Only Knows’ campaign. When we started on the project we had no idea it would be two and a half years in the making. We simply wanted to show the British public how important they were (and are) to us and that we love and care about music every bit as much as they do. 29 artists and numerous shoots and recording sessions later our inspired creatives Sam and Joe and director Francois turned a jigsaw puzzle into a masterpiece. It was the first ever trail to be broadcast simultaneously across every BBC TV channel, radio station and online. It reached 41million people on TV with 27 million views across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and BBC online and within seconds was trending around the world. To see our audiences’ overwhelming reaction, and their appreciation for the BBC and everything it does to nurture and develop music across the UK, was one of the proudest moments of my life.

creativebrief: How do you think marketers can raise the profile of marketing within their organisations?

Philip Raperport: Be the voice of your audience, be the innovation experts and demonstrate the tangible value you offer. If you can show an appreciation and understanding of the metrics that drive the business and how marketing can shift the dial, senior management should welcome you with open arms.

creativebrief: Do you see yourself as a generalist or a specialist, does it matter?

Philip Raperport: I like to think of myself as both. I have expertise in specific areas but as a manager overseeing a variety of brands and a constantly changing team I need the ability to apply my knowledge and instincts to any challenge that arises.

creativebrief partner the Marketing Academy is a non-profit organisation which provides a unique forum for industry leaders, marketing gurus, entrepreneurs and inspirational people volunteer their time to inspire, develop and coach the next generation of future leaders. The Marketing Academy gift a maximum of 30 ‘Scholarships’ each year to the fastest rising stars in the marketing, advertising and communications industries. A team of high profile mentors and coaches develop these stars through a process of mentoring, coaching, networking and personalised learning. 86 mentors, 30 Coaches, 20 Judges, 36 companies and an owl called Merlin all provide their time, resources and knowledge to assist in shaping the minds of our future leaders. Furthermore as a vital part of their curriculum all Scholars volunteer at least one day per year through our Donate28 initiative to work with charities who need bright young marketing minds. For a full list of the individuals involved, see the Sherilyn Shackell interview.