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The CMO Swap: Britvic marketer Ash Tailor on the lessons he learned from the startup ‘spirit’ of Tribe

October 11, 2018 | 4 min read

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What happens when you get a marketer at one of the world’s biggest beverage brands to trade places for the day with the founder of a two-year-old startup? The Drum and Fetch have decided to find out, launching a bold social experiment in the form of The CMO Swap.

Fetch CMO challenge tribe mentality

Fetch has decided to launch The CMO Swap social experiment

Spotting an opportunity to glean lessons from one another’s approach to business in order to help their own flourish, the first marketers to bravely take on the challenge were Britvic’s global category director Ash Tailor and Tom Stancliffe founder of natural sports nutrition brand Tribe.

In coupling tradition and disruption, the experiment yielded some interesting results – shining a spotlight on the similarities and differences that make both brands so successful.

First to take the plunge was marketing luminary Tailor. He spent a day learning the ropes at Tribe, a fitness nutrition firm that also organises events and classes for a 75,000-strong community of runners, riders and everyday athletes up and down the UK.

With tenures at Coca-Cola, Vodafone, Warner Brothers and Unilever under his belt, and experience on the James bond partnership marketing programme, the Britvic exec is no stranger to big budget, glitzy campaigns – but how did the brave new world of startups differ from his day job?

To kick off the day, the Fruit Shoot and Tango marketer sat in a meeting with Tribe’s team where they discussed how they could build the brand’s mission and values into the business.

One of the things he took away from the process was the ethos that “done is better than perfect”.

“This was a conversation around the table with people from within the organisation,” he said. “We may have come with solutions and we had a lot of ideas but actually the task is done now and [the attitude is very much] let’s move on to the next thing. There’s a spirit there that all organisations can learn from: when is enough, enough?”

His comments comes amid increasing collaboration between startups and established brands, with fellow FMCG brands Unilever recently saying that working with startups was a “business imperative”. According to Unilever’s own research, 88% of startups and 85% corporate firms agree that that improving efficiency is one of the most important reasons for collaboration.

Tailor confided in Stancliffe that one of the challenges he faced at Britvic was keeping the culture of the marketing team aligned when it works across so many different brands and countries.

“In some markets I’m a startup and in some markets I’m an established brand. But how you drive growth is a question we both face as leaders,” he explained. “How you do that with and through [the team at Tribe] we face the challenge no matter what the organisation type.”

Find out what else happened when Tailor paid Tribe a visit in the video, launching on 31 October, and why both marketers agreed that despite their differences in size and resource, the end goal was always the same.

Request your invitation to Fetch’s upcoming Unwired breakfast event on 31 October to get the behind-the-scenes scoop on what else happened when a Tailor and Stancliffe swapped places and what they took away from the experience.

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