The CMO Swap: Lessons learned from Britvic and start-up Tribe

A start-up founder swapped places with a marketer at one of the world’s biggest beverage brands in a unique experiment, launched by The Drum and Fetch.

Few marketers would agree to be placed so consciously outside of their comfort zone yet The CMO Swap challenged two marketers to trade places and live out a day in each other’s shoes to see what could be gained from their differing professional experiences.

The first marketers to bravely commit to the task at hand were Britvic’s global category director Ash Tailor and Tom Stancliffe, founder of natural sports nutrition brand Tribe.

Though the two brands couldn’t be more different, with Britvic boasting a 160-year-old heritage compared with Tribe, who launched just two years ago, the experiment proved that the marketers are more similar than some might initially think.

The pair realised that both organisations face some of the same challenges, as they’re responding to digital transformation in the industry, changes to consumer paths to purchase, price compression and changes to the retail landscape. Ultimately, they both want to increase their companies’ profits and bring value to their consumers.

However, despite these similarities, the marketers learnt different lessons from their time spent in each other’s offices.

Tailor, of Britvic, began the experiment with a visit to the start-up’s London offices, followed by Stancliffe who called into Britvic’s Hemel Hampstead HQ.

The Fruit Shoot and Tango marketer worked closely with Tribe’s small team, sitting in on meetings to understand how the fitness platform organically grew to support and represent their loyal community of UK athletes.

Because Tribe is a direct-to-consumer model, it works in stark contrast to Britvic’s multi-region and multi-product portfolio. Tailor’s biggest takeaway from the day was the brand’s “done is better than perfect” philosophy; something he hoped to channel upon returning to the office.

“There was a conversation around the table with people from within the organisation,” said Tailor. “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?”

Stancliffe, on the other hand, was blown away with the sheer size and scale of Britvic’s offices. He particularly enjoyed seeing all the different departments in-house, especially meeting the customer development and R&D teams. Compared with Tribe’s start-up capability, Britvic is able to test out and pioneer new products on-site, responding to demand immediately. So it’s not surprising that this was something Stancliffe was impressed by.

“When Tribe wants to do product development we have to go up to our facility in Sunderland or Wales, so it made me think to have the budget and to be able to do that would be amazing,” he said.

He later added: “Hopefully [we can] learn from those processes, so we can grow faster and be who we want to be.”

Watch the full video capturing their day’s exchange to gain more behind-the-scenes insight into what happened when Tailor and Stancliffe swapped places and what they learnt from the experience.

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