Each week, The Drum talks to a range of media and marketing professionals about their roles, but rarely do they get a chance to show who they are and what drives them as people. The Drum's 10 Questions series attempts to offer a little more insight into those personalities. This week's subject is We Communications' global senior vice president of marketing, Kristin Flor Perret.
What was your first-ever job?
Decorating cakes at an Italian bakery. All my clothes smelled like buttercream frosting and my hands were permanently dyed from food coloring but it was a lot of fun, plus I got afternoons off to hang out with my friends. I still decorate wedding cakes today - I remember all the tricks.
Which industry buzzword annoys you most?
All of them. Is it so hard to just say what you mean clearly and concisely? My favorite people to work with are the ones who talk like human beings.
Who do you find most interesting to follow on social media?
I follow a pretty crazy cross-section, everything from car designers to fashion designers to Crossfit disciples and artists. Isabella Thordsen is one digital creator that stands out with a very eclectic point of view. But personally, the MOST interesting people I’m following right now are my children. When you have older kids on social media, you get to watch them figure out how to be people online. It’s extremely rewarding, plus they show me all the best TikTok memes.
What has been the highlight of your career (so far?)
Being an ad hoc professor at Seattle University. I’m dyslexic and never graduated from college, so when a university asked me to share my journey and give future marketing leaders advice, it was a big deal to me.
What piece of tech can you not live without?
LastPass manages all of your passwords and digital accounts, and it is life-changing. It’s helped me totally manage my digital world, and I tell everybody to get it. Seriously, if you don’t have it, download it this minute (and no, I’m not paid to say this and they’ve never been a client!).
Who or what did you have posters of on your bedroom wall as a teenager?
Andy Gibb, younger brother of the Bee Gees. I also had a satin jacket with his picture on the back that I wore roller skating. It made me feel invincible.
In advertising, what needs to change soon?
There’s a real thirst for advertising to be real and authentic, and most brands either aren’t listening or haven’t figured out how to do it. In health and beauty, in particular, I worry that we talk a big game about body positivity and making sure models look like real people, but if you look at advertising and social influencers, really all we’ve done is reimagine Barbie and Ken. We have an incredible opportunity to honor real, diverse, exciting human beauty.
What is (in your opinion) the greatest film/album/book of your life?
Film: The first film that I really remember being blown away by was Star Wars. The special effects of the Millennium Falcon flying in outer space, telling that archetypal story of good triumphing over evil—it was a timeless story told in a refreshing way.
Album: My most memorable would be Duran Duran’s Rio, with the super-stylized Nagel art on the cover. I came into my own and grew up with that album. I even skipped school to see them on tour. Got grounded for it, too!
Book: Beloved by Toni Morrison. It showed me the world from a different perspective and the characters’ humanity and depth is something I will never forget. This book truly changed me.
Which industry event can you not afford to miss each year and why?
Cannes Lions. There’s so much brainpower at Cannes and incredible content on stage about where the industry is and where it’s going. In four days, you get a more complete picture than you get from four years of school.
What's the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
I first saw this quote from Maya Angelou in a pitch training, so while she didn’t share this advice with me personally, I love it: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” It goes beyond just work—I strive to live my whole life remembering that. I have it engraved on one of my favorite bracelets.
Find more entries into the 10 Questions With... series here.