The late, divisive Winston Churchill may not seem like an obvious figurehead for marketers. However as agencies and brands continue to grapple with their business responses to Covid-19 , Ogilvy UK’s chief creative officer, Dede Laurentino, argues there are lessons to be gleaned from the former British prime minister’s approach to leadership.
Speaking during The Drum’s Digital Transformation Festival as part of the 'What’s on your bookshelf?' series, Laurentino argued that one of the most important page-turners for the industry at this tumultuous time is Andrew Roberts's biography of the wartime leader.
The creative and published author explained how when he arrived in the UK from his native Brazil in 2011, his then-agency ran into financial issues.
“Within the first three months we got hit by someone over in New York signing a piece of paper that meant we lost one third of our revenues as accounts were shifted around within the same organisation,” he said.
“I had just come to this country and suddenly my mission looked like a very different one to when I had landed.”
So, the first thing he did was go to Foyles on Tottenham Court Road and buy a copy of His Finest Hour by Christopher Catherwood, which offered a short insight into Churchill’s life.
“It helped me tremendously – I’m a big Churchill fan,” he asserted. “[The industry] needs to beef up our leadership skills by learning from someone who had flaws.
"Churchill was not perfect but he was one of the greatest leaders in history and we need that kind of inspiration right now.”
Taking ‘time to look’
Laurentino also offered some insight into how the global pandemic is changing working practices and creative methods.
“One third of the global population is working from home ... this will have an impact on home life, consumerism and so on. The economy was set for a different dynamic and in the space of 72 hours it shifted,” he said.
“Coming out of this we’ll be different people.”
“The pace we were going at before coronavirus meant we weren’t stopping to look at life,” Laurentino added, dispelling the notion that time is money and saying agencies should adopt different ways of working.
“Time is the fabric of our lives. Now we have time in our hands, we should just understand what we’re doing here on this planet – we were running too much and seeing too little. Let’s all take time to look.”
Here is a glimpse at Laurentino’s extensive bookshelf:
What he’s currently reading:
- The Last Reader by David Toscana
His favourite books:
- The Human Factor by Graham Greene
- Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
- The Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le Carré
His recommended reading for the industry:
- The Pritchett Century - The Selected Writings of V.S. Pritchett
- Fugitiva by Alice Munro
- Story by Robert McKee
- Creativity Inc by Ed Catmull
- Walking With Destiny by Andrew Roberts
- The Four by Scott Galloway