McDonald’s: “I’m… Building it Myself?”

McDonald’s currently has more than 14,200 US locations and boasts of serving approximately 70 million customers daily worldwide. It has proudly advertised the popular $1 Menu that has been exclusively featuring items costing only a buck since 2002, but recently the newly named Dollar Menu & More saw the addition of a $2 Jalapeño Burger and $5 20-piece Chicken Nugget deal.1 Overall, prices at the chain have increased 3% since June 2013 due to the rising cost of meat (and an incident with the company’s meat supplier in China) as well as minimum wage increases. In recent years McDonald’s has made several attempts to increase sales by offering discounts, dangling limited-time offers, and remodeling its stores. So, why all the effort to revitalize the world’s largest fast-food burger chain?

McDonald’s is currently experiencing its worst sales slump in a decade: Bloomberg recently reported that same-store sales for US-based McDonald’s locations dropped for the fourth straight month in August.2 The U-T San Diego newspaper reports that the chain’s favor with young adults is also in decline, stating that the percentage of 19- to 21-year-old consumers for the chain has decreased a dramatic 12.9% since 2011.3 There are a number of factors at play in the dropping popularity, aside from rising prices. For example, there has been an increased number of people who fancy themselves “foodies,” and they tend to have more sophisticated palettes. In today’s world, the foodservice industry has to adapt to meet a seemingly endless number of dietary demands, and people have come to expect customization wherever they dine. The gluten-free, vegan, low-carb, high-kale, organic, guacamole-loving foodie crowd may not seem like McDonald’s target audience, but with the new build-your-own burger test stores, McDonald’s is clearly hoping to attract more young adults—including those with refined palettes.

There are currently four McDonald’s locations (two in Orange County and two in San Diego) participating in the build-your-own-burger trial. This test run has promise to evolve into the basis for another persuasive advertising campaign from McDonald’s. The move is about more than simply spicing up the ingredients on your burger; there is also a focus on personalizing the whole dining experience, something that goes over huge in ads. Workers greet you as you enter the building, handing you an iPad tablet that displays the build-your-own-burger options: toasted artisan or brioche rolls, a charbroiled burger patty (no customizing options available for chicken or fish yet), grilled mushrooms, jalapeños, garlic aioli, and yes, even guacamole.4 You can, of course, add cheeses to your burger too. The customized burgers will cost you around $5.49, plus tax.3 If you want the meal, it’ll be a bit more. If you’re eating at the restaurant, you can expect your meal hand delivered in a metal basket—another way McDonald’s is attempting to “class up” the old hat of fast food service.

Much like the “Do Us A Flavor” contest did to drum up interest in the new Lay’s potato chip flavors, McDonald’s build-your-own-burger trial is putting the power of possibility back into the consumer’s hands. With the right advertising—usually a strong suit for McDonald’s—built around the trial results, the original fast-food leader could see the jump in public interest needed to correct its recent sales slump. Combining the powerful print ad campaigns, which are sure to come, with bold on-trend adaptations like customization and technology upgrades is certainly a step in the right direction.

It’s still too soon to predict the results of this McDonald’s DIY experiment, but you can bet they are paying close attention to popular new burger ingredient combinations customers are coming up with. Chances are we’ll see McDonald’s introduce some new burger options across the country after the test run yields customer-driven insights. However, only time will tell if the fuss-bellied and financially strapped consumers missing from McDonald’s demographics will be tempted by the option to build it themselves.

 

References

  1. “McDonald’s costly burgers send diners to fancier rivals” (Oct. 20, 2014). Wohl, Jessica. From the Chicago Tribune website. Retrieved Oct. 22, 2014 from chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/sns-wp-blm-news-bc-McDonald’s20-20140920-story.html.
  2. “McDonald’s Monthly Sales Slump Worst Since 2003” (Sept. 9, 2014). Patton, Leslie. From the Bloomberg website. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-09/mcdonald-s-august-sales-slump-as-u-s-declines-for-fourth-month.html
  3. “McDonald’s ‘Build Your Burger’ trial comes to San Diego” (Feb. 4, 2014). Harvey, Katherine P. From the U-T San Diego website. Retrieved Oct. 22, 2014 from utsandiego.com/news/2014/sep/04/McDonald’s-build-your-burger-test/?#article-copy.
  4. “We Went to the McDonald’s Build-Your-Own-Burger Test Restaurant” (Nov. 20, 2013). Stevenson, Alison. From the Vise website. Retrieved Oct. 22, 2014 from vice.com/read/we-went-to-the-McDonald’s-build-your-own-burger-test-restaurant.

FOOD TREND WATCH: CANDY CORN

Does Candy Corn’s Recent Spike In Popularity Mean The Death Of Pumpkin Spice?

Happy-Halloween-From-Deep-v07 (1)

When it comes to fall flavor trends, pumpkin spice has dominated the category for quite some time now. So much so, that the local grocery store is beginning to look a bit like a pumpkin patch. However, what happens when the pumpkin lovers fade back into the abyss? Well, some trend-spotters are predicting candy corn to be the next big thing for fall.

Candy corn, the simple, tricolored candy, has been an iconic indicator of fall for over 130 years. Whether you love it or hate it, candy corn is here to stay—and it’s bigger than ever. Whether it’s the festive coloring or the fat-free nature of the candy that excites consumers, one thing is for sure: this sweet treat is finally enjoying its time in the spotlight.

Candy corn scents, flavors and fashion are flooding the market as we speak. Treats such as: candy corn Oreos, candy corn flavored ice cream and candy corn martinis will soon dispel the pumpkins from your mind and taste buds.

Today, October 30, is National Candy Corn Day. Light up a candy corn scented candle or treat yourself to a trendy candy corn manicure, all while celebrating with fistfuls of candy corn inspired sweets. Now, set that PSL aside and make room for the candy corn invasion!

Happy Halloween from your friends at deep.

 

Fresh Off the Vine

It was only 19 months ago that Twitter launched Vine, a service that lets users create and share 6-second looping videos. Since then, some 40 million users have joined in on the admittedly addictive app to create, re-vine, and watch. Among the most active users are top brands, some of which are putting it all on the vine, so to speak, when it comes to marketing. Funny how top brands and jumping into all the new social trends early and often are so synonymous.

Brands that have long gone big with television ad budgets are suddenly rethinking the investment. While 2013 saw Tide focus on the Super Bowl commercial game with its Joe Montana Miracle Stain spot, in 2014 the company benched the $4 million dollar commercial play in favor of 22 viral interactive videos on Vine.1 It is important to note that the success of Tide’s social video advertising was directly tied to—you could even say piggybacked—the commercial spots that aired. After each commercial, Tide’s marketers would tweet a real-time response Vine with the hashtag #getsitout. Their efforts awarded them 3.6 million impressions, though spokeswoman Anne Candido added that they did pay for Promoted Tweets.1 The reach of theVine campaign is a large leap from the 111.5 million the Super Bowl boasts in viewers, but when comparing the audience reach to the budget, and considering that it was one of the first of its kind to create such an expansive real-time Vine campaign, it is certainly a note-worthy achievement.

integrated-digital-marketing-by-oreo

Oreo has a solid handle on integrated digital marketing. Nice work.

When it comes to integrated digital marketing, one of the most crucial lessons we’ve shared with deep clients is that timing is everything. Following the power outage at the Super Bowl, Twitter stated that it took only 4 minutes from the time the lights went out for the first advertisers to bid on the search terms “power outage” and “blackout.”2 The standout winner from that unexpected viral marketing opportunity was Oreo. People have retweeted Oreo’s “You can still dunk in the dark” tweet nearly 16,000 times, proving that success is always far more likely when marketers are both entirely prepared and always on the ready to seize an opportunity.

In a world where every brand is vying to be the next big viral thing, it seems advertisers can never sleep, lest we lose out on the chance to steal the social media show. That’s especially true when considering that—excluding puppies, kittens, puppies with kittens, kittens with babies, and other arrangements of puppies, kittens, and babies with larger and equally cute animals—the formula for gaining a viral response is continually evolving and often tied to real time events.

While there are many big name brands on Vine, some have clearly mastered the medium more successfully than others. Brands that are accustomed to 30- or even 60-second commercial spots now must figure out how to create a compelling statement in a mere 6 seconds. Dunkin’ Donuts found a way to do just that, while still capitalizing on the Super Bowl audience, with its #DunkinReplay Vines, where they re-enacted plays from the game using Dunkin’ Donuts menu items (seen below).3 Vine also presents a nice venue for funny, as reflected in the Halloween horror spoof campaigns Oreo and Tide ran a year ago using the hashtags #ScaredStainless and #OreoHorrorStories.4

So what’s the single most important takeaway for advertisers who are new to Vine? The clear standout between successful Vines and not-so-successful attempts is a careful marriage between simplicity and compelling content. When you only have 6 seconds to get your message across, you’ve got to be concise, yet with 40 Million plus users throwing content against the virtual wall, the creative also has to be just that.

References

  1. “Why P&G’s Tide Ditched Its Super Bowl Ad For … Twitter?” (Feb. 04, 2014). Neff, Jack. From the Advertising Age website. Retrieved Sept. 25, 2014 from adage.com/article/special-report-super-bowl/p-g-s-tide-spent-super-bowl-talking-ads/291477/.
  2. “9 Brands That Thought Fast on Social Media During the Super Bowl.” (Feb. 4, 2013). Murphy Kelly, Samantha. From the Mashable website. Retrieved Sept. 25, 2014 from mashable.com/2013/02/04/brands-super-bowl-social-media/.
  3. “6 of the Best, Boldest Uses of Vine in Marketing.” (Oct. 9, 2013). Walter, Ekaterina. From the FastCompany website. Retrieved Sept. 25, 2014 from fastcompany.com/3019652/dialed/6-of-the-most-creative-clever-uses-of-vine-in-marketing.
  4. “Halloween Poll: Is Oreo or Tide’s ‘The Shining’ Vine Best?” (Oct. 031, 2013). Heine, Christopher. From the Advertising Age website. Retrieved Sept. 25, 2014 from adweek.com/news/technology/halloween-poll-oreo-or-tides-shining-vine-best-153502.

Ogilvy & Mather Chairman Emeritus Shelly Lazarus

Leading Women, Part 3: Marketing Influence cont.

Who better to punctuate our series with than Shelly Lazarus? One of the true pioneers in the marketing world, when Lazarus first stepped onto the scene at Ogilvy & Mather in 1971, she joined an all-male cast.1 As the lone woman in meetings, she faced tremendous pressure yet also relished the chance to make real strides in the way women were portrayed in advertising.

Upon graduating Smith College, a school for women only, Lazarus sought an MBA from Columbia University—where she was one of only four women in the graduating class of 1970.2 She then began her career at Clairol, serving as an assistant product manager for about one year before heading to Ogilvy & Mather in 1971.2

Even as a newly hired account executive, Lazarus found that her opinions carried a lot of weight: “When there was no woman in the room, ever, at the start of my career, I would be speaking on behalf of all women in the world. [It] actually was ridiculous on one hand, but on the other hand, I had a better idea than most of those guys.”1 That notion is hardly arguable, given the archaic ads that were deemed effective before Lazarus and other women joined the workforce and showed the guts to be heard.

Lazarus has fondly recalled one coffee ad she influenced during the ’70s, citing it as a major step in the right direction for accurately depicting women in advertising: “We went to a woman owning a store, and the only kind of coffee she sold was Maxwell House. But here at last you had an entrepreneur. It was a huge change to actually portray a woman as an owner of something—women were being portrayed as women were.”1 That’s in stark contrast to the older “Maxwell Housewives” commercial that featured the gem, “you be a good little Maxwell housewife, and I think I’ll keep you around.”

The impact Lazarus made on advertisements were not only significant from the perspective of furthering equal rights and respect for women; they were highly profitable. With women helping drive the creative, the ads performed better with consumers. That ensured Ogilvy & Mather enjoyed continued success during her career and led Lazarus through a steady rise in the ranks.

In the 1990s, her responsibilities increased rapidly as she rose from president of North American operations all the way to chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide. With Lazarus running the show, Ogilvy added a long list of household brands to its client roster and grabbed attention and awards for ditching stereotypes of women in favor of “women who were beautiful but were out of the prototype” for campaigns like Dove’s run of “Real Beauty” ads.1

Shelly Lazarus is widely revered for groundbreaking work in both the equal rights movement and in marketing. We at deep are among the many who appreciate all she accomplished, and we’ll wrap this piece by simply saying thanks to Shelly, and all the other great women we’ve written about the past few weeks, for providing such fine examples over the years.

References

  1. “Pioneering Advertising Executive.” Makers Profile, Shelly Lazarus. Makers website. Retrieved Sept. 9, 2014 from makers.com/shelly-lazarus.
  2. “Shelly Lazarus.” Encyclopedia of World Biography website. Retrieved Sept. 9, 2014 from notablebiographies.com/supp/Supplement-Ka-M/Lazarus-Shelly.html.

Facebook VP, Global Marketing Solutions Carolyn Everson

Leading Women, Part 3: Marketing Influence cont.

After Facebook’s much-hyped IPO grossly underperformed and investors lost $40 billion during the first few weeks of public trading,1 it fell on Carolyn Everson to help restore investor confidence. In those first months of public trading, the stock hit a low in the $20 range, leaving the outlook less than stellar for both Facebook and Everson. Jump ahead 2 years and change, and we find Facebook stock sitting at a healthy $77 (or so, as of Sept. 8). Quite a few big brains at Facebook, including previously featured Sheryl Sandberg, deserve credit for the huge upswing. Everson and the sustainable model she implemented for advertising partners have to be front and center in the credit-where-it’s-due line at Facebook HQ.

Leading teams all over the world, Everson has steadily grown Facebook’s ad revenue, which skyrocketed in the most recent quarter—rising “67% to $2.68bn compared to the same quarter last year.”2 Impressive to say the least. The social media juggernaut is on track to grow continually for the foreseeable future, and the marketing partners Everson works with will likely enjoy the benefits. The Facebook success, however, is only the latest of many during her storied career.

Everson didn’t plan to become a star in the media world. While earning her Liberal Arts and Communication BA—summa cum laude with honors—at Villanova University, she planned on either continuing to law school or getting into the other side of media as a newscaster.3,4  After college, plans changed. She quickly found herself thriving in the business world, whether in departments employing mostly males or in more diverse settings. Asked about career obstacles she faced because she’s a woman, Everson responded, “I’ve never thought of myself as a woman. […] I’ve always viewed myself as part of the team. And if on that team I’m the only woman in an all-male environment, it’s still just a team.”5

Standing out with solid ideas while also working within a team led to opportunity after opportunity. Most notably, Everson spent a year with Disney and, after graduating Harvard Business School with an MBA, spent 6 years with MTV Networks. At MTVN, Everson gained recognition for profitable moves while running the U.S. Ad Sales department, including tripling mtvU’s ad sales.6 Ironically, she also tried to purchase Facebook for MTVN in 2005, but the deal eventually fell through.7

In June 2010, Everson accepted a high-power position with Microsoft—the offer coming directly from CEO Steve Ballmer himself.5 Though it wasn’t planned, the stint with Microsoft proved short lived. Just 9 months after taking the gig, Everson felt compelled to embrace “a dream opportunity” when Sandberg reached out to offer the role with Facebook. In a seismically understated assessment of the move, Sandberg has said, “it turned out to be the best decision for me.”5

Like all great leaders, Sandberg is quick to learn from and bring out the best in others. She once relayed a piece of advice that has served her well over the years: “Leave people [feeling] bigger than when you found them. I love that. You know, every single person has a gift, and something to offer. I think it’s your job in whatever role or meeting you’re in to figure what that gift is and bring it out in people.”5 Sandberg has a real talent for that, and the powerful results are something to which we can all aspire.

In the final piece to our “Leading Women” series, next week we’ll look at the career of Shelly Lazarus, chairman emeritus at Ogilvy & Mather.

References

  1. “Did IPO damage Facebook brand?”. (June 2012). Tobak, Steve. CBS News website. Retrieved Sept. 8, 2014, from cbsnews.com/news/did-ipo-damage-facebook-brand/.
  2. “Facebook earnings beat expectations as ad revenues soar.” (July 23, 2014). Rushe, Dominic. The Guardian website. Retrieved Sept. 8, 2014, from theguardian.com/technology/2014/jul/23/facebook-earnings-beat-expectations-ad-revenues.
  3. “Carolyn Everson: Facebook’s Secret Weapon.” (June 1, 2012). Bosker, Bianca. Huffington Post website. Retrieved Sept. 8, 2014, from huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/01/carolyn-everson-facebook_n_1562150.html.
  4. “Carolyn Everson: Executive Profile & Biography.” (Sept. 2014). Bloomberg Businessweek website. Retrieved Sept. 8, 2014, from investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/people/person.asp?personId=34587211&ticker=FB.
  5. “Transcript: One-on-one with Facebook’s Carolyn Everson.” (June 24, 2013). Barnett, Megan. Fortune website. Retrieved Sept. 8, 2014, from fortune.com/2013/06/24/transcript-one-on-one-with-facebooks-carolyn-everson/.
  6. “Biography and Professional Profile of Carolyn Everson.” (Early 2011). Wolfe, Lahle. About website. Retrieved Sept. 8, 2014, from womeninbusiness.about.com/od/famouswomenentrepreneurs/p/biography-carolyn-everson.htm.
  7. “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Facebook’s Carolyn Everson.” (Oct. 24, 2012). Edwards, Jim. Business Insider website. Retrieved Sept. 8, 2014, from businessinsider.com/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-facebooks-carolyn-everson-2012-10?op=1.

Havas Worldwide Executive President & BETC Founder Mercedes Erra

Leading Women, Part 3: Marketing Influence cont.

It is well documented that Mercedes Erra first moved to France at the age of six, when she and her family immigrated from Spain. Most write-ups about the dynamic executive include a mention of her immigration to France, because leaving her home at such a young age was perhaps the most formative event in her life. Born near Barcelona, Spain, Erra spoke only Spanish when she arrived in France. That childhood language barrier is thought to have had a big impact on her deep-seeded will to thrive in the face of obstacles.1 Whatever the inner motivation, Erra has reached for greatness and seized a secure hold.

After graduating HEC Paris and beginning a career in education, Erra soon grew disgusted with the practice of paying women less than men, despite teaching the same material. Rather than accept that inequality, she gave up her job as a teacher and took an internship with Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising.1 Similar to Nunu Ntshingila-Njeke, whom we profiled last week, Erra started with little shot at the upper tier of the ad world yet navigated a tough path to the top. Along the route, she achieved an Mphil in Marketing and Corporate Communication at the Université de la Sorbonne.

Erra cites her ambitious nature and willingness to take on big responsibilities as the primary reason for her quick rise to general director of Saatchi & Saatchi France. “When people want responsibility,” said Erra, they “can have immediately many responsibilities because [they] are rare. After 14 years, I [became] general manager for the agency, but I didn’t do anything for this. I was responsible. It’s very simple.”2

Considering the brilliant campaigns Erra has helped lead, we’d say her success has more to do with sheer talent and a feel for the client’s audience. That’s proven true repeatedly since Erra partnered with three other innovators in 1995 to launch the BETC agency. She is largely credited for the Evian Roller Babies campaign that set the Guinness World Record for “The Most Viewed Online Advertisement” with more than 25.5 million views.3 Erra and BETC set a high bar and proved a wide reach with consumers is attainable, making digital video advertising a staple for deep and other leading agencies in the industry. Her ad brilliance also had a big hand in BETC earning the nod as the Gunn Report’s “most creative agency in the world” in January 2011.1

While Erra’s award-winning work in the ad industry has led to respect and fame among her industry colleagues, her tireless efforts with human rights campaigns may eventually prove to be Erra’s longest lasting contribution. She co-founded and continually works with the Women’s Forum of the Economy and Society, an organization dedicated to bettering the world and “building the future with women’s vision.”4

A mother of five, Erra also focuses on children’s rights, having served as a member of UNICEF Sponsorship Committee. In addition to serving on the French Committee of Human Rights Watch and as part of the Commission on the Image of Women in the Media5, Erra has committed countless hours to other causes that strive to empower women, children, and all people who face abuse.

Erra is a leader who recognizes the crucial opportunities that come with a life of influence and power, and we’re thankful she’s dedicated to helping others have a fighting chance to overcome their own obstacles.

Next, we’ll profile Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vice president of global marketing.

References

  1. “OMEGA Ladymatic presents CNN’s Leading Women – Mercedes Erra.” (Aug. 23, 2012). News release on Omega Watches website. Retrieved Sept. 3, 2014, from
    omegawatches.com/news/international-news/international-news-detail/2060.
  2. “Brand expert pushes for women’s rights.” August 14, 2012. The CNN Edition website. Retrieved Sept. 3, 2014, from edition.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/international/2012/08/14/leading-women-mercedes-erra.cnn.html.
  3. “Most viewed online video advertisement.” (2009). The Guinness World Records website. Retrieved Sept. 3, 2014, from guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/7000/most-viewed-online-video-advertisement.
  4. The Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society website. Retrieved Sept. 3, 2014, from
    womens-forum.com.
  5. “Mercedes Erra.” (2013). The Crystal Apple Festival website. Retrieved Sept. 3, 2014, from
    kristalelmafestivali.com/en/mercedes-erra.

deep group is hiring a new Art Director

Art Director Gif

In short, we’re looking for an incredibly creative person who is motivated by an intense-but-rewarding work environment. We want an Art Director that can successfully work with several other incredibly creative people all focused on concepting and executing amazing projects and campaigns for clients we love.

We should also mention that a multi-talented skill set is a plus. Have a background in film? Fantastic. Possess a knack for music production? Booyah. Like to create digital animation projects as a side-hobby? Excellent. As far as we’re concerned, a Swiss Army Knife is a valuable asset.

Apply for the Art Director position here.

Part 3: Marketing Influence

There’s really no arguing the power women hold as consumers. It’s well known that in recent years women accounted for “85% of all consumer purchases including everything from autos to health care”.1 But what about influencing trends from within ad agencies?

The art of marketing foodservice alone is highly informed by talented women, from high-ranking leaders like our own Partner Valeri Lea to mid-ladder leaders such as The Barbarian Group’s Senior Copywriter Erica Pressly, who has worked on winners like Pepsi Next’s “The Extra Hour” social campaign. That carries through to other areas of marketing as well.

So let’s review the paths that have formed a handful of the women who help shape our industry. As with our list of leaders in tech, we had a difficult time narrowing the field of great options. After a bit of debate, we agreed to focus on four who women who have demonstrated courage, foresight, and leadership for many years.

Ogilvy South Africa Chairman Nunu Ntshingila-Njeke

It’s always easy to cheer for someone who climbed from the bottom of the ladder and reached heights most people merely dream about. Every now and again, it actually happens. In fact, that against all odds narrative is a major part of Nunu Ntshingila-Njeke’s story. Hers is a story of instincts, determination, and education.

Ntshingila-Njeke’s drive is evident in the many degrees she has earned. Her education includes a BA from the University of Swaziland, an MBA from Morgan State University, and a Marketing Diploma from the AAA School of Advertising.2 She has put the insight gained in the classroom to work in the real world throughout her career.

According to the most powerful person at Ogilvy & Mather South Africa herself, Ntshingila-Njeke began her career in advertising looking up from the ground floor: “[I] started really, really at the bottom. My first job as an account executive was actually to read the Omo mail bag letters. All the letters that were coming in, some of them were in Zulu […] So I was given a desk inside somebody’s office to look through all these letters and actually find interesting letters that could be sent to the creative department to be created into advertising. And that’s how I started.”3

Since that first stint combing through the mail bag for ad-worthy consumer testimonies, Ntshingila-Njeke has spent many years with the advertising stalwart, serving as CEO of Ogilvy SA, Director of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, and currently as Ogilvy SA Chairman. She has also played an important role in furthering professional diversity in South Africa, including her time on the country’s Board of the Media Development & Diversity Agency.3

Today, Ntshingila-Njeke is one of the most celebrated women in all of advertising. She has been a finalist for Businesswoman of the Year Award multiple times,3 has been named the Business Personality of the Year,3 and has twice been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the AdFocus Awards.4 Her other accolades are too numerous to list in short blog, but we would be remiss not to call out the accomplishment that has been dearest to  Ntshingila-Njeke: earning a spot on the Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide Board.5 Since she was first appointed in 2011, she has been the sole person representing Africa on the 30-member board, which oversees the 450 Ogilvy offices spread among 120 countries. The seat on such a prestigious board is quite an honor—and well-deserved one at that.

Who’s next on our list? Visit the B!eep blog in a week to learn what led Mercedes Erra to found BETC and to become executive president of Havas Worldwide.

References

  1. “Marketing to Women Quick Facts.” (2009). Holland, Stephanie. She-conomy website. Retrieved Sept. 2, 2014, from
    she-conomy.com/facts-on-women.
  2. “Nunu Ntshingila-Njeke, Ogilvy South Africa CEO.” (June 10, 2014). Bontle Moeng. The BizNis Africa website. Retrieved Sept. 2, 2014, from biznisafrica.co.za/nunu-ntshingila-njeke/.
  3. “Jenny Crwys Williams’ Tuesday Interview with Nunu Ntshingila.” (May 2012). Jogilvy website. Retrieved Sept. 2, 2014, from jogilvy.co.za/?p=7081.
  4. “Nunu Ntshingila-Njeke honoured with lifetime accolade at 2012 AdFocus Awards.” (Dec. 3, 2012). Press release on Marketing Update website. Retrieved Sept. 2, 2014, from marketingupdate.co.za/?IDStory=50853.
  5. “Ogilvy Group’s Nunu Ntshingila: Brand leader.” (July 31, 2013). Hilary Prendini Toffoli. The City Press website. Retrieved Sept. 2, 2014, from citypress.co.za/business/ogilvy-groups-nunu-ntshingila-brand-leader/.

Xerox Chairman and CEO Ursula Burns

Leading Women, Part 2: Advances in Technology cont.

“Where you are is not who you are.”1 Growing up in the Lower East Side projects of Manhattan, Ursula Burns regularly heard this crucial reminder from her mother. A tireless worker, her mom cleaned offices to put Burns through private school. She never let her daughter believe poverty could prevent achieving greatness. Nor could skin color, nor sex, she taught Burns.2 The lessons stuck. Burns ignored the so-called “three strikes” people so often said were too much to overcome and pursued her dream of engineering.

After high school, Burns landed a spot at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, first studying chemical engineering before discovering her love for mechanical engineering. She has acknowledged struggling with serious self doubt at the time, but she persevered. “Ever so slowly,” Burns said, “I regained my footing.”2 The driven young woman not only found her footing; she began a steady run to the head of the pack.

First joining Xerox as a mechanical engineering intern for the summer of 1980, Burns landed a full-time gig with the company a year later—just after gaining her MS in mechanical engineering at Columbia University.3 Discussing her shift from engineer to executive assistant, Burns cites an argument with a senior executive as the key reason for the move.1 Had she not voiced her disagreement with Wayland Hicks during a big-time company council meeting, he would not have called her into his office to discuss the matter, which ultimately resulted in Hicks promoting her to his assistant.1 Talk about a Lean In moment. An insistence to be heard sent Burns down a path featuring numerous influential positions including vice president for global manufacturing and senior vice president, Corporate Strategic Services.

These days, Burns is stationed at the very top of Xerox, serving as chairman and chief executive officer. She points to “the help of others, a good education, a strong work ethic, and the courage to lean in” as the most important reasons for her success.Thankfully, for the sake of young professionals, Burns is dedicated to working with “organizations that help minorities and women gain the education and self-respect they need to take risks […] and dream big.”2

With leaders like Sheryl Sandberg, Susan Wojcicki, Meg Whitman, and Ursula Burns setting such stellar examples, we at deep are confident newbies in the tech field will have plenty of impressive role models.

References

  1. “Xerox’s Ursula Burns on Her Career Path and Changing Company Strategy.” (Aug. 08, 2013). Hymowitz, Carol. BloombergBusinessweek website. Retrieved Aug. 05, 2014, from businessweek.com/articles/2013-08-08/xeroxs-ursula-burns-on-her-career-path-and-changing-company-strategy.
  2. “Ursula M. Burns.” (2014). Lean In website. Retrieved Aug. 05, 2014, from leanin.org/stories/ursula-burns/.
  3. “From Intern to CEO: How 3 Execs Climbed To The Top.” (Sept. 09, 2013). Forbes website. Retrieved Aug. 05, 2014, from forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2013/09/09/from-intern-to-ceo-how-3-execs-climbed-to-the-top/.

Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman

Leading Women, Part 2: Advances in Technology cont.

If the tech industry were a boxing ring, Meg Whitman would arguably be its greatest cut man / woman. She accepted her role as Hewlett-Packard’s chief executive officer at a time when the world’s second-largest tech company had suffered savage beatings in the market, bleeding both profits and stock value.1 Given that Whitman had a board member’s view to the turmoil that led HP’s previous CEO, Leo Apotheker, to the chopping block after just 11 months, one would think she might have thrown in the towel altogether. Too smart and too tough to walk away from the huge upside the daunting challenge offered, Whitman accepted the job and began stitching up HP’s overwhelming damage.

The company’s Rocky-esque battle wasn’t over, and Whitman recognized that if HP was to climb back toward its once-impeccable profits margin, she first had to reduce the swelling. The quickest way to do so, she decided, was to significantly reduce payroll. Whitman implemented a “restructuring program” that includes cutting roughly 50,000 jobs—34,000 of which she announced in 2013 and up to 16,000 additional cuts she announced in May.2 While obviously tough on HP’s employees, the layoffs seem to have improved the company’s standings in the market. Stock for HP is up significantly in 2014 and had risen 13.6% by the time Whitman announced the latest round of layoffs.3

Heading a multi-billion dollar corporation requires the guts to make tough decisions in the name of profitability, and Whitman has long been willing to shoulder the burden. After graduating Princeton and achieving her MBA at Harvard Business School, she served in leadership roles for various companies including Proctor & Gamble, Bain & Company, Disney, and Hasbro. Whitman’s first stint as a CEO was stunningly successful. She took the helm at eBay in 1998 and would take the company from 50 employees and $86 million in year one to 15,000 employees and $7.7 billion when she stepped down in 2007.4

Tasked with reshaping a loosely structured company—previously run by its young, software-writing creator—into a fully legit IPO, Whitman started with some business basics. For example, she had “to introduce some basic management tools—like desk calendars, so managers could schedule meetings.”4, 5 She remedied any lingering low expectations by insisting on a global strategy and then shocked the naysayers by taking eBay public to the tune of $2 billion on the first day! Under her leadership, the company doubled its worth in 6 months and doubled again 1 month later. That’s $8 billion in a mere 7 months on the stock market.4

Whitman has a history of quickly hitting goals for the companies she leads, and she’s at it still today. While HP wasn’t in position to perform nearly as heroically as eBay did with Whitman in its corner, the skilled cut woman has already stopped the bleeding and has HP headed toward recovery.

References

  1. “HP Axes CEO Apotheker, Meg Whitman Takes Over.” (Sept. 22, 2011). Preimesberger, Chris. eWeek website. Retrieved Aug. 4, 2014, from eweek.com/c/a/IT-Infrastructure/HP-Axes-CEO-Apotheker-Meg-Whitman-Takes-Over-172609/.
  2. “HP’s Whitman on PC Decline and Job Cuts.” (May 23, 2014). The New York Times, Bits blog. Retrieved Aug. 4, 2014, from bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/05/23/hps-whitman-on-pc-decline-and-job-cuts/.
  3. “HP to Cut up to 16,000 more jobs.” (May 23, 2014). O’Toole, James. CNN Money website. Retrieved Aug. 4, 2014, from money.cnn.com/2014/05/22/technology/enterprise/hp-job-cuts/.
  4. “Going, Going, Gone: Meg Whitman Leaves eBay.” (Jan. 25, 2008). Cohen, Adam. The New York Times, The Board blog. Retrieved Aug. 4, 2014, from theboard.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/25/going-going-gone-meg-whitman-leaves-ebay/.
  5. Margaret Cushing Whitman. (2014). The Biography.com website. Retrieved Aug. 04, 2014, from 
biography.com/people/meg-whitman-20692533.

 

Drop back by the b!eep blog next week to learn a bit about Ursula Burns, chairman and CEO of Xerox.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 34 other followers