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An interview with...Gillian Power, Marketing Manager - EMEA CNN International

Kelsey Martin
By Kelsey Martin  //  Mon 9th December 2013
Gillian Power, Marketing Manager - EMEA CNN International on how Piers Morgan has helped to raise CNN's profile in the UK, Christian Bailey's work for Burberry and the challenges marketer's face.

What was your first job?
My first paid job as a teenager was waitressing at a Chinese restaurant, but my first proper job following university was as Marketing Executive for JCDecaux in London.

What made you get into marketing?
I’ve always been interested in advertising, design and media, so when I left university with a media technology degree and started working at JCDecaux I gained a real insight into that side of the advertising industry. From there I spent a further six years at Clear Channel Outdoor, but decided I’d rather work on the ads that were on those billboards so moved client side about 5 years ago. Since joining CNN International I’ve been able to experiment with every type of media that being part of a multi-platform brand offers.

Who is your marketing hero?
The work Christian Bailey has done with Burberry is remarkable. He has turned the brand around from being not so desirable to one of the biggest luxury companies in the market today. He has changed general consumer perception of the brand through ground-breaking marketing campaigns and partnerships, whilst ensuring the product offering is innovative and up to date. 

Best campaign and favourite brand?
If I say Tom Ford, do you think he’ll send me lots of fabulous free stuff? 
His work for Gucci in the ‘90s was the first time a brand made me notice an actual campaign - seeing an outfit go from catwalk to magazine to celebrity to shop. Although at this time, I could never actually afford Gucci..(see answer number one!).
I also loved the Levi's advertising throughout the ‘90s. A new TV ad from Levi’s was an event, and was about more than just the jeans. It sold you a lifestyle with a number 1 hit soundtrack, and who didn’t wanted to be ‘that girl or boy’?

Best marketing resource?
I use Linkedin a lot. I find it’s a great resource where extremely influential people and companies are sharing ideas and think pieces.

The future of marketing is…?
I think marketing will become even more interactive with audiences engaging with brands. Brands will have to come up with innovative ideas to keep consumers interested - the recent BA ‘look up’ campaign is a great example of this.

How has Piers Morgan’s prime time spot helped to build CNNI's profile in the UK market?
Piers has as big a personality as the guests on his talk show, so he is always going to attract attention. With Piers’ journalistic credentials and CNN’s global reach, it is a great match for both parties.

Biggest marketing mistake and what you learnt from it?
I worked on a campaign brief where I was sold by the creative agency’s concept to gain shock value without fully focusing on the brand principles and how a campaign could impact the brand publicly and commercially. Luckily this particular idea didn’t get off the drawing board and in hindsight I can see that it would have been a huge mistake.
The lesson being: don’t lose sight of your main objective – it’s all very well gaining attention but it has to be the right – positive – kind of attention.

Best piece of career advice?
Listen and learn - we have two ears and one mouth.

Biggest challenge as a marketer?
Keeping in touch with our audience. With the advent of technology consumers want everything at their fingertips now with no disruption - this is especially the case with news. As marketers we have to deliver our message without compromising consumer time or attention. It’s exciting to have all CNN’s different platforms at our disposal to try to do just that. Our apps, websites and presence across social media deliver news to our audiences wherever they are across all platforms. 

What Christmas campaign has caught your eye this year?
I’m not sure if it counts as an ad as such but I love the ‘Elfridges’ helpers at Selfridges this year. They have very cool satin bomber jackets, which I really want.

Where do you holiday? 
Ireland because that’s where my family is. I also recently visited South Africa for the first time and had an amazing time. The people there are fantastic and it’s such an interesting place because of its history and stunning landscape. I’m very keen to go back.

Favourite pub?
I love the Windsor Castle in Kensington. It’s a really cosy winter pub that serves a good Guinness and also has a fabulous beer garden during the summer. A perfect all rounder.

What do you want for Christmas?
A weekend away with my husband in a secluded 5* spa hotel, while my one year old daughter stays with her grandparents. And I’m getting it.

Tell us something we don’t know about you...?
I was a four-year old catwalk model.
An interview with... Gillian Power, Marketing Manager - EMEA CNN International
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