7 min read
You made it to the third episode of People of Marketing Podcast! Yes, I’m assuming you listened to the first two because, well, why wouldn’t you?
I was particularly excited about this one because this time, Xenia talked to Rodrigo Samwell, the CMO of ESL, the largest global esports company.
He began his marketing career in telecommunications and has served in a number of executive marketing and strategy roles at Vodafone.
I actually met Rodrigo too last year in Cannes Lions and I really appreciated his casualness. He really doesn’t treat people according to titles and doesn’t expect you to either. He’s genuinely into meeting people, talking about the industry, and enjoying life.
Modesty aside, Rodrigo is the CMO at a company that won a part of the world. The eSports world. And I couldn’t wait to hear all about his journey. How he got here, what were his challenges, how his days look like. My wish was granted for sure, so make sure you tune in.
If you’re “busy” now, however, take a look at my favorite parts of this episode:
Time & consistency build brands
Us, marketers, love to love brands. We understand what’s behind the big names and the award-winning campaigns so we always pick favorites. Rodrigo picked Porche and Volvo.
“I like Porche as a brand because what the brand signifies to me is long-term commitment with vision and direction, not focusing too much on the short term. I love the brands that have a clear vision the most. They want to make an impact in the world and they stick to their plan year after year, after year.
That, for me, is super inspiring. Because these brands are playing the very long term game. Much like everyone, they have quarterly pressure but they keep the vision and the delivery of Porsche throughout history is really consistent.
Brands like Volvo, for example, created a whole narrative over the last years. They really connect people in a special way. They inspire a whole generation to adopt Volvo, not just because they have amazing safety but because they care and they understand the world around you.
Consistency is probably one of the best things. I really use brands that keep a consistent story and don’t change all the time.”
This part really spoke to me. I was born and raised in tech marketing where we want results and we want them now. Which is why it’s so fascinating to me to look at these brands that have been keeping at it for so long. Boards changed, marketing teams changed, but the brand lived on. It’s inspiring, I have to agree.
Whatever you’re doing, do it well
Careers are rocky roads for everyone. Not all jobs will be the best, not all bosses are amazing, and some roles will suck altogether. Rodrigo says to keep pushing:
“Be patient. I think the new generations are very impatient with social media and everything running at the speed of light. Everybody looks at the top of a mountain and they want to be there. Uh, but they don’t realize it’s a long way. Whatever you are doing now, do it well. Even if it doesn’t feel like the right thing for you, even if you’re not 100% motivated, the company is being unfair to you or some situation is de-motivating you, just do what you do really well. Because when you do a great job, there’s fulfillment. And that opens doors to make the changes you want.
Try to do the best job you can whatever you are doing, cause that’s the best ticket out of there.”
I really appreciate this advice because I actually got it myself from early on. Modesty and patience are really important at the beginning of the career. Complaining and panicking after a few months rarely leads to a good outcome. I think Rodrigo’s advice is a very nice way of saying “suck it up” and I agree. Yes, we should always ask for our rights and we should always stand up for ourselves. But all that while making sure we’re putting the same energy into doing the job right.
At the end of the day, it’s a job, not an ivory tower
CMOs get asked a lot of things. They usually talk about industry trends, about company campaigns, about strategy, vision, etc. They rarely get asked about their day-to-day. What do they actually do?
“There is this perception that somebody like me gets a red carpet waiting for them when they get into the office.
There’s a bit of that, of course, but in the end, it’s a job. There are challenges, business objectives, and regions to drive. My role is to lead a team, inspire people, take out the roadblocks, take care of people, and make sure that they are set up for success.
So it doesn’t feel like I’m sitting on an ivory tower, the world is happening around, and I’m this special creature.
It’s not the case. What I love about my job is that it’s super diversified. That’s probably the biggest difference from when early in one’s career. I can have a planning meeting, move into a complex pricing discussion, then approve a collection of clothing, and then I move into a discussion with a business partner.
It’s very diverse but at the end of the day, it’s a job. You have a mission, an objective, and you work with people. That doesn’t change.”
Told you, Rodrigo is modest and he loves to keep things authentic. I really appreciate professionals like him who share genuine advice and don’t Facetune reality. After all, social media takes care of that for all of us so we don’t need to add to the pile.
That’s it. No more spoilers. Time to listen for it yourself. Go to Spotify and start listening.