Introducing Hugh Fletcher, Digital Business Consultant
We caught up with Hugh Fletcher, our new Digital Business Consultant at Salmon, a Wunderman Commerce Company, and discussed his past experience at Audi, his insights into digitisation and what he is looking forward to most working at Salmon…
So Hugh, welcome! Tell us a bit about yourself, what were you up to before you joined Salmon?
Well, I was at Volkswagen Group for about 11 years since joining on their Graduate Training Scheme in 2004. Over that time I had a number of roles across marketing and digital. About six years ago I became Audi’s digital marketing director. I led the development of Audi’s web, mobile and social sites as well as content production and strategy. In the final few years of my time at Audi, my focus was primarily digital business transformation, and looking at what the future of digital holds for automotive manufacturers.
Very cool! So what is your new role at Salmon?
I have joined the team to work as a digital business consultant under Neil Stewart our CEO, with the main aim of bringing a Client-side view to how we help our Clients. Namely, this is about understanding Client-side culture, pressures, strategic requirements and communications. This understanding will help Salmon to develop better strategies for our Clients, to advise them on organisational change brought about by digital, and to consult more appropriately on digital ecommerce innovations.
How did you join the company?
Well having been at Audi, I was actually a client of Salmon’s for many years, working with Salmon as a strategic digital partner.
In fact, it was me and my team that recruited Salmon into the strategic digital partner role at Audi. I was most impressed by how Salmon fused technological expertise, with creativity, and with straight talking. The world of digital has changed the agency landscape, and we were tired of “full service” agencies who promised that they could do everything. Audi needed an agency that had pedigree in delivering and running complicated and business critical sites. Where better to go than a specialist ecommerce agency. And who does that better than Salmon?
So after 11 years at Volkswagen Group, it was time for a change, and time to join Salmon – to experience other companies, industries and cultures and to see what life was like from the other side of the agency / Client divide. Working at Salmon now gives me the opportunity to work with many brands, and to help them to develop their strategies and innovations for different markets.
Is there anything that you’re especially looking forward to?
The best agency people who I worked with over my years on the Client-side merged together their creativity with an ability to quickly and deeply understand the business and its commercial pressures. From a personal level I also like developing people. I’m hoping that I can help to develop the next generation of Salmon employees, using my Client experience, to make them the best agency partners that a Client could hope for. This has to be done with strong and inspirational people management - and team members need to be provided with the tools to inspire strategic but fun and creative ideas, teams need the opportunity to expand their experiences and careers, and need to be given the opportunity to be excited about the awesome work they’re doing. The result of all this should be a Client impressed with the results and the development of a mutually beneficial and long-lasting relationship.
What will be your main focus at Salmon?
My main focus at Salmon will be helping Clients through digital transformation. This will involve assessing their current business and strategies, formulating new “digital ready” visions and aims, and helping businesses change organisationally to achieve these.
What would be your top tip for retailers or brands undertaking digital transformation?
My top tip for digital transformation is stakeholder engagement. I know that sounds pretty obvious, but digital transformation has to involve the whole business. As one of my former bosses quite rightly said “Digital is a horizontal, not a vertical”. In other words, it needs to work right across the business. Businesses don’t get changed if people don’t feel part of the process. Therefore engaging with, and creating excitement about digital change is the key to making it actually happen. This requires strategies to be properly planned, properly branded and launched, and properly governed once they are underway.
What has been your favourite thing so far since joining the company?
My favourite thing since joining the company has been the spirit of togetherness within Salmon. There is a real feeling that Salmon and its people are right at the heart of the digital revolution and that the help that we are giving our Clients is shaping their commercial future. That makes it a really exciting place to be. It’s one thing to talk about digital revolution, but it’s something else entirely to be leading and shaping the digital revolution – and that’s what we’re doing here at Salmon.