Year in Review 2023: Diane Clark

Each year, StopPress asks a group of talented professionals in the local industry for their reflections on the year that was. This year, we speak to individuals who made their mark on 2023 and brought us truly impactful work.

Diane Clark is Head of Marketing & CX for Four Square, and was a finalist for Marketer of the Year at the 2023 TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards for her role in reinventing the iconic brand. She shares her thoughts on 2023, and what we can look forward to in 2024.

If 2023 were a brand, what would its slogan be?

2023, the hangover.

This has been a year of emerging from a fog of interrupted life – especially post Covid.  And it’s come with a grogging intensity that has impacted all NZs – increasing costs, disconnection of communities and people, and a full list of jobs to be done across so many things. Momentum is slow moving – hopefully 2024 sees the hangover subside and pressures come off so we can move forward with clearer heads and a re-establish our connection and humanity.

How would you sum up your professional year in three words?

Growth, connection, and momentum.

A personal achievement I’m most proud of in 2023 is…

Being finalist for the Marketer of the Year at the 2023 TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards. Reflecting on the impact I’d had on the transformation of the Four Square brand and being acknowledged for what I’d achieved across my career really made me feel super stoked and proud.

What was the best innovation/launch/invention of 2023?

It was the word on the street from the Ritson in November – “synthetic data”. This innovative use of generative AI shifts a buzz word into a tangible tool for marketers to enrich insights and learnings across business of every size.

From a media perspective, what were the biggest lessons brands learnt this year?

The work from Dr Karen Nelson-Field around attention metrics is a lean in moment for many in the industry this year – while intuitive, having the research and focus on how we capture customers attention based on the jobs to do is critical.  Media’s a massive part of our budgets so making sure that’s not going to waste and putting our efforts into creativity fit for purpose so we can grab those multitasking, shallow living humans and say “attention please”.

Getting data into the hands of those who can use it will is also a bigun.  Unlocking opportunities across media to ensure everyone across the organisation can use and integrate across all media – from in store with optimised CX to broadcast media.

I will remember 2023 as the year…

I got Four Square back onto the airwaves after 18 plus years!

The humble cell phone. I use it every day to make life work for me. I’m a mum of three, work full time and have many things on the go – the cell phone is my tech lifeline to stay connected, keep flexible, keep me learning with podcasts and audiobooks and the important music playlists to keep me energised.

Who inspired you in 2023 and why?

This year I attended The Marketing Associations Advanced Marketing Leadership course.  I was lucky to meet a great group of like-minded peers who inspired me to think differently, inspired me to be braver and know that the future of marketing is in blimmin’ capable hands.

What are you most looking forward to in 2024?

2024 is Four Square’s year to push a little more – keep our flywheel turning. We’re still only 2 years into our brand transformation and we’ve got some exciting things coming up – including turning 100!

Quick fire 10:

Most impactful local campaign of 2023:

Correct the internet – https://www.correcttheinternet.com/

Most underrated international campaign of the year:

Consistency done well – ASB and PAK’nSAVE are great examples.

A campaign I wish I worked on:

Tina from Turners – I’m a fan – great strategic insight, creative work that is fun and outside category norms to get noticed and reposition Turners effectively.

A news event that didn’t get the attention it deserved:

Most listened to artist of 2023:

Fontaines D.C., Courtney Barnett and closer to home, The Beths.

A 2023 trend you’re ready to bid farewell to:

Mentioning AI in every meeting.

Most innovative use of social media in a campaign this year:

Samsung Flipvertising – changing the way younger consumers engaged with a campaign using social and influencers to influence digital targeting.

Most bingeable TV series of 2023:

Welcome to Wrexham was a family favourite in my house.

Best piece of advice you’ve been given:

Step out of the race and find your own lane to win in.

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