Ever Wondered about Gareth Helm, Global CMO, HomeServe
We hear from Gareth this month, one of the UK's most experienced and respected marketers.
Gareth has been in marketing for thirty years and currently is the Global CMO for HomeServe. This is his third CMO role after being CMO at McDonalds UK&I and also ZPG, the parent company of Zoopla, uSwitch and Money.co.uk. His career can be split into three chunks, firstly with major blue chip companies like Nestle, Mars and Unilever, then a more entrepreneurial phase with the start-ups Innocent Drinks, Bear Snacks and Tails.com, and finally ecommerce digital business of MoneySuperMarket and Zoopla. Two of career highlights include MoneySuperMarket’s Epic Strut which was the UKs most loved ad (and hated) and in 2018 the sale of both ZPG to Silverlake and Tails to Nestle. At HomeServe Gareth works around the world with CMOs and brands including HomeServe, Checkatrade and Habitissimo and elocal. He’s married, has three kids and a dog, who have been his rock as he’s progressed in marketing and life in general.
What does your morning routine look like?
Every morning starts with 30mins on the cross trainer watching a series on Netflix. Currently I’m watching Prison Break. This could be 6am or 7am depending on where I am that day.
What food outlet are you most looking forward to visiting when you’re back in the office?
We’ll I’m already going to the office and I’m enjoying treating myself with a Maccers every week. After working at McD’s I can’t get the Egg McMuffin out of the system.
What does an average working day have in store for you?
My role is global and every day I am connecting through video conference to someone in another country. This is to stay in touch and support key projects in multiple countries. This takes roughly half my day which allows me enough time to do the key work I also need to do. Given I can’t fly internationally I am trying to get to our UK offices and see people here as much as I can. So my days could be London, Walsall, Portsmouth or home.
What is the most random thing on your WFH desk?
A yoga mat.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Genuinely the people. I know this sounds a little crass, but the people I have met across the HomeServe businesses are all people you want to go for a beer with. There are no airs and graces, just decent hard working people who want to get stuck in.
Who was your last email from?
Internal comms as we plan an exciting virtual event for senior leaders.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
One which has paid dividend many times is being generous with your times with others. It has an uncanny way of always coming back and rewarding you. Just like Tails, where I knew James Davidson from my time at Innocent and helping him informally at the concept stage meant I became an NED and three great years before culminating in the sale to Nestle.
And the best piece of advice since Covid hit that’s helped with your sanity?
Stay connected and keep talking. It’s so easy to closet yourself behind email, but we are all emotional animals and need real contact. This may be VC, text, voice, face to face. Some people work better in some ways vs others, so find what works but keep connecting.
What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?
A doctor but no idea why, as I’ve a long-term phobia of blood and especially needles.
What’s your current favourite campaign and why?
I’m going to say one of mine because the Epic Strut at MoneySuperMarket was a gamble that paid off. It was the ad where my job was on the line and sometimes you’ve got to put your neck out.
Marketing predictions for the next year?
Covid has forced us all to use video conference and connect differently. The new normal is talking with anyone, anywhere, at any time, super easy. So why stay with UK consultants, agencies or even employ people in the UK? I think we’ll start in particular to see agency briefs shift from local to specialist individuals recruiting teams globally.
And a light hearted one to finish on – If you could have any super power?
I’d love to be able to time travel and find that bloody bat…or at least get the government to plan better. Covid is the first mega trauma our generation has faced and wouldn’t it be nice to turn back time. It also sadly took my mum recently. Grrr.
A note from Oystercatchers: our thoughts are with Gareth at this time.