MarComm’s Star Parade is a series where we shine the spotlight on some of the global stars from the Marketing and Communications industry, and Karen Boswell certainly fits that bill.
Karen, is a master at helping brands and organisations evolve their marketing from both a strategic and implementation perspective. In her 15 plus years in the industry, she has worked with the likes of Virgin, Waitrose, M&S, Nissan and Beiersdorf.
But don’t take our word for it! We’ll let the ‘Agent of Change’ do the talking for herself…
Q) Give us a brief insight into your career so far? Including your current job!
A) I studied Graphic Design and what was then classed as ‘New Media’ at uni, as soon as I graduated I realized nearly everything I’d learned was already out of date so I taught myself to code HTML, CSS and then JS, by today’s standards pretty simple stuff and moved to web design and build.
From there I realized I had a knack for what’s now known today as ‘User Experience’ but got fed up being told to make the logo bigger and use up all the white space so moved to a client services role in order to get closer to the strategic thinking. That worked and I raced up the ladder into stat based roles, all the while I has a lust for all things new, challenging, techy and innovative, which was fine-tuned during my years spent at AKQA. From there I was head hunted to join adamandeveDDB where I now head up the injection of ‘new things’ into everything we do.
Q) What according to you is the strongest tool in your skill set?
A) Being able to see the pieces of the puzzle come together for today, next year and beyond. I don’t have a crystal ball or anything but I seem to have an uncanny knack of envisioning how people, processes and products will come together.
Q) What is your favourite piece of work that you have created?
A) I loved the ‘Live from the Farm’ campaign we did for Waitrose last Spring, such a brilliantly simple idea to demonstrate the quality behind the brand rather than just say it, executed in a truly innovative way.
I led the tech dev across the project working with the creative team to live stream from Waitrose’ Leckford farm into TV, outdoor and online, tricky but hugely successful.
Q) What is your favourite piece of work you wish you had done?
A) Hmmmm tough, I loved ‘Field Trip to Mars’ for Lockheed Martin, I know the guys over at Framestore who made this happen and it was nothing short of incredible, but I’m going to throw in ‘The Face of the City’ from Benetton as well. Whilst I love getting my hands on making really cool stuff that challenges everything, I also think effectiveness is equally important and this campaign raised the bar on so many levels.
Q) How would you summarise the industry as it is today?
A) Changing, challenging and increasingly intelligent.
Q) Who (if anyone) has been the greatest influence in your career?
A) I live by two beliefs from two brilliant guys;
‘If you can dream it, you can do it.’ Walt Disney – I grew up watching Disney most rainy days and still watch them over and over today, I’ll probably never grow up!
‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.’ Arthur C Clarke – This is a standard I set myself across everything I do.
Q) What would you change about the industry, if you could?
A) Old timers past their prime stopping young, fresh and diverse talent getting into the industry because they know these guys know more than they do.
Q) Tell us something that people wouldn’t necessarily know about you?
A) I write and create children’s stories and experiences and am now working on a new VR series with my creative partner… watch this space!
Q) Where would you ideally like to be in your career in the next 5-years?
A) Collecting a Queen’s Innovation Award.