10 Minutes With Edwin Mutton
Continuing our quarterly interviews with the movers and shakers in the promotions industry. Called 10 minutes with these features offer a snapshot of the chosen persons career in the promotional sector and their thoughts on the industry. We will also feature just one little thing about them that their colleagues in the promotions world would be surprised to hear!
Edwin Mutton has spent nearly 30 years in the sales promotion and sponsorship environment. For most of this time, he worked for Kimberly-Clark in the UK, managing its trade promotions, community and sponsorship programmes. He also monitored and audited its sales promotion activity on leading brands such as Andrex, Kleenex and Huggies.
During the course of this work, Edwin was involved in many award-winning projects including two Institute of Sales Promotion Grand Prix Awards, 10 matched-funding Arts Sponsorships and an Arts & Business Award for Community Sponsorship. He was responsible for fund-raising activity with, among others, the RNLI, NSPCC, Childrens Hospices and St John Ambulance and in sponsorship activity of sporting events and schools music.
For the past six years, Edwin has been Director-General of the ISP, the trade association representing agencies, promoters and service partners involved in the business of promoting sales. He is due to retire as Director-General at the end of September but will continue to work with the ISP.
In addition to his current role, he lectures on sponsorship, is a member of the Arts & Business Mentoring Board and teaches basic skills in HM Prisons. He is married with three children and six grandchildren who occupy most of his spare time.
Q. How did you get into the industry?
A. After a career in selling, I was fascinated by the techniques used to promote sales and asked to join the sales promotions department of my then employer, Kimberley-Clark. This was in 1985. Beginning as Trades Promotions Manager responsible for our activities in specific retailers, I progressed to Sales Promotions Manager overseeing brand activity on such brands as Kleenex and Andrex.
Q. How did you progress to be Director-General of the ISP?
A. I was elected to the board of the ISP in 1990 and when the Director-General vacancy occurred in 2001, I was asked to fill it temporarily until a replacement was found. Im still here!
Q. Whats your typical office day?
A. A typical day begins with a review of incoming mail. This may include consumer queries, invitations to events and detailed questions about legal issues. I may then go into a meeting to discuss a current issue such as coupon misredemption or the ISP Awards. Often I will go to visit a member, or have a visit from a supplier.
Q. What kind of events do you go to?
A. Industry events include AGMs, award ceremonies and exhibitions. The Debating Group holds several debates each year at the House of Commons and these are not only informative but good fun and useful for networking.
Q. What has changed about the industry since you joined?
A. The most obvious change since 1980 is the growth of technology: the web and mobile phones. This has revolutionised targeted marketing. Another change has been the demise of the sales promotion manager in promoter companies with responsibility for sales promotion being devolved to brand manager. This in my opinion has been a mixed blessing.
Q. What changes would you like to see?
A. Promotional marketing is in a constantly moving mode. Perhaps one change I would like to see is a return to the dedicated in-house sales promotion manager. This would solve many of the problems I see daily coming across my desk.
Q. What do you like most about the industry?
A. I like the satisfaction and pleasure that good promotional marketing gives to the consumer. It makes the whole shopping experience more interesting and colourful.
Q. What do you dislike most about the industry?
A. My chief dislike is that creativity produces egotistic tendencies. Why cant people just be themselves?
Q. If you werent in the industry, what would you be doing?
A. If I wasnt in this industry I would almost certainly have gone into the legal profession.
Q. Who do you respect most in the public eye?
A. It would have to be the Queen. Other than her, Iain Paisley has had the courage for his convictions for over 40 years. You may not agree with him, but at least hes been consistent.
Q. What do you like to do to relax?
A. I find it difficult to relax! But I adore being with my six grandchildren, and I find researching family history very restful.
Q. Tell me something that nobody in the industry knows?
A. Most people dont know that I was a champion country dancer at school, was caned several times, was born during an air-raid, and my mother was born in St Petersburg during the Russian Revolution.
Interview by Carole Bull,
If theres someone in the promotions industry you think we should put in the spotlight or a subject youd like to air, then email email@example.com with your ideas.