Spencer Gordon & Draftline Innovation Process

HOW DRAFTLINE IS DRIVING INNOVATION

Spencer Gordon is the Senior VP of Digital at Anheuser-Busch, he’s been with AB his entire career. He even launched Draftline to switch up their marketing process. Draftline is an in-house creative agency that is full service with over 77 people across 42 brands.

Josh and Spencer talk about the changing digital marketing process, where Draftline fits into that and how marketing is evolving to be more iterative, agile and nimble.

Innovation is new solutions to an ever-changing environment – 00:52
What is Draftline? What problem is it solving? – 01:15
What does the marketing process look like for brands like Budweiser & Michelob Ultra? – 05:30
Using data to better understand the customer – 11:25
Marketing Personalization and localization – 13:54
How to evolve your team to be more agile and iterative – 16:21
How the AB innovation process has changed – 17:57
Innovation Hotseat– Spencer answers some more personal questions – 20:53
The most fascinating thing in innovation right now – 27:28
Ask more questions and other key takeaways – 28:47

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Josh Barker  [00:08]  Well, today I’ve got with me, Spencer Gordon. He’s a senior digital director at Anheuser Busch and Spencer if you wouldn’t mind telling a little bit about yourself.

Spencer Gordon  [00:21] Yeah, so my name is Spencer Gordon. I’m originally from the Greater Chicago area, went to school at Wash U in St. Louis. And from there I started working for Anheuser Busch. So, I’ve been at Anheuser Busch ever since I was in school. I kind of bounced around different roles after starting with the company and one of our rotational programs and have since progressed through the marketing department. And I now lead the digital team and our in house creative team, Draftline.

JB  [00:44]  Awesome. Well, we always start with this question. So Spencer, what is innovation to you?

SG  [00:52]  Innovation, to me, is basically how companies can come with new solutions that can appeal to an ever-changing environment? So for me, it’s basically taking something, reinventing it in a way that’s keeping up with consumer culture or pushing, basically consumer culture in a new direction.

JB  [01:11]  Sure, sure. And you’re doing that through Draftline, right?

SG  [01:15]  Yeah. So Draftline is basically our company’s reaction to a changing climate. Right? I think for the first time, what you’re seeing is companies are spending more and more in digital marketing. Consumers are spending more time in new mediums, a lot of those mediums people are paying not to view ads. And I think as a company, you know, we’re a traditional advertiser, right? I think in the past, we ran a lot of TV commercials, we ran a lot of traditional campaigns. And what we were seeing was that we did a lot of our own analytics and a lot of our own in house media buying. But, we were outsourcing all of our creative. I think that there are amazing creative agencies that exist in the world.

There were a lot of things that we thought that we could do quickly. We connected the media and the analytics better to our creative. So launching Draftline, what we were able to do is have a full 360-degree picture of the entire marketing process. That’s allowed us now to free up bandwidth for our existing agencies, allowing them to focus on more of their specialties. Do a little bit what of they’re better at. It’s helped us facilitate best practice sharing across all different partners. We’re able to provide insights and analytics and strategy, even to our existing agencies, as well as our own internal teams. We can really connect the dots to the marketing process.

We’re able to see something all the way from a concept to execution. Judging how things are working or if it’s not working. W can make and fine-tuning that creative, and push it out to then have a better final product. We’re totally changing the ways of working from our traditional ways to be much more nimble and always on.

JB  [02:47]  It seems like there are some pretty big advantages, especially when you’re internalizing anything, I mean, you just kind of let me know when we were initially talking that it seems like when you first come into Anheuser Busch they want to show you a lot of different areas of how the business works and have an internal digital creative agency really know the insides and outs so deeply of Anheuser Busch seems like a pretty strategic advantage.

SG  [03:16]  Yeah, I think for me, it’s less about how we’re dealing with all agencies, right. It’s more about how we’re upskilling our own internal people. The climate of marketing has changed in a big way. People are now spending more time on the phone, they’re spending more time on their computer. Our dollars from a production immediate standpoint are very much moving that way.

I think what you’re seeing in the industry is it’s such a new space for a lot of brands to get into. There hasn’t been that much understanding. So Draftline has been an amazing vehicle for us to help bring in new creative talent to the company. Bringing more tech-savvy and digital people to the company that can help train our existing workforce internally to populate with the existing marketing department and kind of upscale some of the technical things that we haven’t had just because it hasn’t been our bread and butter in the past.

I think alongside that what we’ve been able to do is really, since we are an internal team, it does help to know some of the intricacies of the companies and the ways of working that we can share with both our internal and external stakeholders. So we’re able to kind of connect the dots and say, You know what, this is working really well. This is what the brand needs. This is what isn’t working well. How do we go and kind of apply those best practices to an area that needs development and really help everyone move that that better direction overall?

JB [04:34]  Now, help me understand a little bit so Draftline is that a separate department is a separate like corporate entity that’s wholly owned by Anheuser Busch, like how from a structure standpoint, like what is Draftline?

SG  [04:46]  Yes. So Draftline, it’s an internal agency. So basically it reports into the marketing function. It’s part of the company. It’s part of the overall connections group within our marketing team. So I myself lead the Draftline team as well as the Anheuser Busch digital team. My boss oversees sponsorship digital, which includes Draftline Media and experiential marketing.

JB  [05:08]  Gotcha. Okay. And how long has Draftline been around for? 

SG  [05:13]  We launched in May of 2018. So a little bit over a year.

JB  [05:17]  Okay. And how many people are in Draftline right now?

SG  [05:22]  We have 62 [at publication, 77] people that work within the Draftline team.

JB  [05:25]  Oh, nice. Awesome. that’s grown quite a bit. That’s a lot of stuff.

SG  [05:30]  It has, it’s growing very quickly. I think, you know, the world has changed fast. Once you know, we kind of evaluated there was a need, we were kind of testing and iterating. Figuring out that it doesn’t make sense for us to bring in creative talents to the company. We piloted one brand and that brand was Michelob Ultra last summer. I think we were able to quickly learn that we can do creative well if you’re connecting it to strategy, insights, analytics and digital media. We can make things that were performing well and do it fast because we know the business pretty well. We’re all sitting in the same building. So there’s like this communication. That’s a lot of very easy communication that’s happening between us and the brand team. After showing some initial success on one brand, we could build a case and replicate across the entire portfolio. So today, our 62 person team is operating across all the different brands within Anheuser-Busch in the US. We’re operating each one in a slightly different way.

JB  [06:26]  Yeah, there’s a lot I mean, 42, you said 42 brands.

SG  [06:30]  There are 42 different brands in the Anheuser-Busch portfolio, but they’re grouped under then some parent brands, right? So there’s Bud Light but then within Bud Light, there’s Bud Light Lime, Bud Light Orange, Bud Light Platinum. Within Michelob Ultra: there’s Michelob Ultra, there’s Global Ultra Pure Gold, Michelob Ultra Amber. Three different products that sit within that. But in total, the creative work that we’re doing is around 42 brands.

JB  [06:52]  That’s a lot of work and no wonder there are quite a few people in Draftline right now. Especially when I mean I think you had mentioned scaling to more personalized and localized marketin, right? So that’s a lot. Can you give some examples of how you guys are doing that with different brands of personalizing, like locally?

SG  [07:11]  Yeah, absolutely. So I think I mean, in the past, marketers had to send one message out to many people, right? When you do a traditional TV broadcast, you might have a message that’s going one to 10 million people, right? You own one spot, it might be 30 seconds or 15 seconds. You’re running the same thing over and over and all different channels.

I think with the power of digital marketing, what you’re seeing is a fragmentation of consumer’s time and attention. There are more and more platforms and places where consumers are really spending their time and consuming different media channels.

The way that our brand shows up, it used to be a one to many message. Now we’re able to take that message and make it more personal and make it more local. So I’ll give an example with something like Bud Lights NFL campaign. In the past, we would run NFL TV creative towards the general audience during NFL broadcast games. Now what we’re doing is we’re cutting that content. We’re making it where it’s featuring each of the local teams that we sponsor in each market.

Depending on the type of fan you are, you’re going to see different content that is more likely to resonate with you. More likely to resonate with the fan group that we have. Therefore, we’re able to translate one key message and make it more personal. So that’s just one example of what we do in a larger brand. But we’re really doing that channel by channel, app by app, platform by platform. The specs that you see on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and YouTube and Snapchat are going to be slightly different.

With the different targeting that we’re able to do, we can appeal to all different demographics and locations. And really, that has allowed us to take messaging huge brands, and make them relevant at the local level. Make them relevant to the individual consumer. This helps us move the needle because, at the end of the day, people want brands that mean something to them. Sometimes it takes a bit more explanation or a slightly different message.

JB  [09:04]  Can you give a tangible example of a specific brand you have and how that appeals differently across the board?

SG  [09:12]  Sure I think like we’ll look at a traditional brand like Budweiser. I think historically, people think of Budweiser as being in All-American, domestic beer. Something that’s one for many people, and that’s definitely the core heritage of the brand. But when you look at Budweiser, Budweiser itself has a few different audiences that we have to appeal to. We have, you know, an older demographic that’s used to drinking Budweiser. They think of traditional American heritage. You think of farming, you think of baseball, you think of burgers. All those things are amazing for the brand, the bread, and butter of why the brand exists.

At the same time, you know, Millennials have a different value system. There are different things that they might think of or be passionate about, that we’re able to appeal to. So for example, an older consumer of Budweiser is very, very interested in the MLB and in baseball. Whereas a young consumer might be a lot more interested in the NBA and basketball. And I think for us by taking the same brand, we’re actually able to have different messaging, what we would do with a baseball audience and what we’re able to do with an NBA audience.

If we were to double click into that, you would say, hey, in the NBA, there are different types of markets that exist, right? You might have a market in LA that is a lot more Hispanic, much more bicultural, in terms of the language preference, in terms of the background of people, how they think, how they act, what they wear, etc, versus, you know, something that you might see in Oklahoma City, right? Which might be a bit more Caucasian, slightly older.

What we’re able to do with the brand and say, Hey, we can take a key message that we have overall and make it relevant to that individual person in a city that they have, make it relevant to the demographic that we’re appealing to, whether it’s the MLB or the NBA. And all of a sudden you take a brand that’s known for America, America, and American heritage, and we’re able to make it more relevant still building on the corporate Brand DNA, but to a consumer that we’re trying to win over as a group.

JB  [11:04]  That makes a lot of sense. Yeah. And there must be, I mean, my mind goes to there must be a tremendous amount of data as well you guys deal with data intelligence and big data for even sifting through understanding how to localize certain commercials and certain apps. Is that right?

SG  [11:25]  I think the most important thing that all marketing departments in all companies need to have in today’s day and age is a direct relationship with their customer. Right? And that, to me is the difference between companies that are winning and losing today. And so for us, the way that we think about that is really through data, right? Data, meaning people, meaning knowing more about the audience that we’re trying to appeal to, and really putting people first at the core of our business. So what we’re looking through is all the different metrics that we have across the board, who people are, where they’re from, what they’re interested in, what kind of motivates them?

From there, we’re able to then try and translate that down to creative that we’re able to use to appeal to those people. I think for me, that’s been the number-one success of Draftline overall, is that we’re basically looking at saying, “Okay, what are ways that we are segmenting groups and different audiences, customizing the message, using the right brand to develop creative ideas, and then scaling that cross the portfolio?” And to me, that’s, that’s the one thing that we can do internally, that we probably can’t do externally is have that direct relationship with the customers.

What we can do and what we often do is share that with our existing agencies because we always want to know who our customer is, it’s not something that we’d ever want to outsource. But we can give that to our best partners. And they’re able to take that and translate that into action and different creative messaging for different channels or different brands.

For me, that has been the number one initiative that I think we’ve really been focusing on the last couple years is saying, how do we have a more direct relationship? How do we understand more about our consumers so that we can tailor our product, tailor our messaging to win them over, over time? And I think the biggest thing for us is we’re not starving for data. What we’re doing is we’re starving for insights, how do we look at big data and then translate that down to tangible examples or tangible things that we’re able to act on quickly?

JB  [13:17]  Yeah. Oh, yeah. There’s, I mean, everyone I’ve talked to they’re data-heavy, but information poor. And that’s what you’re talking about, how can we take the data, the massive amount of data but have insights from it to say, “Hmm, these are the things that people want without them actually telling us” based on these trends?

SG [13:35]  Exactly. Yeah.

JB  [13:37]  Yeah. Very interesting. So where, you know,  are you guys doing rapid testing with your broad audiences as well with different ad sets and different projects where you’re just testing out different markets as well to get some of that data to better understand?

SG  [13:54]  Absolutely. So in the past, you know, you would run one piece of creative and you would kind of set it and forget it. And you would see what happened just because again, that’s very much TV, that’s very much radio, you make a few different assets. Now what we’re doing is everything we’re doing is testing and iterating, right? You launch a bunch of different things you’re seeing, okay, here’s all the different segments, you’ve created your different messages, it’s kind of like a stock portfolio, you’re seeing, hey, this one’s delivering X amount of return. This one’s getting better clicks, better shares, or view through and this one’s not so we’re pausing investment, and moving investment to the higher-performing content.

We’re also looking at the creative, making iterations, fine-tuning the edits. Over time, what we’re able to do is take a wide basket of messages and ads that we’re running, narrow them based on what’s working, what’s not working, promote the ones that are working better. Then the ones that aren’t performing better we go back and fix and find out what’s driving the bad performance, how do we improve it, and over time, we’re building on those best practices and we’ve been able to watch all of our digital metrics kind of tick up over time because it’s something that we’re constantly learning and constantly evolving.

Basically what we’re doing is we’re sharing those best practices across the portfolio saying, Hey, we target X consumer, this is what’s working really well if you target Y consumer, you should consider doing this. And I think just by willing the willingness to test and learn and to iterate, we’ve been able to much more specifically hone in on things that work well.

JB  [15:21]  Oh, I’d imagine. I mean, you’re basically speaking customer development process and lean startup. So I mean, you guys are sounds like are moving very, very rapidly.

SG  [15:31]:  I think that’s been a big adjustment on the team and saying, hey, how do we shift the mindset of a traditional marketer and make it much more nimble, make it much more agile, be willing to test and learn and iterate what you’re doing. And rather than having a TV commercial, that goes to digital, taking digital content, that you’re able to dark post and test with different audiences and then scale it to TV. So really using this as the tip of the spear for how we develop content and how we kind of shift the marketing mentality into the future.

JB  [15:59]  That’s awesome. So in Draftline, do you guys have that culture to where is that part of like training where your customer discovery, customer development or lean startup? Or is that something you look for, as you hire people to add in your staff that they already have that knowledge of, hey, we’re, here’s how we’re doing things rapidly, experimenting. Moving quick?

SG  [16:21]  I think it’s definitely a combination of two, I think, as a company, we have been looking to bring in more talent that understand data, that understand digital mediums, that understand creative, which is why Draftline was born, right, because I think it’s something that we’ve needed, and that’s going to help us kind of be the change agent for the future of marketing. And I think at the same time, then as we’ve built-in specialists, we’ve also been changing our processes.

Over the last year, we’ve been kind of testing and learning with creative. Testing and learning with our org chart. And testing and learning with the ways that we work. Testing and learning with how we approach each day. We’ve moved our tools into a much more agile methodology. We have daily stand-ups, we’re talking about “Hey, What are the key priorities for the day?” How is this going to move the needle? What things can fall off our plate? What needs to be prioritized? And over time, we’ve really shifted to now that we have the right skillset and the right people in place really shifted to this more agile methodology, right, that we’re trying to put the consumer first, we’re always trying to test and iterate and refine what we’re doing.

JB  [17:21]  It seems like a shift from, you know, I worked at a large company, and it seems like a lot of large companies are very risk-averse. It seems like embracing risk or making the risks smaller, but and then faster, small ones, right? Like, hey, here’s what we’re going to treat these as experiments. And we’re going to run all these tests and we’re going to test all these things, get enough data, then once we get positive data on one of them, let’s put more money and resources into you know, betting on one that has higher return we saw on a smaller scale.

SG  [17:57]  That’s exactly correct. And I think that’s been the big shift the company in the past, even with our innovation process, which is run out of what we call our Apollo 11 team. We used to have a process where we would bet big behind one or two things throughout the year, and it’d be a big bet. And there was a good chance of success, but also a good chance of failure.

Now we’re moving towards [it’s much more like almost like a little venture capital fund] where we basically have a lot smaller brands, hyper-localized, that we’re learning at a zip code level. We’re scaling to a state level, we’re then bringing nationally and kind of a much more process-driven test and learn and iterate type methodology. And what we’ve been able to see and I think, to the point that you’re making is, we’re taking strategic bets, right? We’re not taking high profile, high risk, high return type mentality.

We’re taking small bets that we can place, see if we can have some success, and then scale very quickly to what can become a very big and strategic bet for the company. And I think what we’re seeing in our innovation process is very much how we’re iterating the rest of our marketing team as well, where we’re looking, you know, to shift the way that we approach digital content in digital media.

My team is a direct reflection of what the broader company is doing, which is basically saying, hey, the landscape is changing quickly, we need to change our ways of working to keep up the culture to lead the future growth of what’s happening in the alcohol vertical. And then from there change the products that we’re offering to make sure that they’re resonating with consumers, kill the things that don’t make sense, scale the things that are working well, that we could bring nationally, and then, therefore, you know, grow our top line overall company,

JB  [19:34]  By the way, Apollo 11 is a pretty sweet innovation group name.

SG  [19:38]  Yeah, I love that as well, too. It’s definitely something that builds on, you know, some heritage and nostalgia, but I think is very clear in the vision, which is like, hey, if you take someone you give them a task, and you give them the right tools and training, there’s no doubt in their mind that they can take things to the next level and really, you know, and not to be cliche, but take it out of this world.

JB  [19:58]  Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. Awesome. And sounds like you had you guys at Draftline are doing some really amazing things.

SG  [20:06]  Yeah, I think for me, it’s not just Draftline. I think Anheuser Busch, in general, is really trying to change the trajectory of what we’re doing. And I think we’ve been very strategic. And it’s taken something all the way from the top-down of this new mentality of, hey, we’re going to lead the future growth of the category. So what do we need to do? What walls do we need to break down? What processes do we need to change to help us get there? And to me, Draftline has been one of the agents that have helped us do that, right? Because we now have the tools in the marketplace via digital that can help you test and learn quickly that can help you get closer to your consumer, that can help you personalize your message that can really change the game for a very large company. They can take a large company and make it feel local and make it feel small. And to me that’s been the success of my team is that we’re able to kind of connect the dots and really help the company to that end goal.

JB  [20:53]  Yeah, that’s awesome. Well, we’re going to take a quick break and we’re going to go into a segment called Innovation Hot Seat. So this is new. And I’d love to basically we’re going to ask you four to six questions rapid-fire, and hoping you can give me some answers to them. They’re not that hard. 

SG  [21:13]  Okay. All right. Sounds great.

JB  [21:14]  These are a little bit more on a personal level. So what podcast do you subscribe to?

SG  [21:19]  How I Built This with Guy Raz

JB  [21:20]  Oh, that’s a good one. Yes.

SG  [21:24]  I listen to a lot of podcasts. I try and totally change the ways of thinking for me everything from business to religion to political news to innovation. I like them all and every single day is a different show.

JB  [21:37]  Oh, yeah. What was the favorite episode out of that?

SG  [21:41]  Of how I built this? 

JB  [21:42]  Yeah, how I built this?

SG  [21:44]  Um, my favorite one was I honestly, I love the episode about Spanx with Sara Blakely. It is a fascinating category I didn’t know much about, an entrepreneur I didn’t know much about. Very cool to see that, you know, a great idea can go fast quickly if you have the right insight. And I think that’s what she really honed in on saying, hey, like, you know, she knew the consumer better than anyone else. So simple product innovation is a multi-billion dollar brand today.

JB  [22:13]  Hmm, that’s awesome. All right, one person, you would invite to dinner.

SG  [22:17]  I’d really like to invite Jeff Bezos to dinner. I think he’d be a really interesting guy to talk to just amazing innovations and such a vision for the business and the way he’s been changing the landscape would love to pick his brain about his future plans.

JB [22:30]  Oh, yeah. He’s, he’s, Amazon has their fingers in everything right now. And it’s really fascinating to see.

SG  [22:38]  Yeah, I think I think for me, you know, it’s such a powerful brand. And they offer so many different services and brands and different things and but what I’ve been most impressed with is their ability to, again, think about what does the consumer want and how they’re able to deliver it across all different platforms and vehicles. Just really interesting to have the foresight that he started with books but he just built out the whole distribution strategy and the infrastructure that can now handle all these different verticals. And he’s disrupting every single industry kind of one by one. To me, a very inspirational guy.

JB  [23:10]  Oh, yeah. I mean, it’s interesting at, you know, City Innovation Labs, that is one of the number one conversations we have across all of the industries we work in is talking about Amazon, how it’s disrupting their market. Very, very interesting. So, all right, one thing you’d bring with you on a desert island, and it can’t be a person.

SG  [23:33]  Could it be a satellite phone?

JB  [23:37]  A satellite phone, hey, we’ll roll with that 

SG  [23:40]  Something to get me off that island. 

JB  [23:45]  Oh, man, are you an introvert or are you extrovert like do you get recharged being alone or with people? 

SG  [23:51]   Very much an extrovert 

JB  [23:54]   Okay, so then that phone is completely necessary. You’d go insane.

SG  [23:58]  Exactly. Yeah.

JB  [23:59]  Yeah. Make sense. All right. What about the last book you read?

SG  [24:03]  The last book I read was A Gentleman in Moscow [by Amor Towles]

JB  [24:06]  Okay, I haven’t read that one

SG [24:09]  Yeah it’s great it’s about this guy who’s, he’s basically in house arrest in a hotel in Moscow right around the start of the Russian Revolution so very, very interesting fiction book. But definitely one I really liked reading. 

JB  [24:23]  Okay, now are you a fiction reader nonfiction or combination?

SG  [24:27]  To be honest you mostly nonfiction so that was a one-off, definitely why it stuck out in my mind.

JB  [24:32]  Yeah, that what I was wondering I was like, man, I’m more of a nonfiction reader, like, you know, innovation, leadership, startup, you know, that sort of thing that and then my wife is the very, very much the fiction fan. So it’s good to have a mix though. 

SG  [24:47]  I typically like to read nonfiction and more historical fiction. I’m so sorry, sorry, more historical nonfiction. So things that have happened in the past that you can learn from. For me, the few ones that I feel that I’ve liked the most typically are within, you know, world history or, you know, like I just read Alexander Hamilton the book that inspired the play. I read a lot about Bad Blood, the story about their Theranos and like the whole company, just different things that have happened that you can then take lessons and learn from.

JB  [25:20]  Yeah, those are solid. Those are solid. I like those two. All right, a favorite place you’ve traveled and why?

SG  [25:27]  I would say Australia. To me, just such a beautiful country, so many nice, fun people, lots of different activities that you can go and do. And, you know, on the other side of the world, so something that is, you know, just very foreign and very distant from what I experience day-to-day.

JB  [25:45]  Nice. Nice. All right, the first thing you do in the morning,

SG  [25:50]  The first thing I do in the morning is I check my email, probably not very healthy and then I can get into my morning routine.

JB  [25:58]  Do and then a follow-up question is, do you do it from bed on your phone?

SG  [26:04]  Absolutely. I grab my phone and I start scrolling through my email.

JB  [26:12]  And the last one, so what do you do to unwind?

SG  [26:16]  I love to go to the movies and kind of just zone out and watch a movie and I also love to go outdoors and, and play golf. Those things to me are the most relaxing things that I would choose to do.

JB  [26:28]  Nice. Nice. And what about the movies? What’s the favorite movie? So like, so far this year?

SG  [26:35]  So far this year? 

JB  [26:38]  Or of all time, if that’s easier?

SG  [26:40]  Yeah, my, my favorite movie of all time. I’m thinking, there are so many good ones. I would have to say it’s probably Saving Private Ryan. I love that movie.

JB  [26:49]  That’s a good one. It’s a classic. I mean, how many years ago was that?

SG  [26:51]  Yeah, I don’t know. 15 maybe 10 or 15 years ago, but a great movie, something that always makes you appreciate you know, the country in those who have sacrificed for it.

JB  [27:02]  Oh, yeah, for sure. Cool. Well, that’s the whole interview. So that’s you’re out of the hot seat now. So I just thought, we like to throw in a little bit of a mix of a fun questionnaire and to get to know you a little bit better. And then I guess one last one. So innovation, what is the most interesting thing in the facet of innovation for you? What’s the most fascinating thing right now?

SG  [27:28]  I think the most fascinating thing is just how quickly the world is changing, I think, to me, consumers and technology are moving so fast, right? The everyday norms that happened, you know, 10, 15, 30, 50 years ago had completely been overhauled. I think to me, what you’re seeing are companies that are willing to change the ways of working, that are willing to get closer to consumers, have not got stuck in the past and be complacent are the ones that are most successful. Innovation isn’t just something that is, you know, it’s not a phase, it’s not a fad.

It’s something that’s here to say because the only thing that you can do to stay relevant in the changing environment. And so to me, I feel like it’s the vehicle to survive, you know, for a company survive for individuals to survive, in an ever-changing and more complex world.

JB  [28:19]  That’s good. Yeah, I totally agree. And I said, I know I said, that was the last thing. So one key takeaway or learning you would bestow upon someone else through your experience, your life experience, what would you say that would be in terms of innovation or in terms of building something new, or what we’ve talked about what learning would you say that would be?

SG  [28:47]  So for me, the biggest learning that I have is just learning how to ask the right questions. Right? I think that the experience I have even started Sraftline the first digital agency that we’ve had internally at Anheuser Busch has been, I know that I am not the biggest expert on any specific topic compared to all the people that exist in the world. There are so many people that are so talented and have such great skill sets. But for me, I think the one reason I, you know, we’ve been able to be successful and I’ve been able to be successful is because I’ve just been able to ask 1000 questions, and then take the information and things that I’ve learned from other people and apply it and simplify it to a specific, you know, pass or project. And so for me, I think if I got thrown in anywhere, I feel comfortable that I could just kind of ask questions and try and get my way out of it.

The willingness to kind of just be humble, to trust other people that are around you to make sure that you do your due diligence and ask the things that will help you clarify and make something simple and tangible to understand would be the best advice I can give anyone.

JB  [29:51]  That’s some solid advice and finding out the right question to ask oftentimes goes down, you got to find the core why of things, so It’s it’s good. Asking the right questions is super important. Totally agree with that. Awesome. Well, thanks for your time, Spencer. 

SG  [30:12]  Yeah I’m hoping this was helpful, you never know how things are gonna turn out but I always hope I was able to hit on some of the points that you guys are looking for and I appreciate guys having me on.

JB  [30:20]  Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, you certainly did. It was a great Ask An Innovator, so I really appreciate your time. 

Transcript edited for clarity.
All ideas and opinions are Spencer’s own and do not necessarily express the views or opinions of his employer.

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