Euan Brown is the Head of Digital and Content at Virgin Red, where his mission is to bring the Virgin companies closer together through a new rewards programme that is built on learning from customer feedback.

Euan is perhaps the guest with the most varied career experience we’ve had on the Shiny New Object podcast, having worked with brands such as Coca-Cola, Disney, Mars, and now Virgin. Throughout his career, he was always versatile and open, following a plan of action that he would now advise any new starter in the industry: do your research, take any opportunity you can get, and get involved at all levels in an organisation.

Euan’s openness to trying new things and using his skills in as many ways as possible in his career has actually made him suspicious of shiny new objects. His view is that, just because something is new and exciting, it doesn’t mean it will necessarily serve your business.

One of his own career examples of this is that he was an advocate for Coca Cola (where he was working at the time) to be among the first big brands to join Google+ when it launched, while his boss at the time was sceptical.

Of course, today, we know that this social platform no longer exists. This is why something new isn’t necessarily the next great thing and Euan’s advice is to “Be selective and get the basics right first.” Once your brand is using all the right channels, then a shiny new object can be a next step, but “Just because it exists, it doesn’t mean you should use it.”

Despite his scepticism of using all-new techniques too eagerly, Euan does have a Shiny New Object: operating in marketing with a start-up mindset.

He defines a start-up mindset as one where brands adopt a nimble attitude to testing, learning, optimising and innovating, all the while accepting that the majority of start-ups fail. Some great examples of companies with a start-up mindset are Amazon and Instagram, both using customer data and feedback to adapt and change their style and offering in a very fluid way.

Even more so today because of the Covid-19 pandemic, brands are forced to adapt and really think about what the customer wants and how they can pivot with the times.

However, Euan accepts that success stories like Amazon and Instagram are data driven and it might not be obvious to non-data brands how to emulate them. And yet, collecting data is key to targeting customers correctly, so his view is that all businesses must find a way to do it.

From QR codes on packaging to loyalty programmes, there are many ways to accumulate customer feedback, and once they have it, brands should pivot to answer this feedback.

Euan is using the start-up mindset in his work at Virgin to create a new and improved loyalty programme for the brand that functions across the various Virgin companies, based on customers’ feedback. You can follow him on LinkedIn to find out more.

Tom Ollerton is the Founder of Automated Creative. Subscribe to the ‘Shiny New Object’ Podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotifyYouTube and Soundcloud.