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Madfest Insights: ‘Our experience of the pandemic and 2007 recession will help us ride the storm’ says Gary Neville

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The former Manchester United and England player says that the lessons he learned in his playing career have played a major part in his business career. He drew on his relationships with figures such as Roy Keane and Sir Alex Ferguson and the way they preached both excellence and consistency.

Neville, who now owns six businesses including The Overlap, hotels and a university opened MAD//Fest 2023 and talked about how the lessons learned over a fifteen-year career such as resilience and consistency are key to helping businesses thrive through the current tough environment. When asked if good business is better business, Neville’s answer was a person-focused one. “People are the most important part of life and business”, he said, “everyone in my business should know what’s going on.” “You can find absolute diamonds within your business who can tell your story better than you”.

Looking back at the pandemic and 2007 recession, Neville spoke about how these events not only forced businesses to stop but also to reconsider; to reflect, adapt and innovate.” The advantage of these experiences being fresh is that we can continue with this growth and innovation mindset.”

Neville also went on to talk about the importance of authenticity. He argued that whilst consistency and repetition are important when creating a brand, quality always has to be prioritised. He encourages the students at his university to build their own platforms and more importantly, their own identities, arguing that businesses are reliant on the people and the culture.

Neville talked about how short-form content production has been key to his marketing and could be key to football by suggesting that games should feature 60 minutes of actual play

NDA is the official media partner of MAD//Fest 2023


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