Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Alistair Cansdale, Head of Digital EMEA at The Body Shop

Alistair Cansdale is Head of Digital EMEA at The Body Shop and has a digital career that stretches back to 2002. Alistair’s CV looks like a who’s who of search agencies including Spannerworks, Latitude, MEC Interaction,  I Spy, SiteVisibility and Harvest before joining Body Shop in 2017.

Who is your digital hero?

Nishma Robb, Director of Brand & Reputation Marketing, Google UK

What have they done to win hero status in your eyes?

From someone who started her career in classified ad sales, back in the 90’s moving swiftly on to Teletext where she climbed the ranks to become Managing Director only shows the pure determination to succeed. She then went on to work in online travel before she arrived at I Spy Marketing where she became my boss and mentor. She truly is an inspiring leader, I learnt so much from her and will always be truly grateful. Post the buy-out to Densu she then moved onto an amazing career at Google, I have watched her go from strength to strength, winning awards left right and centre, recently listed in the Campaign Power 100 2020.

How has their heroism helped drive digital?

Nishma is extremely passionate about what she does and believes in, she is a born leader and champion of equality in all its forms. She was recently the Chair of Women@Google a group that lobbies for equality in tech, been listed as one of the top 7 BAME execs in marketing and that’s just naming a few accolades, she has loads! She really has challenged the digital industry and continues to push for equality which is admirable.

What the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?

Every year brings new challenges to the industry. 2020 has been and I hate to use the term ‘unprecedented’, no one knew we were going to be faced with a global pandemic which would see the closure of retail stores around the globe.  A complete nightmare for any business who only operate with bricks and mortar.  A challenge for some retail businesses is being stuck in the past, being multichannel and not omnichannel. Those that still have siloed and isolated channels with no connection.

To survive you need to offer an omnichannel customer experience, consumers don’t just touch and try the products before buying. They learn about them online by searching, reading reviews and  digging into the content on the brands website.

A true omnichannel experience, involves a multi-channel approach to sales, customer care, and digital marketing. It requires providing a cohesive customer experience no matter which channel customers use to interact with your brand.

What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?

I don’t see that I have done anything heroic in my eyes, I’ve had a great career so far and with every company I have worked for, I have strived to do my best and to help them grow and succeed. From my client service days at I Spy Marketing going that extra mile for amazing clients through to driving digital growth with our Head Franchise partners at The Body Shop. It’s a long way from the day I Googled ‘What is PPC’ an hour before my first interview in digital marketing!