Our latest leadership spotlight features digital professional, Dane Stanley!
Dane has an extensive background across B2B and B2C, in sectors that include retail, financial services, and FMCG. His specialties include online marketing, online PR, website development, and social media among others. Some of the well-known brands Dane has worked with throughout his career to date include Travelex, The Co-operative Group and Missguided.
Dane joined the Digital Leaders Club to discuss his eventful career journey in digital, working in different locations across the world, being part of the first transactional website for Phones 4u, how his colleagues would describe him, and what it was like to rap with an ex-member of the So Solid Crew!
Why did you join the Digital Leaders Club?
It's so easy in our sector to get caught up in the day-to-day. There is always an opportunity to jump on or fire to put out. It's great to have access to a network of individuals who provide a sounding board (there is always someone to call on for a second opinion when it's needed...or who knows more than you and is willing to offer advice). And I must admit, the weekly round-up is always a good way of scanning for stories that I may have missed.
What's your career journey been like to date?
Eclectic is probably the best way to describe it. Retail, financial services, FX, Heinz to headstones (the Co-op Group!), and into eComm, with locations ranging from Newcastle Under Lyme to New York, Peterborough to Paris, and Salford to Sydney. I was lucky to catch on to the digital marketing and eCommerce thread pretty early in my career, launching the first transactional website for Phones 4u in the early 2000s, and that really gave me the trajectory I've followed since.
What is your current position?
I'm lucky enough to be the eCommerce Director for Sosandar, one of the fastest-growing female fashion brands in the UK
Have you had any interesting moments in your career so far?
Interesting tends to lean towards either being proud moments or embarrassing...I have plenty of both! Accidentally making a future Dragon's Den panelist cry, rapping with an ex-member of the So Solid Crew, getting trapped in Australia due to a Volcano in Iceland whilst my wife was heavily pregnant...the list goes on
Have you had any challenges in your career to date; and how did you overcome them?
It's the challenges that keep it fun? Prior to joining Sosandar, I spent 5 years working in the legal industry (not a natural habitat for a customer focussed marketeer). As you'd expect, trying to shift some of the perceptions of stakeholders in that sector and allow us to change the positioning, acquisition, and service delivery model was challenging. After all, most lawyers are great at what they do, incredibly knowledgeable, and have VERY strong opinions! The only way to get buy-in was to challenge their perceptions through evidence. Bringing in behavioral and attitudinal profiling, a user-centric design process, and a test-and-learn approach allowed our team to break down some of those long-held perceptions, and deliver a real step change in brand and marketing performance.
Tell us about your best success story
Some would say making it to my mid-40s...but I'm happy, and healthy, have a lovely family and I'm really enjoying my role at Sosandar, and have the opportunity to grow in all aspects of my life, so that's my best success.
What’s it been like transitioning to a hybrid setup over the past two years?
I enjoyed it. On a personal level, it enabled me to get a better balance in my life without sacrificing anything other than commuting time. I'm glad that there appears to be a trend toward hybrid rather than remote. I think one of the challenges with time out of 'the office' is it prevents some of the learning you pick up by proximity, especially for people starting out in their careers. Leaders can try and mitigate that by adapting their behavior, but there is something intangible about seeing what good, and bad, looks like. I've been very fortunate to experience both.
What's the coolest / most interesting trend you're excited about?
I'm really interested to see where AI goes, what it does to the marketing industry, how it shapes people's online behaviour and if really will be the technology that frees the working masses!
How would your colleagues describe you?
You'd need to ask them. I'd like to think it would be positive, but they'd probably just mention I like to be wined and dined and rarely turn down a bit of hospitality.
What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?
I'm a recently nearly retired triathlete, after racing in the World Championships last year as a career highlight. I'm not sure I have the motivation to train 15 to 20 hours a week now. So instead, I'm finally starting to make inroads to a horrendously high golf handicap!
What's your plan for the future?
In the immediate future, I see huge opportunities for the Sosandar brand. The team has created something really special and I consider myself very fortunate to be part of it. Longer term...see below
What would you be doing (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
Postman, 100%. In fact, it's what I want to do in the twilight of my working life (if they have posties in 20 years)!
Connect with Dane on LinkedIn