Jun 1, 2022
Introduction: Margaret Molloy is
the Global Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Business Development
for Siegel & Gale. Siegel and Gale is a brand, strategy, design and
experience firm headquartered in NYC. Siegel and Gale believe in
the power of simplicity and essentially believe Simple is
Podcast Episode Summary
This episode explores the Power of Marketing and the Power of
Inclusive Story telling for Organisations, Teams and Brands.
Margaret eloquently shares her wisdom leading teams, building
brands and the journey she has been on to break down and unlearn
some of the myths & biases she may have unwittingly absorbed from
her background and training. She also shares the values and
experiences that have shaped her and have grounded her ability to
be open, influential and inclusive. Her last story epitomises her
work and her ability to navigate the tensions across two countries,
two countries she loves and calls her home.
Points made over the episode
- Margaret grew up in County Offaly, Ireland on
a diary farm. She was the eldest of six siblings. She enjoyed
values of hard work, community, respect and dignity for others. She
studied Business & Spanish in Coleraine in Northern Ireland and
attributes that time as being formative, shaping her appreciation
for cultural differences.
- Enterprise Ireland sent her to NYC for her
first role with them and Margaret has never looked back. She loves
the energy and chaos of NYC. Margaret lives in the Middle of
Manhattan, NYC with her two teenage boys and her husband.
- As a lover of two countries USA and Ireland,
Margaret recognises that everyone has an identity and it can be
multidimensional. Sometimes we are too quick to label people and
put them in boxes. Margaret identifies equally as both American and
Irish and she use the image of Janus, the God of all
explain her thinking.
- Inclusive Story Telling is best explained in a
story. Margaret shares receiving feedback from a guest after a
Panel Interview she held in Boston, an event she thought went well
but to the writer failed to show case inclusivity. Margaret’s focus had been on
gender diversity but she learnt that she was exhibiting colour
blindness. The feedback she received turned out to be Margaret’s
inclusive awareness moment.
- Space for Reflection is an important
consideration. Every strength for example has its shadow. Good to
think about using time to reflect and to apply questions or
frameworks to get at learning. Important too to remember to upgrade
our mental models. Margaret has learnt from her own experiences to
be colour brave as opposed to colour blind.
- Curiosity and Judgement are two phenomena that
cannot co-exist. Margaret shares how she unlearnt the supposed
criticism that to be nosey was wrong. For Margaret one of the
greatest gift you can give someone is to ask a generous
- Simple is smart is a principle Siegel and Gale
adopt. Being a simplifier pays. The worlds smartest brands
understand the power of simplicity, whether that is through
visuals, plain language or their promised experience. Research has
shown that the customer will pay more for simplicity and will pay
brands with loyalty. The Capital markets reward brand simplicity
- Simplicity is the intersection of Clarity and
Surprise. Clarity in the use of plain language, easily understood
messages, smart visuals and the surprise component is the
antithesis of dull, that ahah moment when a customer appreciates
“this is exactly how I would have wanted it”
- Siegel and Gale search for simplifiers. The
beauty of simplifiers is that they know what to strip away and what
to leave behind, such that a customer is clear on a brands
intention and has a frictionless experience.
- Management is a privilege & a responsibility.
Siegel and Gale are extremely thoughtful about the entire employee
life cycle and how it carries through on its promises. Onboarding
for example comes with robust mentoring.
- Psychological Safety is an important construct
and Margaret pays attention to the culture she develops by
encouraging people to speak in draft form, have constructive input
and provide feedback. Margaret creates process, questions and
frameworks to encourage psychological safety.
- We cannot confuse Psychological safety with group hugs. Group
hugs are great and humane but Psychological safety is about
business, inspiring people is a precursor to profitability.
- Getting at Psychological Safety is a journey.
Many of us have been trained in ways that have encouraged command
and control and hierarchical structures. We have been taught to
value efficiency and much of the language used in corporate life is
- Homogenous teams are a recipe for blind spots,
especially for marketeers trying to communicate with audiences that
have not had the same experiences as us. Our mental models need to
adjust. We need to think in terms of our impact as well as the
outputs we are generating.
- Margaret shares how she cultivates
Psychological Safety on her teams. After a project is completed she
will ask what people liked and what they would wish for
differently. This thinking framework evokes less defensiveness. She
also uses affirmation with her team members-giving affirmation that
is sincere, succinct and specific. As humans we are starved of
- Criticism is an oft used tactic. Our
propensity to offer criticism is grounded in our quest for
efficiency. We want to fix things. The culprit is often time. We
need to prioritise ruthlessly.
- In marketing things are changing so rapidly, there are so many
new tools and processes for doing things. It is easy to get caught
up in shiny new objects as opposed to being curious about what
matters and impact.
- Simple rules for teams include; Preparing
rigorously, contributing wholeheartedly and safeguarding your own
- Important to mind your reputation and be
curious to understand what people say about you when you are not in
- Margaret shares a few more thoughts on Leadership &
Teams- consider the old practice of apprenticeships.
Margaret hires for attitude and builds for aptitude.
- Infuse Purpose, as leaders we can be quick to
tell people how and what to do but sometimes we neglect the why for
- The purpose for meetings is a topic that is
often overlooked. Consider the meetings purpose, manage the
context, type of meeting, how you dress the room and the theatre of
meetings. Consider the roles people have in meetings such as
facilitator, moderator, scribe, equal colleague etc…We should think
about meets as strategic devices not as something you have to show
up at. The Pre-read and Post-read should be considered as part of
- In closing Margaret shares a story, a story
that showcases the power of inclusive story telling. She shares how
her passion for fashion and aesthetics and her love of her two
countries served as an idea to create an event in 2019 to show case
10 Irish (unknown fashion designers) in NYC.
- How CMOs Commit Podcast with Margaret Molloy-
- Future of Branding CMO panel series
- Twitter: @margaretmolloy @siegelgale
- Instagram: wearingirish Margaret