The Fishbowl: Ed Couchman, Snap
The Media Leader’s interview series asks the media industry’s top salespeople 10 revealing questions, drawn from our fishbowl. The questions will be drawn at random and contain some tricky posers set by the commercial chiefs themselves.
This week is Ed Couchman, UK general manager at Snap.
Ed Couchman leads Snapchat’s UK team and first joined the company in 2018.
Prior to that he spent more than six years working at Facebook going from UK sales manager to director of agency partnerships, as well as working in commercial roles at Channel 4.
What are clients most excited about right now?
I think it’s a tough time for many businesses right now and clients are navigating more challenges than usual thanks to external factors — inflation, supply chain, talent shortages and the cost of living crisis.
As ever though, in these tougher times, optimism does still find a way to shine through and I’m definitely seeing it around the World Cup. Less than 21 days to go, and brands have some truly exciting and creative plans ahead for Snapchatters. We’re seeing Augmented Reality at the heart of many campaigns, bringing fans closer to the action.
Describe three qualities that make a brilliant salesperson.
- Someone that provides value to their clients and partners.
- Someone that is people-centric and invests time to build their network.
- Very simply, just being a kind person — this quality alone can make all the difference.
**Peer question** If you could work with any other media owner on a collaborative campaign for an advertiser, who would it be and why?
If I had a time machine, I would love to go back to 1960 and take the iconic “Think Small” print ad by Volkswagen and reimage it for the digital age, particularly in Augmented Reality. The most important takeaway from the campaign: don’t try to sell your company, product, or service as something it’s not. Consumers recognise and appreciate honesty. That’s as true today as it was in 1960.
Question from Emma Callaghan, Reach sales and invention director.
What was your first paid job and why did you do it?
I was head of hygiene operations (aka. washing up!) at the Pickwick Arms in Birmingham. I really needed the £3.10 per hour in 1992 to help me pursue my music dreams of touring with my musical side hustle, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin. I was promoted to the dessert station, but sadly I didn’t tour with the Neds. Joking aside — this job taught me hard work, resilience and how to get along with people.
**Peer question** In 2022, what job in the industry do you least envy and why?
We’re all living and working through a period of great uncertainty and instability. That is a challenge for the whole industry, but it’s also a time of great opportunity. We know that difficult operating conditions accelerate innovation and for everyone I think that’s an exciting, career defining prospect to grab, even though times can feel tough at the moment.
Question from Craig Tuck, chief revenue officer at Ozone.
Which deal in your career are you proudest of?
It would be my very first one (it got me started after all). I still remember it vividly. 250,000 banners (468 x 60) for £15 cost per thousand (CPT) for Homebase on the website Scoot (it used to have a valuation of £2.5bn). Keyword targeted, which was quite cutting edge at the time.
How did you end up working in the media?
Completely by accident. I started out in investment banking, where my working-class background made me standout and I didn’t fit in. I knew it wasn’t for me. I found a real sense of belonging in the media and have never looked back.
What one thing would you change when dealing with media agencies?
I’m a huge admirer of media agencies, they are incredibly innovative and entrepreneurial businesses. Looking at the current set of quarterly earnings demonstrates this. Sometimes though, especially as businesses and teams grow, they can become complex organisations and it can be challenging to navigate great ideas through the various teams and departments.
How often are you in the office in a typical week?
I’ve established a pretty standard three/two pattern. Three days in the office with my team and clients, Monday and Friday at home.
I’m reminded of what my first ever boss told me: “Ed, it’s a contact sport, go and make contact”.
Despite everything the world has been through over the last couple of years with the pandemic, this still rings very true for me. Remote working is brilliant but there’s still a huge place for in person collaboration — and having a bit of both is the ideal mix.
Who’s your best friend in the industry?
It has to be my boss Claire Valoti. We’ve worked together at Snapchat for over four-and-a-half years and before that for a couple of years together at Facebook. We have a real understanding and a clear shorthand for working together. A friendship, at its core, where we have many values in common.