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What happens when you get a marketer at one of the world’s biggest beverage brands to trade places for the day with the founder of a two-year-old startup? The Drum and Fetch have decided to find out, launching a bold social experiment in the form of The CMO Swap.

In the spirit of pairing the old with the new we decided to swap a chief marketing officer from a brand with over 160 years heritage with the founder of a direct-to-consumer brand just two years into launch – enter Britvic’s global category director Ash Tailor and Tom Stancliffe founder of natural sports nutrition brand Tribe.

After Tailor had embedded himself into Tribe’s trendy London office, Stancliffe headed on down to Britvic's Hemel Hampsted HQ.

With zero TV-budget and a focus on putting the customer at the very heart of its marketing via digital and influencer campaigns, Tribe offers subscriptions to healthy bars and shakes. It also regularly brings together a community of everyday athletes through fitness classes and events. 

It’s roots are firmly planted in its 75,000-strong community, since that’s how the whole business began.

The London-based upstart opened its doors in 2015 after Stancliffe completed a 1,000 mile marathon across Eastern Europe as part of the Run for Love charity event, which inspired him to help athletic people come together; from there selling the nutrition to keep them fuelled became central to its offering.

While the entrepreneur is certainly no stranger to donning his running shoes, stepping into Tailor’s shoes for the day offered a different perspective and Stancliffe was struck by the parallels in the challenges faced by his own firm and Britvic, but also by the contrasts. 

Touching on how his own brand was very much focused on its culture and the community it was born out of, Stancliffe said experiencing a day in the life of another marketer had opened his eyes. 

“Everyone’s [in the office] has become a bit obsessed by Tribe, maybe there are benefits of seeing other brands, and sharing the learnings," he mused.

As Tailor would on a typical day in the office, Stancliffe joined Britvic and its global packaging agency Bloom for a debrief on some branding work the consultancy had just completed. 

He also met with the head of customer engagement for the Tango and Robinsons owner and paid a visit to its glitzy innovation lab where its research and development team are based.

Decked out in a white lab coat and seeing the process behind taking products like Fruit Shoot from conception to launch, Stancliffe’s visit to Britvic towers shone a spotlight on the potential perks of bringing innovation a little closer to home.

“When Tribe wants to do product development we have to go up to our facility in Sunderland or Wales, so it made me think to have the budget and to be able to do that would be amazing.”

He continued: “One of the challenges of working in a startup is that you’re having to create operations and structures from the start and develop new ways of doing things. What’s been amazing here is coming into a more established portfolio of brands and marketing structure, and seeing what that looks like. 

“Hopefully [we can] learn from those processes, so we can grow faster and be who we want to be.”

Sign up here to join Fetch as its upcoming Unwired breakfast event  on 31 October to get the behind-the-scenes scoop on what else happened when a Tailor and Stancliffe swapped places and what they took away from the experience.