AAR launches Fightback podcast to showcase innovation stories from UK’s heritage brands

AAR, the management consultancy that helps brands establish and manage marketing partnerships, has launched its first podcast, Fightback, to showcase stories of innovation from the UK’s heritage brands.

Fightback is unique in its approach. In a world where the spotlight is often on entrepreneurs, startups and tech innovation from Silicon Valley, Fightback’s focus is on UK heritage brands facing disruption and how they’re fighting back. It’s a frank look at what it takes to transform and excel in a world of new competitors, legacy systems, siloed organisations and the watchful eye of the City. It’s real stories from the front lines.

Hosted by Robin Charney, AAR’s Director of Digital and Innovation, each episode of Fightback will feature an in-depth conversation with the people responsible for innovation at some of the UK’s best-loved brands. Each will discuss the disruption they’re facing in their industry, how they’re responding to that disruption and the lessons they’ve learned in the process. The first series of six podcasts will highlight innovation at Boots, NatWest, Sainsbury’s, GSK, Avios and Homeserve.

The series starts with From shopkeeper to customer keeper: willful disruption at Boots. In this episode, Robin interviews Rich Corbridge, Director of Innovation, and Dave Robinson, Head of Data and Personalisation, at the iconic healthcare, beauty and wellness retailer. The pair talk openly about the future of the business and its recent launch of in-store video GP consultation; their “willful disruption” approach to innovation; and the cultural changes they’re spearheading, including the introduction of “permission to fail”. They also talk about their work with the NHS; their approach to data and loyalty, and how they work with partners from Microsoft to startups to win their fightback.

Subsequent Fightback episodes will feature conversations with Jeremy Smith, Co-Head of Innovation, Commercial & Private Banking at NatWest; Rachel Eyre, Head of Future Brands at Sainsbury’s; Nick Tate, VP, Head of Next at GSK; Craig Foster, CEO of HomeServe Labs; and Steve Scott, Chief Digital Officer at Avios.

Robin Charney said: “With these podcasts I want to hear the stories of the unsung heroes who are innovating inside big heritage brands and. explore all their different ways of approaching corporate innovation. I also think it’s important to share the lessons they’d learned and foster a sense of community among people doing similar work. I think corporate innovation in heritage brands is one of the hardest jobs there is, so it’s really important that people doing it feel they’re not alone, that other people are grappling with the same issues, and that we can learn from each other.”

The first episode of Fightback is now available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify . Subsequent episodes will go live every Tuesday, until 26 November. Series 2 is scheduled for early 2020.