90 seconds with… Ange Morris, Ex. WWE and Manchester United

Ange Morris, Former WWE and Manchester United Marketing Leader

Insights from Ange Morris: Leadership Lessons and Future Trends in Marketing

Ange Morris, Former VP of International Marketing at WWE and Head of Consumer Marketing at Manchester United, joined Carlie Walker from tml Partners Sports and Entertainment team to offer candid insights into her career journey and leadership philosophy. Here’s what she had to say:

What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

Be yourself!

In the early stages of my career, the norm was to have a professional persona. Something I always struggled with and butted up against. I always bring my full self to work and encourage others to as well. Often that is how we learn and grow more, together, because of our differences, not in spite of them.

What has had the most influential impact on your leadership skills and why?

My previous manager, mentor and friend Catherine Newman has had the greatest impact on my leadership skills. Simon Sinek says: “It takes one person to believe in you for you to be able to achieve great things”.

Catherine has been a great believer and advocate of mine. I have learnt so much from her over the many years working together. Most of all, how the power of belief in someone can transform, not just performance but on many levels throughout your life with a ripple effect.

Catherine leads with empathy and kindness and has also truly been there when things hit the fan during pivotal life moments, including when my dad passed away after suffering dementia in Australia during the pandemic.

How leaders show up in these moments while also under immense commercial pressures and personal issues of their own is a testament to a true leader!

Catherine also nominated me for The Marketing Academy Scholarship program, which I completed in 2022. It was a life-changing experience!

What future trends do you think marketing and communications will see in your sector over the next five years?

AI is already here in many ways – helping us better understand fans globally, predicting consumer behaviour as well as delivering personalisation. However, I think we are just scratching the surface and AI will transform other areas such as planning and creation of brand and content assets in real-time, particularly in the fast-moving pace of sports, media and entertainment. I am optimistic that AI will free up marketers to be more creative and take the grunt work out of a lot of tasks, in support of enabling more meaningful fan engagement.

Also, with the shift of ‘digital marketing’ being the cool kid on the block, the understanding of long-term brand building and storytelling is being brought back to the fore. Going back to marketing fundamentals is having a much-needed resurgence thanks to advocates like Mark Ritson and courses like the Mini-MBA in Marketing.

What has fundamentally changed about your industry since you started working in it?

There has been an evolution in how fans enjoy sport as demographics, habits and preferences of sports fans has significantly changed. Fans want more entertainment and content than ever before!

Fans will go to social media platforms for instant updates and with the emergence of TV series like Drive to Survive, All or Nothing and Quarterback, fans are getting greater access of what goes on behind the scenes.

US sports organisations like the NFL and WWE offer secondary fan experiences at live events, which is a highly impactful way to have deeper and more meaningful engagement with fans.

In general, sports organisations do need to position themselves more as entertainment and media brands to compete for fan’s attention!

What do you consider to be the biggest challenges for marketing & comms leaders?

The biggest challenge is speaking a language the Chief Financial Officer understands and educating senior stakeholders on the benefits of marketing investment. It is much easier to demonstrate short-term marketing ROI vs long term brand building, however, you need to do both. Trust between the different stakeholders needs to be built to enable this to happen.

If you could go back 10 years, what career advice would you give yourself?

Worry less about what others think of you and what others are doing. You can only control how you show up and respond! Control the controllables!

Who are tml Partners?

tml Partners are commercial, marketing and communications recruitment specialists with access to a global network of marketing leaders. Our Sports & Entertainment support leading sports brands, governing bodies, agencies and rights holders to find the right senior talent.

To learn how tml Partners can help you or to take part in future content pieces, get in touch with Carlie Walker:

+44 (0) 203 908 4445
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