Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Helen Aboagye, Chief Marketing Officer at Imagen Ltd. who is an accomplished brand and communications professional. With more than 20 years of experience in marketing across IT and fintech companies, Helen brings deep expertise and knowledge to deliver tangible business results. With a passion for brand engagement and communications, Helen combines sharp thinking with creativity and executional excellence. Helen’s professional experience combined with her deep understanding of and perspective on the marketing industry propel her as a thought leader across a variety of industry trends and topics.
At Imagen, Helen is responsible for evolving the Imagen brand, corporate communications and demand generation programs. She also leads Imagen’s global go-to-market strategy. As a communications professional and leader, Helen excels in brand strategy and development, brand management, marketing strategies, agency management and guides her teams to deliver the best results.
Prior to her role at Imagen, Helen has held various marketing and brand management positions at companies such as The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, Colt Technology Services, Corporate Edge and Currencycloud.
Helen received her bachelor’s degree with honors in European business & German from Nottingham Trent University in Nottingham, England. She currently resides in the United Kingdom.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Helen! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Thanks for interviewing me! I knew early on — from the time I was about 15 or 16 — that I wanted to be in marketing. I grew up in England and, while in 6th form, I took a business course that included a marketing element that picked up on my creative strengths. I then went on to study European Business at University and was able to select elements of my course that aligned with my passion for marketing. This is when I fell in love with marketing and knew I’d end up in the field.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
Since starting at the company, I’ve had the opportunity to work on some great projects to elevate Imagen’s brand, which is promoting the company as the leading video management platform solution for sports federations, media and enterprises. One of the first projects I oversaw was launching Imagen’s new brand and accompanying website, which has been extremely rewarding. As a marketer coming into an organization, one of the first things you look at is the clarity of a message, story and value proposition. Imagen’s rebranding was an opportunity cut through twenty years of messaging to bring greater clarity to our proposition, enabling us to better distinguish ourselves from our competitors and create a real sense of purpose to what we do.
Since starting at Imagen, I had a realization as to why I ended up at this company. In a previous role, I worked for eight years in brand intel and corporate communications, but I often found myself being pulled into other projects that were totally out of my remit. I was told by a colleague that I have a knack of often bringing order to a chaotic situation. This personality trait aligns perfectly with what Imagen does. Content is often chaotic and badly disorganized, particularly in the enterprise market. Imagen’s platform brings order to the content chaos and cuts through many of the issues experienced when trying to store, manage and distribute content efficiently and securely.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
One of the first lessons I learned came from not a mistake, but an unconscious choice. Since I entered the marketing field, I’ve nearly always worked in B2B marketing, but for the first five-eight years of my career, I wanted to be in B2C marketing. It always seemed cooler and more interesting. Now, though, you could offer me a job at a B2C company, and I wouldn’t take it. In my experience, B2B marketing gives you the opportunity to be creative, clever and do fascinating things that pan out in campaigns that can’t be done in the B2C space. So, although I wanted to be in the B2C space at the beginning of my career, I’m happy that my career path has taken me down the B2B road.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
There are several things that make Imagen stand out. First and foremost, our team is comprised of smart, engaged and talented people that are experts in our field, which is the feedback we hear time and again from our clients. The technology behind our video management platform is superior compared to other options on the market — it can handle complex content. Handling video (and particularly broadcast quality video and formats) is very different than images and text files, and our platform handles the management and distribution of these files with ease, alleviating a lot of friction for our clients.
Lastly, our client list boasts a few enviable names for a company of our size. This really helps set us apart and gain trust from other organizations and prospective customers.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
From a marketing perspective, there are a myriad of campaigns on which we’re currently working. At any given time, we’re handling six or seven projects, making them strong and robust enough to stand on their own, while ensuring they are different from one another and engage various audiences in different ways. We look to see how tech can bring life to the content that we’re trying to help clients store, manage and distribute.
We recently completed two big projects: the brand and website launches. With those behind us, we’re now focused on executing on the brand messaging and bringing it to life both inside and outside of the organization. Internally, we want to make sure that employees are living and breathing our brand messaging and living up to the promise we make for clients. From an external perspective, we want organizations to know that if they choose to work with us, they understand who they will be working with thanks to our clear messaging.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
I firmly believe that female leaders should never be afraid to speak up. As a woman we often have a softer skillset, that brings a different perspective to a room full of men. Business needs to hear this.
As a leader, I believe that you should never stop listening. Listen to what your team is saying and ask questions. I feel that by asking the right questions, leaders can learn so much. When leaders listen, they’ll find that they’re able to build better relationships with team members and with colleagues across departments in an organization.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
A piece of advice I was given by a previous boss of mine, that I have always taken with me is that a good leader/manager employs people better than them at the job they need those people to do. I firmly believe in this and always look to recruit real experts into my team that can wipe the floor with me when it comes to their specialist areas. My job as a leader as I see it, is to harness all of these specialists and make the whole ship sail in the same direction.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to have a few bosses who have taken me under their wings. In an early role, I had a boss who promoted me after several months on the job, because he recognized my potential. I had another boss who valued the diverse thinking I brought to the table as a woman, who would often seek out my opinion on matters totally unrelated to my role, because the company at the time didn’t have any woman in a senior leadership position. I also had the pleasure of working with a leadership coach named Alison Down who helped me address any career problems I was facing and helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses. She helped me find confidence as a leader, which has made all the difference for the teams I’ve led.