10 Questions with... Dean Gray

At Graymatter Limited we know that people can make or break a company. Here, two of the things we are proud of are the talent of our staff and their great personalities!

Over the next few weeks we will be introducing you to some of the people who drive Graymatter Limited and they will be sharing their thoughts on the Marketing industry today.

So this week we'd like to introduce you to Dean Gray, our Founder and Managing Director!

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1. What was your first job?

I took a job at Wickes (the building merchants) to fund myself through college. I became an expert in building material – but my D.I.Y. skills didn’t improve. I worked with a number of creative agencies throughout the 80’s before setting up Graymatter in 1995. The rest, they say, is history.

2. If you weren’t working in this industry what would you be doing instead?

A struggling novelist or a struggling film maker. So thank god I’ve made it work!

3. What gets you out of bed in the morning?

To be the best we can be as an agency.

4. What are you most proud of?

We have recently won some great accounts with market-leading brands, going up against the best agencies in the business. I’ve always admired the iconic agencies that have made the UK a centre-of-excellence for creativity, so when you win business based on your quality of thinking from such great company you know you’ve delivered your best. However, I’m most proud of the culture we have built here at Graymatter and the fact that so many talented individuals have made it their home.

5. What has been your biggest career regret?

Don’t have one. Fail, but fail fast and move on. Too many people dwell on mistakes rather than learnings. And I have ‘many’ learnings.

@GraymatterLtd: Fail, but fail fast and move on. Too many people dwell on mistakes rather than learnings.

6. If you had to give one piece of advice to someone who has just started out in the industry, what would it be?

Be intuitive, ask questions and collaborate – no single person has all the answers and your own career progression will be fuelled by learning from the talent around you.

@GraymatterLtd: People who are just starting their careers should be intuitive, ask questions and collaborate

7. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Marketers today?

Finding the most appropriate mix of content, channels and activities to engage and influence customers whilst at the same time demonstrating marketing ROI. To pioneer, you need to be able to fail!

@GraymatterLtd: To pioneer, you need to be able to fail!

8. What recent work has struck a chord with you this year and why?

In the digital space I admire the work that the GOV.UK have done off the back of Martha Lane Fox’s “Digital by Default” report. The design effectiveness speaks volumes and has not only transformed digital delivery for the UK government, but also informed design principles adopted by many other organisations. Design effectiveness at its best. In the design space it’s has been the street artist KAWS who’s influencing commercial design (packaging, footwear and album covers) through his unique style and approach – I love it when unexpected collaborations between artists and commercial entities deliver unexpected results. From an innovation point of view I was impressed by Virgin Holidays TV ad that took live feeds (…yes, that’s live feeds) from all over the world to showcase holidays. A first, and very, very brave idea.

9. Tell us one thing someone would NOT be able to find out about you from looking at your Social Media profiles.

I used to make wicker baskets. Before anyone asks, I’ve retired and don’t take on commissions.

10. If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take any three people with you, who would they be?

A boat builder, a navigator and my Mum (she’s formidable)!


Dean Gray | Founder and Managing Director | 19th September 2016