Managing Partner, Insight, Data Solutions & Marketing at UM London
Michael started his career as a marketing graduate at American Express. After receiving his vocation to work in market research, he worked at two of the sector’s most innovative businesses, Research Now and MESH Experience. For the last seven years, he has been working in media research for global media agency, UM.
Michael has extensive consumer research experience and has led studies for many brands including Fitbit, Johnson & Johnson, ITV, Spotify and The Economist. He prides himself on delivering a deep level of human insight, always with a focus on actionable recommendations.
Michael has recently taken on the leadership of UM’s Data Solutions division, harnessing the agency’s best-in-class audience data stack, and client data, to deliver effective campaigns.
Michael has a particular passion for using traditional research methods to give a platform to marginalised voices in society and for understanding the role and responsibility of ads in creating and tackling stereotypes. He was named in the IPA’s inaugural iList of industry equality advocates.
Michael sits on the IPA’s Talent Leadership Group and is founder and chair of #MRSpride, the market research sector’s LGBTQ+ network.
What are your reasons for becoming a TLG member?
The IPA is the best positioned body to drive change, with its unique vantage point across the ad industry, and its important model connecting agencies together and driving education and best practices. The TLG transcends competitive conventions, and we each sit at the table sharing frank perspectives and experiences, so we can learn together from aggregated perspectives, and identify the issues and initiatives that need to be prioritised.
Why are you passionate about diversity and inclusion?
As I suspect is the case with many others who care about equality, I lived for many years in a way that hid my identities. My queerness, for example, was once a source of intense shame in my life. Thankfully, I have come to appreciate that my queerness is not a weakness, but rather a strength. I'm passionate about D&I because I believe strongly that our various identities, some of which can carry shame, can each be reframed as strengths, and that there should be space for each of them to be spoken about publicly. I also believe that agencies and businesses should support people, whatever their identities, background and circumstances. D&I work is at the heart of that cultural change.