10 minutes with Paddy Power's Managing Director, Victor Corcoran


By Graham Wall |

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Paddy Power is not afraid of a little controversy.

A mischievous, energetic and disruptive brand, they’ve created many of the UK’s most memorable marketing campaigns of the past decade.

Since joining as Managing Director late last year, Victor Corcoran’s analytical skills and extensive experience have helped Paddy Power create ‘Save Our Shirt’, one of their most explosive and courageous campaigns yet.

Continue reading to discover more about Victor’s career, his perspective on the industry and the importance data plays in allowing Paddy Power to truly stand out…

Vic

Let’s start at the beginning. Tell us about yourself and your career leading up to this point?

Well, I won’t claim that there has been any grand plan to my career. I studied as an engineer and so come from a strong analytical background, where it’s key to understand the metrics that drive the business.

What’s stayed consistent in all my jobs – from my eight years at Digicel to my role at Paddy Power – is that I love working for data-centric businesses.

Was there anyone who impacted you as a leader? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you?

I’ve had the pleasure of working for a number of great leaders over the years.

Dennis O’Brien at Digicel is arguably the most successful businessman in Ireland. Entrepreneurially-minded, he has the courage to invest and make quick decisions to drive business forward.           

Another is Ray Nolan. He has significant experience in the tech space and was the founder of Hostel World and Chairman of SkyScanner. He taught me how important it is for digital businesses to obsess about every pixel on the screen as well as the product experience from a customer viewpoint. I see huge similarities between his approach and that of Paddy Power’s when it comes to being customer obsessed.

What are the differences between working for a start-up and a mature international business?

Probably the biggest advantage of working for a mature business is your ability to work with very smart people at the top of their game. Having said that, bigger businesses by nature tend to be slower because there is more at stake.

But Paddy Power is one of the few exceptions to this rule. The main driver behind brand, in spite of its growth, has been its ability to stay reactive, relevant and maintain a speed of pace that would make Usain Bolt blush.

Despite several mergers and impressive growth, Paddy Power has retained its sense of mischief/playfulness. How do you ensure the brand stays true to its values and personality?

We have a strong brand team who are empowered: we don't have layers of sign-off for activity as we have a very clear idea of what we stand for. As long as the campaign is consistent with those guidelines, we allow the marketing team to do their own thing.

As the Managing Director of Paddy Power, what's the most challenging aspect of your job?

The UK is a very big market – cutting through all the noise is an ongoing challenge.

Focus groups are a main form of data for us. Getting in front of customers and listening – really taking the time to understand how our customers think and what matters to them – has shaped our strategy now and will continue to do so going forward.

What do you hope to accomplish within the next few years at Paddy Power?

While I’m fortunate enough to be associated with a strong brand, I also think we can do more with our product – specifically a focus on personalisation and giving our customers a simpler, more relevant user-journey.

Quick Fire Questions

1) What 3 words (best) describe youEnergetic, impatient and hopefully fun! It’s an irreverent brand and we need an irreverent office!

2) Best character traits for the workplaceReally understanding your customer, humility to learn from others and curiosity too.

3) The best piece of business advice I’ve ever received isMy first job out of college I was working as a civil engineer at Heathrow. I used to arrive just before 8am and a boss called me aside and pointed out that as a new engineer, straight out of college, I should be there at 7am learning about the industry. So, if you want to be successful, you don’t just do what you are asked to do, you have to do more. 

4) Favourite sports teamWell, I’m Irish so I love Hurling, but when I lived in London I used to go and watch Chelsea play and there were some incredible team players there at the time.

5) Best way to find space to think at workI try to walk to work and run a few days a week to switch off and clear my head.