• Mash Strategy

10 questions for CEO Derek Robinson (OK, it's actually 13)

1. What do you do at Mash? Tell us why you’re awesome!

I help great people and organizations know what to say, how to say it, and where to say it to ensure they grow and make an impact.

The current media landscape is so complex, that many leaders just get confused. Should I be tweeting 10 times a day, should I be on the radio or billboards, or should I do nothing?!

Our team brings clarity. We help their teams unite under an easy to understand message, then find the most useful mediums to get attention for their messages.

I also help coordinate our growing team and recruit smarter people than me to produce much more beautiful things than I can.

2. What’s your favourite part about working with different clients?

Helping leaders find clarity around a message and then executing on a plan that reaches thousands and, sometimes, millions of people.

Derek addressing a group of young entrepreneurs in Regina

3. What’s the biggest misconception people have about what you do?

Effective digital billboard created by Mash

Some people think marketing is a bad or dangerous thing. Most people and companies don’t like putting themselves out there, and then criticize those that do.

That always bothers me because the best people and companies I know are very good at getting the right kinds of attention, while showcasing their best qualities, all without going overboard.

Intermission Question – Are the Leafs going to blow it again this year?

The visibly shrunken hopes of a Leafs fan

First, I reject the premise of the question. Second, they are going all the way to Lord Stanley.

4. What did you do before coming to Mash?

A palatial office at the Saskatchewan Legislature

I was the Chief of Digital Strategy for Premier Brad Wall from 2011 until his retirement in 2018.

Before that, I worked for the Saskatchewan Party as their Manager of Communications.

I’ve also worked for a website design company and the University of Saskatchewan.

My first “real job” was at a movie rental store in Swift Current called Boomers – remember those?

5. Who influenced you the most when it comes to how you work?

Reg celebrating a birthday in style (Photo credit: Wayne Mantyka)

It’s hard to pick, but I’d have to say Reg Downs, a well-known strategist in Saskatchewan who’s worked for several provincial leaders and premiers.

Reg is a master at branding and messaging in how to create a consistent message that changes minds. He would often say once we’re tired of saying the same thing over and over and over again, the average person would start to hear our message.

And he’s 12+ years of doing public relations and comms, once I’m sick of saying a message, the results start pouring in.

He also just has a clear mind and can put himself in the shoes of the average person easily, so he knows how to communicate with them.

Finally, he taught me the ABCs of communications. Always Be Comparing. Contrast is key in marketing or any type of communications.

6. What’s your go-to productivity trick? How do you really crush it?

Pro-tip: Don't do this

Done is better than perfect. Just put your head down and crush the project as quickly as possible and then tweak the language or visuals later.

Don’t overthink it. Get the project into the end zone.

Intermission Question – On a scale of 1-10, how handy do you consider yourself to be?

Should a Honda Civic be hauling wood like this?

4/10. My dad skills are improving but I lack patience in many home improvement projects and my wife Katrina is much better than me.

Especially with building things like IKEA furniture. I dislike those projects with a passion, as the allen wrench has defeated me many times.

7. Where are you from and where do you call home today?

The recently sold Robinson house in Regina

Swift Current, Saskatchewan – Where Life Makes Sense. Swift Current is a great city and a wonderful place to grow up.

My family is currently moving to Calgary from Regina to get a change and help more clients in Alberta while still coming back to Saskatchewan lots.

8. What is your favourite local place to visit or favourite local activity?

Watching the Riders at Mosaic Stadium...nothing else like it.

9. Your top three hobbies/interests?

Robinsons do Iceville at Mosaic Stadium

1. Helping my kids succeed at life and sports

2. Watching/playing hockey and building outdoor rinks

3. Political advocacy

10. Your favourite sports team(s) and why?

3 generations of disappointed fans

The Toronto Maples Leafs, who we established earlier, are winning the Stanley Cup this year.

Final closing Q – If you were a Star Wars character, who would you be, and why?

Yoda...powerful with the force he is...being small and green is a downside though.

But Yoda’s race also lives hundreds of years, which is a bonus.

Being a kid for decades is also appealing, like baby Yoda in the new hit series The Mandalorian on Disney+. It’s well worth a watch.

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