Meet Diego Figueroa, Head of Brand Marketing with a remarkable track record of building, revitalizing, and transforming iconic brands. With a career spanning renowned agencies like Dieste Inc., FCB Chicago, Dentsu Creative, Leo Burnett, and Meta, Diego has honed his skills in crafting powerful brand narratives.
His contributions to global platforms include leading the strategic repositioning of brands like Coors Light, Wingstop, and Taco Bell, reshaping their identities for new generations.
Notably, Diego spearheaded the brand strategy, visual system, and architecture for Facebook’s “More Together” app, the world’s largest community platform. His innovative collaborations extend to unique content programs, such as the Levi’s + Discovery Channel integration, showcasing his creativity in bridging brands with entertainment.
Currently serving as Sr. Director and Head of Brand Marketing at Thumbtack, Diego brings a wealth of experience and innovation to the forefront of brand strategy. Explore his insightful journey and expertise in the exclusive interview below.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got started in your field?
I started my career on the advertising agency side. I always wanted to be in strategy, but when I started in advertising back in Peru, it wasn’t an established discipline and there were very few strategy roles even in global agencies. I met an Italian planner from Leo Burnett (my first advertising job) who told me the best way to get into strategy was to start in account management and work as closely as possible with the creative teams. It took nearly 7 years for me to land my first strategy role in advertising but that was the best advice I’ve received in my entire career. I transitioned from account management to strategy when I came to the U.S. After that, I moved to the client side to oversee brand and creative disciplines.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career, and how did you overcome them?
The single biggest challenge in marketing and advertising is to keep the ideas and thinking fresh. It’s too easy to get complacent and end up in familiar spaces creatively. It’s too common in our field to get to messages and ideas that are too familiar, because everyone feels very comfortable with what’s familiar. When it comes to ideas, boredom hides in familiar places. We usually confuse familiarity with “being right” just because it feels right. The challenge is to stop thinking about ideas and strategies in terms of right or wrong because it’ll always give us the excuse to choose what feels right. The problem? Usually what feels right ends up being invisible or even irrelevant. Pushing for fresh, relevant thinking and bringing an entire organization along for that ride is the single most difficult challenge I’ve faced in my career.
What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned throughout your career, and how have they influenced your approach to leadership?
Always seek simplification. That is the single most important lesson I’ve learned. Humans are complex and regardless of your position, level, title, or job, humans tend to make things more complicated than they should be. It’s inevitable, and it has nothing to do with the level of sophistication or expertise. Everyone makes things more complicated than they should be. Find a way to gain perspective on whatever it is you’re dealing with and try as much as you can to break it down into manageable pieces. I always push my team to simplify everything in front of them. Their approach to problem-solving, dealing with relationships at work, stress-inducing situations, etc. Always keep a simplification mindset. Boil a bucket, not the ocean.
One thing that people don’t know about you?
I won first place in a poetry competition back in high school.
What advice would you give to young professionals or entrepreneurs who are just starting out in your field?
Do not compare yourself or your career path to anyone else’s. Everyone is building their path at their own rhythm and pace. Learn from people you admire, learn from other people’s mistakes, and get inspiration from anyone you want, but don’t compare your path, your career, or your decisions to anyone else’s. Always try to be better than yourself and realize that the goal is to be better than the day before. Keep learning every time and build your career at your own pace.
Diego, your insights on keeping creativity fresh and simplifying complexities in marketing are invaluable. Your career journey—from transitioning between roles to the significance of personal growth—resonates deeply.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom and emphasizing the importance of charting one’s own course. Your guidance inspires emerging marketing professionals to embrace their unique paths, constantly striving for self-improvement. Grateful for your candid advice and remarkable journey!
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