5 things inspiring Penguin's head of audience development Caroline Maddison right now

5 things inspiring Penguin's head of audience development Caroline Maddison right now

Caroline Maddison is the Head of Audience Development at Penguin Random House, leading on the Puffin and Ladybird brands. She is an award-winning marketer, having been shortlisted numerous times for both The British Book Industry Awards and the FutureBook Best Use of Digital in  Marketing Award, winning in 2015 for her Scrabble Week Campaign.

Here are five things inspiring her to think and work differently right now.


Hardware: My iPad Mini. I bought a smaller iPad to go travelling with a few years ago and it’s never left my side. Its usage has changed somewhat. I may not be skyping from the edges of continents anymore, but I do use it for pretty much everything else, from listening to  podcasts, catching up on articles that have caught my eye throughout the week to writing, seeking out inspiration, as well as research for projects I may be involved in.

Software: Can I have two? The first is Headspace: I’ve been using this meditation app over the last year for an array of reasons, from clearing my mind when it’s all kinds of busy, to helping to gain focus, create space for creativity and generally get some balance. It’s an ongoing approach, and seemingly small changes can make big differences. It’s really accessible, from its themes and session lengths to its UX. I can’t recommend it enough; I’ve never heard the ending of the 10 minute sleep meditation, so that says it all.

I’ve also been using Moment to track how much I use my phone throughout the day. It follows on from Headspace in the sense of helping me be more conscious of where I dedicate my time and attention during the hours and minutes of the day, as well as just being curious. I think we are all aware of the scroll. When the data revealed that I had spent the equivalent of a train journey from London to Scotland on my phone in one day, it was a real eye opener on habits.

Book: I like to have a few books on the go, usually an amalgamation of fiction and non fiction, gathered from both bookshop jaunts and things that have caught my eye at work and across the industry. I’ve been reading The Language of Kindness by Christie Watson. It’s a memoir of 20 years in nursing, but what you really witness is the impressive orchestra of care - the compassion, kindness, sympathy, patience and warmth – conducted beautifully by Christie as she moves through moments of people’s lives. It’s out in May and you all need to read it.

Idea: I love to read across different industries and sectors. It comes from working at a newspaper: you can always learn, as well as have your ideas and perspectives challenged. I often delve into tech, design and advertising blogs, mags and industry voices out there (I really enjoyed the FutureBook 2016 keynote from Ogilvy’s James Whatley – I recommend you all sign up to his email newsletter). Having a view into other fields, and being inspired by creatives and their boundary-pushing work is a reminder, especially when generating ideas for marketing campaigns, to always keep your eyes open.  You never know what seed has been planted that could grow into an idea. Always question, and always be conscious of the barriers or limits you may have unconsciously set - then remove them.  GFDA is a great, light reminder of this. Every Monday I get an email with a slice of GFDA –it’s a big playful creative slap around the chops to start the week.  

Person: Can I have the TED Talks Daily podcast? So many inspiring talks from people across the globe and a great example of a brand repackaging their content to reach more audiences across platforms. All the talks are under 10 minutes so I can jump into the findings of the world’s longest-running study in happiness, how AR will change surgery, or 10 ways to have better conversations - all gentle nudges to my outlook before I’ve got to work.