Jamming brand and repositioning
SCOTT OXFORD: 00:00.597 [music] Good day, I'm Scott Oxford, and welcome to BrandJam, the podcast where we jam about brand, because brand is our jam. [music] I'm somewhat of a brand evangelist, and I had strategy in creative for Australian and Creative agency, New Word Order. And I live and breathe brand every day, so talking to people who owned, managed, or informed brands is my happy place and what I love sharing with you. Today, I'm jamming with Fiona Bateman, the head of brand marketing at Menulog, an app-based food delivery service founded in Australia more than 15 years ago. Before joining Menulog, Fiona held a very similar role in the UK, working for their parent company, Just Eat, the UK's market leader. If brand is in the conversations that I had about you or maybe aren't actually happening at all, then the Menulog at the past is that kind of brand. While Just Eat was at the top of their game, the Menulog brand was not in such great shape, notably with the youth market who weren't connecting with the brands image. This period of decline was back in 2018 when newbies like Uber Eats came along with better technology, offering restaurants that didn't traditionally offer a delivery option. Fiona was transported to Australia like a rock star, not a convict, to lend that market-leading knowledge and her special sauce here and help reverse the downward trend with the business strategically choosing to invest heavily in brand building activity. Fiona had been working in brand for over 10 years, starting off on the London tech start-up scene, where creativity and brand is everything as you try and launch a new product and stand out from the crowd.
SCOTT OXFORD: 01:45.412 She found initial success with an app called YPlan, which was sold to Time Out, and off the back of that move to Just Eat, which still had very much a start-up mentality with much of the early success being attributed to aggressive brand tactics and favouring traditional above-the-line channels much earlier then they probably should have. Fiona will attest that she is a firm believer in the long and short of it, which she says might be a cliché. But it actually works. And she's proving it as Menulog continues to see the gap closing in on their competition. And in case you're somehow unfamiliar with Menulog, they can claim to providing Australians the greatest choice of restaurants and cuisines across the country, connecting more than 3.8 million active customers with more than 30,000 local restaurants - who even knew we had that many - servicing more than 92% of the addressable population. And they're now part of Just Eat Takeaway.com, a leading online global delivery marketplace. Though I think it's a safe bet they don't deliver jam, so you'll still have to come to me for your brand jam. Yes, it's been a while since I've had the dad jokes. So apart from now, feeling like ordering something tasty into the studio, I am really excited to browse the Menulog story and order up some of the multinational brand wisdom Fiona has to share. Fiona, welcome. Thanks for joining me.
FIONA BATEMAN: 03:04.318 Thanks for having me [laughter].
SCOTT OXFORD: 03:06.331 So first up, was it a tough decision to take up a gig here in the colonies of Australia?
FIONA BATEMAN: 03:14.472 No. I mean, it was a weird time in my life. I literally just bought a flat in London. But when your company offers to ship you over somewhere much warmer [laughter], to take on that challenge that this particular challenge Menulog had at the moment to kind of like sort of almost go back to basics and start from scratch with that brand and what it meant. But how could I say no?
SCOTT OXFORD: 03:37.899 Yeah, absolutely [laughter]. Absolutely. And I'm keen to come back and talk about your experience prior to Menulog. But let's start with the Menulog brand because you did something pretty massive with that brand. You guys took it. And as you guys coin the phrase-- you took it from "Meh" to "Hell, yeah," and I love that. And I just want to chat about that because it was a massive rebranding reposition. Can you tell me the story?
FIONA BATEMAN: 04:06.198 Yeah. I mean, Menulog-- oh, I think Just Eat probably bought Menulog. It must have been six or seven years ago, and it was before the days of Uber Eats and Deliveroo. And we were probably the market leader at the time. There's another company called EatNow that we merged with, but we offered what we called self-delivery restaurants, so those traditional takeaway restaurants that do their own delivery. And we were always kind of sticking to that because that's a pretty possible business model. You are literally just running a website connecting customers with the restaurants, and then the restaurant kind of funds the whole delivery experience themselves. What I guess entrance at Uber Eats did here was completely disrupt that market and offer consumers choice to have anything delivered, not just restaurants that didn’t traditionally do delivery but they do groceries and things as well. We were really late to that game. Because of that, we dropped from number one to kind of a solid number two, and that gap was widening, and sort of the beginning of 2018.
FIONA BATEMAN: 05:16.842 And it wasn't until we made a decision to play in that delivery space and get our own third-party courier network and established that we kind of reversed that decline. And I probably spent a good year sorting that out operationally and building that network out using the kind of, I guess, more digital channel to sort of drive demand. And at the beginning of 2019, we were starting to see the decline reversed, and they decided we needed to now look at the brand. Because when we were doing sort of researching things, the common sentiment was that, "Yeah. Oh, yeah. We knew Menulog. They used to be around, but they’re irrelevant now." And I think when I was thinking about taking a job, I came over here for a trial, and I sat in a focus group about Menulog, and somebody literally said, "Oh, you're Menulog. They're like the Nokia of food delivery." Everyone used to use it. No one would even have one anymore. And I was like, "Ooh [laughter]."
SCOTT OXFORD: 06:21.356 Oh, man. Yeah. Wow. There's nothing out of the mouths of-- directly out of the mouth of a customer. Yeah, that's powerful, isn't it?
FIONA BATEMAN: 06:29.976 Yeah. I mean, it was heartbreaking [laughter], especially coming from Just Eat, who was number one, similar competition from the likes of Uber and Deliveroo. But yeah, I knew I had a pretty big challenge on our hands. But it was exciting.
SCOTT OXFORD: 06:46.436 Yeah, absolutely. There's something about that clean-- almost that clean slate idea which is the only way is up, and it just empowers you and frees you to go back to the basics and to take a comment like that Nokia one and just go on an adventure-- and go on an adventure that you did. What did this tell me? I mean, Snoop Dogg, what an amazing central character. I've watched The Creative, and he is 100% bought in. And there is this absolute authenticity. And the thing about Snoop Dogg too is you don't have to like rap music. You just need to hear the man talk, and you just like him. And so pretty genius brand ambassador to choose, but it's more than just in the brand ambassador. How did you go about sort of repositioning the brand?
FIONA BATEMAN: 07:53.145 I mean, the nice thing was that we were number two, and it's not often we'd get to be number two. We're the only number two in the global group and because of that, it meant that we sort of had permission to take more risks and to be a bit more cheeky and a bit braver than potentially some of the other kind of market leaders in the group. So yeah, we knew we were going to be a challenger to Uber and we knew that that was our kind of single-minded focus, was to kind of close that gap on them and go after them. And It's a pretty lofty goal, if you like, to say that we want to kind of catch up and be number one. But it was a North Star, and we knew that if we were going to do that we had to do something pretty drastic.
FIONA BATEMAN: 08:36.823 So we sort of started building out a little bit of this sort of challenger archetype for the brand, and putting together what the localised version of the global brand was for Menulog particularly. And we kind of landed on this word that we don't say in a consumer-facing environment, but we landed on this word, unapologetic. And when we heard that Snoop Dog was potentially on the table, which was a deal done by the head office in the UK, we were like, "this is perfect." And we really, really lent into that. And we built out this kind of unapologetic world, borrowing kind of equity from Snoop and Snoop's brand himself. So a bit of swag, it's kind of like urban, almost LA type vibes. We completely created a brand world around that with him at the front. And I think it was that full commitment into kind of like leaning into that, which I think some brands probably would be a bit nervous of leaning in so much to equity that was really attached to one person, but we didn't really have anything to lose and we didn't have much else to cling onto. So it went full hog, kind of Snoop Dogg style, and it paid off. Yeah, people loved him. [laughter]
SCOTT OXFORD: 09:57.201 Yeah, I think he's-- this is probably a funny comparison to make. But he's a bit like the Simpsons. He's certainly got a very strong appeal to certain categories but he's very, very palatable outside of those core categories. And I was going to ask you about customers. I mean, online ordering. The demographic for that would have to fit squarely in a Snoop sort of space, doesn't it? But people of all ages order online.
FIONA BATEMAN: 10:26.153 Yeah, I think so. Like we say, our customer is anyone with a mouth, probably over 16 - disclaimer. But yeah with the age demographic growing, the market is absolutely like 18 to 34 ish. They are ordering twice as much as the sort of next category and their frequency is off the chart. It's almost sort of once a week. So that's what we're focusing on and Snoop was perfect because if you are at the top end of that bracket, you remember him, It's quite nostalgic. You probably remember his songs in the club back in the day. And if you're at the younger end of that age gap, he still feels relevant. He's done a lot of kind of comedy movies. He's this sort of legend. So he really did span that big kind of age gap and all demographics and just is somehow very lovable while being very naughty. [laughter]
SCOTT OXFORD: 11:22.594 Yeah, absolutely. And I'm interested to know how much creative input he had into the executions as well because it's essentially-- he did an arrangement of your jingle essentially. And not only that, there's just every aspect of the art direction as well. Not obviously your logo and that aspect, but certainly that brand creative had an awful lot of him. Does he come equipped with a full styling team or is that that was truly a collaboration between your agency and his team?
FIONA BATEMAN: 12:00.679 He's good to work with. He has of course a full styling team. He has music team, managers, people around him that are very protective over this new brand. And I think because we were so willing to kind of-- we weren't trying to change that brand or make him anything that he wasn't. The whole thing just worked really well together. And he's a professional. He turns up. He does it. And he's done this a million times. And considering the kind of celebrity fame status that he is, I would say he was good to work with.
SCOTT OXFORD: 12:40.057 I think he strikes it. And it's just that honest authenticity about his whole performance. It does feel real whereas there are celebrities who jump in on endorsements even for really, really big brands where it doesn't quite land. It doesn't quite fit. But he was 110% in. And it really shows. We'll definitely aim to put some links in the show so our listeners can go and see what we're talking about here if they happen to miss it when it was out there. So this reposition, obviously there was the campaign aspect. The Snoop aspect of it as well. But also you did some work on your logo, some of those key elements as well to really signal to the marketplace that there was a shift going on. Can you talk about that?
FIONA BATEMAN: 13:30.438 Yes, so we had merged with takeaway.com. So the Just Eat group had merged with takeaway.com earlier in the year. And that's hard when obviously this is actually grown globally because we've acquired lots of other businesses. So there's different names in different markets. And the one thing that he wanted to kind of make sure everybody was consistent with the same logo, the little house with the knife and fork, and the same colour. And therefore everybody could keep their kind of local names that they built equity around. But that would signify this global group, this kind of powerhouse takeaway.com Just Eat. And then we knew that was coming. And we knew that the-- we had this new campaign in market. And I tell you a secret. We'd actually done the whole Snoop campaign with green assets and a green [laughter]. And we made the call instead of kind of launch it green and we knew this logo change was coming to make the change.
FIONA BATEMAN: 14:43.055 And we had about three weeks and a lot of time in the post house to make everything orange and change all the logos of every asset across every touch point. So that was a bit of a hairy time. It was so worth it because people get nervous about changing a branding or updating your branding and the reaction. Quite frankly my consumers don't care, or wouldn't notice. But as a brand manager you do worry about those things. But because we did it at the same time as launching Snoop, and Snoop was so well received. It just got accepted. It just got accepted like, "Snoop Snoop." The logo's new. And nobody kind of questioned it I think. So we kind of really got it in there nicely and did it in nice way without having to do any kind of cringy, "We're changing our logo. We got a new look." We're not a big brand. We're not a Coca-Cola. We're not even a new breed so we weren't back then. And to do that kind of felt a bit disingenuous like, "Is anyone even going to notice?"
SCOTT OXFORD: 15:44.179 I bang on about the subliminal aspect of branding, and particularly those elements. And that's part of that subliminal. "We're all sort of fresh and ingenue and we've got something brand new going on here." And it all it all rolls in together.
FIONA BATEMAN: 16:03.322 Yep. Yeah. And we didn't see any kind of data that signified we'd lost orders or had a drop or people had lost the app or anything like that, so it went pretty smoothly.
SCOTT OXFORD: 16:18.686 Yeah. So this all happened mid-2020, right in the middle of COVID. Nobody else was spending, and you guys went out. I've seen the range of media, and you guys smashed it. Obviously, that's going against the grain again. How did that go for you?
FIONA BATEMAN: 16:41.965 Yeah, so we had the campaign ready to launch. Actually, we wanted to launch on the 20th of April because that is 4-20, and we thought that was a funny nugget if you're in the know with the Snoop Dogg kind of thing. So we were planning to launch then, and we pushed it back because we decided to change all the assets to orange to kind of combine the two. So we pushed it back to May, and then by this point, yeah, we're fully in COVID, and we were a bit worried that it felt insensitive to go live with-- a real, quite a flamboyant piece of creative. It's a little bit indulgent when there was kind of bigger things going on, and also selfishly, the news agenda was full of what's going on in the world and a global protest. And we felt like we would get missed in a way. Our big moment wouldn't matter in light of what was going on.
FIONA BATEMAN: 17:42.392 So we had back a couple of weeks, and we monitored the sort of sentiment daily. But it probably was only delayed about three weeks. About three weeks in, we kind of decided that everybody was a little bit over it. Everybody had kind of accepted it. There was a lot of negativity about brands that had pivoted and done "We're here for you" type ads that had clearly been knocked up on an iPhone, and I respect that knowing how difficult the production process is and the challenges they had to face, but there was definitely some kind of negativity or disillusion amongst consumers for this and we just thought let's go out now with something to entertain everyone. And our brand again, our brand's sort of DNA, we say unapologetic, but it is to be a bit bold and playful and a challenger brand. So we thought, why not and-- So along with that and the fact that lots of people had pulled their spending so in the competitor space we would have a dominant share of voice which we almost never do. The competition has such deep pockets.
FIONA BATEMAN: 18:56.328 So we took advantage of that and being kind of one of the few brands left that was going to put money into media, and it just absolutely paid off. We had a launch in the final of Masterchef, which again was seeing record views because everybody was stuck in cooking themselves, and I'd never launched a brand campaign with such an instant reaction across social media. And we were just watching Twitter and watching the tweets come in, like, "Did I just see Snoop Dogg? Is Snoop Dogg now Menulog?" And the disbelief, but the pleasant surprise that they kind of like had, I guess on Australia was really good to see. So yeah, we were lucky. It was a perfect storm.
SCOTT OXFORD: 19:40.909 Absolutely, and I think there's that aspect too of it was further perfect storm in that people were wanting to order in, and people were moving to ordering online, and media was also more affordable as well. So many benefits all at once that just facilitated, if the world was, sort of, going to crap for most businesses, you got delivered a whole bunch of beautiful opportunities of a plate, so. And you filmed before COVID [laughter] which is good.
FIONA BATEMAN: 20:16.846 Yeah, yeah. The team that shot the first ad literally got back as the borders closed to LA so [laughter] it was close timing.
SCOTT OXFORD: 20:29.272 Lots of good omens there if that's what [laughter] you believe. Lots of good karma happening your way I think and that great response. You mentioned something before about monitoring sentiment. For the audience sake, certainly, for people who aren't industry, how does a brand monitor sentiment out there?
FIONA BATEMAN: 20:52.649 Yeah, I mean, we have a solid agency network around us. We have a social media agency, a creative agency, we have a social agency, and we also have, kind of, a brand tracking agency. So, between all of those guys, they all have their own tools that they were using. And I think because it was such a weird time and everything-- everyone's day-to-day went out the window. Everyone's day-to-day routine went out the window. And that agency group really pulled together to kind of support their clients, even when many of them were pulling spending, with really useful insights about what's going on in the world, how people were feeling. I would say we monitored social pretty heavily. Our social agency kind of sent us regular reports. And then the media agency as well, who were global, were making sure that they kind of giving us regular updates on the state of the nation if you like. So, it wasn't an exact science. It probably wasn't even that thorough. But it was enough for us to make an educated guess and we were all sitting here in Sydney, in the heart of it, and could kind of get a gauge ourselves of how everyone was feeling.
SCOTT OXFORD: 22:12.806 Yeah. Yeah, and there's something to be said for just remember that we're all people in the same situation. How we're feeling isn't definitive, but it is an example of it. And so, it's good. But yeah, certainly the tools and the data that we as agencies have at our disposal is incredible these days, to just listen in a positive way. Listen in a non-intrusive, non-privacy breaking way, to really just understand what's being said and the like. And particularly, when you've got such a definitive hashtag such as-- or keyword such as Snoop, anything going on with Snoop right then was going to be yours. So that is pretty cool. But you didn't just do media, you did some strategic partnerships as well. And again, for a brand to-- you associated yourselves with partnerships beyond Snoop. Some of those are the ones included the Rabbitohs, in terms of footie, but Kyle and Jackie O, and certainly State of Origin as well. Can you tell us how you guys choose partnerships when it comes to supporting your brand and connecting with your audience?
FIONA BATEMAN: 23:29.687 Yeah, I think there's sort of two lenses that we look at, yeah, partnerships, and particularly media partnerships through. And one is definitely the audience, so relevant audience and also reach. Because we have such a big job to do in, I guess, shifting the perceptive of Menulog brand, but also driving up top-of-mind awareness. People had literally thought we had been gone bankrupt and gone back in 2019. I constantly get people saying, "Oh yeah, Menulog, they're the new guys." We're like, well, we're not [laughter]. But, we have this huge job to do with top-of-mind awareness because of the hefty competition here. So, reach and audience are probably the first thing we look at, and the NRL is probably the most popular sport in Australia. I know Victorians would probably say AFL, but in terms of, sort of, viewing figures for games and stuff like that, they are definitely number one. And they also felt right for the brand in terms of, we're Menulog, we're pretty humble, we're a mass media brand. We're not elitist or anything like that. Footie felt like a good fit for us.
SCOTT OXFORD: 24:46.829 Very democratic, yeah.
FIONA BATEMAN: 24:48.161 Yeah, and then the other thing I guess we consider is, yeah, a kind of creative feel, I would say. So again, NRL, playful, little bit cheeky, sometimes a bit naughty. Felt like it fit in well with us. And when we talk about Kyle and Jackie O, Kyle, a very polarizing figure, but felt right for the brand. And one, that their show had the reach, probably the most listened to breakfast show in New South Wales. And then two, creatively, he fits with that kind of Snoop Dogg cheekiness. And they had had a connection. They had met in the past and had some kind of relationship there, so he was perfect to talk about the brand launch for us.
SCOTT OXFORD: 25:33.653 Yeah, absolutely. And just on the football side of things too, there's nothing better than sitting down to watch some sport and ordering in. That's--
FIONA BATEMAN: 25:44.844 It's an existing behaviour [laughter].
SCOTT OXFORD: 25:46.770 Yeah, it's a perfect, it's a perfect, yeah.
FIONA BATEMAN: 25:49.691 Yeah, I think all the food delivery companies are starting to kind of make that connection at the moment. Everyone seems to be making some kind of roots into NRL, AFL as well, but we sponsored the State of Origin last year, as you have known. And that's when Snoop did his, kind of, remix of the ad with NRL players and wrote an Aussie line for us. And then we're sponsoring it this year again. So, last week was game one and the first kind of campaign we did without Snoop or Snoop's music, or any of his kind of-- that world, because the campaign has ended now here. We're out of usage. And it was sort of just as successful. So it's a hot property.
SCOTT OXFORD: 26:37.241 Yeah, and I think that's a really interesting point, is that you have that enduring association. And that shows real power in that initial partnership, in that once the licenses finish, to continue to be associated with an artist, or with a song, or the like. These things sort of stay in your head and I guess it's just-- having had that successful campaign, it's just proof that that reposition has stuck. And I think we're always conscious of, whenever we're doing change projects, we not only want to achieve a change now, we want it to endure. And we'd like to know that we're setting something up. We're changing course, and that course stays. And clearly, that's happening for you guys.
FIONA BATEMAN: 27:20.792 Yeah, we like to think so. We joke here as well about us kind of doing more for Snoop Dogg's brand in Australia than our own sometimes. It feels like he really had a resurgence because of Menulog [laughter]. So, yeah, it's done well for us and it's created, again, that world we didn't really have before. That kind of brand positioning and for the swag and the stuff I mentioned before about kind of feeling a little bit LA. All of that stuff will live on beyond Snoop himself in kind of our creative incomes.
SCOTT OXFORD: 27:54.743 Yeah, I just want to make the point too that it's choosing to partner with someone like Snoop, really, it's not just that the audience you're targeting responds to the ad, they actually respond to your story. And what I mean by that is the choices that you make as a brand reflect the kind of choices that they make. And I think that's that connection and that affinity that is probably the lesser-known aspect of working with a celebrity. It's that you, again with the Kyle and Jackie O as well, you're choosing to align yourself in an edgier kind of space and that's really respected by particularly that younger audience.
FIONA BATEMAN: 28:39.597 Yeah, I think in our industry it's small. There's only a few real players in terms of direct competitors, but it's like the market is reaching parity. Once we all have the same supply and restaurants, we even share drivers. The courier drivers switch between the brands and things like that. Once we reach parity, having that distinction in your brand is the only thing we're going to have, to be chosen. And kind of earning that respect for being a little bit bold or entertaining our customers or bringing a bit of joy will hopefully help with that kind of long term goal and hopefully set us apart from the competition.
SCOTT OXFORD: 29:27.719 Yeah because it's a good point. Probably not one we'll labour but we've talked at Uber. Uber is this Gigantor, global, kind of-- we describe a startup and we call it 'the Uber of', but they're also hamstrung by their brand as well. And that's really interesting. They cannot make choices and decisions that you have as a more nimble, more localised kind of brand in terms of, there are some limitations. They've got their own creative strengths and the like, but there is something nice about being a very Australian brand that has that ability and has that sensibility. And I think you can get away with things that are-- last episode I talked to Booktopia as well and they have a similar situation. Their competitor, everyone said Amazon, you can't go up against Amazon, you'll never beat Amazon, you'll never. But they have carved-- they've stayed in their lane and they've carved out a beautiful niche for themselves by doing what they do really well and by taking the freedom that they have of not being part of this Gigantor.
FIONA BATEMAN: 30:36.232 Yeah and I think it's very Aussie to champion the underdog. Aussies love that more so than I've ever come across before. So we'll definitely lend into little Menulog, the brand that dreamed. Who would have thought we'd be here now, kind of talking about this and talking about Snoop. So, yeah.
SCOTT OXFORD: 30:56.059 Yeah. No, it's such a great story. I really appreciate you sharing it. One other aspect around brand that I wanted to-- particularly with Menulog, and that's, just again, to connect with your audience, is your media choices. And again, you have a great media agency that advises you on this, but you had a particular success with Tiktok, didn't you?
FIONA BATEMAN: 31:18.595 Yeah, we did. So again, we knew we have this problem with youth, I think you kind of touched base in the intro. And we knew that they're a hard market to reach, probably blind to traditional advertising like tv, they don't listen to radio so much. And those channels, we were leaning in heavily to grow the brand just because they're kind of mass broadcast channels. But we were missing out on that audience that don't consume media in that way. We made a call to get into Tiktok pretty early on. It was probably before Covid, we actually kind of made the move. So Covid definitely helped with that because nobody else was doing it. We had a really good social agency advising us on kind of what the trends were and where the market was going, and we thought we'd give it a go. And as part of the launch of Snoop, we did this delivery dance Tiktok challenge and I think we were one of the first Australian brands to do it. I know MILO definitely did one but a real early kind of adopter of the Tiktok hashtag challenge. And it really blew up. It was definitely at the time the most successful Aussie challenge. The most entrants. So we kind of just got on the front foot early with Tiktok and then we've kind of maintained a presence there ever since. And I know that it's changed so much in the last 12 months so that probably everyone's on it now and they're like, "what are you talking about?" But 18 months ago, we were kind of like, "Oh, there's no one else playing in this space and this is a real opportunity for us to start talking to that youth market."
SCOTT OXFORD: 33:01.774 Yeah. It's interesting. You mentioned obviously that there's a 16 plus demographic. But the reality is, when we're ordering takeout, we hand the phone to the 13-year-old and she's the one who jumps on and finds what we're going to eat and orders it. And she is also-- Tiktok is her platform of choice. I'm the one who does the ordering, but the big key influencer here is the 13-year-old Tiktok user who is choosing what platform we buy from and choosing what we're even going to eat, you know?
FIONA BATEMAN: 33:39.379 Yeah. It's funny you talk about that because we talk about pester power of kids a lot. And with this campaign as well, the amount of moms that sent in videos to me of their kids dancing to the Snoop Dog song and watching on Youtube with the lyrics and dancing. I'm like, "when these 5-year-olds become 16, [laughter] we'll be sorted. We've got them real young."
SCOTT OXFORD: 34:04.082 That's the long game for sure. [laughter]
FIONA BATEMAN: 34:07.577 Yeah. Like this year, we were the top Youtube ad awarded by Youtube for that Snoop Dog creative and I'm sure it's because people are putting it on for their kids and just letting them watch it and sing to it and dance to it again and again. But yeah, the sort of mommy pester power is a real thing. And I think it's why we do really well with families because yeah, we've somehow managed to really appeal to kids with this campaign.
SCOTT OXFORD: 34:34.968 Yeah. And I guess that's the nice thing too, is that it's something that families do. You're not using pester power to sell something that people don't need. These families eat take out, and families are busier than they've ever been before. And so having great food delivered to home that you don't have to go and pick up or wait. I mean, I remember I used to hate that about buying Thai takeaway. I love the takeaway, it's just that 20-minute wait where I went and sat there and waited. And this lovely person delivers it to my door now and it's perfect. So, yeah, that's brilliant. I actually have a few questions outside of Menulog. Before we jump into that though. I wanted to ask you, you started in tech startup land and I wonder, in terms of building a brand, I guess sort of from scratch, what would you say is-- I don't know. Do you have a great memory or a great story or a great lesson learned from those days that you use today?
FIONA BATEMAN: 35:38.456 Oh. Yeah. I mean, be brave, to be honest. I think lots of people have commented on what I've done now, with Just Eat as well as Menulog, in terms of taking risks and being brave and stuff, and I do think a lot of that came from my start-up days, where you didn't have that much money. But the various kind of places I worked had solid investment, and it wasn't money you necessarily earnt. It was somebody else's money that you were kind of spending to grow, and you had to spend it well, but you had to make some brave calls and do some kind of big things that were potentially bigger than your brand. And I remember when we launched YPlan, we had Pharrell, the singer, who invested in us, and we used him as a bit of an ambassador back then. And we did a launch party, and it was really cool because Pharrell was there, and we were going to be the new Facebook. And everybody thinks that when they're in a tech start-up that have got their first round of funding back then. But it was so much bigger than the brand itself. I think we probably had a couple of thousand customers. We were only in two markets, London and a little bit of New York, but we had kind of made headlines as this brand that Pharrell had invested in.
FIONA BATEMAN: 36:59.910 And I remember the PR in those early days and the kind of hype around the brand, which was so overhyped there was no kind of real truth in it, sort of gave us that kick-start and gave us that kind of permission to be brave. And then we were sort of-- we didn't have agencies. We couldn't afford to have agencies, but we were all coming up with things as a little kind of in-house creative team and a marketing team that a sort of established brand would never allow you to do. But you had nothing to lose back then, and I think that kind of attitude and that graft has stayed with me throughout my career, and therefore, I've always sort of pushed my managers or seniors to be brave and take the risk. It's something that feels quite natural to me, but probably everyone else is petrified of it.
SCOTT OXFORD: 37:51.089 Yeah, but what a beautiful point of difference. And what you keep doing is proving it, don't you? In your career, you keep proving that it works.
FIONA BATEMAN: 37:59.690 Yeah, hopefully.
SCOTT OXFORD: 38:02.311 So far. Yeah.
FIONA BATEMAN: 38:03.570 I'm waiting for my fall.
SCOTT OXFORD: 38:05.501 So you've worked with Pharrell, and you've worked with Snoop. Who's your dream celebrity to--?
FIONA BATEMAN: 38:13.219 Oh, if I was still in the job I'd be in now, I would love to work with Gordon Ramsay. I think he's great. He's got the food connection. I think he'd be perfect, so that would be awesome. It would depend where I was working in kind of who would be right.
SCOTT OXFORD: 38:35.417 Yeah, of course. Of course. But yes, when it comes to food, he's the most deeply lovable, very, very naughty boy, isn't he?
FIONA BATEMAN: 38:42.198 Yeah. And I think I have a soft spot, for brands and celebrities who are brands in their own right, for people that are that kind of lovable rogue.
SCOTT OXFORD: 38:51.133 Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And they're interesting, and there's a reason he still is at the top of his game. After all of this time, he stands out, particularly as a foil against the nice ones, the Nigellas and the Jamies of the world. There's nobody like Gordon, nobody at all.
FIONA BATEMAN: 39:10.881 Yeah. Yeah.
SCOTT OXFORD: 39:11.421 Yeah, totally. I want to take you back to your childhood, growing up. My very first guest ever is an Englishwoman who had some great brands that we hadn't necessarily heard of, but they made some great stories where she talked about what she connected with first up. So you work in brand now. What was the first time you sort of became aware of a brand or connected with a brand in your younger years?
FIONA BATEMAN: 39:41.099 I thought about it that much. I always loved advertising because I love the kind of craft of making an advert. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I used to film myself making adverts at my dad's video camera [laughter]. And I think I always loved adverts. And I remember adverts but not necessarily because of the brand. So there's sort of a disconnect there. But I remember when the Cadbury's Gorilla Advert came out - I mean, cliché again - and yeah, loving that. And there was this advert as well for Club biscuits. I don't think you have them here. They're like little chocolate-covered biscuits you can have in your lunch box, but they had a jingle. I'm not going to sing it, but that jingle is probably like, anyone of my generation will remember what I'm talking about. I can sing it now. We used to sing it in a playground. And I think, back then, jingles were pretty common and pretty powerful and actually-- sorry to bring it back to Menulog [laughter] but it's an underused tool now in advertising. And I think that's as well why the agency kind of clung on to it because it can be very powerful, and it's not as used any more.
SCOTT OXFORD: 41:07.473 Yeah. Look, absolutely. And I'm excited because my agency, we've just received a brief to create a jingle. And it's like, "Just a jingle. We haven't done this forever." So I used to work with a composer who will never admit to all the famous jingles that he's done [laughter]. He's so much embarrassed about it. But yeah, look, growing up in Australia, we had some classics that some of my other guests have mentioned. And there were often reworks of jingles from far earlier. So Aeroplane Jelly and Vegemite, way back at the beginning of advertising these products, had jingles that, in my childhood, were brought back exactly. And they used the footage. And they brought them back. And these became part of our vernacular. But finally, I just wanted to say too I know exactly what you mean about connecting with advertising. I've never told anybody this story, but I just feel like I need to since you've admitted to yours. I used to sit on the toilet, and I would grab the toilet spray. And I would basically do a voice-over delivery and pretty much do an ad while in there and kind of just practise my voice, practise all of that. It was the only place I ever did it, and there was always a tin of something or some product [laughter].
FIONA BATEMAN: 42:22.207 Love that.
SCOTT OXFORD: 42:23.320 Yeah. And it was usually toilet spray. But anyway, I had to share that because my mom and dad are amongst my top fans, and they will listen to this. And they'll enjoy that. Yeah, great story. And I do love a good jingle. I want to ask you is there a brand today that you trust? Because we talked about a lot about people connecting with brands. They trust a brand. Is there one that you trust?
FIONA BATEMAN: 42:55.252 Yeah. Trust is a funny thing because it's got an emotional sort of-- yeah, it's the strong emotion. I don't feel like I trust any brands, but I do have expectations of brands that I guess is sort of a trust, that level of trust.
SCOTT OXFORD: 43:13.684 And yeah, it's on the spectrum of it anyway.
FIONA BATEMAN: 43:15.374 Yeah. I don't particularly feel-- when people say like what do you have brands you love, I don't love any brands. But I have brands I favour or that I used because they give me the service that I expect. So I guess that's trust in a way. I think over here in Australia The Iconic are doing a pretty good job, and that probably comes from the product experience, for me. I've come from England, where logistics is done pretty well. We're a tiny island. And over here, it's not quite the same, but The Iconic seem to be doing it very well. You know what you get, you're well communicated throughout that kind of delivery experience, so I'd probably say them. Potentially, CommBank as well, for being sort of one of the better banks here. I would say I probably have a degree of trust in them. But yeah, trust is a funny one. I wouldn't particularly say it about any brands, but there are brands that, yeah, I would favour.
SCOTT OXFORD: 44:21.701 Yeah. What about with Flickr?
FIONA BATEMAN: 44:22.764 Because I know what I'm going to get.
SCOTT OXFORD: 44:24.312 Yeah. Well, they fulfil the promise. And they're not promising to love you until death do us part - it's not that big a relationship - but they are making a promise, and they're living up to it is what you're saying.
FIONA BATEMAN: 44:37.146 Yeah. Yeah. And I think that's the key. Yeah. Do what you say, and don't disappoint, potentially. And it's, actually, really hard in the food delivery business because you don't have much control over a lot of your experience. The restaurant is a third party. They're their own company and business in their own right. The driver is a third party. He's an independent courier. So it's actually really hard to control that experience and make sure you are delivering what you're promising because it's so fragmented, and you have to work with everyone and every kind of partner at every stage of the journey.
SCOTT OXFORD: 45:13.500 Yeah. That's an interesting point because it's very much about ensuring that your brand communicates what you have control over and what you don't. Because there are mini brands, many, many, many mini brands that are delivering, and there is a point at which your brand ends and theirs begins. And it is sort of, potentially, a messy middle, isn't it, that one? But it's, again, how well you kind of communicate and manage your part of that process. And I think it's helped by the fact that online has grown so substantially that we're just having more and more experiences. It's normalising a little bit more, and we're kind of getting that, as consumers. We're understanding a little bit more what you can control and what you can't. And I think brands like Airtasker are the same. They can set up the date, but they-- or even Tinder. They can set up the date, but they can't guarantee you're going to fall in love. And it's that whole sort of genre, I think, that we work in, that you're working in, and that's exactly it. But it's such a critical part of that customer experience and that customer sort of brand understanding. So I just wanted to flip it and say-- you don't have to name names if you don't want to, but let's look the other way. Is there a brand that has broken trust with you, or is there an example of somewhere where you became really disappointed?
FIONA BATEMAN: 46:38.039 Oh, telecoms brands. All my life, disappointed with telecom. Look, those kind of services are hard because they're offering a service that you're paying for that is a utility, so you always don't really want to be paying for it, but you need it. And I know that they have a hard job, and they're so massive, but I feel like I can't think of anyone in that entire space that's doing it very well. And when I think of-- when I think of being pushed to the point of thinking about writing an angry email to a business, which isn't often and it's not me, it's always because of telecoms providers. And I think that comes down to customer service. It's such a competitive industry, they're scrimping where they can, and maybe they shouldn't. But then again, on the flip side, I see their problem. Consumers expect to pay the least and still have the best service. It's hard to maintain that balance. So I have empathy for that challenge, but I'd love to see somebody in that space do it right. And there's been some banks in the UK that have done that. That was an industry that had same sort of problems, mistrust, and frustrations at call centres, and things like that. There's been some little banks that popped up as the good guys who done it really well, so it'd be good to see that in utilities here.
SCOTT OXFORD: 48:08.166 Yeah, it's such a big business. You'd think somebody would have worked out how to get that right, and they keep wanting to be a friend. And it's like, "I don't want you to be my friend. I just want you to do what I need you to do and solve my problems [laughter]."
FIONA BATEMAN: 48:22.614 Yeah. It’s just, be a bit human. Yeah. I mean, it's a hard gig, but there's an opportunity there for sure.
SCOTT OXFORD: 48:32.464 Yeah. Absolutely. I want to tap into your experience before you-- I loved what you shared about your time at YPlan in terms of being brave and being a great tip for a brand. What about mistakes that you see made around brand? Is there any big clangers you've seen that you think can be done better? We just talked a little bit about it there in terms of telcos but anything else, any good advice around mistakes?
FIONA BATEMAN: 49:02.174 Oh, this sounds cliché again but being too safe, playing it too safe, is a mistake quite often, especially if you're not the number one by a long mile, like you can't afford to play it safe. I think that would be a mistake. I think being disingenuous. I kind of briefly mentioned, right, with the COVID ads, so the kind of COVID communications that came up from brands that had absolutely no right to kind of come out with something. So we're here for you or people just didn't care, like I didn't want them to be here for them. There was a bigger thing going on, and I think people kind of lose a bit of respect for you and your brand if you do things like that. I think not putting a kind of value or understanding on brand is a mistake in itself for a business. Lots of people still see brand as the colouring-in department. I still constantly have those challenges now in my career, and it's so much more than that, and it's so integral to the success of the business, and so beneficial if you do get it right. And I think people and brand are constantly struggling against CFOs of the world and people that are driven by numbers and graphs and hard facts and can't quite grasp this sort of concept of brand that can sound very fluffy. I always catch myself being fluffy and have to backtrack. But to sort of not-- to not use brand as the tool that it should be is a mistake in itself because yeah, everything gets better if you have a strong brand. Employment becomes easier. You don't just spend as much in marketing. If you have that share of voice-- of share of mind, sorry, in a customer's head, then yeah, you're on the right track.
SCOTT OXFORD: 50:58.339 Absolutely. And part of my mission in this podcast is to see brand elevated to C-level in every organisation. And maybe not chief brand officers but certainly somebody on the C-suite who is passionate and understanding and deeply devoted practitioner of brand, and it is happening. It is happening more and more, and it's important. I would say clearly, Fiona, you have a voice at the very highest levels and are able to put forward a great case for brand. And I think that's it. It's about, as you say, it has some fluffy aspects to it, but it's also an incredibly powerful tool. And you've been wielding that tool very, very, very powerfully. Well, we are just about out of time. It's always the case. I do have one last question before we wrap up. You've worked in some great brands. You're in an amazing job at the moment. But what's a dream brand you've never worked on but actually want to?
FIONA BATEMAN: 52:04.860 I would love to work for a TV channel [laughter]. In England, it's ITV. It's probably similar to Channel Nine here. I do a lot of reality TV shows, and I would love to-- that content, as trash as it sounds, I would love to work in branding and advertising for something that has so much content to play with. That would be a dream [laughter].
SCOTT OXFORD: 52:33.749 Yeah, it's interesting. We saw Channel Nine put out their own Pro-vaccination, COVID vaccination ad the other day using their own personalities and the like, and they got smashed for some [laughter] aspects of it probably because they didn't have a Fiona keeping an eye out about helping them get that right and get the balance.
FIONA BATEMAN: 52:59.446 I mean, it was-- I'm not sure what their objective was behind that, I guess. That's a bit of a weird one in COVID.
SCOTT OXFORD: 53:06.212 Yeah, doing there bit, I guess, being a good, corporate citizen.
FIONA BATEMAN: 53:08.121 Yeah. Again, you got to make sure it's authentic to you. Like Channel Nine I think of their properties. I think of maths. Oh, okay. I mean, yeah, I guess. Yeah, solid news channel but yeah.
SCOTT OXFORD: 53:25.362 Yeah. But yeah, stay on your lane [laughter]. So there you go. All right. Well, this is your job application, and I think it's a pretty good one. We, of course, could talk for hours, but Fiona, it's been awesome to chat with you about the story and share the-- from the "Meh" to "Hell, yeah." And congratulations on what you guys have achieved. It's brilliant [laughter]. Well, if listening to this podcast has made you a little peckish for something a little different, download the Menulog app via the App Store or Google Play, and you can also follow them at facebook.com/menulog.com.au and at menulog.com. And podcasts like mine survived on word of mouths, so I would love you to jump on our socials and share us around. You can find me on LinkedIn or follow BrandJam_podcast on Instagram, of course. Subscribe to ensure you don't miss a single episode. You can also visit BrandJam.co, drop me a line there, or connect me up with someone who you think would be a great guest like Fiona has been. And as always, I would like to finish with a quote around-- and this one's around brands forming connection. It's a little pearl from Zig Ziglar, and I think it applies to today to what we've been talking. He says, "People don't buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons." And as today has taught me, they also buy because Snoop Dogg says to buy it. So I'm Scott Oxford. Thanks so much for joining me today on BrandJam. [music]