Brand Jam



Kate Phillips

Jamming brand and people


Scott Oxford 0:02
G'day, Welcome to BrandJam the podcast where we jam about brand because brand is our jam.

Today I'm jamming with Kate Phillips, who's the chief marketing officer of Revelian. Revelian is a company that specialises in psychology based assessments that reveal to employers what's really going on inside the minds and behaviours of this staff and the candidate to apply for jobs. It's pretty interesting stuff and I'm sure we're gonna be talking about it today. She also happens to be a client and more importantly, a friend of many years, so I'm having the opportunity to chat brand for about an hour today. Okay, the sofa had a 20 plus year career in b2b marketing and currently responsible for rebellions, marketing and digital sales strategies globally, as well as management of the customer support function and leading rebellions people strategy. Okay,

Kate Phillips 0:52
thank you very much, Scott. Great to be here.

Scott Oxford 0:53
I love that your marketing and people and that has got to have a good story by now. Because it makes such good sense, but tell me how that happened for you,

Kate Phillips 1:03
um, resilience, one of those really interesting little businesses where if you see a need in the business or something that you think we could do differently, you get a shot at it. And this really occurred with the people strategy for me. And it's interesting that there aren't more jobs like mine where you are so responsible for both marketing and for people because there's so much synergy between the two so much of a good people strategy uses a lot of the skills that I have in marketing around influencing people explaining things, making ideas, compelling, helping people to change behaviour and encouraging them to take actions that are good for them and also good for the organisation. So when you look at it that way those two things really seem to go quite nicely hand in hand. Yeah, well

Scott Oxford 1:48
and being we're talking about brand that makes absolute sense because brands very much in the remit of marketing, but it's absolutely such a big part of of people as well. And you know, the the brand story and, you know, organisation like review Which I've just looked in, you know, as a supplier to you guys as well. But I've looked in and just loved that tribal nature of the way your business works. And I know that partly comes from having a whole other psychologists on the team, but it's a it's a beautiful thing about everybody just getting getting the story, everyone being a part of it and finding the place, how do you guys build that aspect of brand with your people,

Kate Phillips 2:23
and I suppose it all starts with who we bring into the business and how we go about bringing them into the business. And as you said, in your intro, we were kind of good at that, you know, and we develop tools that are specific for that reason, or for that purpose for others. So that makes the values fit of the people who come into the organisation, a fairly straightforward thing we know the types of values that resonate in our organisation and what we want to stand for. We know we want to attract people who who feel the same way and and value the same things that we do. So we start that right from the hiring process, which makes my job in Then bringing those people on the journey as part of their careers with so much easier, then I think it's really and again, this is this is harnessing on on both brand and marketing skills in a people application, ensuring that you're really consistent in your messaging and you're staying true to things that are important to people into, to what the company stands for, as well as what they value. So those things together, make having a sensible employee value proposition or an employer brand. Pretty, pretty compelling and pretty easy to do.

Scott Oxford 3:34
And yeah, if your people get it, then it really helps your customers get it and that's, you know, aside from having happy, functional, thriving employees, it's so important that you know, when you are building trust with external customers and clients and some of them around the world, and your product relies on a lot of trust, isn't it you are you are basically providing, you know Intel using some, you know, some Fantastic science to provide Intel to people that they can make hugely important decisions. So they need to trust you and they need to know that your people really trust the brand that they're representing. Yeah,

Kate Phillips 4:12
that's exactly right. And you know, the people need to live with that brand every single day. I often during New Employee orientations and things tell a story, where I ask people to imagine a journey to McDonald's in their their mind and going into that that famous building that we all know very, very well and noticing that the Golden Arches look a bit off, they might have a bit of a greenish tinge to the goal. And and that resonating in their minds as they're walking through the doors, then getting to the counter and interacting with the person behind the counter and realising that within McDonald's uniform, they're actually wearing a Nike cap and that resonating in their mind and then finally going to look at the order board and the menu and place their order and The the spell, there's a spelling mistake on one of the items, those three things I asked people to think about whether based on that experience, the big whether the Big Mac that they order is actually the Big Mac that they would expect. and nine times out of 10 people say no, it's not, that's a good example of, of living a brand and a brand creating an experience that you trust. And the consistency of that brand remains so critical to ensuring that that trust is enduring.

Scott Oxford 5:28
Yeah, and again, one of my favourite aspects of brand is subliminals. And that's exactly what you just talked about their little things that might register or even if they don't, they might subliminally register and they just they're telling you not in Kansas anymore, and that things are not quite right here. And the last thing a brand needs is any sense of doubt as to you know, who they are any sense of inconsistency that that cracks kind of showing, you know that, that problem there and so it just beautiful illustration of how important it is for people to get the brand and own that in order for them to To live it and operate, and if anyone wants to see how rebellion managed this, just follow them on LinkedIn and you know, you celebrate your people in a beautiful way. And you you do it. I've been at your staff conferences and presented I just see how how your people just, they, they all drink from the same cup. And I think that's right. And but you celebrate individuality as well so everyone can find their own place in it. And you guys are good at that.

Kate Phillips 6:26
Yeah, I think that makes us a bit special.

Scott Oxford 6:28
It absolutely does. And as as someone who has On the flip side, been your client as well and used your assessments to assist us in understanding our people and how we all work together, that has just helped us probably ensure that our people mix is sufficient to fully express our brand as well because you've shown us the kind of people that we that we need to hire to round us out as a team and in terms of you know, behaviours and and attitudes and you know, emotional intelligence and the like and so

Kate Phillips 7:00
fantastic. It's one really important input to the process. And of course, there are other very important equally important inputs to the process as well. But yeah, that's one of the that we feel particularly strongly about as we were seeing.

Scott Oxford 7:13
Exactly, exactly. Yeah. All right, let's, let's mix it up a bit. Let's dive back to childhood. I love asking people about what it was that that meant something from them from their childhood, their teenage years, just just from early life what's a brand that took hold in your heart and and never let go? And just tell me about it?

Kate Phillips 7:32
Yeah, okay. Um, I love this question, Scott. It's, it's, it harks me back to an era I'm very fond of which is the 80s and I think I enjoyed some 80s music on the way to recording this podcast today, which really got me in the right frame of mind.

And the brand that really resonates with me from childhood is Is, is one that actually didn't exist in Australia at the time. And it was it resonates with me because it really as I reflect on it now as an adult, and someone with experience in this area showed me the power that a brand can have in influencing a culture. And so the brand I've selected is MTV.

I'm sorry, MTV, I just found absolutely fascinating because the product did not exist in Australia at the time. It was not accessible to anyone who was really watching the essentially two or three television channels. That was the only way that you could access that form of entertainment. During the 80s, and yet, you could talk to any kid in the playground and have them say to you, I want my MTV which was the the catchphrase that was used and understand what that meant that it was a portal for accessing video clips and new music. And it was something cool something to aspire to being a fan of. And as I said, we couldn't actually access the product, but the fact that it had such strong awareness and such strong understanding of what it represented to little kids in regional Australia really suggested to me that there was something incredibly powerful about brand. And then, you know, as you so eloquently and beautifully sang just a few seconds ago, we we saw that brand really infiltrate major parts of our culture through the Dire Straits song. There were references to it in movies that we all loved at the time since almost five years. One example of that Max Headroom and Max Headroom and then incredible, very successful brand that was also linked to a campaign for coke here in Australia and did very, very nicely for Coca Cola, even with the majority of people not realising that Max Headroom was actually a recurring character on MTV because we'd never seen it

because we'd never seen it but they could recognise people could recognise and make that association with like being called MTV being cool new functionality and new technology coming to the fore that we're experiencing for the first time and wanting to be a part of that. People were coming back from overseas trips with MTV t shirts that were coveted. And again, this was all during a climate where we never saw what the actual product was and couldn't relate to it and yet it that that particular brand had such power at that time. So for me, that really was the first time that I I understood the power of what a brand can be. And reflecting on it now it was an incredibly well produced and well executed brand strategy for MTV.

Scott Oxford 11:08
Yeah, absolutely. I am because it did come to Australia at a certain point, but not for long. No, it wasn't the tail end.

Yeah. And it was it was almost like a light version. It wasn't you could tell that we were getting an Australian because that was Richard Wilkins. That was sort of his his thing. And But yeah, I remember sort of sitting up and we just, you know, lap up every bit of it, and you get a sort of a little bit of a taste for it. But yeah, just incredible how infiltrated you know, the music magazines and the different different aspects of what we touched, as you said, even sort of before, you know, Dire Straits necessarily picked up on that song out. Particular So yeah, I love that I and yeah, I never get sick of asking this question. It's, it's very cool. I guess the other day who actually we had a similar brand that we both remembered from childhood and I'm embarrassed to say it was miles miles but they I am I love How cool y'all are on your brand is doesn't doesn't mean I was a cool kid.

I think we all look back and wonder if we were the cool kids or not cool anymore anyway, it's all good. So from from from a brand that that took a place in your heart, then let's some let's talk about a brand maybe one that you you've sort of, I guess really trust today? is there is there a brand that stands out for you is something that you you put your faith in and that you you can connect with and care about?

Kate Phillips 12:28
Yeah, look, look, there is and when I say what the brand name is, it won't surprise you that I feel the way I do. It's actually my Superfund, funnily enough, and people can have a love hate relationship with their super fund. I love my super fund. My super fund is one that again, it talks to some of the things that I find really important about brand each resonates with my personal values. It is consistent in the way that it displays those it's pragmatic and it's a naming convention. And by that I mean the name of Australian ethical superannuation means you instantly understand who they are, what they do and what they stand for. And that that pragmatism, for me is, is one of the important parts of getting a brand really right. And all of their communications are consistent in standing for those values and demonstrating how those values are being played out in in society and in terms of what they invest in. So for me as someone for whom that's important, that brand is one that I have a lot of trust in

Scott Oxford 13:36
what I love about the name as well as that it's a brand promise Yeah, and it dares you to dig deeper and and that's a brand that would live and die on its ability to fulfil that promise. So they've they've got a huge mandate there, but they knew that from day one, and so, because they are because yeah, you'd be hard at finding another super fund that could I mean, I'm sure they exist, but it'd be hard to find another superfan that actually was That niche in terms of capturing that. And really, there is no one else who comes close in terms of offering you that they're certainly not that I'm aware of anyway, in terms of meeting that,

Kate Phillips 14:10
yeah, they, I mean, there are certainly other players in that space. But one of the other things I really like about these guys and I think helps to cement the level of trust I have in them is that they clearly understand who their market is and what their market wants. And that plays out even to to their name. They clearly focused on delivering ethical investment options for people to be super funds into. And to do that you need to be able to understand who's going to trust you with their money and be very clear on what the persona of that target market is and what they value and how far they're prepared to go on that journey. We think these guys do that really beautifully. Hmm,

Scott Oxford 14:56
yeah, they they almost challenge you to question some of your other into decisions and actually, you know, it sort of sets a high bar that that others will will, you know, either succeed or fail at and yeah,

Kate Phillips 15:08
yeah. And I think it's a brand if you get that, right, it can be a very powerful thing. I mean, that's, that's one example of that particular industry that stands for a particular thing that just happens to resonate with me. But there are a bunch of other great examples that around the place to

Scott Oxford 15:23
absolutely, and that's, you know, one of my big topics as well is around authenticity. One of those bugbear words that can feel a little bit overdone at times but but really it's just about how do we find some truth in there and that's for me, that's an organisation that can fulfil on its promises, and that is willing to make some big promises and I think around differentiation as well, I love what they've done there to basically stand aside and I'd love to know their story whether whether they are driven by consumer demand or whether they are just driven by a desire to find that themselves and or you know, some by just understanding in the marketplace and seeing a need and because, you know, industry super funds have certainly, you know, for different reasons, have certainly done a similar thing and they probably the probably other, the other one other player that feels like I get a sense so a lot of people really trust them, they feel like they one of them one of their own. And, you know, some of the other superfans who seem to spend an awful lot of money on promotion and campaign has got to make you question, you know, whether whether that's the best use of the money, but anyway,

Kate Phillips 16:28
indeed. And I mean, look, that's all about knowing your target target market, understanding what's important to them, what makes them tick, what will compel them to buy effectively, in this case in a slightly different way to what would be a general a general commercial transaction. But But nonetheless, I think that's a really critical component of a brand doing things well, to enable you to trust them and

Scott Oxford 16:53
yeah, good stuff. I'm loving this. I'm loving this well, so from someone who's doing it really, really well let's let's talk about not someone who's doing it better. Let's not name names necessarily. But let's talk about some. What's the biggest mistake, for example that you see brands made or that leaders make around brands?

Kate Phillips 17:11
Yeah, I think there are some common mistakes that when you see it go wrong. And there are some spectacular failures that have occurred over over, you know, many, many years and we won't name names. But when when it goes wrong, it often goes wrong for the same sorts of reasons. It will be, they either don't know who they're actually targeting with the brand, and therefore what they need to stand for and what they don't, or they think they know and get it completely wrong. Or they're inconsistent and don't give the brand a chance to actually create an identity and have some consistency of that identity and what it stands for through various different executions. Or they do you know, something just really done. that impacts the brand because they've done something illegal or that they've tried to be funny and they've really crashed and burned or a variety of different things they are one of their people has had some form of public and spectacular failure. So I think there's, there's a number of cases in I can think of some in fmcg I can think of some in business to business, I can think of some intake, I can think of something a bunch of different industries, and they all seem to have those those kinds of things at the heart of where things things can go disastrously.

Scott Oxford 18:34
Yeah, I think we're even seeing that at the moment with Black Lives Matter and those that choose those, you know, even celebrities who have a big personal brand and a very lucrative brand, not all not all entering into that space in you know, with with some caution and respect and, and, and understanding and, you know, just even in the last week, we've sort of seen a bunch kind of, you know, get that really wrong.

Kate Phillips 18:59
Yeah, you And they can be a really fine line. But the between authenticity is, as you mentioned before, and tokenism and consumers are smart enough and educated enough and have access to enough information to quickly determine determine which side of that ledger that you're on.

Scott Oxford 19:16
Yeah, I had a great term coined the other day, it's both into city, it's where you're certain personalities, types are really good at at coming across as being deeply authentic. But in fact, it's just a little bit contrived and a little bit fake. And again, brands one of those spaces where if you don't have a really firm handle on authenticity, if you've got your eyes too much on winning the day or on standing out or Capitalising, and just that heavy handedness and i think that's that's kind of what we see is a heavy handedness and just a lack of understanding of where you've come from as a brand as well. It's really easy for an organisation with history, especially long history to to kind of suddenly find themselves as we're finding with a whole lot of brands again, Black Lives Matter where suddenly there's a realisation that this brand is actually really quite racially inappropriate and and how did it take this for us to work that out? And I think that's that's a really interesting dichotomy there between the fact that the business itself just was potentially so focused on doing business that they didn't realise, but at the same time, it can't be the first time someone's pointed out that having having a black slave as the face or name of your product is a bad idea. Yeah, has been for a long day.

Kate Phillips 20:32
Indeed, I think, you know, often when the the profit line is continuing to grow, people can can get a bit complacent about some of the other things that really assist them in protecting the business interests and moving with the business, moving the business with the times on a longer term basis. And that that can that can be risky and look a strategic repositioning strategy when done well can be an extraordinarily powerful thing, but when As a knee jerk, because someone's called you on something or, or because you, your competitors have overtaken you so dramatically. And that's where it often doesn't work as well as as as as hoped. And,

Scott Oxford 21:15
yeah, it's interesting. I've worked on brands where they just over time slipped behind and suddenly, you know, the quality was internal, but the brand story the conversations happening around them were that they looked old, they look tired, they look behind the times, the repositioning for them was actually just bringing their external up to date with the internal kind of alignment. And that's, that's an interesting aspect. When you look at these these examples that we're talking about where where it's, you know, it doesn't really actually matter what the heart of the business feels. It says if these conversations are justifiably happening around you, you need to get a part of that you need to be you know, you need to be a part of of getting that right and correcting it right and actually being a participant in your own story.

Kate Phillips 21:59
do indeed, you know, I always find that incredible in the tech sector. And I'm in one of those industries that you know, crosses a few different sectors, if you like, where we're in psychology, and we're in human resources, and we're in technology. It also It always amazes me where a very cutting edge technology business who are all about driving things forward and creating new things for the market is still hung up on a brand that may have been created in, you know, the the 70s in the case of some of them, and while of course, there would be enormous equity in that brand. They haven't repositioned that brand to help them continue to be relevant in their journey, even if their products and their temperatures are fantastic and leading edge. It's it always strikes me as a missed opportunity in that sector in particular.

Scott Oxford 22:51
Yeah, I think that that's an area where there can be the mentality it's either a rebrand and we don't want a new logo, which of course a rebrand isn't about the new logo, but but There is evolution, there's actually about being able to, you know, incrementally change over time. And you see great brands, McDonald's, you mentioned as a great example of a very powerful brand that has incrementally changed over time. And you can see the connection all the way along, but you see a brand that has shifted with the times and it's had some really struggled times as well, where the market just seems ready to throw out fast food all together. And somehow they managed to come back because they're on the ball, they listening to their customers, they listen to the conversations, and they're, they're aligning themselves.

Kate Phillips 23:33
Exactly right. Exactly. Right. You know, the introduction of the salad menu to McDonald's when all of that was going on, was a great example of that. Although I have heard from someone who worked on that account at the time that it didn't help the sale of salads within McDonald's at all, but it certainly helped the sale of other products. But people maybe didn't feel quite so bad about walking through the door because they could get a salad if it's just that I didn't know how to Yeah,

Scott Oxford 24:01
yeah, it's a it's a healthy option. Yeah. No longer are you a pariah for walking through the doors of food and things because you might be making good decisions exactly right. Well, we just we talked mistakes made what about misconceptions? Where is brand Where have you seen brand misunderstood?

Kate Phillips 24:19
Oh gosh, you know, every marketer has war stories about where brand is misunderstood in an organisation and you know, you said something just a few minutes ago around a rebrand not just being about a logo. Well, that's because brand is not just about a logo. Amen, sister. Yeah. And look, you know, having having worked particularly in in some big global corporate organisations over my time, there are still sadly a lot of misconceptions about that and and that you know, moronic statement about being the hollering in department or, you know, still not funny guys wasn't 20 years ago still isn't now. And, you know, a logo is of course, a really important visual represent Have a brand helping people to make the connection between what they're seeing and a name that their understanding of what the organisation does and stands for. So of course, that's an important component. But it's certainly not the only component. And I think one of the other misconceptions that continues to bug me and in some ways I think US market is are a bit responsible for is that brand has no tangible value, beyond the fact that you could make the argument around having a look at the goodwill line on the balance sheet and making that the obvious connection there. I would argue that if you don't have a brand that people know, and trust and understand what it does in no one's going to buy what you're selling. And so in fact, the role of brand in that that equation is actually really central and incredibly credibly. So there are a couple of the misconceptions that I think are things that that really bugged me and as I said a few minutes ago, part of the I think is our own fault as marketers, because sometimes and it's interesting that we do this, you know, because of all the people who should be able to shift the message to suit the audience that they're in front of, we should be the ones who can do this really, really well. But time and time again, I have seen people in my profession get in front of boards or get in front of CFOs and talk about talking market ease, you know, talk about things that are that are simply vanity metrics. I have yet to meet a CFO in my whole career, who cares about impressions and yet, for whatever reason, we seem to be hung up on on talking about and reporting some of those things that that perpetuate some of that misconception around the importance of what we do and of brand in the equation around business success.

Scott Oxford 26:51
It's interesting because we in brand and marketing, it's when we are advising others or when we're, you know, advising CEOs or the we're basically Talking about outcomes. And yet an impression is not an outcome. What is the outcome of an impression? And maybe there is some real room for some new metrics around, you know, new ways to measure brand new ways to understand its its power and what it actually means. And some education as well.

Kate Phillips 27:16
Yeah, I think so. I think so. Scott, um, there's a couple of things. I would say, too, that Firstly, I think the metrics are actually they are unavailable. But it's up to us to draw the line between the attribution of the strategy and the metric that matters to the audience that we're talking to. And in this age of digital marketing, that is so much easier than when I started my career, and you're trying to figure out how many phone calls you might have gotten from a billboard at the top of Milton, right, you know, or your best guess was an ad in the Yellow Pages because at least they might have a particular code or something that you could use. We've come a long way since then, and it is far more measurable, efficient than it ever was. It's just that we're not necessarily communicating the measurement of the right things and Drawing that line. So yeah, I think, um, I think that that's part of it. I also think one of the best things I've ever done in my career was go and do a finance course, to help me understand exactly the matrix that drove the business and how I could talk to a finance audience to make that connection for them. So the education thing, I think, is also incredibly important, not just us, educating others on the value but willing to be educated ourselves on how we need to shift things around.

Scott Oxford 28:30
Yeah, I will I part of my recommendation always to is, you know, who are they? Who are the decision makers in a business in a b2b setting? You know, if you've got three or four decision makers, you're the CFO, they've got one set of priorities, you've got a head of people and culture, whole different, you know, those that are if it was a software product, those that are, you know, using the product and it needs to be easy and relatable for others. It's about what are the what's the cost and the bottom line, you've got a message to these different audiences you got in different ways and again, that's even then I don't know that In a marketing sense, where we're good at being able to message, what we do in different ways, because we're marketing, you know, we, this is what we do. So

Kate Phillips 29:08
it's bizarre, isn't it? Because we do it for clients where, you know, we do it to attract clients, and yet when we seem to be rubbish at it ourselves, absolutely. So okay,

Scott Oxford 29:18
tell me about some of your work, maybe prior to rebellion. When were you, you know, sort of led brand work across various organisations in your role as a marketer? What's a good example of say how you have built brand or just worked with brands?

Kate Phillips 29:34
Okay. Um, yeah, you're right, Scott. I've worked in a bunch of different organisations big and small over the course of my career. One example that really stands out for me in terms of needing to bring people along on a brand journey with me to get to an outcome was an international organisation I worked with, who was a very acquisitive organisation. So at the time I was there, they they acquired on average one other organisation a year before ending up eventually being acquired themselves which was was always the end game. Now when you when you acquire another organisation is this thing you have to be really careful of which is which is known as acquire our arrogance. And that is assuming that because you are now the parent organisation, everything that that organisation has done before, needs to needs to change and and you know quite often when you when you acquire an organisation, you buy it for good reasons, there are things about it that you obviously really like and so you'd be pretty dumb to throw that baby out with the bathwater, but there are also usually opportunities to change things. So the example of this particular organisation was that over the years, they had acquired a bunch of different companies, as I said, and we had really about 10 or 11 brands in the portfolio. These organised under you that you're working. Yeah,

that's right, that's right across. Yeah, across seven different countries. So it was it was quite an extensive portfolio. And the ironic thing is that a number of those brands actually did the same things. And we're working in the same markets and talking to very similar people, but as independent brands. And of course, that's a that's a very inefficient and expensive way to run a portfolio of brands and it can also create huge risk of confusion in the minds of the market. So it became pretty obvious to us that we needed to consolidate a number of those brands. And the organisation was in fact willing to move to a single brand strategy, which grown from 10 or 11 brands into a single brand strategies is quite a big task and quite a big job. Now, a number of the people who were in each of those portfolio brands had been there for a long time, there might have been the founders of those Companies or had worked for those companies for a number of years, and they were justifiably enormously proud of what they had created as businesses and as brands. And we're really quite frightened of losing that, which is completely understandable. And so we had a real tasking, firstly, convincing people that this was the right thing to do. Now I'll talk a little bit about how we did that, and getting them to trust that we would handle it in a respectful way. And there's cultural piece stage cultural piece, huge cultural piece. So, you know, at the start of this conversation, we were talking about the synergies between people's strategy and marketing strategy, and that's probably a bit of an example of it in practice there as well. And then, you know, executing on that and making it all happen and making it happen in a timely way. And I think there was some some mistakes that we learned along the way there as well. But if I touch on the first piece around, encouraging People that it was an idea that can be an extraordinarily difficult thing to do, because of course, everyone has white might have different opinions. And as I mentioned before, some people felt very attached to the brands that they had. So I embarked on a trip around Australia and New Zealand initially and just spent a lot of time talk to people a lifetime talking to them about what was frustrating them about the current state of play and situation and that uncovered a bunch of, you know, hair curling stories around people submitting competing tenders for the same piece of work even though they were actually located in the same office and we're actually going to be utilising some of the same resources from from head office, which

Scott Oxford 33:51
almost makes some crazy sense that you're actually minimising what you're increasing your chance of winning, but at what cost along the way as human beings. Volunteer putting their hearts and souls into submissions. And

Kate Phillips 34:02
that's exactly right. And and yes, you would think that that might increase your chances, but fewer an organisation on the receiving end of two tenders from two companies that you know what owned by the same organisation and had two different prices, you'd kind of get the impression that I didn't know what the hell I was doing. And I probably needed to talk is kind of embarrassing, kind of embarrassing. So a number of those stories came to the fray, which really, to be honest, helped in convincing people that this strategy was the right strategy to undertake because it did something that that marketing and branch would do, which is solve a problem for people. Yeah, so this was an internal audience. And already we could see that if we started to consolidate our positioning in the market, we could remove ourselves from some of those those risks and those frustrations. So that was a useful part in in convincing people to undertake this. What we also learned on that journey is that it's not enough To convince the people at the top of the organisational hierarchy, that this is the right thing to do. It's also absolutely critical that you're talking to the people who are at the coalface at the brand every single day and bringing them on the journey. And and in some ways that's more critical, because those people are the people who can make or break the success of embracing that brand, and then taking it to the market and helping you execute it and living it.

Scott Oxford 35:25
They're the ones who deal with the customers.

Kate Phillips 35:27
Well, that's exactly right. That's exactly right. So that that journey of discovery that I did going to all sorts of places going to you know, industrial sites in Western Australia and going to office hours in Sydney and going to you know, a whole lot of different places and talking to a whole lot of different people was really important because then when it came time for us to to make those decisions, I was able to circle back to those people and say we listen to you, this is how we think we're going to address this problem for you. What do you think some of those people embraced it some of them had their other their other ideas and and we could could listen to those and make some decisions, whether they were useful or not. So I think that really helped us in in encouraging people to come on the journey with us and accept that this was going to be a change that they wanted to be part of, then of course, we had to do it. And we had to do it mindful of the fact that had people part of the way on the journey with us, but perhaps, we we needed to ensure that we were handling the legacy of their brands in a respectful way, bringing it forward. So it wasn't a case of changing the name overnight. It wasn't necessarily a case of adjusting what they had been used used to. And all of a sudden everyone getting a new t shirt and a new sign out the front of the building and thinking everything was was Swedish. It was a steady evolution of those brands bringing people along the journey. So it started with sounding alike starting to use similar sort of language progressed to looking alike using similar sort of imagery, perhaps What colour palettes or you know, some of those visual components of a brand. And in doing that helping to build the bridge between the previous brand and what would end up as the unified brand and then being alike. So having all of those processes and ways you answer the phone, and you know all of those things that demonstrate how a brand comes to life locked in and consistent across all of these networks of offices. And look, that was an absolutely huge undertaking, we appointed a champion brand champion in every single office, except for you know, maybe the two person officer whatever wasn't necessarily an efficient use of their time, but in as many as we possibly could. And that person really helped us to deliver the brand the new brand into each of those offices and was a really important feedback loop as well in terms of things that were working well whether there was resistance things that perhaps we needed to consider doing different labour ometer Oh, yeah, yeah, that local barometer, which was was a really great pretty quiet. So the being like that really the next part and then eventually that morphed into the being one and that that particular strategy worked really well. What I would have done differently though, is the being one happened all of a sudden, you know, we reached the point where we went, Okay, we've done enough now we're going to close close the doors on Friday night as this and now we're going to open the doors on Monday as that from a personal perspective, that was one of the worst weekend's of my life, having to ensure that everything was really ready to go and being confident to to switch on as a as a new business business brand. It's seven o'clock on that Monday morning. I wouldn't do that again.

Scott Oxford 38:39
Yeah. Because it's, um, it's it's truly an evolution that you talked about, you know, in terms of managing all of these little islands that sort of came together, you know, the archipelago becomes a becomes a continent, but yeah, at a certain point, there's that whole final locking in Yeah, it reminds me of years ago, this wasn't an evolution. This was an old Tonight change but when commbank did its rebrand to what essentially is its current brand now just changed a bit but the entire country changed overnight signage, uniforms, everything every branch everywhere in the whole country. Yeah. And logistically, I don't know if you could even do that today. I mean, it wasn't that long ago, it was long enough ago, you know, 1015 years. But, but even that managing but that was one organisation changing everything from one to another, what you did had to manage the individual brand equities, the the, the stories, because brand is our stories that every one of those organisations have its own story that we're becoming part of a new story, but, and they all had similarities and like, but, but yeah, the incremental change is, is you know, what made it work and obviously, you know, despite being a stressful weekend, immensely satisfying at the end,

Kate Phillips 39:52
um, yeah, exhausting and satisfying, I think in equal measure, it was, it was a it was a brilliant project to have run I certainly put it at one of the highlights of my career when I look back was an extraordinary piece of work. And yeah, I'm really glad we did it, when I think I'm most satisfied with about that whole process is that we handled it so respectfully, that took a bit of convincing people who just wanted to rip off the band aid. And, you know, there were cost implications to moving as, as as slowly as we did it, in stages of that. But in the end, I think that was the right thing to do.

Scott Oxford 40:32
Well, you, you're respectful because you are building trust, but also because you're dealing with people's stories. Yeah,

Kate Phillips 40:37
that's exactly right.

Scott Oxford 40:38
I think I would like if someone had the power to make massive change to my story, I'd love to be part of that. And I'd like to have right of reply. And I'd like to be involved in that I'm really open to external influences helping me you know, change where I'm going and I don't know the future is exciting and unknown. So I'm keen on that, but yes, make me a part of Yeah,

Kate Phillips 41:00
I think so I think where it goes wrong is when people feel like it's imposed on them. And you know, your point around right of reply should really be an essential part of that process.

Scott Oxford 41:09
Because Because the the the owners of the business, even if they're still working in it, they're the ones who sold the business. They they sold it, knowing that it would change the employees, they're there, they get, you know, they're sold along with it. So they don't drive that wrong. But yeah, then, as we, as we know, so well, they're the absolute key. They're the coalface of connection, where our story meets our customers story. And, yeah, that's amazing. So customers, how do you guys stay connected to your customers? Yeah, in what you're currently doing, yeah,

Kate Phillips 41:40
you know, in a bunch of different ways. I mean, the obvious ones are the fact that we have salespeople managing accounts for customers, which has a whole lot of opportunities for feedback, etc. We also use our our products and our product development roadmaps as an opportunity to reach into customers and understand things that are working for them and things are that aren't working for them and evolutions that we can make in the product. You mentioned at the start of of the intro to this podcast that the customer support team works is as part of the portfolio that I have eyes guys are such a wealth of useful information about how people use our products, what they like about them, what questions they ask what things they get a bit confused about. And all of that information is so incredibly rich and useful to to not only people like me in in marketing, but to our product development team, to our r&d team, to a number of different people to help us continue on on providing better and better products for our customers and really listening to them and we do a couple of other customer and customer listening channel kinds of things. Obviously, we keep an eye on Our competitors and listen to what our customers are saying about them as well. In fact, one of the initiatives that I I run in the business will be enough I've neglected it a little of light has been what we call our spy club, where we have people from across the organisation, we identify a competitor that we want to really understand a bit better. And we have people from different teams across the organisation come together as a cross functional team to really understand as much as we can about those those competitors. And that includes understanding what our customers think of as well. Again, that can be a really rich source of information and as good font. Oh,

Scott Oxford 43:38
yeah, absolutely. That's a big, big offering in our kitbag as well as being able to look at customers. And I guess from our perspective, it's really specifically around brand and messaging and how they're communicating how they're relating, but just that that check in every now and then because if you are if your story's changing, your brand is evolving, so are your competitors. And what's When you checked in sort of, you know, January 2020, by January 2021, that someone kind of radically changed, you know, and radically progressed and leapt forward. And so it's keeping that that eye on that and that pulse on that. But, but yeah, I just I love I love that sense of preserving trust with your customers by just staying connected by by them giving feedback to a customer service person that then finds its way through and circles around and comes through in the way you communicate in the way you market. It just it's that idea of of being heard. And I'm quoting this, I'm quoting this Stephen Covey quote every single podcast at the moment, but I just think I've really drawn this sort of connection between you know, people feeling understood and people feeling affirmed and validated and appreciated. And I know one of the most powerful things you can do for a person is to ask their opinion, and ask, you know, and particularly of a customer to sort of say what you think matters to us. Want to know what you really think? And so you know, Covey's quote says, you know that next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival. And that's to be understood to be affirmed, to be validated to be appreciated when you listen with empathy, give that person the psychological air to be all of these things. So Bran could kind of meet one of those powerful human needs by just showing you that we actually care about you and listen to you, we implement what it is that matters to you, and we value you enough to actually change just for you, one of our customers to change what we do and to shift what we do. And it's so important for us, isn't it to just explain to come back and just say, we heard what you said, we've changed it from people to go as my suggestion that was my idea and what a powerful thing for a brand to do.

Kate Phillips 45:47
I absolutely agree. And I think that that organisations who don't do that can be really doing themselves a disservice titling

Scott Oxford 45:55
so I did hear the other day that there is a growing trend of CMOS finding their way into the CEO seat.

Kate Phillips 46:03
I've heard that trend too.

Scott Oxford 46:05
Yeah, so I am I think that's really intriguing because my heart breaks every time I have a customer whose C suite tells them that really you know brand strategy is not important strategy it's shiny, it's pretty it's it's it's not a priority. Everything we've talked about today says it says you know that it is so if you are a CMO, but your CEO does not get all love value brand, you're kind of in trouble. But what's the plan is Kate Phillips heading towards CEO I could

Kate Phillips 46:36
not think of anything worse if I'm perfectly honest. No, I am. I'm one of those rare people in life that I think figured out what I wanted to do quite early and and doing it and enjoying every second of it. So now I'm very, very comfortable to leave the CEO mantel to those who are could do a far better job of it than I could

Scott Oxford 47:00
Yeah, being in charge is massively ever right. Yeah, you, you seem to have a knack and certainly currently of choosing CEOs to work for who get what you do value what you're doing.

Kate Phillips 47:10
And look, it really does make a world of difference. And I would say to any cmo who's listening to this who has been battling that for a while, there are plenty of CEOs out there who really get it and endorse it so just can't find one of them. You don't have to to continue logging a dead horse so to speak.

Scott Oxford 47:28
Absolutely. Kate, it's been an absolute pleasure. Thank you for sharing such great insights and, and your opinions, too. It's been a delight.

Kate Phillips 47:38
Thank you, Scott.

Scott Oxford 47:42
So you know the drill podcast survive because people subscribe, so I would love for you to subscribe to brand jam. Also, if you have a guest, someone who you would love to hear from or you think is pretty cool, and we need to hear their opinions, please connect us up. Finally, if you've got a brand question that you'd like us to throw into the mix with our myriad of future guests. We'd love to hear that as well. As always, I sign off in the words of my famous and fictional friend, Don Draper from Mad Men who said it beautifully when he said if you don't like what's being said, change the conversation.