Jamming brand and software
SCOTT OXFORD 03.570 [music] Good day, I'm Scott Oxford, and welcome to Brand Jam, the podcast where we jam about brand because brand is our jam. [music] Today we're jamming brand and software. And whether you use if for work, or for home, or both, which is pretty much all of us, some software brands will probably be as well known to you as your favourite grocery or fashion brands. Software is a massive part of life and whether you buy it as a one-off, or you subscribe to it ongoing, brand plays a huge role in taking your dollars. But software can feel to non-software people like me to be a bit of a world of its own, with its own language and extensive collection of acronyms. My favourite of which has to be SaaS, which sounds more like what I'd get from my teenage daughter than the much more professional full version, Software As A Service. So I'm keen to explore SaaS and all things software through a brand lens, and I'm joined today by two guests, SaaS marketing expert, Louise Flynn and director of global campaigns for Autodesk, Deborah Manning. Louise founded Rulu Marketing, a growth marketing agency for B2B SaaS businesses, after 20 years working in local and global software companies, including Neto Ecommerce, EventsAIR, and SolarWinds. She's on the advisory board for sortal.io, is an organiser for ProductTank, Brisbane, and a mentor at QUT foundry, and she loves fridge magnets.
LOUISE FLYNN 01:25.577 I do.
SCOTT OXFORD 01:26.723 Deborah is a strategic marketer who has just clocked up seven years with Autodesk, a global business that describes itself as, 'Building software that helps people imagine, design, and make a better world.' Which sounds to me like Deb, herself. And I know this because she's an old friend of mine, but as a person and as a marketer, she has a passion for people, and positive change. And she's a big proponent of digital disruption and the all important customer experience. So I'm very keen to hear her thoughts. Louise and Deborah, welcome.
DEBORAH MANNING 01:56.307 Hey.
LOUISE FLYNN 01:56.828 Thanks.
DEBORAH MANNING 01:57.697 Great to be here.
LOUISE FLYNN 01:58.009 Hey, everyone.
SCOTT OXFORD 01:58.986 And this is our first dual interview which excites me as well. Double the intelligence, double the capability.
LOUISE FLYNN 02:06.293 And double the SaaS. It's going to be SaaSy, SaaSy chat.
SCOTT OXFORD 02:11.121 And for me that's a brand new joke, but for you that's probably older joke, yeah. And you've got to keep it fun, haven't you? So I know neither of you are what you'd call-- you're not the heads of brand for your organisation, so we're not suggesting here that we're going to deliver all of the masterclass and all the knowledge in that. But brand's pretty important to what you guys do everyday. And you're sort of, in some ways you're both at different ends of software. Autodesk, big global for you, Deb, and Louise, working with startups, it's sort of like a bit of David and Goliath. And I'm probably keen to explore that a little bit first because I do know that the big guys out there, they really own the space, and there's lots of little guys, gnawing. And it's got to be really hard for a little guy. But yeah, first, what about you Deb? Do you have a lot of little guys, little brands who are looking to take attention?
DEBORAH MANNING 03:10.832 Yeah, I would say we have our share of competitors out there, and I think that keeps us focused on delivering against the promise of our brand and that's critical. So in terms of what I do, which is delivering lead generation and making sure that that is tight, and closed loop and the processes are strong. If we don't have, at the core, a strong brand then that becomes a lot more difficult, yeah.
SCOTT OXFORD 03:32.954 Yeah, yeah. And how about for you, Louise? You're working with some of these little guys to go after the big guys.
LOUISE FLYNN 03:38.507 Yeah, I think brand allows them to position themselves against the big guys and maybe challenge some of the older, established thinking in an industry. So it gives them a defensible space, I do X. And so it's a really important thing to do. They just don't have, necessarily all the money to throw behind it, but clarity and brand is everything and that doesn't necessarily have to cost a lot of money.
SCOTT OXFORD 04:04.545 Yeah. Well even for you, Deb, I used it in the introduction, it's a great vision statement of what you guys do and I guess that is a big wide scope, so there's definitely going to be people that go after that. And I imagine that, as you say, competition just keeps you sharp, but--
DEBORAH MANNING 04:24.413 Yeah. 100%.
SCOTT OXFORD 04:25.969 Yeah, and it sort of actually gives you a reason to go back to your customers. How do you guys talk to your customers?
DEBORAH MANNING 04:33.295 It's a good question, Scott [laughter]. Let me think about that for a moment. I think what I love about Autodesk and the way that we do speak to our customers is that we have clear intent. So we have defined who we are and who we want to be and we're very succinct and clear about that. So in terms of what my team delivers and packages up, that is core and I think is the pivot that we rotate around. And I think that's something our CEO is doing an amazing job right now in terms of his vision for the business going forward, and if you think about the small players in the market that maybe are chomping at our heels and chasing us down, we're staying one step ahead of that. So constantly thinking about how we transform and we've shifted from a- if I can get the word out - a perpetual-based model to a SaaS model. We've gone down that journey for this reason.
SCOTT OXFORD 05:27.752 Well, I think that for small firms there's a founder story that's obviously a big part of the brand too. But I love that the CEO has taken that lead because from my perspective, brand is something that needs to be ironed by the C suite. It needs to be there and to sort of set that and to be able to sort of lead with that story and to guide with that. And so Louise, founders stories then? A big part of small brands?
LOUISE FLYNN 05:57.455 Absolutely. I guess the key to most small brands is feeling like they're part of the community that they exist within rather than selling at a community. And the founder typically is from that community, so it's their intelligence, their insights, and it's their life and career that you can surface in your mythology. And it really validates a brand as someone who really understands and empathises with them. So the founders' story initially is really key and then later on at the brand kind of develops and diversifies, you bring in those other voices so that the business at an operational and a brand level is not so anchored on the founder. But as a starting place, it's an absolute must.
SCOTT OXFORD 06:42.388 Yeah, because it's usually their vision that has gone into it and that sort of takes it forward, obviously at the big end of town, yeah, it's that vision that leads a huge organisation, 100s, 1000s of employees who sort of need to deliver that. And I think when I've talked to you about this before Deb, it's all about your people really being able to connect in with that brand. And there's the internal and external. We'll talk a bit more about connecting with customers, but your internal customers are the people that sort of live and breathe it and need to deliver it. I mean, everything you and your teams do is built on brand and especially that aspect of your ability to deliver, isn't it?
DEBORAH MANNING 07:27.375 Yeah, 100%. And I think what I've observed Autodesk do really well is having a people intent and being clear about our values internally as well as customer-facing, so what a customer sees is extracted from the internal-facing message that we receive and I see that across the business whether it's here in Australia, in Pan, in the US.
SCOTT OXFORD 07:52.932 Absolutely. So a question for both of you. Maybe I'll start with you, Louise. How do you see software using brand and to connect with customers.
LOUISE FLYNN 08:03.643 Oh, absolutely. So software can be a complex decision to make even for someone in the B2C space so a consumer. So you can't really expect someone to evaluate just from a website page or just from an ad all the things that are possible, all the things that are possible about what this software can bring to their life or their business. So brand gives you the trust to expect that the things that you can make a decision on about the software and go, "Yes, that's exactly what I need." The rest of it, they'll come and provide later on. And then you've got the great service and you've got the great experience, so.
DEBORAH MANNING 08:42.879 I think it's almost about, in software and [SAS?] particularly and some of our experiences with the new players in the market, it's becoming predictive. It's a seamless experience that is able to understand and know what you want to do before you might even realise it yourself.
SCOTT OXFORD 08:59.982 Yeah. So predictive basically means you're preempting what somebody needs which means they're not so much making a conscious decision on whether this is-- it's just naturally a next step for them. So good software almost slides you into it rather than convinces you to buy it.
DEBORAH MANNING 09:17.111 Yes, yes. It's the experience and the journey that it organically creates for a customer and that becomes the brand experience. And that is what kind of hooks you in but without it being a forced hook in, it's a natural and organic experience and that's what keeps you coming back [crosstalk].
LOUISE FLYNN 09:34.840 Yeah. And to build off that, most businesses when they're looking for software don't exactly know what they need. And that's because they're not experts. So they're expert in what they do but they're not experts in software so part of what a software brand needs to give you is the vision of the future or the things that you weren't expecting. So brand allows you to build that trust so that we can encourage you to learn how to use it and learn different things, learn different ways to do things.
SCOTT OXFORD 10:03.858 Do you think we're cultivated by social media platforms which are constantly reinventing, constantly aiming to preempt, sometimes get it wrong? The whinging and moaning over Facebook's new desktop interface recently - it was astounding - from people my age. It's like, "You really care deeply about this, don't you?" But they were outraged it seemed that it wasn't predictive and preemptive of their needs and it didn't get it right. But, generally, do you think software is being influenced by-- because I see social media not as software. Would you use software or is it B2C software?
LOUISE FLYNN 10:43.093 Yeah, largely platform, so they're considered platforms. Legally not considered publishing platforms but platforms but they echo the same experience where you're touching their service purely online. And there is that constant challenge for platforms, for software as a service for double-sided marketplaces, for all those digital models, how far ahead can you go of the user before the user finds that the experience is not what they're used to? And they're not getting-- on the risk/reward balance, they're seeing too much risk or too much to learn and they're not getting the same enjoyment they used to. That's a common problem across all these business models.
SCOTT OXFORD 11:29.978 [inaudible] in digital advertising we love it to deliver up to us what we care about but then we all of a sudden get a bit freaked out that they know too much about us. Does that happen in the B2B area too, Deb?
DEBORAH MANNING 11:41.976 Not so much at this point. I think that we have to be really careful about data and our protection of our customers' data. So I think that that's really important, as a business, to ensure that we have our customers' trust.
SCOTT OXFORD 11:59.933 Yeah.
DEBORAH MANNING 12:00.722 Yeah.
SCOTT OXFORD 12:00.893 Absolutely. It's that getting to know them to a point where they feel really known. And I think that's always interesting, it's a big question I come up with around brand all the time is, how do you build connection and earn a right to be in somebody's life? And it's interesting, software has the potential to be quite intrusive, doesn't it? And in those platforms in terms of that. And yeah, honestly, I do find sometimes you read about social media delivering up advertising to people who suddenly feel like they are known better--
DEBORAH MANNING 12:35.375 They know a bit too much about me, yes.
SCOTT OXFORD 12:37.861 Yeah. And they know you better than you know yourself. And it's like, "hmm."
DEBORAH MANNING 12:40.870 Totally. Yeah.
LOUISE FLYNN 12:41.907 But on the topic of software connecting people. There are so many great examples of that. Particularly in the e-commerce space. But even, I was in software for IT pros. And the ability for people to use the same software, to talk about the same software. And then, more importantly, talk about the day-to-day. They find each other. The amazing communities that Shopify, which is an e-commerce platform based out of the US. They bring their users together so that they can share the journey of starting an e-commerce platform together and share best practice. So you are building those connections through software. And they're building their businesses together. So software can really build communities of like-minded business people. And it encourages them, I think, to be better. And it is in a form of learning that we're now used to, which is those sharing kind of learning opportunities.
SCOTT OXFORD 13:37.951 Yeah. Exactly. I'd imagine, in your sphere, Deb, there'd be lots of opportunities. More difficult now to bring people together because of the inability to travel. But again, thanks to software, we've got the ability to connect, haven't we?
DEBORAH MANNING 13:54.912 Yeah. 100%. 100%. The virtual opportunities are [a send?]. And we've always had those within our business. The connection points are digital and they're virtual. Great communities all over the world, so, yeah.
SCOTT OXFORD 14:08.341 And do you find-- so, for example, your customers who are software users, particularly those that are reliant on software, do you find that they're more easily able to adopt new technology and new developments than the average?
DEBORAH MANNING 14:25.118 Generally, yes. Was that for me or Louise? [laughter] But I can go. I can start.
SCOTT OXFORD 14:28.853 Both of you, yeah.
DEBORAH MANNING 14:30.550 It depends. I think these days you have to be ahead of the curve. So you have to be thinking about what's next. I mean, even in marketing, so sort of put Autodesk to the side for the moment. When I look at the transformation that's occurring and the tools and technology that we're leveraging to just take things to market, I think we have to be ahead of the curve. We have to be thinking differently than probably we ever have before. I look at the way my kids adopt technology. And they can do things in two seconds that probably would take me five minutes to process. So yeah, I think that's a challenge as our workforce ages, thinking through how we continue to remain flexible and agile in our adoption of tech, just generally.
SCOTT OXFORD 15:17.597 I think there's a really interesting question there about, particularly for our much older generation who is still working. And there are things that come with age, which is just, you get a little bit tired of things you've had to do most of your career. It's not that you're a Luddite suddenly, even, it's just that. So software's going to, I think, play a huge role in making that life easier and in shortcutting. And I think that's where prediction and pre-empting is going to be huge. Because it'll just save us all that crap that we don't want to do anymore because we've done it our whole career, for 40 years or something, so.
DEBORAH MANNING 15:48.489 Yeah. Well, the years are-- experience is-- and again, this does come back to brand. So if we're saying that brand is your experience, then our ability to adapt and to to pick up software is critical as part of that overall experience.
SCOTT OXFORD 16:05.223 Yeah. I did love the Minority Report, which is now a very old film, but the very fact that a lot of what they pre-empted essentially became part of our lives. We watched it sort of come to life, I guess, over time. There weren't that many films that did it, but that one. I fear if you went back and compared it, but it sort of made some promises about the future. And certainly, software is making big promises about the future. Because a big part of your brand is that innovation and is that ability to not just solve today's problems but tomorrow as well. So Louise, how do you find that founders or these new start-ups, are they solving today's problems or are they looking to tomorrow as well?
LOUISE FLYNN 16:50.054 I think there's a real balance. Most of them are coming-- so I work in B2B software so we're dealing with businesses trying to solve business problems. And there is a real balance of having a brand that echoes the now that really gives value to a business and allows them to build the business they have now. And that's because they're pragmatists. They're building a business. They're flying the plane. They're improving as they go. But having that hint of the future is definitely part of the brand. Playing into that aspiration or vision-based branding is definitely part of it. But I think most of the clients I work with in that start-up and scale-up space are very much pragmatists as well. They're trying to demonstrate that taking the software on board allows people to do something and drive value every day. So I'm using the software and it's saving me time today and it's saving me money tomorrow. And then I have elements of the brand that point to tomorrow. But build trust so that they'll go with you on that journey, because too much of the aspiration in very practical businesses doesn't feel real, and they want to solve today's problems as well as build the future roadmap.
SCOTT OXFORD 18:06.270 I think that's absolutely true. I know even in our little world, our agency world, we have adopted platforms for two different things that have both promised and then not delivered features, and to the point where we then had to abandon that platform. And that has made us deeply suspicious now of new platforms and what we're going to take on, because there's a huge risk of time and a small business can't afford for that. So that is definitely going to be a brand challenge, I think, for the industry, for the small guys. Because we know that the big players, they'll have whole innovation sections that are already thinking about tomorrow and doing the next Minority Report. So it does strike me that there's an ongoing opportunity for disruption in software. And one of the things that I have noticed is that software companies can look a little bit like each other, for example, and they can seem to be very, very similar. And so it strikes me that if you did see anything too far outside of that. I mean, not that it's just visual branding, but the look is not just their logo. It's just the way they appear, the way they use illustrations, the way they can use photography and even the way they style websites and things like that. What do you think the opportunities are then for disruption?
DEBORAH MANNING 19:25.634 Interesting.
LOUISE FLYNN 19:26.236 Well, there definitely is a kind of similarity in brands. And it may just be driven by the fact that because they're an online product, they're driven by CX and UX, not just brand. But it does offer the fact that there's an opportunity to say something different and to look a little different. I just don't know if I've seen it. I see a lot of software that looks a lot of the same. That if I bring up all five competitors in a market, they're pretty much the same website making the same bold promise at the top with "download here", "trial here" and "request a demo here". So there is an opportunity but I'm just not sure if I'm seeing it yet.
DEBORAH MANNING 20:11.884 Interesting concept. I think of brand not just as the physical appearance of the visual presentation. For me, brand is about the product itself, the experience that I have within the product. It's the support. It's the people I might happen to have to interface with. It's the payment process. It's all of those. The entire package is the brand to me. So I feel that when these start-ups are getting off the ground-- and I even experience it in apps. I mean, how many apps have you downloaded and then it's free for a month and then you've got to put your credit card details in first and yarda, yarda, yarda? To me the experience has fallen down or fallen apart and therefore my engagement or desire to engage with the brand is less. So yeah, that's kind of to me where I see the opportunity, is thinking through the detail. It's thinking about the entire experience for the consumer. Yeah, if it looks good on the outside, that's awesome, that's going to be the cream on the cake.
LOUISE FLYNN 21:13.818 Absolutely.
SCOTT OXFORD 21:14.516 Yeah. Because the thing about software is that very often it's sold without that human salesperson involved. They're involved in implementation but obviously-- so when you don't have a person-to-person connection there, the visuals are a big part of that. And I mean, customer experience is certainly about retention, as we know. And we've all gotten rid of those apps on our phone. But I just think, yeah, it's interesting when you've got to use the visuals and the words and the way you communicate, maybe on a website, maybe in a small ad, and you've got to stand out and be different. It's a big question for me. Is there suddenly an opportunity here, where it all kind of breaks through? And maybe we're just not there yet. Maybe it's the next wave, do you think?
DEBORAH MANNING 22:00.541 Yeah. Completely.
LOUISE FLYNN 22:01.680 Well, and I think the problem in having such a concise way of talking to people, particularly in a piece of software that's sold all online, is that you compress the brand with the product. And you talk about the product all the time. And you don't talk about what the product's going to do, yeah, you're not outcome-focused. So you're very focused on the elements of the product and that's where you do, I guess, lose the ability to really bring someone behind your brand. Because you're talking too much about your product and not enough about what it's going to do for that business or for that consumer.
DEBORAH MANNING 22:39.037 Yeah. And cutting through-- I think, and this is where marketing, what we do, comes to the fore. Because if we're able to create a seamless journey for the customer, based on where they're at, they're engagement with us. Then ultimately, that kind of comes together. We talk a lot about creating a frictionless experience. And I often don't see that, especially in the B-to-C space, where I'm spending a lot of my personal time. I don't see a frictionless experience where there's been a lot of thought given to the visual identity, but attached to that, the associated pathway for the customer.
SCOTT OXFORD 23:16.153 Definitely. And it's about that level of trust that you've earned at that point of purchase, isn't it? And then it's the retention and how much am I willing to risk my credit card details? Or making a commitment here, knowing that everything looks good until now. You've presented a solution to the outcomes that I have. You've done a good job of explaining why. But then the other side of the brand has to kick in, which is, this product's got to deliver. And the conversations that happen around it. And to this day, I still have this conspiracy theory that Microsoft Office products dumbed down and slightly disabled for Apple computers and Apple products. And they just don't-- I don't know, I've never--
LOUISE FLYNN 24:03.038 There is a slower-- there is a slower release [par?], yeah.
SCOTT OXFORD 24:06.208 Absolutely.
LOUISE FLYNN 24:06.627 Well established, yeah.
SCOTT OXFORD 24:08.072 Yes. You definitely made it clear that you're not as important as the core users. And then it just sort of does things that it should do. Or it just seems to ongoingly-- I've just had to abandon Excel for some shared document stuff, which Google is doing a lot better anyway. But yes, it's almost like they wanted to get rid of me and purify their brand. But the reality is, is that I'm having lots of conversations. And it's not like I'm going to bring down Microsoft. But I'm still not having that sort of great experience. And I've found, in that case, a solution. But the reality is Microsoft Word is a huge part of my life, I'm a writer. It's going to stick around, so I don't have a lot of choice there, so yeah. So if brand is living in those conversations that are people having. And I end every podcast with the Don Draper quote about conversations, which I'll do again today. But if that's sort of where it's really happening, who would you say is doing it really well?
LOUISE FLYNN 25:07.058 I've got to say the brand in the SaaS space - I'll stay in this space for the minute - that I'm most engaged with at the moment, not just at a professional level, but I really like the brand that they're building, is LinkedIn. I think LinkedIn is staying reasonably true to its mission, which is that it's a business platform. And I think it's further developing conversations about how people can better and better engage in LinkedIn and I think it's brands staying in that narrative. It obviously has commercial opportunities, advertising opportunities, but most of the brands that I've been engaged with lately, they've sent me a lot of podcasts about how I can engage more in terms of building conversation, building my network. So they're interested in me being better at engaging with their platform and getting the best out of it. And they do it at a tone that constantly reinforces that this is for business and they tend to now discourage more of that behaviour where people are bringing more Facebook behaviours onto LinkedIn.
LOUISE FLYNN 26:12.497 So I think their brand narrative is very interesting. They talk a lot about building connections and building network and in times like this, with COVID-19, I think the opportunities are at their greatest for you to build business connection and still trade and look for opportunities through LinkedIn. So I've been really encouraged by the branding in that it's very pragmatic, it understands my life as a small business owner and it understands the world in which I'm living in and stays really true to its vision of connecting business people.
SCOTT OXFORD 26:45.738 It's interesting. It's the only social media platform - I'm pretty sure - that has a professional version, so a paid version. So their profit model is potentially less reliant on advertising at all costs and more about delivering that higher experience which means-- I'm a subscriber so I pay for my LinkedIn and it's not like the YouTube where it blocks the ads for [you?]. You don't go to that, but that's not really probably what I'm looking for because I actually don't find my LinkedIn experiences loaded with ads anyway, so. I agree with you. I think they are doing interesting things, even down to the EDMs I guess from local LinkedIn editors who are asking my opinion on things and engaging me in conversation as well, so. Nice example. Nice example. Look, it doesn't have to be software space either, so.
DEBORAH MANNING 27:35.867 [No?]. I've gone one that's not just [crosstalk] because--
SCOTT OXFORD 27:37.721 Yeah. Great. Well, we're going to move onto [laughter] some non-software stuff in a moment, anyway.
LOUISE FLYNN 27:41.027 Is there a world-- [inaudible] did not software [inaudible] the world?
DEBORAH MANNING 27:43.175 I'd like to not have to think about it all, so. [laughter] So I've got an-- actually, there are two examples and I love these two because they're as old as me. And both my kids have obsessions with these brands which I find amazing. So Doc Martens, I had about three pairs of Doc Martens back in the day. I just gave my 18-year-old daughter a pair of Doc Martens, for her birthday, at her request and hassling, and Nike. Oh my goodness, in terms of a brand that delivers-- my son's obsessed with Nike. And I kind of find this intriguing that they've survived the test of time. Now you can go and, my son tells me, sell a pair of Nikes for thousands of dollars, resell--
SCOTT OXFORD 28:33.223 The reseller market.
DEBORAH MANNING 28:34.009 Yeah. Yes. What an interesting--
LOUISE FLYNN 28:36.577 Michael Jordans and--
SCOTT OXFORD 28:38.102 [inaudible].
LOUISE FLYNN 28:38.925 --[inaudible].
DEBORAH MANNING 28:39.635 Highly, highly [inaudible].
SCOTT OXFORD 28:40.775 The moment they're released they're automatically worth more if you've got a pair because you can't buy more than one pair and you have to-- and they're not available in all-- there's limited numbers in all markets.
DEBORAH MANNING 28:49.562 Staggering. Yeah, the concept of a shoe brand surviving the test of time and creating-- and I don't know a lot about how they did it but when, Scott, you threw the questions to us and I was thinking through, "Okay, what are some brands that I really respect or I've seen just survive the test of time?" And there were a couple that came to mind.
SCOTT OXFORD 29:15.312 Well, your son is also a sports person, as well.
DEBORAH MANNING 29:17.423 Yeah, yeah, yeah.
SCOTT OXFORD 29:18.103 So it's not just that he's bought into something that's cool. It actually has to deliver for him as well so he's--
DEBORAH MANNING 29:23.905 Yeah, 100%.
SCOTT OXFORD 29:24.186 --having the customer experience and, yeah.
DEBORAH MANNING 29:26.533 Yeah, 100%.
SCOTT OXFORD 29:28.861 Yeah, the old sneaker reselling thing is, that's a bizarre one because the business, I think, the organisation sells product for that purpose. Do you know what I mean? It's such a weird way to make money, that as soon as you've sold it, someone else is selling it for more. But that's part of delivering a customer experience to someone who will never wear that pair, and in fact it's not worth as much, they won't even unbox it. It's got to be in sort of--
LOUISE FLYNN 29:54.950 Is that not the ultimate brand?
DEBORAH MANNING 29:56.330 Yes.
LOUISE FLYNN 29:56.943 That the ultimate brand that you don't actually have to achieve anything with the product, people just want it in their sphere.
DEBORAH MANNING 30:04.366 Yeah.
SCOTT OXFORD 30:04.555 Yeah.
LOUISE FLYNN 30:05.045 They still think they'll be better with it.
SCOTT OXFORD 30:06.664 Well, that was me and my Doc Martens, as a teenager. The music scene that I was interested in was the sort of the UK, kind of white soul scene, and all of that. And these guys were wearing Doc Martens. They used to take the ceramic caps off Grolsch beers, which has a little metal clasp on it, and they would wear it fitted into the shoelace holes. It sat almost like a badge on the top of your Docs. But there was just something about that whole walking on air. The fact that it was full of air and it was like walking on a little mattress, and somehow that captured the imagination. And yes, my 20-year-old daughter loves her cherry Docs, as well, absolutely.
DEBORAH MANNING 30:47.079 Yes.
LOUISE FLYNN 30:48.119 Cherry Docs, next level.
DEBORAH MANNING 30:50.889 I had bright green ones, except I did throw them out. So bit sad that I threw them out. They'd be great these days. But yeah, I think, there's something in that though. There's something in it. And I know we're talking a completely different segment here.
SCOTT OXFORD 31:04.426 That's all right. Well, that is a question I ask all my guests, what's a brand that connected with them in childhood. And I love that yours has got that flow through. What about you, Louise? Is there something from your childhood when you first went brand aware or--?
LOUISE FLYNN 31:15.281 Oh, this was the easiest question to answer. It's Darrell Lea. Darrell Lea chocolates. I'm from Brisbane. I'm a Brisbane native, and Darrell Lea, when it used to have the retail store, and the ladies were dressed up in a uniform. And you had that fantastic authenticity of makers that you only find in people that have made something, which is not the case all the time anymore. When you go to a retail experience, you're not normally dealing with the person who made it. But Darrell Lea had-- you could talk to them about the process. They talked about their history and their methology. They were happy to give you samples. There was so much of a selection. And it's actually been-- it makes me smile. But even now, I have to say their brand is actually really coming back to the front, now that they have been acquired for some time now, they're leveraging all the new tools. So they used to leverage their retail experience as really the anchor of their brand, and their experience. But now they're so active on social, and they're looking for people to engage with them on different flavours for their blocks. And they talk about the-- they're putting all that energy in a different form, but it's still there. It's one of the things that I follow on Facebook. Their stories are so much fun. And I just think, "That's such a great brand, that still makes me smile now, now that I'm a schoch older than I was."
DEBORAH MANNING 32:41.429 Yeah, interesting.
SCOTT OXFORD 32:42.382 When you mentioned Darrell Lea, I still smell the smell of walking past the retail store. And my parents will probably listen to this podcast, and I have to say, they never took us in. Never, I don't remember--
LOUISE FLYNN 32:56.793 What?
SCOTT OXFORD 32:57.113 -ever going in and getting some. I think we did get a Darrell Lea bag at the Ekka, at our Royal Show, get a show bag full of Darrell Lea, I think, but yeah, no, funny thing.
DEBORAH MANNING 33:08.264 There's something here about reinvention of brands.
LOUISE FLYNN 33:11.541 Absolutely.
DEBORAH MANNING 33:11.898 Like when you think about the quality in it, even the Nike and Doc Marten example, I think they've been very good at reinventing themselves, as they've needed to. So the fact that Darrell Lea is thinking about social media and how they might attract a new audience, I think it's something for us. And even as I look at Autodesk is 30-plus years old. And I've seen significant transformation over the past absolutely seven years while I've been with the business, but certainly, I'm sure, over various points.
LOUISE FLYNN 33:43.057 And there's, I guess, some real credit to be had with our earlier generations of software. I mean, software's only been around 20, 30 years now. There are still the same-- there are brands that still exist - the Ciscos and the Autodesk - that have constantly built the brand away from the technology. The technology has evolved to meet the market but the brand promise holds. "I promise I'm going to do something for you. I'm going to promise I'm going to build this experience or have this relationship with you," particularly as B2B we're promising to help them build this or run their business. And I think that's even more fascinating than the brands of the last couple of years that have had the shackles lifted and build these kind of very similar brands that haven't been tested yet. I think you need a few years to really test a brand, a couple of rearchitectures of software, a couple of changes in the market and maybe a COVID-induced recession to really test whether your brand stretches that far and whether [crosstalk].
SCOTT OXFORD 34:47.151 Like the way the Zoom brand was tested the moment it needed to kick in.
DEBORAH MANNING 34:50.376 Oh, yeah. Oh, completely. Yeah.
SCOTT OXFORD 34:53.863 And it did pretty well considering.
DEBORAH MANNING 34:55.565 It has.
LOUISE FLYNN 34:55.973 Well, it certainly had its ups and downs with security. So there was a real risk that it was going to-- its competitors like GoTo are all anchored in bigger technology companies. So they--
SCOTT OXFORD 35:10.873 Skype from Microsoft and Teams.
LOUISE FLYNN 35:11.809 Yeah, yeah, they're all owned by much bigger software companies. So when Zoom fell at the first hurdle with security, there was a real opportunity for that to stick to their brand. But I think they were much more--
DEBORAH MANNING 35:24.980 They were agile.
LOUISE FLYNN 35:25.251 --open than older technologies in acknowledging where their issues were and fixing them.
SCOTT OXFORD 35:30.841 There was a human apology. The CEO apologised. He appeared and apologised. That, I thought--
LOUISE FLYNN 35:37.408 And who does that?
SCOTT OXFORD 35:38.037 No. And not in software because who even knows who runs Microsoft? And it's interesting. The two platforms we use is Adobe and Microsoft, in a creative agency setting, and both of them solved the biggest problem, which is meaning that I didn't have to buy a new box every time. So how big is subscription models and how much has that smoothed that path to adoption for software for you guys? In your experience, have you seen that?
LOUISE FLYNN 36:08.425 I think it actually-- I mean, for the user it certainly makes their life easier. For the brand it actually stretches it a lot harder. Because I think in the past with perpetual software models where you buy a software, as we used to do, go into Officeworks and there was a whole lot of boxes with Microsoft Office in it. And if I didn't like Microsoft Office, the next time, I threw the box out and didn't think about it again. And there was a lot of software sold like that. So there was no penalty to not being great. They would just buy something else.
DEBORAH MANNING 36:36.821 Or you were stuck with it for a year or until the next cycle came around, yeah, potentially.
LOUISE FLYNN 36:41.689 Yeah. But software as a service challenges a brand to be that good every time I reconsider my relationship with you. And now there's kind of a clock on it. So a lot of software's sold with no contract at all, or certainly the contracts are not what they used to be. They're 12 months or 24 months. So you need to build a brand that's constantly sending back the promise and proving the promise in the experience all the time, because it's much more competitive and people can see the options that they have and they can change. Sometimes software is a lot harder to get off, but a lot of software categories it could just be a matter of I have my website on one platform and tomorrow I have it on the other, and there really isn't that much other than my time between the two.
SCOTT OXFORD 37:25.593 Yeah, smoothing the way in, and isn't that a big part about winning customers, making it very easy to come across to you, and not easy to leave. I think that's the-- but that's business, isn't it?
LOUISE FLYNN 37:38.849 That's a problem for year two.
DEBORAH MANNING 37:41.237 That's right.
SCOTT OXFORD 37:42.196 Absolutely. Any big mistakes that you've seen made around brand? Anything that comes to mind for you? I know, Louise, you said to me that brand wasn't always front of mind for you?
LOUISE FLYNN 37:54.887 Yeah. I think certainly earlier in my career, I'm what's called a lead generation marketer. I'm someone who likes to take the demand that's sitting in the market and convert it into a sale. But as I move to more and more models where the time it takes to make the decision takes longer, and there's more competition, brand actually is really fundamental. It's like that open bucket that you fill with all the information, so that someones whose considering your software can't commit to it the first time they touch an app. So you need to build a brand through that engagement. There's a lot more expectation in the B2B to build a conversation through the online platforms and even through your sales team or your presales technical team. They'll need to echo that same brand message. So I certainly didn't think of it as a primary thing but, as I saw how software has changed, brand is a key anchor to potentially improving your sales, retention. I've had a client who certainly had the experience of a longterm sales cycle. Far too long for what they're trying to build. Amazing product but the brand created too many questions about them rather than answering them. The brand should have reinforced that they were credible. That they had amazing experience. The product was good and it was certainly worth the money they were asking for. And sometimes not building enough brand builds the distraction away from the product as well.
SCOTT OXFORD 39:29.615 And that's where content marketing's so important in terms of being able to keep that connection and keep building the brand and almost layering it like each wash over you just tells you a bit more about the people, and the story, and the way things are done, and all of that. And so, am I right in thinking that as a lead gen marketer that content marketing isn't a natural [effort?]. There's a whole different sort of process? Or is this new world of nurture where we're really all about actually bringing it all together?
DEBORAH MANNING 40:00.444 Yeah. 100%. So front and centre for us right now is to get that journey right. So what do we know about the customer? Where are they in their interaction and engagement with us as a business? And are we serving up the right kinds of messaging that going to either continue that relationship or start a new one [depending?] who they are and where they're at? So for us right now that's critical and back to the outcomes piece, I think we're thinking through, quite in-depth, how do we deliver an outcome message rather than a pricepoint or a product message? I think if we can nail that, or nail it better than we have today, I think that's something.
SCOTT OXFORD 40:38.625 Yeah. Because that's really there is, in a brand story, as an organisation, we have a brand story, and as a customer, you have your own story, and your story trumps mine. So what matters to you matters more than what matters to me. So it's got to be how my story serves yours, isn't it? And so when you know a customer's story. When you know how it needs to end for them, and you know you can deliver it, it's just about getting it right, isn't it? In the [coms?] and connecting in that way.
DEBORAH MANNING 41:09.172 And I think actually, technology, automation, machine, AI, all of those big concepts are going to play a role in serving up the personalized experience. That's something we're also thinking a lot about. It's okay, taking a persona, and our understanding of that persona's intent, and then being able to serve up content that's relevant to them, right in that moment. It's exciting for me to sort of see what the future looks like for marketing. I think we've got a lot of things to do but we'll get there. I really believe that the technology's going to get us there.
SCOTT OXFORD 41:43.904 And I think as you say if you keep your eye on the brand and at the end of the day you remember that it's about your story which means I have to respect your space. I want to make you feel known, but I don't what to make you feel stalked. And because, again, I go back to Minority Report. Tom Cruise walks into a supermarket and it scans his retina and calls him by name and delivers up a personalised experience, I mean, how visionary was that?
DEBORAH MANNING 42:08.352 That's amazing. I'm going to have to go back and watch the movie, Scott.
SCOTT OXFORD 42:10.942 I know. We've got a lot to learn. I think we can sell our products in to the future by watching this film. I know it's been a while for me as well.
DEBORAH MANNING 42:17.449 I love it.
SCOTT OXFORD 42:18.971 But yeah, look I love what we're where we've landed on that, which is really what it's all about-- which is software is a means to an end and it's as much about an experience personally, as it is about filling a need professionally, and so, that's kind of cool. Would you say that's it's possible to love software?
LOUISE FLYNN 42:45.106 You're both looking at me [laughter]. Of course, you can love your software. It is for the way it changes-- there is so many amazing people that do amazing things. I most saw this in the e-commerce space. So many people making fantastic goods, bikes, apparel, all sorts of things. And e-commerce was the bridge to allow them to build a business from it, to take their hobby into something they could do with their life. So while looking at a code on the screen is not all that sexy, although for some I'm sure it is, software can empower people and allow them to live the life they want to live and hopefully build the business they wanted to build. So I'm going to be a little bit optimistic on this, on the optimistic and almost utopian side and say yeah.
DEBORAH MANNING 43:41.830 I think for me, and it's funny the way that you framed it, Scott, I love, and I truly love that one of our-- or a part of our vision statement is to make a better world. I love that. I'm passionate about the fact that our tools can achieve that for our customers. So maybe it's not necessarily about loving the product but it's loving the outcome. And we've talked a bit about outcome. So the outcome of making a better world, yeah, 100%. I love that. I love working for an organisation that has that front and centre, so, yeah. Not the code as much, but.
SCOTT OXFORD 44:18.711 Because that's the role of purpose values, but what about in, say, the start-up world? Is there an opportunity for values to really rise to the fore? Certainly solving a problem, definitely. And in the last episode I talked sort of ethical marketing. And we were talking a lot about who gives a crap, and the fact that they live and breathe what they stand for and absolutely every touchpoint is loaded with that whole kind of brand experience, I guess, the whole personality of it, but also just the outcomes. Thankyou, as in Thankyou Water, is a similar kind of one. Do we see that kind of values rising to fore? Or is this a big opportunity for the start-up in business as well?
LOUISE FLYNN 45:08.320 It's certainly the opportunity that not enough start-ups and scale-ups take. Because ultimately, I think people get too wrapped up in the technology of software and forget that really it's just a business doing business with another business to help them.
SCOTT OXFORD 45:27.140 Because I see companies like Uber, which are a big platform, and Uber is got a lot of questions around the treatment of drivers. Who's actually earning at the end of the day? And most interestingly, you've got your brand ambassadors are the people sitting in the driver's seat who are just kind of like, "Yeah, I make no money out of this." It's a whole aspect of their brand that they seem to be getting away with. And then you see other companies, and I don't want to be down on Uber, but you see companies like Airbnb who in this time of crisis seem to respond in a much more human kind of way and really sort of jump in and address the challenges and actually do something that sort of helps people, but.
LOUISE FLYNN 46:16.628 Yeah. I think platforms have an interesting challenge, in that if they see themselves as a piece of technology that someone can access through a browser and that's the end of their responsibility, that negates what impact they make on the real world. It's an opportunity and it's a loss. You look at someone like Facebook who's now in the process of making sure that every data centre that they utilise as part of their Facebook network are carbon neutral. And they've got a plan for it. So they acknowledge that part of their business plan in the real world is to use data centres so that you can have a great experience, but that takes up electricity, that takes up time and that takes up kilometres. So their expectation down to their data-centre providers is how you expect you to be green. I think probably the most interesting story at the moment is Tinder and its social responsibility outside of the platform. In the same way that Airbnb and Uber have, I think they're at a point where they absolutely have to acknowledge what happens in the real world and what their platform is creating in terms of behaviour and how they can't walk away from it; it's just the technology provider. They have a responsibility to lead, create values, show those values, and encourage those values to be a-- to be kind of filtered out to their community.
DEBORAH MANNING 47:36.000 Well, it comes back to trust too, which we touched on a little bit earlier, having trust that the brand carry you through the entire experience, say. And Uber or Airbnb, how do they build that into the experience? That's a great example, Google and the data centre.
LOUISE FLYNN 47:53.463 Facebook, yeah.
DEBORAH MANNING 47:54.174 Well, Facebook. Yeah. But Google probably has something similar.
LOUISE FLYNN 47:56.265 Yes, are the same too.
DEBORAH MANNING 47:57.514 Yeah. Interesting.
SCOTT OXFORD 47:58.476 But, yeah. Certainly, things like Tinder, where basically I can sign up even if emotionally or mentally or even maturity-wise, I'm not up for what that's going to-- and what is the responsibility of the app, and all of the others as well, all along the equivalent? And interestingly, you don't hear a lot of horror stories. I remember when Uber's horror stories came out, which is where the driver turned out-- one in a million drivers or whatever, turned out to be a problem driver and-- but yeah, it is where does the responsibility sort of end?
LOUISE FLYNN 48:38.958 It is--
S?: 48:39.303 [crosstalk].
DEBORAH MANNING 48:39.499 Sorry. Now, we're getting into this topic. But, no. I think, have we really unlocked how to govern technology, generally speaking? I think that is an area that perhaps we're on a bit of a journey because we don't truly understand the impact of some of the experiences that we're having. And I--
SCOTT OXFORD 49:02.342 Well, we're in--
DEBORAH MANNING 49:02.808 --can't really speak well to this, but I think it's an area that probably ought to be [crosstalk].
SCOTT OXFORD 49:07.180 No, I think it's a great question because what we're talking about is, at the moment, brands are regulating themselves, and they're telling their own stories, and they're doing it for their own self-preservation. But they also make mistakes. So if they're not regulated, if they're not required to operate in a certain way-- did you--?
DEBORAH MANNING 49:23.401 It's probably a journey to come.
SCOTT OXFORD 49:24.371 Yeah. Yeah. And maybe some cataclysmic things will happen on the way - do you know what I mean? - which might drive that forward in the same way that any crisis, like a COVID-19, forces certain things to adapt and change.
DEBORAH MANNING 49:39.637 Well, you look at the impact - I think we're only really starting to realise - of social media and tech on our kids, I think, that don't fully understand that impact yet because the first-generational wave hasn't really reviewed.
SCOTT OXFORD 49:54.045 No. We haven't seen what it delivers, where it ends.
DEBORAH MANNING 49:56.383 No. That's right. So yeah, I--
LOUISE FLYNN 50:00.566 I think it just--
DEBORAH MANNING 50:01.136 --[crosstalk] [and?] the end, it'll be very [crosstalk].
LOUISE FLYNN 50:01.999 Yeah. I think it just challenges the brand definition of technology companies, in that they see it as very attached to the platform or the software or the market place that they're building and understanding probably other categories of business better understand, that brand is about what you are in the real world. And the implications of what you do are both to benefit your intended target markets, but also the wider society. So we see the elements of positive, and we see those platforms still learning the hard way that they also need to be a part of the society they impact with their tool.
SCOTT OXFORD 50:48.312 No. I like these points because, yeah, there is such a responsibility, a greater brand responsibility, than probably most to wear off. It strikes me that most software companies tend to keep their people out of the spotlight. Is that because they're all a bunch of geeks and they can't--? [laughter] I'm kidding. No. Is there a reason that those--?
LOUISE FLYNN 51:12.201 I'd like to put it on the record that I had a very shocked face. [laughter] For all my fantastic developer friends, the product marketing community.
SCOTT OXFORD 51:22.002 I have developers on my team and I love them. Don't get me wrong. It's funny, yeah, I remember hearing someone say, "So do you guys prefer geek or dork?" And it's like, "Neither. Neither. We call ourselves geeks. But dork, what's that even about?" No. My question is, that software is often put out there-- its story is very much about what it sort of solves and not sort of one, necessarily, of the people and the personalities behind. But you do have some key ones. Apple's very careful about, as a technology company, how it manages its personalities. And Microsoft as well. You used to have Bill Gates. But I don't think I've seen a person represent Microsoft for a long time.
DEBORAH MANNING 52:05.517 Interesting. I would say within our target market we have celebrities.
SCOTT OXFORD 52:09.955 Yeah.
LOUISE FLYNN 52:10.252 Evangelists.
DEBORAH MANNING 52:11.023 Oh, sorry. Evangelists, that's a much nicer way, yeah. But there are celebrities within the space. But yeah, Scott, you not being within our type of market [crosstalk].
SCOTT OXFORD 52:20.751 Yeah. So tell me about that. These are influencers, key users?
DEBORAH MANNING 52:24.339 Yeah. [inaudible].
SCOTT OXFORD 52:25.648 Yeah?
DEBORAH MANNING 52:26.178 Yeah.
SCOTT OXFORD 52:26.580 And they're the people that represent the brands by proxy, and?
DEBORAH MANNING 52:31.586 Quite often. Yeah. Quite often. So they can be internal but they can also be users. So we'll have both sides.
SCOTT OXFORD 52:38.415 Yeah. Because I do know that Apple used to roll out Jony, their key product designer. And he had lots of personality and lots, sort of, to offer. Because he was so terribly, terribly on-brand. He was everything we'd hope he would be. And his work spoke for itself as well, so, yeah. That's good. Have either of you, doesn't have to be software related, either of you had a brand that's betrayed you, that you've lost trust in and doesn't cut it for you anymore, that broke the relationship?
DEBORAH MANNING 53:11.754 I actually struggled with--
LOUISE FLYNN 53:13.492 Well, I had Tinder on my list. But we've already covered it, so. [laughter]
SCOTT OXFORD 53:16.542 No. We can talk about it some more.
LOUISE FLYNN 53:18.835 I'm only jesting. [laughter] But it has broken my trust.
DEBORAH MANNING 53:25.721 Do we want to hear this story? [laughter]
LOUISE FLYNN 53:27.617 No. Brand. Software. Brand.
SCOTT OXFORD 53:31.819 Yeah, human beings, as well as being software people.
DEBORAH MANNING 53:39.907 No. I don't actually have-- I couldn't think of a significant example.
SCOTT OXFORD 53:43.965 All right. What about the opposite? What about a brand that you do trust, and why? So not necessarily a connection, but yes, a brand that has earned your loyalty, that is likely to keep you.
DEBORAH MANNING 53:59.044 I have got one of those.
SCOTT OXFORD 54:00.334 Cool.
DEBORAH MANNING 54:01.037 And up until this year, it was one that I was engaging with often. So Qantas, for me, because I was travelling a lot. It was a time when I really wanted to be able to just get on a plane-- or go to an airport, get on a plane, and it was going to be an experience that was comfortable, I was travelling a lot. Also, their safety record. So just the fact that you could get on a plane and you knew that it hadn't crashed in X number of years, whatever it is today, I'm not even sure. But yeah, for me, that experience was always consistent in quality, yeah, and the safety element.
SCOTT OXFORD 54:37.343 I love that safety example. Because it's an old chestnut that we-- Rain Man. So Dustin Hoffman's character mentioned that all of those years ago. And it was, to me, a beautiful example of promotion based on a truth. He couldn't have said that. It wouldn't have resonated noted if it wasn't true. So half of it was the truth of the brand story, and the other half was just this most unexpected situation where it came out and became something that I'm sure the film makers probably had no idea. But what would the brand equity in that little piece of that film be for that company?
DEBORAH MANNING 55:17.732 Totally. Yeah. 100%. And especially as a nervous flyer, the fact that I could get on a plane and feel 98% confident that we weren't going to fall out of the sky at some point.
SCOTT OXFORD 55:29.501 That's a brand promise. That was key for you.
DEBORAH MANNING 55:32.938 Yeah. Yeah. So there you go.
SCOTT OXFORD 55:35.324 Oh great example. Yeah. Again, another passion of mine is around alignment and all singing from the same hymn book or what we prefer to call it, the single source of truth. I love doing a piece of work with a brand where we are absolutely about capturing that and really understanding from the perspective of the staff, certainly the leadership, but the staff themselves and then the customers and then the potential customers and really looking at alignment and misalignment. It really gives you a very clear evidence-based strategy on not what's wrong with the brand but how the brand's not telling its story well. Keeping it a well kept secret is pointless. But if we're all very, very clear on the story that we're telling and sharing in it-- it must be incredibly difficult for marketers where a brand just can't deliver on any sort of promise that they need to be telling, just when it doesn't deliver. I've got a good example of that where-- office photocopier, office printer, something like that, a large expensive enough one, and the sales guy gave us a great brand story and told us-- and then when it was delivered it didn't deliver. And I remember the guy who delivered it saying, "Oh these sales guys kill us. They keep making these promises that we just can't keep." And I thought that must be the most heartbreaking for everybody on the team because there's no long-term sales, there's no repeat business. It's just unhappiness all round.
DEBORAH MANNING 57:11.967 Yeah. Got actually a really funny one, and I'm sure, Louise, you've heard or seen this one, but with e-commerce, a lot of us buy clothes, shoes. And a few times I've tested out brands that I don't know. I've seen something that looks fabulous, bought the dress, got the dress, complete mess, honestly. I actually don't know how these companies, or these whatever they are, digital fashion outlets stay in business because the promise and the deliver are worlds apart.
SCOTT OXFORD 57:47.434 Yeah, and how can that be the case just for you.
DEBORAH MANNING 57:51.233 Yeah, and I know it's not just me. But, yes, completely.
SCOTT OXFORD 57:56.321 What do you think the biggest risk is for a software company around brand, the kind of mistake that would be easy to make?
LOUISE FLYNN 58:04.752 I think in businesses of 2020, the easiest mistake is to not look backward. There is some fantastic examples of brand online and offline, things that you can really learn. I think we easily discount people that have built brands in retail, and we forget that software is a service, has service in it. So there's some amazing service industries that we can reference in the learnings of building a brand. So I think it's really important for SAS founders, SAS scale-ups, people that are moving their SAS to the next level, that they look around them and learn from the brand, outside of just more software companies saying the same things. Because then they'll learn the experience of what it is to be 20 or 30 years with the brand and still making that same promise and building and promising and promising and promising and delivering over 30 years is an amazing effort. So the more you can learn outside of just software, branding outside of software, I think the more you can really enrich and build your brand.
SCOTT OXFORD 59:14.071 No, that's just, I guess, brilliant advice to be able to do a bit of an audit on how much we're making up here alone. Because I think if you look at companies like Who Gives a Crap, they're not abandoning everything that's gone before; they're just actually putting something in that wasn't there.
LOUISE FLYNN 59:31.456 And I am claiming them. They are a subscription business. I am a subscriber of their business. They regularly take money from me to deliver toilet paper with lovely paper on the outside [laughter] so they're constantly delivering on their promise.
SCOTT OXFORD 59:44.684 Yeah. And they're delivering for you beyond just the product that you're using, as well. They're delivering a story and I think that's a really interesting opportunity in the software space is how-- and I want to hear more of how software companies are being able to use their products to make people's lives better, in different ways. And I think that's a great story. It probably is being told. As again, I'm not a huge target group for software, as a service company, or large software companies but knowing that the businesses that I deal with, I hold them to higher account as I think we're finding the market place more and more is expecting more and they're expecting ethics to be rock solid. But they're [expecting?] give back and they're also expecting, more selfishly-- not selfish in a negative way but more about, "This has got to deliver. If I'm going to sign on the dotted line on behalf of my company it absolutely has to deliver what it is there." And so yeah, any final tips for someone out there who's got a [inaudible]-- Lou, from you, from a start-up perspective?
LOUISE FLYNN 01:52.591 I'm always about the promise. So you don't need to promise big but promise what you can deliver and that can iterate over time but particularly for start-ups and for scale-ups and for those people that are in a market where people can really test your ability to deliver on that promise, just promise a bit smaller. You don't have to promise the year 3020. Promise that you'll deliver in 2020 and that can iterate over time as you build the product and built the service you can build the promise and build the brand.
SCOTT OXFORD 01:01:24.178 And Deb, any advice, coming from the background of an organisation that has a huge and formidable track record? So nobody can accuse you of not delivering on what-- because you wouldn't get to this space if you weren't, and get to the size and scope. Any good tips that come from marketing at that level?
DEBORAH MANNING 01:01:41.150 I was actually going to say in answer to your question till Louise-- what was bubbling in my mind and I think what [inaudible] has done extremely well is being clear and making sure that that message penetrates every level [inaudible] organisation [inaudible]. When you've got a company that's 10,000, 11,000 [inaudible], it's critical to ensure that that cascades and they've done that well. So I think even [to our?] start-up I would say, "Be crisp, be clear about your--"
LOUISE FLYNN 01:02:13.156 In the execution, the execution of brand.
DEBORAH MANNING 01:02:14.086 Yeah. Yeah. Completely.
SCOTT OXFORD 01:02:16.787 Yeah. And I think in both of what you've said, for people listening outside of software as well, there's going to be people from all walks here, there's some great tips in there in terms of that sort of clarity of message.
DEBORAH MANNING 01:02:30.955 Actually, quite often our brand team talk about the golden thread that is woven through every experience and touch point and I think where you've got, in our case, numbers of products, numbers of experiences, is what's that golden thread that will be woven through? What's that message that will be picked up and carried in every interaction with a customer?
SCOTT OXFORD 01:02:52.398 And I think that golden thread is brand, absolutely.
DEBORAH MANNING 01:02:55.607 Yes. 100%. Yeah.
SCOTT OXFORD 01:02:57.297 And if you're going to sew with that golden thread then you have to absolutely know the brand, so.
DEBORAH MANNING 01:03:01.764 Yeah. Exactly.
SCOTT OXFORD 01:03:03.053 Great place to finish off. Deborah and Louise, thanks so much for joining me today. It was great to explore software and I know a heap more than I did before in that space, but I also just love-- there's some great principles in what you've shared as well that really make sense for brands to get it right, particularly those brands that, like software, may have the same limitations to market, may have those-- there's not necessarily a retail experience or a huge people experience in that but it's a product that changes people's lives and has a really powerful story to tell. So thanks, both.
DEBORAH MANNING 01:03:42.127 No worries. Great to be here.
LOUISE FLYNN 01:03:42.806 Thanks for having us.
SCOTT OXFORD 01:03:47.137 [music] If you've loved our conversation today, I'd love for you to subscribe. If there's someone like Deborah or Louise who you think would make a great guest then please get in touch. You can do that on the website brandjam.co. and if you [inaudible] question that you want us to address, a question aorund brand, then let us know. Just wrapping up, as I always do, as I mentioned earlier, in the wise words of my favourite ad man, Don Draper from Mad Men and super-resonant today because we've been talking about conversations, if you don't like what's being said, change the conversation. [music]