A Show called Brandin’: Who is your customer; which brands do CMOs personally rate most highly as consumers - and why we should stop asking customers what they want
Welcome to a brand new five-part video series on brands in culture, creativity and commerce that won't fry your brain. We talk to CMOs, celebrity chefs and shakedown Ted Talk's third most popular speaker of all time, Simon Sinek. In this edition CMOs from Suncorp and Australia Post get personal and a futurist and a farmer talk "the new customer". Former ad man and Gruen panellist Dan Gregory and his Behaviour Report co-founder Kieran Flanagan take a fast and occasionally funny ride through Peter Field and Les Binet's famed work on marketing effectiveness and the five principles of brand management for B2B and B2C marketing.
Check out the first episode of A Show Called Brandin' below:
Mi3's A Show Called Brandin' is bought to you by The Behaviour Report, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions and The B2B Institute. Episode one tackles who is your customer – and who isn’t? And why brands need to start thinking differently as B2B and B2C worlds collide. Hit play for some pre-festive "edutainment".
The who’s who of marketing
Simon Sinek says Start With Why. That approach has made him the third most popular TED talker of all time and convinced millions of would-be leaders to part with $28.95 for his eponymous book - which genuinely comes complete with removable autograph.
But the world’s biggest brand, Apple, started with who. Dan Gregory suggests that’s not a bad place for the rest of us. The question is, “who is your who?”
Says Gregory: “Your customer may not be who you think they are, or even where you think they are.”
As Gregory illustrates, “Facebook’s fastest growing segment is the over 65s. That’s right. Nana is poking people online”. Likewise, he says Harley Davidson sells more bikes to forty year-old accountants than bikies.
So how can brands become more ‘who-centric’ and is customer-centricity even a good thing?
To answer that question, Gregory’s Behaviour Report partner in crime, Kieran Flanagan, turned to adland’s favourite consumer psychologist, Adam Ferrier.
“We’re listening to the customer too much,” reckons the Thinkerbell founder. Marketers should instead just follow the data trails and concentrate on what’s important: the brand.
“It’s still important to understand the customer. But that doesn’t mean actually asking the customer. We are really bad at telling the truth about our own motivations,” he says. “So don’t ask the customer. Ask somebody else about that customer.”
Ferrier has just one request for marketers: “Spend more time focusing on what your brand stands for and less time on listening out for when the customer farts or eats breakfast or whatever it is.”
So Brandin’ ignored all of that asked some customers about their habits and preferences – only these customers are also marketers.
When CMOs become customers
Australia Post chief marketer Amber Collins and Suncorp counterpart Mim Haysom revealed their wit, tolerance and brand preferences to Mi3’s Paul McIntyre in a rapid-fire Q&A.
No more waiting
Asked to rate the most improved customer experience post-Covid, one of the pair opted for the GP’s surgery: “No more waiting rooms with dog-eared magazines. They call you when scheduled, instant billing; it has completely revolutionised the category”.
The other didn’t hesitate to nominate Dan Murphy’s home delivery: “Arriving in two hours was pretty amazing and very consistent. Like most households with kids during lockdown, that was a bit of a saviour!”
To match the marketer with the answer, watch the CMO Couch segment.
Though divergent on Dan Murphy’s and the doctors, both CMOs have taken comfort from simple pleasures during covid.
Meanwhile “massive cheese lover” Mim Haysom says she struck gold with Cheese Therapy (tagline, ‘Blessed are the cheesemakers’). The Buderim-based firm delivers Australian artisan cheese to the doorstep. “It arrives Friday and it’s gone by Sunday,” Haysom admits.
Podcasts, Netflix and Channel Nine
Like all true Melburnians, Amber Collins digests headlines in The Age every morning. For balance she also checks the Guardian and The Daily Mail, alongside the ABC on TV and occasionally online.
Mim Haysom starts the day with The Briefing, a 20-minute podcast summary of the daily news. The AFR is also a must. In the evening, it’s Netflix.
Under intense pressure during the Q&A, both marketer-customers opted for Nine as their go-to media channel, and both also cited podcasts as their best new product discoveries.
The one brand they truly love
While the whole world has gone digital, both marketers opted for physical retail when asked to name a brand they truly love.
“When I go into that store, I could meditate. I feel so happy and blissed out by the way they operate, their service, everything. I love it,” said Collins.
“They have these beautiful stores and this great sensory experience. You can stay in there for hours – and whenever you buys something and you leave you feel really spoiled,” said Haysom.
Which stores? Watch the show.
Selling the sizzle: from B2B to B2C and back again
High-end steak retailer Mr Wagyu was left with a metric tonne of beef on its hands when its B2B customers shuttered during lockdown. So it built a direct-to-consumer business literally overnight.
The plan worked. Locked down Australians craved prime cuts – though the business had to quickly learn to “become people’s people, how to relate, and change how we marketed and packaged our products,” says the man known as Mr Wagyu, Gary Green.
On the flip side, the firm now is now applying lessons from B2C pivot back into its B2B operation.
“The biggest thing we learnt? You assume when dealing the B2B customers that they ‘get it’ more. But they have the same pain points and fears in a lot of ways as B2C,” says Green. “So we learned from dealing with a broader demographic that we had made our B2B business too commercial.”
Meanwhile the humble dumpling provided another lesson around the value of collaboration and co-creation.
“We found a small company called Veronton, a lady who makes and delivers dumplings. At first she didn’t think dumplings with beef would taste any good. But we gave her a couple of kilos of wagu,” says Green. “One of Australia’s top chef’s tasted them, put it on social and her business skyrocketed. So we have found that by assisting other businesses and trying to help them grow, it is reciprocated.”
Collaborative approaches unlock greater growth prospects in a world where the lines between B2B and B2C marketing are blurring, reckons Futurist, CEO of brand strategy outfit Light Years and B2B Institute Fellow, Lucie Greene.
As Mr Wagyu has found, she says “the new b2b products look like consumer brands and lifestyle brands – because they kind of are.”
Post-covid, she says those lines are more blurred than ever – with people living online professionally and personally at home.
Even the ultimate B2B marketer, Salesforce, is now lifting shamelessly from the B2C playbook. “They are running online conferences around leadership,” says Greene, “but then the audience also gets to listen to Sheryl Crow do a live performance.”
Well, if it makes them happy…
Tune in next week for celebrity chef Manu Feildel on finding new customers from failure and join IBM and IAG chief marketers Jodie Sangster and Brent Smart on the CMO couch for the brands they rate when they switch off and become normal people.