At last! My book Why Should Anyone Buy From YOU? available on Kindle

trust kindle

I am delighted to say that at long last my book – Why Should Anyone Buy From YOU? is available as a Kindle edition.

Now you can read all about how trust works, what you can do to create, nurture and capture it on your favourite e-reader. For more information on Why Should Anyone Buy from YOU? including videos, praise and free chapter click here.

Marketing Week: “The three bitter pills you need to take to restore brand trust”

Richard Madden, Chief Strategy Officer at Kitcatt Nohr Digitas wrote his column in Marketing Week (20th October 2011) on restoring trust in business inspired by my book Why Should Anyone Buy from You?

You can read the article by clicking below

PDF Richard Madden in Marketing Week writing about my book and brand trust

and

Online here:  Marketing Week column Richard Madden

Thanks

Justin

HUMBLE IN THE FACE OF YOUR CUSTOMER

Excerpts from my interview with Nigel Gilbert – CMO of Virgin Media and former CMO Lloyds Banking Group

“All institutions, but especially financial services ignore a lack of trust at their peril. One of the positive outcomes that I hope from the recent difficult period is a diminishment of the arrogance that businesses have often treated their customers and clients with in the past. Arrogance is a deeply untrustworthy and unattractive trait. You should always be humble in the face of your customer. They have a choice and you shouldn’t simply assume their loyalty. ”

“They must look into their own hearts and really see what they are doing. There is often a dichotomy between what companies say they are about and what they actually do – their actions and their words are different. Organisations need to be more forensic about their activities, the impact of their actions and how they are perceived.”

For the complete guide on how to create trust in your businesses and brands get your copy of Why Should Anyone Buy from You? BUY NOW

LEADERSHIP: MARKETING FOR SOCIAL GOOD

In last week’s Marketing Week there was an article that I contributed an interview to called Beyond the Boardroom Walls written by Lucy Handley. It is well worth reading.

The central premise is that marketing can change behaviour positively and negatively. Using the skills, creativity and ideas of marketing it has the potential to make an important contribution to solving some of the issues that we face in our society and world.

I explored some of these trends and ideas in my recent presentation at the 3rd CMO Conference and in a presentation I co-authored with Tom Farrand from Pipeline called the True Value of Brands. Both can be seen at my slideshare site.

If you have ideas or thoughts on these issues or the social role of marketing then please comment below.

If you want to stay in touch with the latest in marketing and brand re:thinking then please sign up to the RSS or email feed – it’s free and easy.

Justin

Mail me: justin@basini.com
My website & the RE:Thinking Marketing & Brands blog:http://www.basini.com/
Follow me: www.twitter.com/justinbasini

LEADERSHIP: FROM SHAREHOLDERS TO STAKEHOLDERS (CMO Conference)

Last week I gave a talk at the 3rd Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Conference in Zurich entitled:

Leadership in Marketing: from shareholder value to stakeholder value.

You can see the presentation at my slideshare site.

The presentation can be summarised through the following themes.

Marketing has been fantastic at creating consumption which has been the engine of the increase in material standards of living in the West. But that consumption in its current forms is becoming a drag on well-being not a way to increase happiness and well-being, it is also massively unsustainable as populations grow and more aspire to a consumer lifestyle. This together with the increasing sophistication of marketing, cynicism of the media and lack of understanding of why business exists means that trust has been eroded. Marketing is at some level culpable for the over-consumption that is an acute threat and more generally consumption which is a chronic threat. Leadership in marketing will be seeing these issues and responding to their challenges in a way that can restore trust and legitimacy for brands, business and marketing.

Some of these themes have been recently covered in an article that I contributed to in Marketing Week and also much of this thinking comes from the other blog I founded: www.conservation-economy.org.

Phew, there it is (now you don’t need to look at the presentation!)

Please if you have comments or thoughts please share them.

Thanks for reading,

Justin

If you want to stay in touch with the latest in marketing and brand re:thinking then please sign up to the RSS or email feed – it’s free and easy.

Justin

Mail me: justin@basini.com
My website & the RE:Thinking Marketing & Brands blog:http://www.basini.com/
Follow me: www.twitter.com/justinbasini

THE DEATH OF THE CMO?

Today I read that Vodafone has made the decision to axe the role of CMO from its board.

Is this just the result of a long standing lack of get-up-and-go in the Vodafone brand and it’s marketing or the sign of something a whole lot more important?

Anyone who knows even a little about Vodafone understands that it is a product led organisation which like many businesses struggles with understanding and delivering for customers. There has been a string of changes at the higher levels both in the UK and globally with David Wheldon leaving as Brand Director and Andy Moore leaving as Head of Insight.

The Vodafone brand is seemingly directionless in terms of both advantage and leadership especially in those markets where it holds an incumbent player status such as the UK. Of course those times, even in the UK, are changing as T-Mobile and Orange merge and consumers are taught that all the main players are broadly the same and the market is largely commoditised.

The CMO role hasn’t just been axed but replaced by a Chief Commercial Officer role and a Group Commercial function that will apparently, “help it focus on its customer and commercial strength, leadership in data, brand advocacy, cost efficiency and shareholder returns by reducing layers and simplifying managerial governance.” Clearly the last few Vodafone CMOs and their organisations haven’t done a very good job of communicating and delivering, if the only mention in the description of this new function of brand or marketing is “brand advocacy” (whatever that means).

So what is going on?

On one hand if it is Vodafone giving up on their marketing organisation whilst pretty demoralising for their marketing team, then so be it – they were pretty crap at it and their organisation has clearly rejected efforts to change. Stick to what you know and be true to thyself.

However if on the other hand it is Vodafone deciding that the core skills of world-class marketing are no longer relevant or valuable to them then I fear they’ve just accelerated the race to the bottom. A bottom that will all be about commoditised price-based products, no rewards for loyalty, constant switching, crap service and ultimately a smaller profit pool for the whole industry. That’s what happens marketing is replaced by the purely commercial.

Understanding customers, creating profitable propositions that leverage their technological and data advantages, delivering this as a compelling message to those customers, and commanding their loyalty profitability are what a CMO and marketing organisation should be able to do within any corporate culture if they are good at what they do.

As a customer I hope Vodafone stay true to tried and true marketing principles even if depressingly they have decided that the best way to implement them is not through a dedicated marketing function.

If you want to stay in touch with the latest in marketing and brand re:thinking then please sign up to the RSS or email feed – it’s free and easy.

Justin

Mail me: justin@basini.com
My website & the RE:Thinking Marketing & Brands blog:http://www.basini.com/
Follow me: www.twitter.com/justinbasini

LEADERSHIP: FROM SHAREHOLDER VALUE TO STAKEHOLDER VALUE

I have just finalised and agreed my topic at the 3rd annual CMO Conference in Zurich on 30th September which will be:

Leadership in Marketing: from shareholder value to stakeholder value

I’ll be covering the following questions.

  • How do businesses and brands build and rebuild the trust of consumers and society?
  • How do businesses and brands respond to the changing landscape of needs?
  • What is the role of brands and marketing in answering the challenges of sustainability?
  • How do we as leaders put humanity back into business outcomes?

I’m hoping the session will be thought provoking and interactive. I will explore several significant leadership challenges for business, brands and CMOs namely the need for more balanced outcomes from business as we move from a ruthless shareholder view to building stakeholder value. The battle for leadership in business and brands is increasingly being fought on a landscape that is intrinsically linked with sustainability and transparency in an effort to build and rebuild the trust of people and our society.

The session will include a presentation of the findings of my in depth study
into trust, humanity and sustainability, case studies of emergent best
practise and discussion amongst the group around some fundamental strategic questions.

I hope to see you there but if not then sign up to my RSS or email feed – it’s free and easy – and you will get a copy of my presentation with audiocast.

Thanks

Justin

Mail me: justin@basini.com
My website & the RE:Thinking Marketing & Brands blog:http://www.basini.com/
Follow me: www.twitter.com/justinbasini

I’M SPEAKING AT THE 3RD EUROPEAN CMO CONFERENCE

It’s just been confirmed that I’m going to speak at the 3rd European Chief Marketing Officers Conference in Zurich on the 30th September.

I attended last year and you can read my thoughts here.

It’s a really great conference and this year the headline act is Jim Stengel who was CMO for Procter & Gamble. I remember meeting Jim once whilst I was at P&G (although he won’t remember me!)

I’m going to speak on re-thinking marketing as a driver of humanity in business. If you’ve got any ideas on this then please drop me a line!

The Conference is a great opportunity to network and interact with true leaders in our field so I hope to see you there.

Justin

Mail me: justin@basini.com
My website & the RE:Thinking Marketing & Brands blog:http://www.basini.com/
Follow me: www.twitter.com/justinbasini

DID BRANDING KILL THE MARKETING STAR?

Ask most people in and out of business about branding and they will tell you its the name, colours, and logos of a company. Ask them about marketing and they say it is about flogging more stuff. But surely CEOs and other senior managers don't think this do they? They must understand the strategic importance of positioning and segmentation as we brand a company. Or the complexities of consumer insight, proposition development, and pricing as we create consideration and preference, generating ROMI, as we market.

Actually in most businesses I think the strategic understanding of these opportunities and processes is poor even at the highest levels. And we, as marketers, do a bad job of communicating these differences; we are supposed to be experts at getting ideas to spread – yet we can't even do it with our own profession. This is compounded by the modern obsession with branding and brand value.

Go back to the 1930s and marketing was a pretty basic process of simple advertising shifting more product. Sure Procter & Gamble were "managing brands" but most marketers were just flogging stuff that they didn't have much of a hand in developing. Most of the interesting work was happening in PR. Following the Second World War and strategic marketing starts to take off. I insisted that anyone who worked for me read the classic Theodore Levitt HBR paper Marketing Myopia (if you work in marketing and haven't read it shame on you). Levitt made the case for marketing to move beyond a sales stimulation function to one that created value through owning the process by which a company could tap into consumer needs and create branded propositions which became long term profitable assets.

Marketing was doing OK during the 1950s and 60s. The post war growth in consumerism proved the case day after day that this strategic approach to marketing worked. The marketer was a respected member of the team. But then something started to breakdown. Whether it was the oil crises of the 1970s putting the break on consumption or cost cutting in the 1980s, or the rise of the services sector in the 1990s, marketers seemed to lose the strategic agenda. Suddenly brand was the asset we were all managing. The marketing process seemed to lose its magic at creating tangible value and was replaced by intangible value. Companies started investing in their brands – there was money to be made, and value to be built, through the name and logo. Run a few workshops, develop a few names and designs, and then implement. Even better that the CEO was prepared to attend some of the workshops! This was much easier than working in the strategic marketing salt mines. This focus on the surface was conveniently supported by the prevailing Zeitgeist of the 1990s and 2000s. Fashion and celebrity was what caught people's attention.

I think we are at a turning point once more. The worst recession since the 1930s has broken something again. We are still in the eye of the storm but opportunity comes from thinking about the long term impacts. It's ironic that in all major recessions innovation and entrepreneurship actually increase despite the economy tanking. Talent comes out of big businesses and capital chases new ideas as returns wither elsewhere. The successful innovative start-ups disrupt markets and steal share from incumbents. They are closer to their customers, deliver better value and find profitable niches.  In turn this means that the incumbents need to raise their game. Richard Lambert, the Director General of the CBI, said at the RSA on Monday night that the last 20 years had been an aberration of business and capitalism. The link between access to capital and risk was weakened and seemingly "leverage" (or debt to you and me) was seen as an almost guaranteed way to make money. The broader impact of businesses on society and humanity was subsumed by the out of control growth obsessed markets. We now see it was all so unsustainable.

Forgetting humanity when humanity is your route to productivity, customer satisfaction, and even investment was clearly never a long term winner. This gives marketers the biggest opportunity for decades to re-engage and move away from the surface obsession with branding and go back to creating extraordinary value by leading the charge of putting humanity back into business. That's what a marketer has the potential to deliver on the board. Combine this with creative vision and an ability to communicate and we might just see the re-emergence of strategic marketing and marketers as long term value creators.

What do you think? Do you think that marketing needs to reclaim a strategic agenda? What's your experience?

Please comment and share your view below. 

If you enjoyed this post then why not consider subscribing to the blog – it's free and easy – click here

Justin

Mail me: justin@basini.com

My website and blog: http://www.basini.com/

Follow me: www.twitter.com/justinbasini

JUST HOW SPECIAL AND DIFFERENT ARE FINANCIAL SERVICES BRANDS?

This morning I took part in a lively debate organised by the Financial Services Forum and their newly formed Brand Strategy group chaired by the inestimable Lucian Camp.

I shared the floor with Tim Pile who is CEO of Cogent Elliott and has a long and distinguished career in marketing including being CEO of Sainsburys Bank and the insightful Mike Hoban who is now running marketing for DirectGov and has had successful stints at Scottish Widows and Barclaycard.

We were each asked by Lucian to describe the essence of brand building in either Packaged goods (Tim took this on), Services (excluding financial services – Mike took this one) and Financial Services (this was mine).

My key point was that I believe many of the principles of brand building are common irrespective of category because essentially we are dealing with human psychology but that the context of these principles within financial services does make it "special and different".

Three context differences in financial services:

1. Financial services companies are hard wired around product and P&L analysis rather than brand and customer.

This means that the power within financial services companies almost always resides within commercial product owners rather than marketing. These leaders are trained in P&L, balance sheet risk, regulatory compliance, operational effectiveness not marketing, brand, experience and customer.

The very logic of brand building, positioning for strategic competitive advantage, customer segmentation, product development based on consumer need are all more difficult concepts in a financial services organisation. The result is an industry that in general creates me-too products which are overly complex, often game the consumer, provide a poor overall experience and are communicated in complex jargon.

2. Financial services are delivered through people. And people are much harder to manage than a shampoo formulation.

Certainly in most product categories especially the FMCG companies, brands are entities created to effectively penetrate the customer mind and form associations with product performance rather than being a set of associations about a group of people doing something. In most cases in FMCG companies the brand you are marketing is not the brand you work for. Given most financial services organisations have one or only a few brand the internal service and brand alignment challenge in these brands is core and material to their success. From the Indian call centre agent to the CEO in a financial organisation each needs to understand the brand and how it applies to their job.

3. Financial services products tend to be more risky and complex than many other types of products or services. They require much more effort from the consumer and the provider.

An irony of financial services businesses is that the organisation often believes they are the most commoditised of products. I used to be told all the time at Capital One – credit cards are a “low involvement” business. Consumers take a product and then want us to disappear into the background.

But having spent lots of time obsessing about how to make white gloop in a bottle exciting to consumers, I don’t think that financial services products are or should be low involvement – they have a massive impact on people’s lives and well being.

If they low involvement its probably because they are difficult and complex to communicate and understand. This combines with the terrible mess we are in from a regulatory perspective, defaulting to complete, unedited exposure of all information, to make it extremely difficult for the consumer to make an informed and empowered decision.

And finally (as Lucian called it the "Basini bombshell") I ended up questioning one of the core purposes of brand building:

4. Financial services brands – it's not about being different but about making a difference

The strategic goal of marketing in many businesses is to create a differentiated position in the market that gives you competitive advantage through cheaper cost of sales or price premium for example. Of the many principles that we could consider this is perhaps one of the most fundamental.

Actually I’m not sure this has been proven effective for the main stream brands in financial services. If we look at our banks for example. A highly consolidated and inert market with very little to split apart the businesses products, performance or promise.  Certainly not enough to encourage mass switching to occur except maybe in those more liquid and more easily gamed products like credit cards.

In highly competitive and easily switched categories there is definite advantage to creating new ideas that better match and deliver against the consumer’s myriad needs. But the difference in financial services given their complex, impactful and long term nature is that aim shouldn’t be to create the new, new thing to gain share at the expense of customer loyalty but to focus on superior product reliability and partnership as a route to extracting competitive advantage and value. This is how our organisations and products can make a difference.

As marketers, we may not be in the right job to get to the CEO spot, we might be wired a little differently from the mainstream in our organisations but given our products are difficult and risky, and are built through human relationships and service, we have myriad opportunities to build great brands which have lasting value for our organisations and customers.

Lucian's blog on the session can be read here. 
 

Here is my presentation as a slidecast:

 

Thanks for reading. As always please share and comment if you've got a view.

Justin

Mail me: justin@basini.com
My website & Blog: http://www.basini.com/
Follow me: www.twitter.com/justinbasini

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