CMO at IAG • Sydney
As CMO at IAG Insurance, ex-CEO at Saatchi & Saatchi New York and with 3 coveted Gold Effies under his belt in the last two years, Brent Smart knows how to change the fortunes of businesses from the inside out.
In this episode, Brent shares how he’s taken NRMA Insurance from the 36th strongest brand in Australia to the 3rd, highlighting that with the right strategy, structure and use of technology, even the most mundane of brands can be exciting enough to sit right at the hearts of the everyday consumer.
Vice President of Brand Communications - Atlanta Hawks & State Farm Arena • Atlanta
With stints at Jive Records, Red Bull, Habitat for Humanity International and now the Atlanta Hawks, Janet Smith has had an impressive career in entertainment and experiential marketing.
CMO Unilever International & CEO Unilever Korea • Singapore
Aseem leads marketing, innovation and digital communications for Unilever International, responsible for managing brand building for a billion dollar portfolio.
Start-up advisor and ex-CMO Virgin America • San Francisco
Luanne Calvert has decades of experience shaping some of the world’s leading brands. She was Google’s first Creative Director, and served as CMO at Virgin America for 6 years.
Board Member, Advisor & Internet pioneer • São Paulo
An internet pioneer in the 80s and ex-CEO of Walmart.com in Brazil, Paulo Silva has over 25 years experience leading high performance teams across Latin America. He’s currently the founder and managing partner of RockOn Advisors.
General Manager - Australia, Tourism New Zealand • Sydney
Andrew heads up Tourism New Zealand's marketing and business operations in Australia. His 20 year career has seen him work on iconic brands such as Red Bull, Stella Artois and Beck’s.
Senior Marketer in Multicultural Beauty • New York
Lamar has helped some of the world's most iconic brands tell their stories through digital channels, including L’Oréal, Pepsi, Oreo and Nike, and is currently focussing on multicultural beauty.
Senior VP, Def Jam Recordings • New York
A music industry veteran, Jeff’s illustrious career has seen him hold senior positions at Columbia Records, Bad Boy Recordings and Syco Entertainment.
General Manager - Digital, Media & Marketing, AFL • Melbourne
With almost 20 years global experience specialising in the digital media and advertising technology sector, Sarah is currently overseeing the core news, content, creative and production teams of the AFL.
Co-Founder of Been There Done That • London
An ex-Grey veteran, David’s career has also spanned stints at Mojo, BBDO and Bates. He set up Been There Done That in 2014 to provide a new model for brands to access creative strategy.
Marketing Consultant & ex-Global Brand Director, Hiscox • London
Annabel currently runs a marketing consultancy after an impressive marketing career, including 11 years at Hiscox Insurance and 9 years at Coca-Cola.
Marketing Consultant • Sydney
With extensive experience working for global brands like Virgin Mobile, eBay and GoDaddy, Tracy is currently consulting for some of Australia’s fastest growing tech companies.
I’m Brent Smart, I’m the chief marketing officer at IAG.
Before this, I spent 20 years in the advertising business. I was CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi New York before coming back to Australia and taking the CMO gig at IAG.
Client side marketing has changed massively and I think it’s interesting you're now seeing more and more people like me, from a creative background, coming into client side roles, because creativity is no longer a nice to have, creativity is a must have.
We need so much more content to really feed our social networks and our own channels, and so most marketers today are making way more stuff than they used to. Gone are the days of making 30 pieces of content and running it all year. We really need to think about multiple pieces of content, across multiple platforms, and really think about how we make the content fit the platform. So as a marketer, you’ve got to be much more of a maker, you’ve got to really be passionate about making content and building a team that's able to make content. We can't just rely on outsourcing it to our industry partners anymore, like the old days.
I think another disruptive force marketers need to get their head around is the idea of brand purpose. We have a whole generation of consumers who are demanding that brands do good. And I'm really passionate about that. I worry about the planet that we’re leaving to my kids and so as someone who runs a big brand with scale that can make a difference, I feel like it's my responsibility to make sure we’re a purpose driven brand. And the way we think about that on NRMA insurance, our biggest brand, as we've just seen the worst bushfires we’re ever going to see in this country last summer and we've played a massive part in rebuilding a lot of those homes. But how do we also take a real strong position on climate change and help customers be more prepared for these climate events that are going to happen more and more into the future? And we take that really seriously at IAG. How do we make the world a safer place? That's our purpose.
When I was building the marketing structure at IAG, it was very clear to me that we needed three capabilities. For the first capability, I wanted to have world class brand management, the kind of brand management you would find at Procter & Gamble, not an insurance company. So we built a really strong brand management and then turbo charged it. I think in today's world, an awesome strategy is awesome content, so I set about building strategic capability in my marketing team, hired a bunch of planners from agencies and not to replace what my agencies do, but to give them the best briefs they've ever had.
On the content side, I really wanted to make sure we weren't just a marketing team, but we were a making team, we were able to make a bunch of content ourselves. That we were able to put things out to the world really quickly, that we really had more of an editorial view of the world than just a marketing view. So I hired someone from the world of publishing and media to head up our content team and we've built a really amazing content capability, that includes having an in-house agency that's able to make a whole bunch of different assets and things we need.
But really importantly I never believed that in-house agencies would replace what my agencies do. So they’re there to do a certain type of work, work that's really important for our business but the top level work, the work that really builds our brand, the work really gets in the culture, the work that makes our brands famous - I don't believe I'll ever be able to do it myself.
So when we built our in-house agency, we made the decision to embed talent from one of our agencies, as opposed to us hiring the talent, and again that's based on my belief that the agencies are able to attract better talent. Also, FTE budgets are constantly under pressure in big corporates so if you go an hire all those people they become of your FTE budget, but if you embedded agency people, it's actually part of your agency, production, media budget, and I've found I can have more flexibility with that budget than I can with my FTE budget.
So technology obviously impacts everything we do now in marketing, but I think too many marketers have gotten caught up with the technology and put the technology first, whereas we are definitely an ideas first marketing team. I believe that technology just enables ideas doesn’t replace ideas.
That said, we've got a big installed customer base and we are thinking a lot about how we provide a more personalized experience to those customers? Which means we need to have great data tools and we use a lot of the Adobe tools and really thinking about a personalised experience based on your relationship with us, based on some data signals we might be getting on your behaviour, but ultimately I think we need to remember personalised crap, is still crap, it doesn't matter that it’s personalised. You still need an idea at the heart of it. You still need to make this an experience worthy of the customer's time and that's why we tend to be idea first not technology first.