On this episode, Jordan, Ritchie and Mark cover the impact of COVID-19 in the marketing world, brands doing well and not so well, how to manage your budget and the BLM movement.
Our special guest Mark Evans is the Managing Director of Marketing & Digital at Direct Line Group.
He holds a number of positions including:
Outside of his work he is the founder of The Sprintathon which aims to beat cancer faster and has now raised over £500k for Stand Up To Cancer
[00:00:04.560] - Ritchie Mehta
KFC, I think, has nailed this at this point. So marketing director Jack Hitless talked about the role of being having ruthless privatization. And by that, he means, you know, really sticking to your media plans, your creative plans, looking at how you reach out to your customers in different, more innovative ways and being ruthless with the way privatize it at the moment. And they've just done a brilliant job with that.
[00:00:32.140] - Ritchie Mehta
Don't if anyone noticed or saw we missed you too campaign, which is when KFC got back into the market to the do home delivery. I know it was an amazing campaign that they launched and it was simply on the back of like taking social media videos of all their customers who I posted so funny videos of how they've missed KFC during the lockdown and then KFC repurposed that so great on creative because they used other people's creative so cheap.
[00:01:01.440] - Ritchie Mehta
You know, they highlighted their most loyal customers and appreciated them. They use organic and social media to go viral and they show people how they appreciated the show, others how their loyal customers appreciated them. All in all, a brilliant campaign. So my advice is to be ruthless. Ruthless prioritization is key.
[00:01:22.160] - Jordan Harry
That's powerful. That's powerful. And I'm a big believer in productivity and, you know, prioritizing your schedule, not letting your schedule prioritize you. And so when you start to schedule priorities and understand because I think now we live in this world of abundance where there are so many marketing opportunities. And, you know, Mark, you know, you're almost too curious. You can almost feel overwhelmed. And that's when you know which you're thinking of being ruthless, getting down to the real core of what you're trying to achieve right now.
[00:01:51.770] - Jordan Harry
It's powerful and it's a great Segway because you're talking about a great example of an organization that's doing it well. And I hope you don't mind if we now dig a little bit deeper into your organization's mark. I'd love to know what's changed in your organization. And is it working specifically to what we're discussing this morning?
[00:02:14.520] - Mark Evans
Yes. So, I mean, I suppose the obvious thing is that we went from a ninety-nine point nine percent office-based competitor to the reverse. But that was a bit of a foot race. And it was a hint of what was to come, which I think is that you know, this is the agility to the fore. We were already down that road towards enterprise-wide angel functioning, the time we grow of our skills right in the middle of a consultation process to sort of restructuring process.
[00:02:41.670] - Mark Evans
We'd already established what we thought we needed in terms of agile behaviours and be curious is one of them. So, you know, you can see that in these with these Darwinian Gael's, it's definitely about agility. So what does that look like in the in a few weeks following the coronavirus? We did 116 Web releases and we did more experimentation on the home page in a few weeks than we've done in the last five years. So I think this is a time where we've embraced experimentation, but we changed our risk appetite a bit.
[00:03:13.610] - Mark Evans
I think the key thing is that we found that we were only limited by our own beliefs. So did the main change in the behaviours is an acceleration of the agile behaviours that we do chalk up. And so we do see agile as a big leapfrog lever in the times that we find ourselves. And so it's sort of, you know, it's. It's almost a case of we said we needed to go agile and here are all the drivers of change that forcing us down this road.
[00:03:46.100] - Mark Evans
And it was, you know, good old, lest we just haven't put condemning viruses on the list. But we could have done because it's the same thing. It's going to be agile organizations. And I'm sure to come on to other examples of, you know, organizations and brands that are pivoted, but that all falls under the bucket of just being more agile and more accepting of experimentation, more expected sensing of failure and other behaviour. Is this test learn and adapt.
[00:04:07.670] - Mark Evans
And that says, you know, we expect to fail, not fail. As in, we messed it up, but fail us in it. Quite right. It needs to iterate. The next sprint will crack it. So you know, I just think this service, this moment is found out. Those companies that do not have an agile way of working.
[00:04:25.130] - Jordan Harry
Fascinating. And, you know, you pick Tao Bisque and me, I am a big believer in taking a controlled risk.
[00:04:33.980] - Jordan Harry
How does an organization like DDirect Line determine calculated risk, if you don't mind, Shann? Is that a Kafeel to process? Is that a system?
[00:04:45.530] - Mark Evans
Because it would say we I mean, our whole business is managing risk. You know, we'd price risk. That's what it still exists. You know, we're pretty familiar and we have a chief risk officer, as all financial services companies do. And we do have this concept of a risk appetite where we talk about, so what's an acceptable level of risk of regulatory intervention? And we are still fairly cautious. But in terms of delivery of change to consumers, I suppose, you know, the beauty of our job is that when you fail, you only fell for two weeks.
[00:05:14.470] - Mark Evans
And as you know, the next sprint is your fix it. And so the other concept that gets referred to is sort of blast radius, which is, you know, potentially a bit more sort of a confrontational. But it said is that, you know, it contains Spotify. Talk to this very, very clearly. You know, it's a small part of the Web site for a small number of customers for a small period of time.
[00:05:39.390] - Mark Evans
And so, you know, you have to accept some of the risks as a result of trying to change anything. So it's, you know, the combination of having a pretty strong structure, structured approach with an acceptance that failure is only temporary. I think the two things that do powerful, powerful love with the risk being a guess.
[00:05:58.650] - Jordan Harry
And what risks are we taking?
[00:06:06.870] - Ritchie Mehta
Oh, God. Well, look, I mean, the good thing is I can contrast, you know, working in a much smaller organization to what Mark is leading one of their largest organizations in the UK. And I think to that extent, perhaps it creates an interesting way of thinking about it. So for us, look, there are three things that I think we're doing differently at this time. I'm not sure if it answers the risk question specifically.
[00:06:31.170] - Ritchie Mehta
Maybe that it does. But the first thing is we have to look after our cash. I mean, it's critical. You know, we said you don't have as much bang with us as larger organizations do. So how do we do that? That's an interesting concept that that read. And the one number one metric that I'm looking at right now is something called cash conversion cycle. And what the cash conversion cycle effectively is, is how long does it take for you to get paid from the time you start work and to complete the transaction?
[00:07:00.270] - Ritchie Mehta
It's as simple as that. It's the number of days that it takes. Now, at this point, the most important thing that I can do for the business is to try and shorten that cycle down. And I'm sure a lot of businesses will be feeling the same. The shorter the cycle is, the better the cash flow you have, the more security you have. And so for me, cash is king. That's what I'm trying to do.
[00:07:18.750] - Ritchie Mehta
Amazon used the same concept, the dot com bubble to survive. So that's one of the things that I'm doing right. I'm trying to do effectively. The second thing I'm doing is innovating like absolutely crazy. Last three months, everybody came to me. I talked about the need for digital skills. And so we are at the forefront of that. We're helping people. Subscriber numbers have tripled over the last three months on the back of that, helping people get digital skills, but also helping people with, say, working from home.
[00:07:46.470] - Ritchie Mehta
As Marc mentioned, as well as mental health was a big issue around sort of this Zoome fatigue, of course, but contributing to it. Right now, we're trying to help in that respect, too. And then the final thing I would say is we're trying to create a more empathetic small business. And what that means is we want to be led by field and our employees are going through a hell of a lot of stuff at the moment.
[00:08:09.020] - Ritchie Mehta
You know, whether it's our feeling of losing jobs, losing help, losing family members, all of this stuff is culminating to something really difficult. And we're still trying to keep the doors open and keep our clients happy. So actually, the key for me is being empathetic to everybody sort of needs in that respect. And just actually being more open about it, being more transparent with everyone about what the situation is and what we can do as a company.
[00:08:35.640] - Ritchie Mehta
So that's what we're trying to do to try and have, I guess, mitigate the risks of not existing, because that's genuinely what it comes down to. Official.
[00:08:47.070] - Jordan Harry
And I generally hope I can speak in front of this group that whether you work for someone or you employ people. Transparency is more important than ever now. I think a lot of people in this chat right now are realizing how secure. And some people are finding out last minute and what I value, which is how transparent you have been with myself, you know, from budget to what we're doing Day-To-Day.
[00:09:20.160] - Jordan Harry
You're welcome. You're welcome. And so when we talk about transparency, we won't go too in-depth because we don't get too personal.
[00:09:28.880] - Jordan Harry
But, Mark, how are the Direct Line Group currently managing the budget at the moment? Is there anything different?
[00:09:39.660] - Mark Evans
Yes, it's a good question. So probably take about two levels. The first is in terms of our overall financial position, you know, insurance, where we're a little bit fortunate in that it's a mandatory purchase in many, many cases. So the sky is not falling. I think if I was in trouble pretty differently about the world. But we're doing our best to try and help customers at this moment. And that's costing us money. So the thing I would say is right at the beginning of this crisis, we set out four criteria for success factors and what we get through this crisis.
[00:10:08.910] - Mark Evans
And it's been tremendously galvanizing and purifying and distilling. And it's helped us make some really tough decisions quite easily. The first was looking after our people. The second was looking after our customers. The third was keep thinking long term. And the fourth was in the nation's interest because we're. You sure. And so that meant we've spent an awful lot of money doing those things, including doing, you know, helping put people put food on the table in our local community.
[00:10:36.490] - Mark Evans
So we're based in seven sites in the U.K., things that we never call doing before. So the community side is so really all-new, but also giving value back to customers when they're not getting the full benefit of their insurance. So overall, you know, we're balancing all that. And I think from a financial point, you were pretty stable. Insurance is fortunate in that regard. In terms of the marketing budget, I know obviously that the bit that I'm more responsible for.
[00:11:00.450] - Mark Evans
I think it's an interesting one. So we've seen we saw Coke were first out of the gate shopping or their marketing spend. And yet, you know, the back to the point about the countertrend, I think in some regards, the more things change, the more they stay the same. You gotta be careful about throwing the baby out with the bathwater and your brands are built over time and equity is fragile and cumulative. And so there's a lot of evidence actually from the financial crisis.
[00:11:26.530] - Mark Evans
Bronzy did a great case study. Those brands that keep spending accelerate back out of the recession much quicker. And sometimes you get an additional share of voice, which can be beneficial. So, you know, we are holding our marketing spend, and that's probably been my primary job in these last few months, is to make everyone else will get to stakeholders in the business, realize that that's the most sensible thing to do and cuts at our peril. And also know there is a bit of media deflation as well.
[00:11:52.690] - Mark Evans
So for those who can fully respect in some sectors, it's not possible. But for those who can, this is the time to hold your nerve. And deep down, I think people want a lot of normality, the lives that they had before. Some things will change. Some good things will change. But in the end, you know, let's not lose the fact that brands are still the ways that organizations may form relationships with customers, that the way they give value to customers and get value back.
[00:12:19.510] - Mark Evans
So you wouldn't stop feeding your children at this point. You could do so. You would. So I just think it's a time to hold on. So, yeah, we're holding firm. And that's a bit of a big part of my job to reassure everybody that that's the right thing to do.
[00:12:40.220] - Jordan Harry
Do you think the media mix has changed over this current three months?
[00:12:49.300] - Mark Evans
Yeah, a little bit. I mean, so well, we were two weeks into three weeks into a massive brand relaunch and a big one because on the back of Harvey Keitel, which is has been described as the best relaunch of the last decade and not by me, but by some others. Then to change that again, you know, that's a big story. Three weeks in media plans in the bin. So quite a big pivot there. Gain agility.
[00:13:13.380] - Mark Evans
But I mean, it's mainly it's by necessity. So the cinema market is gone. Outdoors, gone. TV is quite cheap. So it's not necessarily a big shift from analogue to digital because TV is holding up pretty well. It's you know, it's never been cheaper. But, yeah, I mean, completely changed. And we had we've had to completely reset. We don't program really whether this will how it will settle is interesting. One, in terms of whether because the big trend is obviously TV is declining over time.
[00:13:46.930] - Mark Evans
It's still crucial and still very high value, but it is declining over time. But we've obviously seen a return to TV and it's going to be super interesting about how companies and society do deals with getting back into offices. It's not really a marketing conversation, but if there is this mixed model and people are now working from home half of that time and getting two, three, four hours back a day, then that's a massive shift on the whole media landscape.
[00:14:15.970] - Mark Evans
And so I think we're watching to see how it normalizes in our organization with firmly committed to finding a mixed model that people's lives have changed. No, nothing has changed more in people's lives than the fact that they are not having to commute five days a week. So that's a big, big shift. But, you know, a bit to be curious, does it just not declaring any conclusions right now because things are changing by the hour, let alone the week in the month.
[00:14:40.010] - Mark Evans
So it's a really good question, Ritch, because I think it's okay to say don't know. But we'll be you know, we'll be flexible.
[00:14:47.140] - Ritchie Mehta
You know, Marc, I find that I find it fascinating. And I think the point about waiting and seeing and not being a job is actually critical here. I give you a great example to make. You and I obviously came from HSBC many, many moons ago. And at the height of the credit crunch, right when we saw HSBC was one of the first companies to announce that the subprime issue in the states. So that first quarter, they basically did a default locked out of it.
[00:15:15.480] - Ritchie Mehta
They announced that default of one billion dollars at that time. Right. That was about two, three months into the credit crunch. And they thought that was the scale of the impact. What do you think was the complete write down at the end of the credit crisis? HSBC. And he gets. No, this 17 billion. So talk about the wait and see. Right. And you think it's gonna be one thing, but actually, it's a whole lot more once you get used to that.
[00:15:42.190] - Ritchie Mehta
And I think people's knee jerk and it is a big problem there.
[00:15:47.310] - Ritchie Mehta
But interesting, John Dog thought to kind of add to the question around, but Mark was saying, I mean, Ebiquity, but they ran a similar study as you commented them up. And actually, you know, increasing budgets at this point in time leads to a one-point seven percent increase in market share thereafter when times get better. So there is absolute evidence. You know, stick to your guns and suddenly, you know, if you can come out better.
[00:16:09.220] - Ritchie Mehta
However, if I look at it from our perspective, guys, I'm on hold my hand. I don't have a marketing budget. Right. I'm operating on a totally different scale. Well, what I do, what I guess a few will be done.
[00:16:22.060] - Ritchie Mehta
That is to be reached. We substituted budget for it and we've substituted media reach thought to do things like organic up through. And we've done that by using things like partnerships, for example, in order to do that and show it in many ways. We've upped our marketing process, so whatever. But by actually spending no more money, but actually putting a whole lot more effort into this area. And I think that's been really interesting for us. And I think we've generated and gained a lot from it.
[00:16:51.580] - Ritchie Mehta
I don't think the final thing I'd say and I'll give you another point of view on this around creativity in marketing at this point would be used very small points of creativity to actually give us differentiation from small things like a gift to a witty thing or comment that we say on social to try and get a viral following of people commenting on what we're doing to try and getting influencers to talk about us. People we just partnered with the Cherie Blair Foundation trying to get Cherie Blair to give us some good exposure.
[00:17:19.120] - Ritchie Mehta
Things like that. So small key things, but creative things that could make a big difference with your money. And Marc, what's your take on creativity at this time?
[00:17:28.660] - Mark Evans
So, yeah, creativity to the fore, isn't it? You know, the mother is the necessity of invention, I think is the proverb.
[00:17:36.310] - Mark Evans
Yeah. So I think a good example where we've done a nice piece of creativity with good results is a game with church or media in other of a household name, household famous brands. You know, media plans in the bin and the brand promise is basically we're on your side. We look after things so you can chill.
[00:18:09.000] - Mark Evans
So we had this idea, which was actually homeworking is a nightmare for couples and people who have to school their kids. Kids irritable, four to seven-year-olds is the very worst. So we said, well, let's create what we're calling the little book of chill, which is basically stories, you know, audiobooks aimed at the target audience. You know, these people aren't buying insurance, but obviously, you know, their parents have pretty much in the target sweet spot and that they're beautiful.
[00:18:37.930] - Mark Evans
And it's a really, really well put together thing, done a huge pace. And it absolutely captures the spirit of a brand promise. And it's number one in the Apple audiobooks, branded activity, huge PR, great goodwill and feel-good factor and surpassed all expectations. Well, that's because we didn't have any because we just sort of made it up as we're going a little bit. It absolutely is about finding the creative hook. And, you know, that's it.
[00:19:09.420] - Mark Evans
That's just, you know, just one of the examples. So I think we're really, really proud of because it's genuinely just the intersection of genuinely helping people, but ultimately continuing to reinforce the brand promise. And so to again, that curiosity will allow people to find that sweet spot. What about you, Richie? What's the. What's your standard could be for you or. Do you know what else you've seen in the world? Well, in terms of creative outlets.
[00:19:38.870] - Ritchie Mehta
I mean, I think I mostly think you know, we've I think we've been more innovative in trying to respond to, you know, to to to various things. So I think creativity comes from partnerships more than anything. So it's not necessary. But the line comes or things like that. It's basically trying to partner with key people who are trying to be part of the solution. So, for example, we partnered with Pearson and they created a product called UK Loans to help people who are being followed.
[00:20:07.730] - Ritchie Mehta
And we are that compliment for digital skills, for example. So that gives us great reach but also folds our focus really well. I talked about the one with which Cherie Blair. We're now in 20 countries on the back of that partnership. And I think that's something to really be proud of because we're helping women entrepreneurs in developing countries as they struggle with digital skills. So for me, it's those sort of things are thinking out of the box.
[00:20:31.970] - Jordan Harry
And I'm kind of, I guess, standing on the shoulders of giants, which for me becomes critical as a small business. Well, excellent point, and I think to kind of summarize, efferent that you've both discussed, now is the time, as Ritchie coined a couple of weeks to me, to become famous. Whilst the rest of the world is constricting. This is your opportunity to expand and become famous. Whether or not people are spending this is the time when doing the right thing is always the right thing.
[00:21:18.400] - Jordan Harry
And so with that being said, Mark, about people becoming famous in this time regarding your sales with insurance as coined by one of our viewers right now, it's often looked at a grudge purchase, insurance, something that's an unnecessary evil. Some people may say now what they're interested in is consumers tend to brand that they can trust. Are you seeing this translate into sales for DLG or the fact insurance is considered a grudge purchase with the combination of people using their cars less resulting in them choosing cheaper insurance?
[00:22:03.170] - Jordan Harry
So we'd love to see your insights if you can share.
[00:22:07.240] - Mark Evans
Thanks very much. I think there are about four questions in there, actually.
[00:22:10.350] - Mark Evans
Pull that apart for forth then. Yes. So to be straight with you, in the early days of the crisis, we saw that the market was pretty, pretty lethargic. So I think what had other things to worry about, you know, so shopping was down. So, okay, so retention's up. So it's a bit net neutral. But I think we're seeing modest signs of a flight to quality because you know that, frankly, there are some insurers that have not been great at this moment.
[00:22:42.110] - Mark Evans
And not, you know, basically trying to wrinkle out of it. So for us, it's all about purposes to be a force for good. This is a sector that had lost its way and clearly got actions speak louder than words. So some modest signs of a flight to quality, but it's still very early days. And, you know, you could remember insurance is an annual cyclical process. So for some people, you know, they may not be in the market for so many, many months to come.
[00:23:06.670] - Mark Evans
So, you know, we've done a bit of reappropriating of our campaigns, as I said, safer for Dhat line. You know, we were on it and now we're on it to do the right thing. But I think it's a bit early to declare options in terms of people using their cars less. That's a really good question because he was saying, well, I'm paying for motor insurance and I'm not using my costs.
[00:23:27.660] - Mark Evans
So what's that all about? And so you have seen a range of options here in the U.S. really sort of broke cover first. And with this sort of his, it is a fixed amount and not rolling all credit to them. They sort of stole a bit of a marketing march by giving twenty-five quid to their customers. We did something which is a bit more nuanced than that. We said that we want to give people money back depending upon their mileage reduction.
[00:23:51.760] - Mark Evans
So contact us, tell us what you think your money is going to be and we'll reduce it. And in many cases, a lot more than 25 quid. Because, you know, if you're paying two thousand pounds for a policy what was twenty-five quid? It pounds for policy. Happy days. And so we just thought there was a more sort of more nuanced way there. And so we've said we've as I said, we've done I think we did about 15 million emails and 116 web releases to make that happen, to help customers to navigate through that and other things.
[00:24:20.410] - Mark Evans
So, yeah, we just had to make sure that we're giving fair value. In truth, the regulator will insist in the long term, and this is where regulation is good because everyone will have to do what's called a product review just to make sure that they're giving fair value to customers. We just wanted to be ahead of that. We didn't want the regulators to do that. We want to make sure that we're being fair because I think there is it.
[00:24:39.850] - Mark Evans
It's about trust and assurance. But in all sectors, it is about trust. And you get judged on your actions and those long term, mutually valuable relationships are born out of trust. So for us that she's been a real gift. We created our new purpose to six months ago, and this has given us a real opportunity to road test it. So hopefully that sort of answers the question. Viber, but the jury's out on exactly what the long term impacts are.
[00:25:05.110] - Mark Evans
Maybe come back to you in this whole moment. What's permanent? What's the temporary fix? Oh, I'll let Ritchie have a bit more review.
[00:25:11.600] - Mark Evans
Well, I actually have a follow-up question mark, if I may, on that. You talk about car insurance. Well, what's the future? Travel insurance. So, so troubled show interest. So we've had our claims up 700 percent. And, you know, we've actually had really high MPAC scores, even people having to wait for it because they get that, you know, of course, we're going to be absolutely inundated. So so it's a really good question.
[00:25:35.350] - Mark Evans
I think it's at the moment, many people have travel insurance through part of the package bank account. And pandemic insurance didn't really exist. So this is a real challenge to the industry. So the and it's possibly a joint industry approach that's required because you could say that the product is you know, it needs a bit of a need a bit of a rethink. So right now, all focus on just dealing with the issues on the ground. So I don't I can't tell you how I roll.
[00:26:06.130] - Mark Evans
Some folks have been so we had one elderly gentleman who's was away abroad in his care and they both contracted coronaviruses. And he had this guy had many health issues. His carer died. He got coronavirus really badly. And so we had to repatriate him. And, you know, this is this thing about insurance. I think it was probably, you know, the insurance policy is probably 50 credits, probably cost us hundreds of thousands to get him home safely for his recovery.
[00:26:35.910] - Mark Evans
And so before we get too far away, in terms of what's the revolution, still, we're dealing with people on the ground. Even now, there are still many, many people abroad that want to get home. So the question we'll see, juries are. Thank you for sharing that story for us as well. You didn't have to. You didn't have to say thank you.
[00:26:57.650] - Jordan Harry
And the key takeaway is companies should be doing what's fair, you know, and understandably, we don't get too subjective, what's fair. But we've got to do our best, what's fair for the organization and fair for the customers. Otherwise, you can't pull from them to last. Right. So you have to always be careful. But it's great to see him, you know, being as canned as you are. Mark saying actually in both Witchey, it's too early to tell.
[00:27:23.730] - Jordan Harry
You know, come back next year, we'll have the same interview and we will be able to then assess and determine that question. On to the next question. So in agile models, should marketing be responsible for a high percentage of sales versus core sales? Animal, go again with your stuff, Mark. OK, so in let me just find the question again so I can post it in the child.
[00:27:53.310] - Jordan Harry
That would help. There are loads of questions, which is a good thing. But what I will say in an agile organization, should marketing be responsible for. What was it again?
[00:28:03.080] - Mark Evans
We got. OK. She's mixing salts with hypersensitive sounds versus cool sounds really interesting. So an. The way that we're going about agile is at an enterprise level, so true, truly cross-functional because we've had agile running for six, seven years in software development in I.T. and digital change. And now we're saying that we're gonna apply that to all activity. He says you're pretty, pretty extreme there. But truly cross-functional. So maybe going from nine, eight, nine squats to 80, 90 squats.
[00:28:38.700] - Mark Evans
So it's pretty fundamental. And in that regard.
[00:28:43.750] - Mark Evans
You let go of the silos of the traditional organization, so the moment I run marketing and digital in the future, I'll run what's going to be described as a marketing chapter but or resources federated, which means that you know, that the chapters are responsible for the how-to craft the skills development. But the what is delivered through to the scouts themselves. And so what what what that means is that market people don't own individual functions, don't own the outputs, the outputs and missions are owned collectively.
[00:29:15.660] - Mark Evans
So it's it's sort of a different and to be honest, I went through a bit of a learning curve on this in terms of my ego was a bit dented by the fact that in the end, you know, you don't run the traditional hierarchical organization structure that, you know, you've grown up on in my case. So it's a really I shouldn't say what will happen is that the cross-functional squad, we will own the mission. And in some cases, those are trading missions and the link to sales.
[00:29:40.640] - Mark Evans
And so so I think I think the short answer is, is no because the point is about. Autonomous, empowered, self-starting, self-motivating teams own the missions. So it is a completely different mindset. And then I'll be honest with. You know, we haven't stood the new organization up yet. So I'm sure we'll learn as we go. But I think that's a bit of a sort of the existential, philosophical point of view. Yes, I do sense it does.
[00:30:06.220] - Jordan Harry
It does. And I'm a firm believer that marketing and sales go hand in hand. Ritchie, what's your perspective?
[00:30:12.430] - Ritchie Mehta
Well, look, I think, first of all, with the challenging question and thanks, Bovon, for that. Appreciate it. I think for me this I want to talk specifically in this context of where we see ourselves. I think some organizations, you know, we'll be doing very well on their normal behaviour to be a run of the mill type of structures.
[00:30:35.620] - Ritchie Mehta
And to that extent, you know, agile teams and methodology will help kind of shape the future. But actually, Caulfield's will come from the existing infrastructure that they are. I think if an organization and an Abian is a great example, are going through such flux at the moment. And actually, it's that agile setup of how do they reposition? How did they do it? And how do they kind of, you know, come out stronger? I suspect that's where those agile teams really come to the forefront and then actually be, you know, almost be kind of helping to substitute what the core proposition and products are currently.
[00:31:08.890] - Ritchie Mehta
So I would say in some case, they're champions and in some cases that challenge to the status quo for our organizations should run at the moment to a very context-specific and organization-specific. And I should say, by the way, in small businesses today, I am agile, for example, as a way of life. I mean, you know, every single day you're run into chaos and you're kind of walking into the day, in the morning way, you know, what's the next fight down to fight.
[00:31:35.350] - Ritchie Mehta
And it's only by being agile. So it's not so many agile teams as adding that agile organizations that we know that are front of our minds every single day to pivot and duck and dive to get through. I'm sure a lot of people who run small businesses fail. Simon, I'm sure you can attest to some of this. That's exactly you know, it's probably the environment that we're all facing right now. Excellent. And the key point there is currently I'm reading a book called The 12 Laws to Life.
[00:32:02.990] - Jordan Harry
And they talk about chaos and order and Ying Yang and how you need for the white and the black dog on either side. And it's an idea that when you are living in order, the white side, you've got the black dots, you've always got a foot in chaos. And same when there's chaos, there's a foot or piece of order within that. And that life is never. And I think most people can agree. On one hand, you can count on one hand when things are going completely perfect, but they're gone exactly how they should be.
[00:32:34.830] - Jordan Harry
It's very rarely people walk around Day-To-Day and things somewhere in their life aren't going perfect. And that's okay. And that's an order and chaos relationship. And it's accepting that and learning how to adapt them and whether that is marketing or sales, it works. You're going to say so, Richard.
[00:32:54.920] - Ritchie Mehta
A great, great book called I think a great book called the. Yeah, exactly. Have you get that. Not by the way.
[00:33:00.530] - Ritchie Mehta
No. No. But, uh, I think Propitiate Peterson is another great book is Antifragile, which is exactly. Talk about shifting environments and how organizations are able to navigate, not the good one that disappears.
[00:33:17.930] - Mark Evans
I don't have a book to offer it. No one's saying the same to me long, long, long time ago. And for those working with HSBC, you probably heard me say that and continue to use it, which is, you know, judo, the sport. Judo is about using your aggressive momentum to throw things at minimum effort. And I think that's that's the context that we're talking about here, is know it is about balance and rhythm, but ultimately finding something that you can you know, you can feed off some things, energy, somebody else's energy.
[00:33:48.030] - Mark Evans
And what's that? What's the flip? What's the twist? But that's very profound. Jordan, about the nation between chaos and normality. So I'll be reading that book. Thank you.
[00:33:56.900] - Jordan Harry
You're welcome. And I'll put the book name the 12 Rules of Life by Jordan Peterson, dropping knowledge bombs from all directions this morning. And the next one, which hopefully will inspire a knowledge bomb, comes from Simon.
[00:34:10.220] - Jordan Harry
And he would like to know what other free consumer trends that will stay with us. So I guess, Mark, first of all, you're going to have to address what are those free and in what aspect will they persist? It's well, again, I said, I don't know, but I'll give you a bit dull if I said I don't know.
[00:34:34.020] - Mark Evans
The one thing, the one stand out one, which I think is irrefutable, is the true digitization. And I think very specifically. So we've seen a big spike in people buying and making amends. But if I take a take us out insurance for a moment, if I take health care, people now, three million people have had their first-ever online consultation with it, with a GP, with a doctor in the UK as a result of this crisis.
[00:35:03.650] - Mark Evans
And I would say that's a fairly sophisticated transaction, online diagnosis, getting repeat prescriptions delivered to your house is pretty complex. And often this may be sort of what is ill people, but I've seen maybe old and maybe not the demographic. You truly thought. Nobody thought. Certainly you. So we've seen a beginning, a big spike in service people doing this service transaction online. But I think more than that, more people and more used to doing more sophisticated things online than ever before.
[00:35:31.750] - Mark Evans
So that's here to stay. So this is I had had Keith, we'd say that 15 years of e-commerce happened in 15 days and that businesses that thought they had three years for their district trans transformation have actually got three weeks or maybe even three days. So it's digitisation is probably the number one. And I'll hand it to Rich anyway. But the other one, which I hope for, I'm not entirely certain. But it's something around humanity in terms of people a bit more humble, a bit more grounded, a bit more caring and valuing relationships and connection.
[00:36:11.860] - Mark Evans
Communication, a bit more. I say hopefully because I'm not 100 percent convinced. But I think if I link this to Two Black Lives Matter. So which maybe will come on to, I think the timing of the two is maybe great in the Black Lives Matter is going to have an even bigger voice. And, you know, the voice that it needs to have as a result of people are maybe in a slightly more reflective, slight frame of mind.
[00:36:39.460] - Mark Evans
Certainly, that's the way I'm seeing the world, certainly. So I do hope that there's a little bit more of a balance. And yes, if people found out at this moment that it doesn't, who gives a crap about what designer clothes they've gotten? You know, what car they've got? Because they're not even driving it. But we just do need to watch out about how it settles. Because at the same time, I think, you know, again, these things, the trend in the current trend, people do want some level of normal and that they knew from before because we're creatures of habit.
[00:37:04.960] - Mark Evans
So but, you know, thankfully, there's digitization and humanity and pretty good. I take those to answer Richard to another composite.
[00:37:14.280] - Ritchie Mehta
Mark, I. Jenny, I think you've stolen my thunder on that respect, because I, I was probably going for someone the same trends. So rather than maybe add a few more. Can I just perhaps talk about a watch out for marketers more specifically about this question? I think we all love to think about the crystal ball. And the problem is, I think in today's context, is the crystal ball is all created. I mean, we all sort of creating our own crystal balls.
[00:37:39.300] - Ritchie Mehta
And I think there's a danger within this for marketers to be really aware of. There's a great TED talk by Ali Bosna, who talks about the concept of filter bubbles. And what that basically is all about is that every time we go on our phones, check out the news, have a perspective from friends, chat, social, whatever it is, all we're doing is we're creating ourselves in this bubble, all this environment to create our own reality of what the future would look like.
[00:38:07.740] - Ritchie Mehta
And I promise you, all the digital transformation guys will say that's the future. All the medical and education experts say that's the future. And everyone will kind of carve out their own reality of what the trend should be to suit their own needs. And as marketers, I just feel that we don't get close enough to understand what filter bubbles we create for ourselves. Which means that we look inwardly and not outwardly at all at our customers. And there's no greater example, I think than what's happened and Brexit.
[00:38:38.100] - Ritchie Mehta
And if you think about the Cameron story and he just came up with his biography, great read and great danger view on BBC. But I call it the Cameron delusion. Right. Because effectively, he saw the signs. He knew things were going up. We thought he saw the science. He should have seen on the signs about how things were going right and wrong in the campaign. But he didn't because he basically created his own little filter bubble around dominance.
[00:39:00.800] - Ritchie Mehta
But his advisers that to the extent that at a certain point at the beginning of the campaign, it was going his way towards the end of the campaign, something changed. But because they created a filter bubble so early on, they weren't able to see the change and weren't able to react to it. So I think the major thing for me as marketers is just really aware of what filter bubbles we create for ourselves.
[00:39:21.450] - Ritchie Mehta
And then basically, you know, I try to be more objective with things. And I think as a couple of key things we can do to, you know, to overcome this. But we won't get into that for the main thing is just remember, filter bubbles.
[00:39:36.890] - Jordan Harry
Excellent, excellent point. I don't know. No trend from me on that.
[00:39:43.160] - Jordan Harry
I know we were looking for a future prediction and you've lost both down. Both fine.
[00:39:47.770] - Mark Evans
With that said this, I'll have to get it from. Embracing technology. Singing I have to get up. And but I think what's interesting is that there will be a very personal this whole moment is very sort of personalized journey. And I saw this lovely persona's work is actually coming out to us from huge ad agency over there. But there are five typologies. Are you a band-aid repair? Basically, let's just get on with life as it was a trapped butterfly, you know, some level of caution, but want to get back and want to miss the social interaction.
[00:40:20.570] - Mark Evans
That's why optimists. So do you first. As in I'll just I'm happy to go second when others have gone back. An eggshell walker kind of quite worried or a fulfilled homebody. Basically, you like this as you know, you don't mind being cocooned. You become a hermit. And quite interesting, you know, with which you don't need to answer in the chat, but which you. I'm totally at home. Guys, I've I've embraced the new normal guys, I wake up late, work in my shorts up today, and you could see me on the beach already.
[00:40:52.130] - Jordan Harry
So definitely that way makes you sick and it makes you sick.
[00:40:57.190] - Ritchie Mehta
Guys put in the chart, guys breathing. What which one is which for all of you. I'm a trapped butterfly.
[00:41:03.680] - Mark Evans
Really enjoyed it.
[00:41:05.480] - Jordan Harry
You know, what's ironic is I've got a picture of a beat in my background and which is faking it. So I'm authentic. I'm a trapped butterfly. While I'm in here, I'm ready for the world.
[00:41:18.310] - Jordan Harry
And with that positive tone set, I feel that we should really move on to potentially our final question and one that's making a real positive change right now from my perspective and one that gets everyone's heart rate increasing. And Mark, your hand today is the Black Lives Matter movement. Whenever BLM is mentioned, whenever the racial tension that's going on around the world is mentioned, regardless of what side of the fence you stand.
[00:41:45.530] - Jordan Harry
Everyone's heart rate increases because ultimately, when we think about people's perceptions and ideas on a certain topic, we all feel like our own ideas are organic, that are true to our own independent form. And when we think about most of our ideas, not many of them are legitimate. You know, learning is where we attach new learning to pre-existing learning. And with the Black Lives Matter movement, what we're finding is many people, myself included, who even studied black history for our school and from attestation, are filling an adequate to speak upon the topic, whether that's because you aren't black or whether that is you just don't know enough about black history.
[00:42:30.740] - Jordan Harry
Many people right now are feeling they can have an opinion or a voice because they don't know enough, which then leads onto the overwhelm of information of catch up that they have to do, which is always going to be impossible. So the question I want to ask both of you, because, of course, we can talk about anything for an extended period of time, but let's really know again. How do you film companies are managing their response to the Black Lives Matter movement?
[00:43:00.320] - Jordan Harry
And I'll give a quick example. Do we feel that companies are jumping on the bandwagon and seeing this as a potential brand reputation opportunity? Or are you seeing some brands make some little positive changes? I'd love once again, Mark, for you to stop. How are you seeing brands responding to this? And very, very well put together on that question. Very well pitched because you're right. And like my hearts, more than anything in the last 50 minutes, you know, my heart, I can feel my heart getting a bit more because it is uncomfortable.
[00:43:33.180] - Mark Evans
But that's exactly the reason we do need to have the conversation.
[00:43:36.450] - Mark Evans
Uncomfortable as it is.
[00:43:38.450] - Mark Evans
And I think, you know, there are definitely good, bad and ugly examples out there. So I'll come on to them in a moment. But perhaps I'd first thing I'd say is that this is an opportunity for everybody to listen and learn. So our head of DNI is an Asian man and he has said Indian, and he has said that he's learned so much more about black history than he ever could have imagined in the last couple of weeks.
[00:44:08.110] - Mark Evans
And it did just sort of snapped into reality to me that this conversation is is really only just starting, actually. And, you know, it's a time for everybody to listen and learn. And, you know, I've been having my daughter is 18. She's curious. She's been very affected by this. And she's been re-educating me on some of the things that Churchill said. Churchill somebody I've quoted for aeons is, you know, some of it is an inspiration to the wartime rhetoric and these other things that I just had no idea about.
[00:44:35.130] - Mark Evans
So I think that I think that's important is a time for us to face into that discomfort and to listen and to learn. And it's something I shared with you before, Jordan, is that I took a lot of questions internally, criticism, questions, you know, a balance of the two. Why weren't we more vociferous in using our brands to add to the conversation? You know, I can get that question now? Why wouldn't we have had the great marketing spend?
[00:45:01.530] - Mark Evans
Why wouldn't we add to the conversation? But you hit the nail on the head in terms of jumping on the bandwagon. And I think for brands and businesses, this is about legitimacy and has earned the right through actions because actions speak louder than words to participate in the conversation. And I'll I'll give a couple of examples. And actually, Mark Ritson, I wrote a very good article on this. So Nike did it. A lovely piece of creative.
[00:45:29.920] - Mark Evans
Which said for once. Don't do it. And it was white tech, extensive black background, and it was, you know. Superficially, you think that's great? But they've been pulled up because that board is all white. L'Oreal has done a nice little twist on we're worth it. Say the conversation is worth it and you can say scary. That's quite clever. Yes, it will whiteboard Spotify, Apple. And so I've seen articles where their board has been posted into the journalists' piece because they've got all whiteboards.
[00:46:06.860] - Mark Evans
And, you know, we have one Venezuelan on Mexico and the rest were white, British, white. So I think there's appropriateness and I think you have to evidence the change. We have 14 percent, BAME employees. But that's not the point. It's about into senior positions. And I think that's the biggest indicator of whether a brand or a business has a right to get into the conversation. That said, I think that some brands have done really well.
[00:46:32.700] - Mark Evans
She Channel four published a manifesto which was very humble. It didn't have a blackout logo. It just said, here are our commitments and judges buy them. So I think this is one where, you know, back to that point about humanity, it's having the sensitivity to realize what's appropriate. And there are definitely some brands trying to cash in, get a little bit of brand fame that is not deserved, which for me is disappointing because this conversation is bigger than that.
[00:46:57.470] - Ritchie Mehta
So what do you think, Richard? Well, look, I mean, first of all, massive question and already massive response, right? So I, I, I do. You should have really struggled to kind of come up with a concrete sort of thought at this point in time, although I feel the need to do so over the next couple of weeks. And actually, we're working with a couple of partners on the specific issue. And I must shout out to Joe Glover, who's actually taking a leading role at the mountain meet up and doing this and kind of carving out a solution that would be appropriate given where we are as an organization.
[00:47:32.930] - Ritchie Mehta
I mean, I look I agree, Mark. You know, this we the embryonic we set up the school to marketing two years ago now on the basis of helping people or young people wanted to get into our industry and feel that there were barriers to entry into our industry and we know this and we know where it currently stands. And as part of that, we were very fully conscious and cognizant that actually, the majority of the problem within this overarching space lied within.
[00:48:01.880] - Ritchie Mehta
You should have, you know, whether it's the black community or even more disadvantaged communities more generally. And I think, you know, through that process of trying to kind of help and become that helpful solution to young people in the space, I've recognized the massive disadvantage that these communities have when getting into marketing. I saw it firsthand when we launched competitions. And I can see the difference when Southern participants participate in competitions versus others. And it's all context-driven.
[00:48:35.960] - Ritchie Mehta
It's confidence. It's, you know, the way they come at it, you know, it's context. It's where people come out, come out of the problem and actually does a whole lot more that we all need to do in order to kind of bridge that gap. And I genuinely Konstanty. So I have the answer. I know what gobbing one out. And I want to be a part of that conversation in a genuine race that fits in with our purpose.
[00:48:59.180] - Jordan Harry
But I definitely feel like I'm a little bit lost at the moment in this whole thing. And I think, you know, I think we need to get you to get deeper into it. But I know that that exists. Will well, me. So, yeah, that's probably where I'm at right now. S name really is from both of you, and thank you for showing your troops. That's the bottom line.
[00:49:21.990] - Jordan Harry
As you said, your troops and, you know, everyone's going to have a say in my personal say on this matter as well.
[00:49:30.710] - Jordan Harry
Coming from a sociology background is OK. The board might be why. But then we can't necessarily just hand out positions to ethnic minorities so that we can be a diverse company. And I've seen this. I've had positive discrimination from my own perspective where I've gotten speaking gigs, jobs because I am of an ethnic minority. And so what's many people with, oh, what their borders are?
[00:50:01.670] - Jordan Harry
Why I fear that now we might see a shift where leaderships are going to face pressure to hire Jordan, who is mixed-race over an another Jordan is why just about the fear of being judged now by the wider community that they're not diverse enough. But then I might not be suitable for that vote. And so that's going to be another headache for another day.
[00:50:27.550] - Jordan Harry
But I don't think so.
[00:50:30.180] - Mark Evans
I'm wishing that I was going to say, yeah, you're right. I mean, this is why it's uncomfortable because there are no silver bullets. And, you know, you're right, tokenism doesn't help anybody. But what's come into this conversation is a new thing, is the notion of systemic racism, where my when my daughter, you know, quotes that I think something's shifted tremendously optimistic to the next generation because I think they get it. They get the subtleties of the conversation.
[00:50:59.450] - Mark Evans
They understand the balance between tokenism and what's genuine and between what's appropriate and what's not. Of course, that that they're not making the laws or running the companies yet. So I know it's no good just to say time will heal. But, you know, the notion of systemic racism and opportunity is what's the lead measures versus the lag measures in all of this? You know, I think that that's now caught in the conversation in a way it wasn't before.
[00:51:28.350] - Ritchie Mehta
Now, I just want one final point for me is that I hope that over time, Jordan, your example is that some of the young people in the next generation are able to create experiences, contacts and learning opportunities, which means that everybody should have hope, you know, gets Morna on a level playing field with the opportunities they have access to. It's a long term, long term, long drawn out the concept. But we need to start somewhere.
[00:51:56.220] - Jordan Harry
Right, that's right. And hopefully more powerful discussions like today.
[00:52:01.440] - Mark Evans
So with that being said, Mark Ritchie, any final words for everyone? Where can they connect with you? And what can they do to survive during this turbulent time? So. Resilience. Be resilient. It's interesting, you know, I've been made redundant four times and every time it's sort of turned out pretty well. And I think resilience is really, really easy to get as a concept. But resilience and he really comes to experience. And so, you know, maybe it is not compulsory, compulsory to be a masochist, but it probably helps that these are times where we're learning, we're growing and developing and we are building resilience, because let's be clear that, you know, this is just a pandemic virus.
[00:52:46.530] - Mark Evans
But there are other things that are going to come along in all of our lives. And so resilience is experiential. So this is it. This is something that we need to take out as a result will be we'll be stronger. And for me, it's actually some piece of advice that I think, Mark, you probably told me about back in the HSBC days, and it's to have some level of healthy paranoia is in the ability to constantly be, you know, looking over your shoulder in a healthy way.
[00:53:16.720] - Ritchie Mehta
Still fresh fruit, but looking over your shoulder to kind of understanding what's coming down the pipeline and be prepared for that. And so, you know, trying to be a couple of steps ahead. But that healthy paranoia struck me as a loss in good stead. And, you know, that's probably what's for the hospital to help others and to connect with me. Please connect with me via LinkedIn or the main channel that I am profusely on. So please do that.
[00:53:40.220] - Mark Evans
Any questions? Any medical help, let me know. Or was offered to. Mark, where can we connect with you as well? Yes, said similar, your family links are quite a common name, but if you put Malcolm on the start line, you'll find me. But it'll say, you know, maybe if it's any other questions come through that we haven't answered. Maybe Rich and I can do a sweep up as well. But yeah, LinkedIn is the, I guess, the obvious place to get.
[00:54:05.070] - Jordan Harry
Exxon, fantastic. Well, that being said, thank you to both the gentlemen that joined us this morning. And thank you for giving us your fastening insight from both your organizations and also being vulnerable. Not an easy thing to do. Thanks for being vulnerable. And I generally believe looking at the track right now, people get massive value from your vulnerability function. You choose. And for now, Kneisel. So we will see you again on the 21st.
[00:54:31.250] - Jordan Harry
That's the next goal of marketing show, Mark. This is a see you say it's never goodbye because that means you'll never see us again. And with that saying, which do you want to have a closing statement as well?
[00:54:43.800] - Mark Evans
I just I just wish you'd just for you that you have the closing word. But just to say that very well. I see. Jordan, it's been an absolute pleasure. Thank you. You're more than welcome. Welcome.
[00:54:54.260] - Ritchie Mehta
And guys, if you enjoy this, we're going to be more live sessions. And so please do stay tuned. We're trying to keep things real. Actually uncanny. And, you know, just as honest and transparent. So please tune in for the next one. Details will come up on LinkedIn. The publisher and your new manager. I'll just let you know when the next one's out and who's out, I guess. So for now, enjoy the weekend when it comes up.
[00:55:15.070] - Ritchie Mehta
And stay safe.
[00:55:17.480] - Jordan Harry
Have a great Friday, too. Thank you.
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