Meet Jac Phillips, the Senior Director and Head of Marketing for Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific for Visa. With more than 20 years’ experience in marketing and communications, she knows a thing or two! Jac will help you think more broadly about your passion and purpose, and help you realise that your creativity and personality can help you build your brand and business and stand out from the others.
The value of face-to-face interaction
Jac reflects that so much has changed in the marketplace, and yet at the same time, so little has changed when it comes to what clients value in their interaction with financial service providers. Businesses and customers both have a need for efficiencies when it comes to getting the information they need. However, people’s desire to have relationship, to be understood and supported has not changed. The importance for businesses in knowing the customer and intimately understanding them also hasn’t changed. What has changed is the number of channels through which businesses can touch people now, and with that comes complexity—it will vary by brand, organization and service provider as to whether people prefer the digital channel to be phone vs. direct mail vs. chat bot. You need to be able to figure out when people are touching your brand and at what point you think that they would want to intersect you with that face-to-face relationship.
It’s very important that businesses are allowing a mechanism to find out how their customers what to be communicated to and when various options are available. Some people will be a light touch and some will prefer a heavier touch. Of course in the financial services sometimes things happen where the client needs advice very quickly and will want a human conversation. I find that 70-80% of advisors expect their clients to come to their offices, but something as simple as going to a client’s house for dinner can be a real value add and point of difference for your business. Furthermore, it enhances your understanding of the client and is a really good way to go back to basics with relationship building.
Becoming a thought leader in the industry
Jac believes thought leadership requires both passion and purpose, and she has an immense amount of both of those things. She began working for ANZ back in 2005 and initially she wasn’t confident it was going to be a good fit. However, she ended up staying nearly 10 years, and she loved the people, the resources, the training and development opportunities and especially the flexibility she had as a working Mum with young children.
It was when Jac started to lead others that she found her real passion and real purpose for unlocking the potential of brands and people.. She had become really passionate about the ANZ brand, and especially the value of great financial advice. In 2014, Jac was approached by the Bank of Melbourne to head up their marketing. She was committed to and aligned with the brand’s purpose of building a prosperous and thriving Victoria. Passionate about articulating that purpose and passion for Victorians, Jac has become something of a spokesperson in the industry.
The importance of creativity and personality in branding
Creativity and personality are important elements in branding, and also the key ways advisors can stand out from the others and engage with their customers. Jac recommends thinking about what you’re saying, why you’re saying it and who you’re saying it to. In this world of compliance, I recommend that financial advisors create a communications strategy that’s going to protect their reputations and increase client engagement, which is where creativity and personality comes in.
Jac agrees. Her advice is that you should have a voice and be very clear on what it is that you stand for. If you find that difficult to identify—and a lot of people do—then get support with it from one of the many independent, professional people out there who can create that strategy and help you say on message.
At the same time, brands need to be mindful of their audience if they want to be noticed and respected. Everybody is bombarded by messages across multiple channels, and it can become overwhelming. Therefore, if you as a brand are not saying something positive, useful, valued and beautifully presented, then you’re actually just adding to the noise. Brands that do this well are very respectful of what they’re saying, why they’re saying it and who they’re saying it to.
Corporate social responsibility and your brand
I often encourage advisors to participate in corporate social responsibility, and this is something Visa does phenomenally well, however it’s not just something that large organizations should get involved in. Jac believes every individual and organisation, irrespective of size, should have a social responsibility mandate. In Australia and New Zealand we have a wonderful environment that we need to continue to support, and be constantly cognizant of what others don’t have and support that too.
It comes back down to passion and purpose. If you are passionate about something or have been touched by something, whether it be the environment, homelessness, youth employment or something else, start to think about your role as a business owner and how you can support that particular purpose as either an individual or company. Once you start to figure that out, you will reap incredible rewards.
You will meet people and build networks that are invaluable. Jac says people would be amazed if they knew how much business comes out of corporate social responsibility. It’s also about how your personal belief system measures success. If you want this because you want to support one person to get work or help one person get financial advice they otherwise couldn’t have afforded, then helping that person should be your immediate version of success.
From there, there are a whole lot of other things it will give you such as confidence, a reason to talk about your brand and business, and a way to incorporate your creativity and personality, passion and purpose. Those four words are Jac’s real drivers and keys to success, and they can be yours too.