“Thinking of people as “customers” is an outdated approach,” Col Kennedy, Global Head Marketing & E-Commerce, Cotton On believes. “Brands need to understand why they were set up in the first place, and adopt a broad, holistic and long-term view of how to build a relationship with people,” he adds.

A speaker at the marcus evans CMO Summit 2016, taking place in the Gold Coast, Australia, 15 - 17 August, Kennedy says for real customer engagement and loyalty, his goal is to create deep and meaningful dialogues with the Cotton On community.

Your presentation is on establishing a community-led brand agenda. What does this mean?

The idea of “customer” is outdated. Two folds come together here, the direction brands are going and understanding their role in the world. I believe in the power of the “why” over “what”. It is important for brands to understand why they were created instead of focusing on short-term financials. If they connect that through to the right community, share different values with them, they will provide a much richer experience and build a stronger relationship with their community. How do their fans want to interact? They should avoid thinking in a channelistic way.

With your background in e-commerce, what advice do you have on customer engagement and loyalty?

The trick is not to get lost in thinking about sales, transactions and conversion rates. If you end up there, it means you see people as customers. In the 90s and majority of the 00s marketing was about cross-selling, up-selling and squeezing dollars out of people rather than adding long-term value or having shared values.

It makes me nervous when people use the term “loyalty”. When I was at Disney and Sony, I found that fans were loyal to a degree. It was not black or white. People will not be loyal just to you. A comic fan might love Batman, Superman and Spiderman. Companies cannot be naïve in thinking that loyalty is just squarely and solely with them. They can build a fan base or community, but it is about how they reward people. 

How can they reach today’s digital and mobile-savvy consumers? 

Many marketers are looking for the silver bullet, transferring from one platform to the next, but that is not the right way to go. They should always ask themselves why their company or brand exists, and relate that to what they stand for in the world and build relationships through multiple channels over a period of time.

Channels may morph and evolve. If they keep bouncing between channels based on numbers, they will not have build over the long-term. Do not chase the platform, it is much more about who you are, what you stand for and remembering who you are talking to.

Any final words of advice?

Identify and develop your brand identity, and stay true to it. 


More Information

Learn, explore and unleash your inner chef.

Interview with: Col Kennedy, Global Head Marketing & E-Commerce, Cotton On

For more information, please contact: 
Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian at press@marcusevanscy.com

15 - 17 August 2016

RACV Royal Pines Resort, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

How to Build a Long-Lasting Community of Fans

Ahead of the marcus evans CMO Summit 2016, read here an interview with
Col Kennedy, on building relationships with customers

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About the CMO Summit 2016

The seventh annual CMO Summit is the premium forum bringing elite buyers and sellers together. The Summit offers chief marketing executives and agencies and consultants an intimate environment for a focused discussion of the key new drivers shaping the marketing agenda. Taking place at the RACV Royal Pines Resort, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, 15 - 17 August 2016, the Summit includes presentations on measuring engagement, leveraging sales and marketing best practices, merging traditional and digital marketing channels, and creating a streamlined marketing automation system. 

Summit Speakers
  • Ken Segall, Author, New York Times Bestseller "Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success"
  • Adam Ballesty, Marketing & Innovation Director, Diageo Australia
  • Bronwyn Powell, Senior Director Marketing, McDonald’s Australia
  • Carolyn Bendall, Head of Marketing, ANZ
  • Nick Reynolds, CMO – Asia Pacific, Lenovo
  • Troy Taylor, Senior Director, Head of Marketing, LEGO Australia & New Zealand

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