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‘Be clear on purpose and the enemy’ – incoming Post Office CMO, Pete Markey, reveals his priorities at RAR Awards

This week, Pete Markey makes the move from one heritage brand to another as he resigns his CMO title at RSA to take up the top marketing job at the Post Office. But his approach remains the same – “be clear on your purpose and the enemy”.

Speaking at the RAR Awards in London on Wednesday night, Markey said his top priority at the Post Office will be establishing a clarity and focus on what the brand stands for and where it is going.

Comparing it to 303-year-old insurance firm RSA, he explained: “As a business we weren’t clear what we stood for. We’d got into what we called brand soup. So when we were briefing agencies we couldn’t clearly articulate quite what we stood for and where we were going. We were all things to all people. Our purpose wasn’t clear.”

Under his watch the company and its 20,000-plus employees adopted a new focus – ‘Customer Obsession’. It was made clear to everyone from the office cleaner to the CEO that fulfilling the needs of the customer, even when there was no onus on the company to do so, was the goal.

Offering an example of this at play, Markey explained RSA gave each employee dealing with More Than insurance claims £50 every month. It meant that even if a customer was not covered by a policy, individual employees could offer a little help without having to go through layers of management.

Initiatives like this, said Markey, not only get customers on side and unite staff with a clear goal, but they also allow partner agencies to really understand how a brand works and ultimately create better marketing campaigns.

“If we’re clearer on what we’re about it should be easier for you to service our needs,” he told the room. “There should be a lot less chopping and changing.”

He continued: “I’ve just been in a meeting with the Post Office talking exactly about that. Getting that clarity and focus. 'We stand for this, not for this, and this is where we’re going'.”

Understanding what the ‘enemy’ of a brand is is also a part of this process.

Elaborating, he exemplified Dove and restaurant chain Chipotle.

“[Dove’s] enemy was anything that crushed a woman’s self-esteem. And Chipotle – its enemy was factory farming and processed food,” he said.

“The purpose is clear, the proposition is clear, it’s really compelling and most importantly customers will really go on the journey with you.”

Returning to how this will be implemented at the Post Office, Markey added: “We’re in a market that is becoming more and more competitive. [The Post Office] is not a part of the Royal Mail anymore, we need to be clear about what the enemy is, what we’re battling against, and make sure that doesn’t become an internal battle.

“As I go to the Post Office, having a clear sense of purpose and the enemy is one of the top things on my list.”

A round up of the night's big winners can be found here and on the RAR website.

More information on the inaugural RAR Digital Awards, which is open for new ratings until Friday 25 April, can be found here.

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