Speaking at the ISBA Conference in London today (12 March), Eyre outlined his “template for the future of marketing”: authenticity, passion, consistency, conversation, openness and respect for consumers- a template that also defines great human relationships.
On being authentic, Eyre said: “Marketing can no longer be a brand’s clothing. It must be its skin.”
He advised that just being “always on isn’t the panacea” and that brands should not look to adopt a persona dictated to them by consumer research because just like real life, keeping up a persona can be “exhausting”.
Taking Unilever as an example, which lists its company’s purpose at the head of its annual report, brands should look to adopt CSR not as a tickbox activity but with “all the swagger and verve of brand advertising”.
He also pointed to shoes and eyewear brand TOMS – which announced at SXSW in Texas yesterday (11 March) it is moving into the coffee sector – as an example of an authentic brand for marketers to follow.
Eyre said if marketers are not passionate about the brands they work for, they should leave now because they will become “a better marketer overnight” as passion “puts the kaboom in relationships”. Examples to follow in this instance are Innocent and Ben and Jerry’s, Eyre added.
Brands should also look to be consistent if they are to win consumer trust. Eyre said problems can soon arise if offline and offline data is stored in different places, if sales and marketing objectives have different time horizons than remuneration incentives and if investor relations and consumer PR messages are at odds with one another.
Have a conversation with customers
On the conversation front, Eyre said a brand’s website should read like a postcard from a friend but bemoaned the fact that too many brands have failed to move away from corporate jargon.
This led him on to brand openness where Eyre said: “The under-resourcing of contact points is pathetic. It is what big business does when it thinks it is bigger than the consumer.”
He said this was evident by brands hiding their “contact us” details under wades of FAQs on their websites, only for the consumer to ring the company to be told to hold. “Brands have to be real time, not when it suits them, but all the time,” he added.
Eyre said that lack of respect is the “enemy of human relationships” and this also translates to brand building. With recent revelations on the Government’s handling of consumer data from the likes of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden bringing the issue of privacy to the forefront of consumers’ minds, he said brands must strive towards best practice in this area.
He referenced Tim Berners-Lee, today on the 25th anniversary of the world wide web, calling for a “magna carta” of the internet to protect users from undue government and corporate influence. Eyre said the ad industry needs to go even further than this to help people realise what companies do and not do with their data.
The result of following the six-point template , Eyre said, will be “trust” and the establishment of personal relationships with consumers.
He ended by saying: “The marketing team can no longer be people in the company who paint the best possible face of their products, you are the people that build and guard your best possible asset: your (relationship with your consumers).”