Celeste Barber: Don’t Treat Your Audience Like Idiots

Celeste Barber: Don’t Treat Your Audience Like Idiots

What’s kept Celeste Barber (pictured) at the top of her game? With big brand deals, a Netflix show and nearly 10 million followers on Instagram, the Aussie comedian and media powerhouse shared her top advice with the CMO Power List inductees.

Know your audience, appreciate and respect them and “don’t treat them like idiots”, was Australian comedian and media personality Celeste Barber’s advice to a room full of the nation’s top chief marketing officers (CMO).

Speaking at the 2024 B&T CMO Power List exclusive dinner, held at
Sydney’s AALIA restaurant in partnership with Are Media’s Gourmet Traveller, Barber was candid about her audience strategy.

“I don’t treat them like numbers. I treat them like individuals,” she explained.

“The majority are women and mothers. My audience essentially is an extension of me and that’s always been very clear for me.

“I know who I’m talking to and I really appreciate and respect what they give back to me and I don’t think many people really do that anymore.”

By not “treating your audience like idiots” and instead like the individuals they are, she said it’s kept her at the top of her game.

With nearly 10 million followers on Instagram and brand tie-ups with the likes of Tom Ford and MCoBeauty, when it comes to CMO advice on managing talent with brand alignment, the best cut-through happens when brands submit to a true partnership.

“It’s really important that when it comes to any sort of marketing, I have creative control over what I do. My audience is very important to me and I know what they’re like and I want to give my audience what they like,” she said.

“It’s about finding the right people that are going to sell what you need to sell, but if you respect what they do, then be open to collaborate with them.”

What’s also worked well for Barber is holding onto the reins of her own social media.

There’s no outsourcing, apart from the “hot husband” who may be on hand to help with a post or two.

“I’ve never handed it over to anyone because that’s mine,” she said.

Given it’s her direct line to her audience, she stressed how important it was that it truly is her voice and is something she’s proud of.

“In success, the bigger you get, people want more cuts of your pie and they start to get fuller and you start to get hungry and it’s like – what the fuck happened here?” Barber added.

“It goes back to that idea of not treating your audience like idiots. If all of a sudden I bring on a social media team, you will see it from space.”

Attendees were also treated to a powerful talk from academic and author of The Uncaged Sky: My 804 days in an Iranian Prison, Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert.

From Brent Smart, CMO, Telstra, and Vandita Pandey, CMO ANZ, snacks and beverages at PepsiCo, to Mim Haysom, EGM brand and marketing at Suncorp and Jenni Dill, CMO, Arnott’s Group, the inductees of B&T‘s CMO Power List were joined at the invite only event by media powerhouses such as GroupM’s CEO Aimee Buchanan, Are Media CEO Jane Huxley, Initiative CEO Mel Fein and more.

Other guests included Josh Faulks CEO Australian Association of National Advertisers, David Hovenden, CEO of The Misfits Misfits, Pippa Chambers, Cannes in Cairns Content Director, and Greg Graham, founder of The Nest Consultancy and editorial consultant at B&T.

Now in its second year, the B&T CMO Power List celebrates the outstanding achievements of Australia’s top marketers.




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Celeste Barber CMO Power List

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