“Innovation Has Been Flogged To Death”, Says Branding Guru

“Innovation Has Been Flogged To Death”, Says Branding Guru
SHARE
THIS



This week, B&T caught up with Associate Professor Karl Treacher, CEO of The Brand Institute of Australia, to talk about his mission of helping big brands behave better.

From working with the Australian of the year, to Hollywood superstars, politicians and more recently Australia’s big banks as they come out of the royal commission, Treacher has been the go-to guy for reputation insights and recovery.

Originally from Victoria, one of Melbourne’s best exports is now one of Australia’s best experts… see what we did there?

Check out all of what Treacher had to say below:

How did you end up in brand and reputation?

I’ve always been fascinated in why people choose things and brands. I launched my first brand when I was 17 as a social experiment – The Racket Man, a mobile racket stringing service. The uptake was crazy and despite it being a very small, hobby business it gave me a platform to test and trial a series of persuasive service strategies and techniques – all focused on doing the right thing, better than the competition. That obsession continues to this day.

What are the biggest reputation issues facing big brands today?

Lack of knowledge and quality insights plague most big organisations, in many cases without them knowing. Many boards and executive teams today are flying blind on a few fronts when it comes to reputation. As a former CMO myself, reputation was simply a task for corporate affairs. On reflection, I now see how connected brand and reputation are, and the opportunities left on the table for organisations that don’t know how to leverage brand and reputation strengths as one. This is precisely why I spent the last five years with a team of analysts and psychologists creating what is easily the world’s most comprehensive reputation insights tool, RepHealth. Gone are the days of companies simply wanting small sample tracking.

What bugs you?

So many things. Donald Trump, Simon Sinek and short-term thinking are just a few off the top of my head. My dislike for the first two should be obvious – people who are popular with people who can’t think for themselves. The last refers to brands that are stuck on the shareholder return treadmill, and have sold their moral compass in the process. Now is a time of wholesale change across the globe and the decisions made by leaders of large organisations have the potential to change the world… in a good or bad way.

What motivates you?

Raising the bar and driving change for good. What I mean by that is I like to help organisations be the best they can be by making well thought-out decisions. For instance, environmentally aware leaders can stem the the stream of climate change damage without sacrificing long-term profit; however, very few recognise this, or more the point, how to do it. I love working with brands that are sincere about their purpose and know the value internally and externally of demonstrating integrity.

What does the next few years look like for big brands in Australia?

Amongst other things, the race is on for corporate Australia to reshape its image. Right now, it’s hard to cite a full handful of organisations actively doing the right thing in a consistently demonstrative manner. Innovation has been flogged to death without the necessary focus on impact. Innovation for impact will be the next frontier, especially as the younger generations begin making decisions with their money. The reasons for people to engage with brands today looks nothing like it did 20 years ago, and yet we see the same old brand strategy and reputation development activities being devised and approved.

Any advice on changes on the way for big brands?

We will see one of two realities win out in the next decade: the separatist, myopic, selfish and ultimately self-destructive reality; or the uprising of the contemplative. The actions of brands will help consumers recognise which camp they’re in. Supporting any brand activity seen as climate-harming or anti-social will hopefully soon be a trigger for mass customer exodus, whereas brands that invest in change for good should be rewarded and trusted. The later is the smart long-term play.

Any secrets on what builds strong reputation?

Organisations with the strongest reputation find something to have a reputation ‘for’ – something that matters to broad audiences, and then align all activity behind it. They deliver on their promises, treat their people and customers with equal respect, and hold their products and services to account, inline with their values. It sounds easy, but even small organisations need help getting this right. Corporate politics are no less destructive today than they were yesterday or a decade ago, and personal agendas have a funny way of interfering with the brand goals of an organisation.

Any common mistakes you see big brand making when it comes to reputation?

Big brands are by default big and often overly complicated in the way they’re led. This means communication can be poor, which in turn means it’s easy for the left hand to not know what the right hand is doing – or worse, to compete against it. Straightforward, meaningful and inclusive leadership is the only answer for companies looking to be recognised and respected. Without this, they are subject to compliance issues, which can lead to misconduct and eventually a lack of community trust – reputation crisis.

What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on?

Working with the ACCC was great because that brand is all about doing the right thing and ensuring others do the same, but the most interesting for me personally has been helping the tech category in Australia emerge as a world-beater. We have some terrific tech companies operating at a level on-par with the very best globally. Helping build reputation in those cases has both interesting and rewarding, and demonstrated what’s possible when brands respond appropriately and efficiently to consumer needs.

 

Please login with linkedin to comment

Innovation Karl Treacher The Brand Institute The Brand Institute of Australia

Latest News

Facebook Launches COVID-19 Information Centre
  • Technology

Facebook Launches COVID-19 Information Centre

Facebook is continuing to play its part in aiding the COVID-19 outbreak, launching a new Information Centre. Localised to Australia, the Information Centres serves as a way for people to find information and resources from trusted health authorities, as well as actions they can take to stay healthy and support their family and community. The […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
New York, New York. - May 27, 2017: Google sign outside the Google office in New York City. It is a multinational technology company specializing in internet services and products.
  • Media

Google Launches New Resource To Help Local Businesses

Google Australia has launched the Google for Small Business online hub to provide helpful advice and resources to small and medium businesses as they navigate challenges caused by the spread of COVID-19. The resources are designed to help businesses communicate effectively with their customers and employees, and maintain business operations and continuity planning in response to […]

Microphone in front of the sound mixer and computers in broadcasting radio studio. New radio station studio.
  • Media

CRA Calls On Government To Ensure Radio Staff Exempt From Lockdowns

Industry body Commercial Radio Australia has called on Federal and State/Territory Governments to ensure radio broadcast operations and broadcast staff are exempt from any lockdowns due to the coronavirus crisis and are able to stay on air to provide essential information. CRA chief executive officer Joan Warner said that CRA has contacted the office of […]

Business Australia Launches Campaign To Support Businesses Through COVID-19
  • Campaigns

Business Australia Launches Campaign To Support Businesses Through COVID-19

Business Australia, a recently launched free membership organisation which is already supporting over 40,000 businesses across Australia, has launched a campaign urging business owners and managers to seek support to help them navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. The integrated campaign – devised and launched within a week by Six Black Pens and Chalk Co – is […]

Junkee Media Rebrands AWOL To Help During COVID-19 Isolation
  • Media

Junkee Media Rebrands AWOL To Help During COVID-19 Isolation

Junkee Media has rebranded its travel title AWOL to ‘Activities Without Leaving’, providing the hundreds of thousands of Australians currently isolating in their homes with a range of indoor activities to help them get through this challenging time. The new special edition of AWOL will focus on things Australians can do inside their home during […]

commercial illustrator
  • Media

Magna Cuts Advertising Outlook 8.5%

IPG study says COVID-19 set to knock 8.5% of ad spends, but increase home isolating male ECD's beards by 22.5%.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Nine Partners With Grabyo To Rapidly Distribute Content Across Digital
  • Media

Nine Partners With Grabyo To Rapidly Distribute Content Across Digital

Nine has partnered with Grabyo to strengthen its multi-platform content distribution strategy throughout 2020. The broadcaster uses Grabyo’s browser-based video platform to clip, edit and share content across its core areas – news, current affairs, sport and entertainment – instantly, ensuring Australian audiences can access this content in real-time, wherever they are. Nine has already […]

Slack Gained 2.5 Million Simultaneous Users This Month, And The Numbers Keep Going Up
  • Technology

Slack Gained 2.5 Million Simultaneous Users This Month, And The Numbers Keep Going Up

One of the few winners from the COVID-19 outbreak has been business communication app Slack. As workplaces scramble to get organised online, many are turning to tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams to create a digital experience that best replicates being in the office. Making an announcement on Twitter, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield revealed how […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Village Cinemas Places Staff In Temporary Casual Employment
  • Media

Village Cinemas Places Staff In Temporary Casual Employment

After announcing the closure of its cinema sites earlier this week, Village Cinemas has today confirmed that it has successfully partnered with both ALDI and Woolworths Group to provide temporary casual employment to its casual and part time team members. The redeployment efforts from these companies has provided over 30,000 casual job opportunities throughout Australia, […]

The Trenches Launches Video Series “How To… Alone Together” For Creative Community
  • Media

The Trenches Launches Video Series “How To… Alone Together” For Creative Community

Industry mentoring initiative The Trenches today is launching their  ‘HOW TO … ALONE TOGETHER’ series which will feature partners and members sharing creative tips, invitations and initiatives aimed at introducing some laughter, creativity and sanity to our new daily realities. As we face more time in our home offices, we gain dogs but we risk […]

Sydney Media Agency Awaken Named Part Of AFR Fast Starters
  • Advertising

Sydney Media Agency Awaken Named Part Of AFR Fast Starters

This week Sydney-based media agency Awaken revealed it made the Fast Starters for 2018-19, the list of the fastest growing companies in Australia as chosen by The Australian Financial Review. This is an extraordinary achievement for Awaken, which has grown from a kitchen table start up into a force to be reckoned within the media and […]

Melbourne Voice Tech Startup Launches Adventure Voice Game For Free In Australia
  • Technology

Melbourne Voice Tech Startup Launches Adventure Voice Game For Free In Australia

Melbourne-based tech startup, CogniVocal, has launched a complete voice-game A.I., for free in Australia. Three months after launching the paid version of Pirate Island, an adventure voice-game for Alexa smart speakers in the U.S. and, UK CogniVocal decided to remove payment methods to release the game in Australia.  “We believe this voice game might bring […]

Friend, student, woman, young, Strong, badass
  • Media

#ShowUs Grant Launches To Support Women, Female-Identifying & Non-Binary Voices In Commercial Film & Photography

Getty Images in partnership with Dove and Girlgaze, has today announced the launch of the #ShowUs Grant, open to women, female-identifying and non-binary commercial photographers and videographers from around the world who are committed to authentically representing women, female-identifying and non-binary individuals. Launched on the one-year anniversary of Project #ShowUs, the inaugural grant of $10,000 […]

It’s Not Just Change For Change’s Sake, It’s About Building A Defining Moment
  • Opinion

It’s Not Just Change For Change’s Sake, It’s About Building A Defining Moment

Charlotte Rush (pictured below) is an organisational psychologist and the head of learning at innovation consultancy, Inventium. In this guest post, Rush says momentous change should also bring a defining moment… Over the last few months, we have witnessed first-hand the role that emotion plays in driving behaviour change – from impulse buying as a […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
oOh!media Announces $167m Equity Raising, With Cook To Remain In CEO Position Till End Of Year
  • Media

oOh!media Announces $167m Equity Raising, With Cook To Remain In CEO Position Till End Of Year

Out-of-home player oOh!media has revealed a $167 million equity raising following a trading halt last week. Meanwhile, chief executive Brendon Cook, who announced he would be stepping down from the role earlier last month, will remain in the position until at least the end of 2020 to help the outdoor player get through this period. […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine