‘React, respond & rebuild is our motto during Covid-19’

In Lions Live CMOs in the Spotlight segment, Dana Anderson, Transformation Officer of MediaLink and Leanne Cutts, Group Head of Marketing, HSBC discussed managing remote leadership in the lockdown

e4m by Neeta Nair
Updated: Jun 23, 2020 8:39 AM
lions live

Lions Live: A global meeting of minds organized by Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity included tough debates, and heart to heart chat with industry leaders across the globe on Day 1. In a live session called CMOs in the Spotlight,  Dana Anderson, Chief Transformation Officer of MediaLink and long-time CMO, put another CMO-- Leanne Cutts, Group Head of Marketing, HSBC through her paces. She tried to find out what HSBC is focusing on now, how they're managing remote leadership in lockdown and whether the world of marketing will really change forever.

Anderson asked Cutts what dealing with Covid-19 has taught her organization and her as a leader. Responding to that Cutts said, “Our priority has been both, our customers and our colleagues during this extremely challenging time. We were lucky to be an organization that reacted to change so quickly. Be it moving the majority of our customer-facing staff to working from home or making phone calls to customers to find out if they are okay. We have done more digital engagement with our customers in the past three months than in the past three years. Processes that needed to be done in person with signatures can now be done online. So as an organisation we know now that we can change much faster and that is something we would like to keep doing.”

Talking about how their agency partners helped in their journey, Cutts said, “Both WPP and PHD have been great partners, to help us not just to be proactive but also creative, because the creativity part of it also moved at a speed that we never thought possible. We also worked with a lot of independent filmmakers to create regional content safely. And that helped provide work to people who were also struggling. Covid-19 allowed us to interact directly with our customers in a virtual live way. We were right about a lot of trends, migration to digital channels especially mobile, about omnichannel experiences considering customer lives are non-linear and they are moving between online and offline constantly, how health and wealth are intrinsically linked. Now we can be more personal and relevant at scale and that is most important.”

Anderson then went on to ask about the three Rs which helped HSBC respond to clients better. Cutts replied, “React, respond and rebuild was the foundation of the process we had put in place during the pandemic. We knew that different markets were going through the various stages of Covid-19 in different ways.  Using the three Rs helped us respond quickly and then pass on that learning around as opposed to having to start from the learning part of it all over again. It was a framework that helped us to co-ordinate better, work with our partners and once we applied it internally, we realized that it helped us with our investment choices better. It also helped us to ensure that we had enough fuel in the tank once we came out of the crisis.”

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