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On Brand with ALF & Rory Sutherland

Being driven by creativity, not spreadsheets

Season 1, Ep. 6

Rory chats to Rak Patel, Head of Sales for the UK and Pan-EMEA at Spotify, and Ian McCulloch, the Managing Director for Silent Pool Distillers. Their discussion includes how packaging design played a key part in the early success of Silent Pool Gin and how voice activated ads are leading the way on the future of digital advertising. Plus, why it's important for companies to have a sense of 'mission'.

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  • 6. AO - let's go - with John Roberts founder of Appliances Online

    John Roberts started Appliances Online for a £1 bet in the pub on Christmas Eve 1999 with his mate. Today it's known as and it's a huge success in the provision of white goods and now tv and entertainment, smart tech, computing and more. John tells Rory how the company has focused on superb customer service to differentiate itself from its competitors and he outlines the thinking behind their sponsorships and marketing. Interestingly, having started by mailing brochures and then moving totally online, they are beginning to mail mini-brochures again. AO is now a totally vertically integrated business and John envisages a time, not far away, when they will be able to recycle every element of a piece of white goods into something brand new. AO also operate as a white label delivery business for a number of well known brands. This is a phenomenal 21st century success story.If you want to do business with the UK’s leading brands Request an ALF Insight demo. John Roberts supports the national youth charity, OnSide, find out more here...
  • 5. Morrisons' Rachel Eyre talks shop with Rory

    Rachel Eyre is Chief Customer and Marketing Officer at Morrisons, a heritage business in the UK, celebrating 125 years in 2024. Rachel explains how the Market Street proposition in Morrisons with its fresh, British sourced produce, appeals to traditional older Morrisons customers, but is now resonating with younger shoppers. Although big trolley shops are still popular, Rachel outlines how smaller, more frequent basket shops are becoming the norm. Rachel and Rory discuss Morrisons' vertically integrated business model, with it's own manufacturing businesses giving it a point of difference to competitors, a story which needs to be told to customers through brand marketing. Although there have been a lot of changes in loyalty programmes in recent years, Rachel feels that the recent update of the MoreCard scheme with its "Fivers" has enabled Morrisons to avoid some of the pitfalls of loyalty schemes and leapfrog ahead in terms of innovation. Competition for every pound is intense in this sector and despite the offers and discounts Rachel explains that still the biggest driver of choice is convenience of location. If you want to do business with the UK’s leading brands Request an ALF Insight demo.
  • 4. EE & BT's Christian Thrane is bringing home the bacon since the merger and rebrand

    Christian Thrane is the Managing Director of Marketing at EE and BT's Consumer Division. The merger of the two companies in 2016 has opened many opportunities. Christian, who joined just before lock-down, has been charged with setting out the new offerings for both existing and new customers. Service to the consumer is at the top of his agenda and on his watch this has improved on every level since the merger. Rory quizzes Christian about the focus of EE’s service with four areas addressed, Home, Game, Work and Learn. He also asks why, after a decade, they have stopped using Kevin Bacon in vision on their commercials. He’s still doing the voice overs.If you want to do business withthe UK’s leading brands Request an ALF Insight demo. To book your seat at the ALF Awards 2024, click here.
  • 3. Greg Jackson of Octopus Energy in powerful conversation with Rory

    Having read Economics at Cambridge, ex-Procter & Gamble marketer, Greg Jackson, explains the success behind Octopus, recently certified as a Which? Recommended energy provider for the 7th year in a row.Innovative technology, great marketing and superb customer service are integral to the Octopus success story. Among the many amazing revelations in the chat with Rory, Greg points out that 65% of UK households have a car, an increasing number of which are EVs, and the battery in an EV can power a house for between 3 and 5 days. You'll hear about the Octopus Power Pack and the Fan Club - technical and marketing ideas that have helped Octopus achieve around 8 million customers in 18 countries. This is an essential listen.If you want to do business withthe UK’s leading brands Request an ALF Insight demo. To book your seat at the ALF Awards 2024, click here.
  • 2. Haleon global marketing VP Simon Peel consults with Rory Sutherland on healthcare & data

    Simon Peel has worked for, among others, MediaCom, Mindshare, 20th Century Fox and Adidas. Now he's Vice President of Global Marketing for the healthcare brand Haleon born out of GSK, Novartis and Pfizer.In our Top Two Challenges, Simon describes the challenges facing both Haleon and the sector as a whole as being similar; through advertising, the need to create an emotional connection between the consumer and the brand in order to differentiate from retailers' own brand. As Rory says, price is key and sometimes you don't wake up with a 50p headache it's a £2.80 headache! The guys discuss marketing procurement and testing. Has the spreadsheet taken over?Also under consideration, placebos, the dumb principal (sic), Sir Patrick Valance gets a shout as does RADIO with Rory saying he never heard a radio campaign that didn't work and yet it's often the bit that gets cut from the budget.If you want to do business with the UK’s leading brands Request an ALF Insight demo.
  • 1. air up® Co-Founder Lena Jüngst leads Rory by the nose - to the water!

    Lena Jüngst explored product development at University in Germany and turned a bachelor thesis into a product - air up® - non-flavoured water that tastes flavoured. Lena explains how it works to convert Rory and reveals that around 80% of what we perceive as flavour is actually derived from what we’re smelling. With this relatively new drink product, while you drink plain water, you experience taste. No sugar. Just science! The brand, initially launched direct to consumers in Germany, is becoming available globally. Rory and Lena discuss the marketing strategy for the product and Lena reveals how they are slowly moving into above the line advertising. There's no rush however, because the product is doing remarkably well as a D2C brand.If you want to do business with the UK’s leading brands Request an ALF Insight demo.Now you can nominate your business development heroes and attend the ALF Awards 2024 click here.
  • 13. NBCUniversal's Yusuf Chuku talks content with Rory

    Yusuf Chuku is Executive Vice President, Strategic Planning & Commercial Impact at NBCUniversal. The guys explore how clients can best tap into the content-audience relationship and discuss partnerships, storytelling, branded content and the constant pressure to innovate and stay relevant to audiences. Fandemoniums? How does NBC Universal grow and access fandoms? Yusuf also responds to our regular Top Two Challenges - what is the biggest advertising challenge for global television & media companies? And what is the most pressing challenge for NBC Universal? If you want to do business with the UK’s leading brands Request an ALF Insight demo.Now you can nominate your business development heroes and attend the ALF Awards 2024 click here.
  • 12. Putting the partnerships into John Lewis - Charlotte Lock

    Charlotte Lock has had an illustrious career embracing the BBC, Tesco, Co-op, Asda, McCann and now the John Lewis Partnership where her experience in behavioural economics and partnerships is helping to develop the group’s offering. In this episode she joins Rory to discuss data driven customer insight and brand experience, along with segmentation in a variety of areas. Plus, Charlotte talks us through this year's John Lewis Christmas ad, their first created by Saatchi & Saatchi.  And in the Top Two Challenges, Charlotte reveals what she believes is the biggest challenge facing John Lewis and the most pressing issue for the retail sector as a whole. If you want to do business with the UK's leading brands. Request an ALF Insight demo. To nominate your business development heroes and attend the ALF Awards 2024, click here.
  • 11. The buzz around Pension Bee with Jasper Martens

    In this episode, Rory meets Jasper Martens, the Chief Marketing Officer at Pension Bee.Pension Bee launched in 2015 after CEO and Co-Founder, Romi Savova, who had previously worked at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, had difficulties transferring her own pension. Jasper reveals that many of their over 1 million new customers didn’t realise the tax benefits and contributions that come from having the right pension arrangements and why Pension Bee is now on a mission to make the process easier to understand and keep track of.With brand awareness in the UK now over 50%, Jasper explains the biggest marketing challenge for Pension Bee and why they've sponsored a Premier League football team.In the Top Two Challenges, Jasper talks about the future challenges for Pension Bee and the pension industry as a whole.Quite apart from the marketing insights revealed, this conversation will give you food for thought about your own pension arrangements.If you want to do business with the UK’s leading brands, request an ALF Insight demo.