A super funds single most important asset is the brand because it defines member relations, a marketing and public relations expert told delegates.

Mark Sareff, chief strategy officer of Ogilvy Australia, likened brands to religion saying that super funds needed to move beyond viewing it solely as a logo and realise that it includes the core beliefs and philosophy of an organisation.

“If Coca-cola suddenly had all of its trucks destroyed it would still exist as an organisation because the brand remains,” Sareff said.

He asked the rhetorical question of who would be listened to more: the multi-million dollar advertising campaign; or the friend whose sister hated working for an organisation because of poor internal culture.

He said that not enough attention had been given to core beliefs and philosophy and that this could create problems as they were the informing principals on how an organisation behaves, in turn eliciting a response from members.

“If your reputation is in tatters, if people fall out of love, you are in crisis. Can you leave that up to marketing? Not a chance!”

In his view the chief executive is the ultimate brand manager, as opposed to marketers, because they set the day-to-day running of the fund. Boards also play a significant role. If the chief executive creates the ‘how’, then the board creates the ‘why’.

“Beyond money, purpose is the reason we go to work and the only one with the right to determine the purpose of an organisation is the board,” Sareff said.

He added that there are four major shifts in the world that boards need to examine when considering their brand and how it engaged members. They were demographics moving, digital changing the balance of control, democratisation of ownership and an increasingly sophisticated Australian society who understood marketing games.


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