Making ‘human impact’ in the noisy digital world

Cat Williams-Treloar, CEO, Humanisation

With a decade of focused efforts on spotting trends and behaviours using quantitative and qualitative techniques ranging from ethnographic to user testing, to leading a network of 40 trend hunters globally, Cat Williams – Treloar, who grew up in a family of Entrepreneurs in Australia has worked on projects for brands like Rolex, Unilever, Zurich Insurance and Kimberly-Clark.  She has also worked in designing website, newsletters & driving online sales for her family business, while at University.

Her present venture Humanisation – the Human-Centered Marketing Consultancy, was born to help startups make a human impact in a digital world as they Go-To-Market across APAC.

She holds a Business degree with a focus on Marketing, eCommerce & Management Consulting. “What excited me the most was research because it was about discovery – getting out there and talking to people. One of my first assignments was to help a local Chinese Newspaper in Sydney understand why their growth had slowed”, she adds.

Cat recalls, when data became cool and digital became the norm, she was given the opportunity to apply insights, experiment with technology, build customer journeys and change behaviour. As a marketeer, she has been helping Enterprise, Startups & SMEs achieve more strategic goals through these methods.

The interview below with team ABT captures her thoughts on Women in Entrepreneurship, her journey & the challenges of managing business.

Who is your greatest inspiration?
Founding a business isn’t just about the revenue, it’s also the transformation that you go through as a leader. My brothers Chris and Peter have both founded their businesses in Australia. Chris started Natural Solar in Australia, and the growth journey he’s on is incredible. Peter plans to revolutionise wellness, and he’s knocking it out of the ballpark. I’m inspired by their courage, determination, vision, commercial success and for being amazing people.

What led you to take up marketing as a career? Was there an inflection point?
Right time, right place, right opportunity and the right level of discomfort.

The family business set me on the journey with digital marketing. My university sent me down a path of research. Living in a digital world made insight valuable. I said yes to a global opportunity of a lifetime 12 years ago at Mindshare as one mentor was pioneering customer journey work and the other mentor was pioneering agile marketing. And I worked very hard in brilliant consultancy, agency and client roles over the years that challenged me to keep evolving.

For 19 years I’ve been uncomfortable. I suspect I will be for another 19 years in the Marketing world.

What’s Human-Centered Marketing all about? How do businesses stand to gain from this idea?
Humanisation was born to help tech startups make a human impact in a digital world. We partner with SaaS, B2B, Cloud & FinTech brands to drive business growth and customer impact from Australia to South-East Asia to China and everywhere in between.

Our secret sauce is Human-Centered Marketing. We help brands walk in their customer’s shoes and find their human voice as they Go-To-Market. The benefit for businesses is making a human impact in a noisy digital world.

We’ve seen brand trust decline globally; technology has created invisible barriers between brands and consumers. The raw, unfiltered voice of customers and teams gets lost, and it is the main reason behind why customer experience is the number one focus areas for brands today globally.

The startups we are working with are breaking boundaries whether it’s building new categories or expanding the realms of Machine Learning, AI or Blockchain. A human approach becomes critical when you are creating new categories. It’s easy to get lost in the tech rather than the human benefit.

How we help is using a combination of research, empathy, design thinking and an agile mindset along with creating business alignment across marketing, sales, product & engineering because the humans on the inside matter just as much as prospects and customers.

Do you recall your most cherished moment? Tell us more.
If you’d asked me years ago, I would have answered the big pitch wins or the super promotions. For me, the most cherished moments in 2018 are when I’m with my husband or my family doing the little things.

Your thoughts on the top things that startup should do to market themselves better.

Day 1, week 1 & year 1 is all about focus: It’s easy to get distracted by shiny new tools or to keep changing tactics. All that matters is engaging the right human with a valuable offer that they’ll pay for. Everything else is a rabbit hole.

Creating a brand story that’s consistent: We all keep tweaking the value proposition as you hunt for product/market fit. Once you’ve got it, make sure you consistently use it everywhere. It’s a footprint that you are slowly building, and consistency wins.

Commit & test, test, test: Make a call that you want to do something like drive leads on LinkedIn or Facebook. Stick with it for 90 days. Adapt the spends, messaging, targeting but keep going if you strategically believe it’s the right thing to do. Uncovering the magic formula takes time and effort.

How do you see the role of Women in Business & Entrepreneurship today, compared to a decade ago? What has changed?
As women, we’ve found a collective voice that’s empowering. My mum co-founded her business over 40 years ago. I proudly grew up with a mum who was a trailblazer that worked crazy hours. My grandmother pitched in to help take care of us, and her closest girlfriends would step in with school runs. It was unusual at the time; mothers treated my mum differently for not being a “traditional” mother.  And many of the girls at school treated me negatively for having a working mother too.

A lot has changed since then, and unfortunately, a lot hasn’t.

What has changed for the positive is how female entrepreneurs empower and support each other whether it’s referrals, networking or being generous with time. We’ve found a voice that’s strong and supportive.

Where I don’t see as much change is broader society flexing as we work out our new normal. The “new normal” removes tightly defined roles about women and warmly includes each person regardless of their journey or path ahead.

What would you like to achieve in the coming years?
It’s straightforward – work with tech startups looking to make an impact and by doing so keep expanding Humanisation.

Cat is also the speaker at the upcoming summit ConnecTechAsia, scheduled from 26 to 28 June 2018 in Singapore. Cat will be sharing more insights on Machine Learning at ConnecTechAsia, at Marina Bay Sands, 27 June 2018.

Game changing strategies in Retail marketing

Smita Murarka, Head Marketing & eCommerce – amanté

A retail professional with over 13 years of work experience across international brands, Smita is also a Certified Image consultant and is passionate about making people highlight their true potential, helping them present themselves in their best ‘Avatar’.

Having worked across portfolios of Buying, Sales, operations and Marketing, and helped set up many brands in India, she has a deep understanding of the consumer and their fashion needs. Currently she heads marketing at amanté, an International intimate-wear Brand.Amante_Logo_EPS_

Prior to joining amanté– MAS Brands she was Senior Brand Manager at Lifestyle International.  She has been part of the core teams to set up many international brands in India like Splash, Bossini, Kappa and many more.  She has also had a stint at a brand consulting firm, brand-comm prior to her experience in the retail industry.

Smita loves travelling and is a foodie, with an interest to understand cultures and consumerism across the globe. She shares her experiences as a Retail Marketing Professional with team ABT here.

Who is your greatest inspiration & Why?
Personally, my greatest inspiration has been my father who had a big role to play in the way I look at life. He has taught me if you are righteous in your intentions and work hard towards your goals, then immediate results are not the end but just means to your growth. Today I am a fearless and confident woman because of the values he inculcated in me early on and can speak my mind without prejudice.

Professionally each of my mentors have taught me and shaped my growth. I believe everyone has a role to play in your life, and one needs to focus only on what can be learnt from people, ignoring the rest.

What are the challenges that you face? How do you overcome them?
Every working professional faces challenges and to have a positive attitude is of utmost importance for overcoming any situation.  Being abreast of changing consumer needs through regular research, robust feedback mechanism, agility in response are all ways in which I keep our marketing strategies relevant and have a deeper connect with our end consumer.

Tell us about your initiatives at amanté that have helped achieve strategic goals for the brand
amanté as a brand has doubled its turnover in about 2 years, and has higher consumer awareness than before.  The brand has moved from product selling to brand salience. Digital focus early on, has helped us connect with our consumers closely, to understand their preferences and educate them to make evolved product choices.

It gives me immense satisfaction to work on a brand and category as part of the leadership team and be part of its growth story.

If you were to do one thing differently, what would that be?
I would have liked to work in a different country for a few years, to add to my global exposure. However, have been lucky to have travelled extensively to other countries during my different work assignments.

Your views on the opportunities available for Women for entrepreneurship today
Today most of the established companies recognize the value a woman leader/ entrepreneur can bring to the table, and the gender divide has surely reduced, compared to a decade back.

As for the retail industry, consumerism is on the rise amongst women, and they are the decision makers for most purchase categories. Thus, it makes business sense to have women market to women.

The free digital space has also helped women connect to various opportunities and think beyond the obvious career choices.  Women are bloggers, Bikers, product creators and own/ lead a whole of careers which dint seem viable earlier.