Far from it

Far from it

‘How To Be Interesting When You’re Not’ was the title of Designate’s eighth thought leadership event ‘Future Sessions’, held in its resident Shoreditch home, the Electric Cinema. The intriguing title is inspired by the success of many low interest categories to cut through increasingly competitive and shouty market places where brands attempt to appear interesting when the subject matter may have little appeal, or even worse, actually be a grudge purchase.

A number of Designate’s clients face this challenge and have done it rather well, so we were very pleased that one of the panel was our very own Columbus Travel Insurance client, Rob Thomas. He joined our panel alongside Peter Markey, CMO at the Post Office, Matt Eames from Feefo and our very own brand strategist, Cath Horner, who has been part of the team responsible for tackling this issue with some traditionally less exciting products or services provided by our clients.

A stand-out theme in all of the presentations was the value of customer insight. For marketers and agencies, it is critical to identify what people will find interesting about a not-so-interesting-product in order to create appeal in an authentic manner.

This insight is critical in informing brand behaviour in the way in which customers behave towards brands and vice versa. Peter showed a brilliant example of monitoring customer behaviour in some of the Post Offices branches using heart monitors and sweat detectors to inform how customers responded to their shops, and then once again one they had made changes to allow customers to flow through the different areas in a more organic way. This in turn increased usage, cross-sell and ultimately, profitability.


Rob shared an outstanding achievement for Columbus in his 10 minute spot. Following the Designate rebrand of the insurance company, we have collectively spent some time instilling the values and the meaning of the brand in their call centre staff in South Africa. This was accompanied by first removing call centre scripts to give staff the freedom to demonstrate their understanding when speaking to customers and also introducing a brand ambassador programme asking call centre peers to nominate staff members who really were thinking, acting and behaving under the new brand positioning.

As a direct consequence, Columbus received a Customer Service Accreditation from the ICS for the first time ever, with customer satisfaction rating up to an incredible 80% and an NPS of 34.6, second only to one of our other lovely clients, LV= who scored 38.8. Not bad when the sector average is a measly 9.3! It’s a clear demonstration of the power of a carefully built brand across an entire business.


Cath and Matt went on to share some excellent examples of how to be interesting, even when you really, really are not with the underlying premise being that it is the right message, delivered in the appropriate way. Boring people are said to be those who don’t have much to say, but as evident in our session, when there is something to say, it needs to be conveyed in a genuine way across every touchpoint to be relevant… and ultimately interesting.

If you’d like a copy of the presentations from the day, email jasont@designate.com

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