At Marketing Trends, we are discovering what drives Australia’s top marketers. Bryan is CMO at Stake, the Australian platform which is set to push boundaries and democratise global share markets. In this interview, Bryan tells us how Covid-19 accelerated trends that were already emerging in retail brokerage, and how investing is becoming part of the new generation’s identity. Read his full interview here.
Career & professional background
Bryan, how did your career in marketing start?
I began my career in advertising, at Leo Burnett. I started as a social media community manager and eventually worked my way into brand strategy. I spent several years working on a range of big clients, from alcohol to consumer electronics to airlines to QSR (Fast Food) and more.
After a right-place-right-time type moment, I was speaking with Stake’s founder, and the chance to move client-side in an early-stage, high-growth business sounded thrilling. So I leapt at the opportunity and haven’t looked back.
If you hadn’t pursued a career in marketing, in which other industry do you think you might be?
I love debating, so maybe a lawyer. But not sure I could deal with the paperwork.
Marketing & Industry Trends
Could you tell us about your role as CMO at Stake?
It’s ever-evolving. What’s exciting about Stake and the lifestage we’re at is that it’s almost a new company every week. Not our DNA or mission, but the rate of expansion and maturation.
So it’s really multifaceted, but if I had to nail down three constant things I focus on though, it’s to a) set the vision and be accountable for the brand equity we’re building, b) enable my team to do their best work and feel satisfied and happy in their jobs and c) always obsess about growth.
What type of impact has COVID- 19 had on your industry?
The brokerage industry has been fortunate through COVID. It’s kind of uncomfortable to say when so many people have been hurt in so many different ways. But I think in many industries, COVID has accelerated trends that were already emerging. If you look at work-from-home culture, for example, it was already there, pre-COVID, we’d just not worked exactly how to do well. COVID made us learn.
Retail brokerage is similar. For a while, we’ve seen a cultural swing toward more taking control with personal finances amongst this next generation. Whether that be books like the Barefoot Investor, trends like ‘Adulting’, shows like Billions or the decreasing taboo of talking about money. Couple this with the focus on the markets we saw during COVID, as well as people having more spare time and disposable income from being stuck at home, and you’ve got the perfect cocktail for action.
What is the most exciting trend or innovation happening in your field in terms of growth?
I think what’s fantastic at the moment is the growth in modern educational resources for investors.
For the new generation of investors, investing is actually becoming a part of their identity. In the same vein as health and wellbeing or social consciousness represents a piece of who you are, being a person who stays ahead of the game and strives to make more of themselves in the markets is a badge of honour, and it’s become a subculture.
As a result, points of engagement with investing are being diversified and modernised. From podcasts to YouTube, to events and forums, the access to information that connects people into the world of the markets and upskill them is amazing.
As a marketer, what do you believe is the biggest challenge facing your industry in the future?
I often hear people talk about the ‘pendulum swing’ in the industry. Whether it’s between art and science, purpose and product, measurable and harder-to-measure, there seems to be this binary mindset.
I think though, this biases people toward having a single-minded view of what drives success. There is never a silver bullet though. In anything.
As an industry, we need to be more welcoming of ‘the other side’ and understand we play but a role in an ecosystem.
Tools, recommendations & sources of inspiration
What does a typical day look like for you? How do you structure your week?
Wake up early enough to get to the gym (when I can), grab a coffee and arrive at the office between 8 and 8:30am. I’ll spend half an hour catching up on emails, Slack notifications, and understanding what’s happened overnight in other markets. I’ll take a look at my Stake portfolio too.
I then spend the next half hour writing out the priorities and planning out my day in half-hour blocks, so as to give me structure and focus. From there, mornings often kick off with calls with Brazilian team polishing up my Portuguese. Through the day it’s balancing time spent in meetings with getting through the days’ must-do’s.
Evenings often finish up with calls with the UK team and finally end it with some dinner around 7.30/8pm.
What I’ve recently tried to do is block out some blank time in my day. No meetings, no specific task, which is really my attempt at carving out space to step out of the day-to-day and consider higher level goals, team structures, strategies and so on. This happens less frequently than I’d like it to though!
What brands do you take inspiration from?
My team would tell you that my favourite brand is Nike. I don’t care if it’s cliche or common, Nike just kills it. For me, it’s their self awareness from top to bottom, which enables them to maintain their essence, but constantly evolve how it meets, and even shapes, culture.
Their sense of brand permeates through their product - from sportswear to street wear - from how they align with star athletes to how they empower individual one. They behave with a consistent swagger that delivers their brand, and only rely on advertising to amplify that swagger, not define it.
Software and tools recommendations: what is the one software you can’t work without and why?
There’s naturally a number of tools in our marketing stack that are really important, but on a day-to-day level, I reckon the tools that enable collaboration. Slack or Jira, probably most importantly. Our business is cross-functional and cross-borders and being able to centralise projects, communications and manage workflow is so useful.
To note, these tools aren’t the solution, they help it. Having great collaborative processes still requires strong management of these tools. We’re not fully there yet but we’re improving everyday!
What are three resources you would recommend for anyone working in your field?
I know this is going to sound like a weird response to this question, but I’d recommend everyone sees a therapist. For me, success in this industry is about managing the self and the ego, being comfortable with discomfort and staying on top of mental health. For me, fortnightly sessions help to keep me balanced, and keep things in perspective, and I find this dramatically improves my performance.