Deloitte CMO Annabel Rake on why staff need personalization just as much as your customers
By Alistair Norman

Deloitte CMO Annabel Rake on why staff need personalization just as much as your customers

“80% of my budget goes on people, which is a lot. I want people who are happy and engaged. If I don’t create the right environment, they’ll leave,” says Annabel Rake CMO of Deloitte.

To deliver any of the above, marketing leaders must build and grow a strong team set for the future. Annabel Rake, partner, and CMO, Deloitte explains that to retain and motivate the best employees, you must cater to their individual needs.

The world of work is changing. As consumer demands and product delivery evolve at a faster pace than ever before, employees and their leaders must keep up. This often means training, but it also equates to a multi-disciplinary approach. Employees must be more reactive, productive and innovative than ever – yet they must also find balance with their personal lives.  

These vast developments in tech and changes in how people work prompted Annabel Rake, partner, and CMO at Deloitte, to think about her team’s future.

Annabel learned how to create an open culture that rewards and attracts talent while responding to the changing workplace. Deloitte’s marketing function is now more welcoming of flexibility, part-timers and working parents.

While these offerings don’t provide a short-term monetary benefit, the long-term results are huge. For example, Deloitte frequently lists as one of the best places for women and part-timers to work.

How do you retain your competitive advantage?

80% of my budget goes on people, which is a lot. I want people who are happy and engaged. If I don’t create the right environment, they’ll leave.

How to create a 21st-century marketing department

Of the ten people on Annabel’s leadership team, half are not based in London, many works flexibly, and a few are working mothers.

Some employees have school-term-only contracts and the company also runs a return to work programme for people who have had a career break of two or more years. 

This approach is backed up by policy and reinforced by formal events that focus on respect, inclusion and flexible working. During these times, people from different functions talk about their experiences.

Deloitte’s employee tagline is the question “What impact will you make?”. It puts the emphasis on impact, not hours worked. In response to this, Annabel switched her team to a project-based approach, which allows flexibility and doesn’t rely on someone being in the office five days a week.

Deloitte’s digital agency

In 2014, Annabel changed the way the marketing department is structured by developing its own internal agency, Deloitte 368, named after the Pantone reference for the green dot in the company’s logo. Within it, there is a project manager who brings in experts from other areas such as social, content marketing and insight. Freelancers and contractors are now used more regularly, as well as part-timers.

How do you prepare marketers for new skills?

We do a lot of training in resilience and understanding how change works. Transformation is exciting, but for lots of people it can be daunting and stressful. 

AI and robotics

In Australia, Deloitte is trialing robotics for marketing. Three robots are being tested to create and publish pages on its website, which so far has been a resounding success. “This wouldn’t necessarily replace a role, but would augment somebody’s existing role, so they could spend more time on other things, such as AV testing.”

Annabel now looks at recruitment differently, assessing whether a role has to be based in London, needs to be full-time, and if robotics can support it, freeing up man-hours to focus on more strategic value-add.

Why is workforce transformation so important?

The world is changing both from a tech perspective and a workforce perspective. If you don’t change, you’re fighting a losing battle.

How to create a transformative culture in which marketers thrive

  • Be an open-minded leader, allowing people to come forward with new ideas.
  • The only way to create an open culture is to be open yourself.
  • Up-skill your marketers in change management, judgment skills, analysis, and creativity. These are the skills of the future.
  • Scale quickly but fail quickly. Learn from your mistakes and don’t be afraid to get things wrong.

Want to find out what other marketing leaders think about the future of content? Read The Future of Content Marketing: 10 interviews with leading CMOs on the trends they’re using to disrupt in 2019.

Read the latest positioning trends and insights.

Tap into our brand and product positioning, storytelling, and creative expertise to inspire your next strategic move.

Subscribe to insights.