Leanne Cutts, HSBC’s CMO has said that COVID-19 is “a real reset moment for our role as marketers” that has shown the firm that it can deliver change more quickly and confirmed its reliance on an agile method of working.

Cutts, speaking at Cannes Lions Live said she expects changes brought about by COVID-19 to remain after the pandemic has ended.

Ms. Cutts began by acknowledging that the pandemic has brought about a change in her organisation, including that “processes that needed to be done in person, with signatures, can now be done online.

“One of our marketing team built and deployed a chat bot over a weekend in order to respond to a huge spike in enquiries in one platform and be able to help redirect the customers to the right platform.”

Change was a common theme of the discussion between Cutts and MediaLink’s, Dana Anderson. “As an organisation we now know that we can change much faster and that’s something we want to keep”, said Cutts when discussing what the firm has learned following the outbreak of COVID-19.

Agile working

Cutts also discussed HSBC’s move to an agile way of working and how it has been “a hugely transformative process.”

She said of the move to agile that the team wanted to “avoid so many of what we call the ‘ta-da’ moments where something is almost completely finished before it’s shared with anybody but if there are any issues you need to go back and rework.

“It’s allowed us to be much more reactive and quite efficient…I don’t think we would have been as fast and had such high quality if we hadn’t actually had that experience of reengineering our workflows and our work patterns.”

Ms. Cutts said that the firms move to an agile way of working had helped it to respond to new challenges presented at the outbreak of the pandemic. “As we had those ways of working in place, we could very quickly assemble globally diverse teams with one common goal.

“Things [were] being built in days that would have normally taken weeks or months.”

Testing and learning benefits

Ms. Cutts also said that the adoption of agile methodologies has helped the HSBC marketing team to increase its budget efficiency. “…we’re much more efficient now in terms of budget because we’ve been doing a lot more test and learn so therefore we avoid having to commit to a lot of work and then having to cross our fingers and hope.”

Cutts said she now believes agile is a part of the required set of skills a marketer will be expected to have.