ANU Spaces – Lizzy Ryley

25 November 2016

...it wasn't about how the brand looked in the market, it wasn't about how we advertised it, it was actually about how the people who were in front of our customers, embodied that brand.

Meet Lizzy Ryley, Director of the University's Marketing Office. Lizzy joined ANU in May 2016, following an extensive career at Woolworths Limited in their Marketing and Corporate Affairs division.

Lizzy, can you tell us about your role at ANU?

My role here is to lead the experience of the ANU brand across our audiences and I think a lot of people think that brand is more about what things look like but it's actually about the experience. So I lead that but I lead that alongside a number of other people. A big part of my role is to be able to pull everybody together to collaborate to really live and breathe the values of ANU.

What is your favourite spot on campus and why?

I actually really like my office and by my office I don't just mean my office by myself, I mean my office with my team. I think it's a really nice office. It's really collegiate. But if I were to go to somewhere outside, I think it's the sushi place in Union Court. The sushi's so good and it's really nice to just sit there and watch the students go past and really get a good feel of how our campus community is living.

Which three famous celebrities would you invite to a dinner party and why?

One would have to be Ritchie McCaw, and that's obvious! Sir Ritchie McCaw - All Black, being a Kiwi [myself] definitely have to have him there! And I'm a big Rugby fan.

It would also be really fascinating to have somebody like Oscar Wilde there because I love reading and I think he's just such a fascinating person as well.

I think my third person would probably be somebody like Kim Kardashian because I actually think it would be fascinating to do what she did in terms of building her profile! Because really! Man, how did she manage to do that from nothing. As a marketer, I would LOVE to know how she became so relevant to that audience. Globally she is phenomenally famous. How did that happen. How much of that was her and much of that was manufactured by the social media and digital experts.

Can you tell us about your time in Woolworths Marketing? During your time there, what major changes did you help oversee?

I oversaw the relaunch of 'Australia's Fresh Food People', which was the Woolworths' brand. What that was about, was reinvigorating 160,000 team members of Woolworths to live and breathe the values of the Woolworths brand and we re-developed the brand architecture of Woolworths and relaunched as 'Australia's Fresh Food People' which wasn't a big shift because it was just 'the Fresh Food People'. What it was, was there was a whole underpinning of values that the brand needed to deliver in terms of experience and what that meant was inspiring everybody in our team who was the face of that brand, to the audience, and live and breathe those brand values.

I think the big piece that really demonstrated to me about how well that worked was when I got stories from our stores around things like a young mum who had run out of baby formula and she was stuck at home without a car and a new baby and one of our store managers literally took the formula to her house for her. The whole thing was about going over and above what was expected of the brand and delivering surprise and delight. And so it was stories like that that made me realise that the team that led that reinvigoration of the brand had been successful. Because it wasn't about how the brand looked in the market, it wasn't about how we advertised it, it was actually about how the people who were in front of our customers, embodied that brand. It's hard to do, because it's getting everybody to sing off the same song sheet. If you can get a large majority of people singing off the same song sheet, then you go a long way to building a brand experience.

What do you see has been Marketing's biggest achievement, since your arrival at ANU?

Tolerating me probably! Look I think we had some good success with the recent work that we did around Open Day. I think that was pretty good. And the social media that we used - things like the geo filters for Snap Chat. There were only 300 downloads which was a bit light but there were 20,000 shares. So if you keep building on that, then you can actually get some results out of that, so I think that was pretty good.

I also think that starting to build a Marketing Intelligence and Research function - so trying to understand how we're performing. What are we measuring, what are we doing and how is that delivering return on investment. What do we know our competition are doing and how are we benchmarked against our competition? What's going on in international markets, where are our big opportunities and why? So we're trying to build that insight functioning also. 

What are your plans for the ANU brand in 2017 and beyond?

Coming from a background where I dealt with ten million customer records, I've made and run massive loyalty programs, I spent much of my focus endeavouring to understand customer behaviour and to target both the communications and the product to those audiences. So at a broad level, in 2017, I would propose that what Marketing will do is endeavour to get more customer/audience data and endeavour to segment and understand groups of customers or audiences and make sure that the communication is really relevant to those audiences so that they engage with us.