How to Build a Unicorn with Richard Davies of Allica Bank

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In this week’s episode, Eric talks with Richard Davies, CEO of Allica Bank and ex CEO of Revolut and OakNorth. Richard has helped build three unicorn challengers in the fintech space (the third being as a non-exec for World Remit), but he’s also spent time at big incumbent banks. He has a unique perspective on not only what it takes to build a unicorn, but also what the biggest differences are between how incumbents and challengers go to market and approach growth. Eric and Richard also dig into effective org design models for product and marketing teams and how the Spotify squad model has had a big impact on how he’s approached building teams. Read more here -

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Eric: Hey, before we get into today's episode, I have a favor to ask actually. So we are now over a year in with Scratch. We've recorded about 50 episodes and by the time you're listening to this potentially more, it's been amazing and I've really appreciated the feedback and support from you all. But I really want to try with the second year to get scratch in front of a wider audience. And so I'm asking you if you've been listening for a while or if you're new, if you find this content valuable, if you're supporting what we're trying to do, I would really appreciate it if you could just take a second press pause on this episode. Either leave a review or share this episode and scratch with someone else who you think would find it valuable. It would mean a ton to me and to us as we're really trying to build the audience and the rival brand and get this content in front of more people that we think and that you think can help. Thank you so much for the continued support. Now onto the episode,

Richard: Honestly, I think if you haven't gotten checked out the whole Spotify scale agile squad model, right? Go check it out. That's like is <laugh>. Certainly if you are in something incumbent large organization, it can be, I think game changing if you actually properly go there, but you've got to properly go there. It's not just putting some lipstick on stuff, but yeah, go check that out if you've not checked it out already. I think a paradigm shift in how people think about organizational models.

I'm Eric Fulwiler and this is Scratch bringing You marketing lessons from the leading brands and brands rewriting the rule book from scratch for the world of today.

Hey everyone, my guest today is Richard Davies. He is the CEO at Allica, which is a challenger SME lender here in the uk. They actually just hit the milestone of a billion pounds lent out only two years after its launch. Richard, Richard has a really interesting background. I think a lot of you financial services, particularly here in the UK would've heard of him already. He was the CEO of banking at Rev Lutin and the non-executive director. He also spent some time at TSB Bank and the global head of Digital and propositions at Hssbc as well as the C of their UK business. And before that he was at Oak North and a big player as the CEO in helping that business become a unicorn early on. So it's really interesting, not a CMO, but I wanted to have him on the show because I think his experience of having been in now three unicorns because he's a non-exec at World Remit as well, but also big incumbents would be really interesting to hear what are the consistencies red threads, what's the contrasting differences between how incumbents and challengers approach growth?

And that's exactly what we got into. So he talks a bit about his background and being at Rev at Oak North being at Hssbc, but also how he's taking those learnings and applying them to how he and the team are growing Allica . So I think you're really going to be interested in this, particularly those of you that kind of nerd out on the marketing org design. How do you structure teams as a businesses growing how in a more product led business, how does marketing and where does marketing play a role? I think you're going to enjoy this conversation with Richard Davies. Hey everyone, my guest today is Richard Davies, CEO of Allica Bank, Richard, did you just go by Allica or do you go by Allica Bank? Typically?

Richard: I think Alika. Hey, we're sort of on the shirt, right? So yeah drop the bank.

Eric: It's funny, was that a because we're doing some work now, building a challenger bank and the stage that we're at in developing the brand strategy and then go to market strategy is actually on the name and that's one of the conversations is like do you include bank? Do you not include bank? But obviously that was there before you got there, right?

Richard: Yeah. And listen, I think to be honest, it's contextual. So I'd say if you're kind of in the market for talent, I think going single name works better than putting the bank on. If you are targeting end consumer, the bank thing does convey quite a bit of trust. So I think it's contextual as to wh when we use it, when we done it.

Eric: I'm just debating whether to go completely off script so early, but I'm going to do it because you brought it up and it sparked the question in my mind, talent. So you coming in and actually why don't we start with if you can give 30 to 60 seconds of context on your background. I will have done kind of a quick introduction for people that I'll record after the chat. So they will have heard a little bit, but what brought you to Allica when you started and then I think it'd be great, I'm sure, and knowing a bit, having seen some of the content that you've put out, I'm sure talent is a huge priority for you. So I'd love to, maybe we can just start with that. How does that fit into your kind of mind map and priorities as CEO O for marketing and otherwise?

Richard: Yeah, so I joined Allica in August of 2020, came here from Revolut where I was the group coo. And for that I've worked both in major banks, hssbc, but also was involved in setting up Oak North which is 20 14, 20 15 established and one of the most successful new banks in the uk valued about 5 billion last summer. So yeah, kind of done a bunch of both FinTech and major banking over the career. And I guess I was coming into alca with midst of the pandemic. AKA's first loan went out March, 2020. So kind of born into the pandemic and this real view that I mean I love SME Finance, it is sort of for some reason a passion of mine. And just with the crisis going on with the pandemic, there was this massive need to help disrupt and transform the market where the sort of high street incumbent banks that I'd worked at in the past, you can see them retreating and it is a third of the economy and someone's got to step up and really help that space. So that's kind of how I came to be here. I mean talent. So I think talent is everything really. I think every company needs to think about what is the type of talent they need. So the Revolution was massively long on people that were really high iq really data driven really sort of technical mindset which given they were looking to be as close to fully automated on everything as possible. I think if Nick Zelensky could have no humans anywhere other than engineering, he would it was kind of the profile we're looking for. I think one, look at alca, we are looking for something probably a little more balanced. We certainly really love the products tech angle, but we are trying to blend the human relationship with that tech angle and cause that's kind of what the end customer wants and needs. If you're a business owner with 50 staff, you're kind of not just after an app only experience. So I think actually blending that human and technology from a sort of talent and culture point of view is probably actually harder than going pure play on one dimension or the other. So yeah, we're trying to I guess get quite a bit of diversity when it comes to talent but there's probably some commonality about some of the features you want from people like the openness collaborative, definitely passion for the customer definitely and probably a sort of energy and degree of creativity you want to see whether they're going to be an engineer or whether they're going to be relationship manager for a customer.

Eric: And how do you think about brand, what sparked this question for me in this tangent was you saying, well Allica one word is going to be more appealing to talent. So that's thinking about brands even if it's from an employer brand standpoint and not a customer brand standpoint. And we'll talk a little bit about the brand in terms of go-to market and driving growth of the business. But on the talent side, is that, how much kind of mind share does that take up for you as CEO of, and do you have a CMO at Allica?

Richard: So we have head of marketing lady called Clay Fenton. He's great. Then she reports to our chief product and strategy officer guy called COR Ford. He's got quite a sort of growth straight marketing bent himself. So in terms of how much do I think about talent? Quite a lot, I think it's fair to say mean for when I came in, probably one of the number one things I was trying to do was make a reposition us where I guess classically you go get a bank license, you are seen as a bank and we are a bank. There's lots of good things that go with that. But I think from a talent attraction point of view, people often think of banks as kind of slightly old school. So I wanted to make sure we were as much FinTech as we were bank from a talent point of view, particularly when you're looking at yeah, could be growth marketing, could be product, could be frontal, backend engineering, could be data roles. That's been a pretty hot market the last year or two and you don't want to come across you small school bank which we're not. So yeah, I sort of personally spent quite a bit of time as did Conrad, I guess looking to try and personally move that brand image a lot of conferences podcasts, et cetera to try and make sure that there was that view that we are doing something interesting new with a lot of products in tech focused behind it. And I think it's broadly worked. I mean we've gone from just under a hundred people when I joined to about 300 right now and I've, I mean upscaled, the product and engineering functions from maybe 20 to 120. So there's been some big growth in these areas in quite competitive markets. And same as the marketing mean, we had don't mind saying one person when I joined now at six or seven. So we've kind of scaled up everything a fair bit over the last two years.

Eric: That's great. Yeah. Sorry to take us off on a side conversation to kick it off, but let's go back to the beginning even though we're warmed up. Let's do the icebreaker question. So can you tell us about a brand that you are passionate about very interested in right now and it obviously can't be your own?

Richard: Yeah, I think actually I wish in my segment there was a really great brand that I could really look up to and think, wow, you guys have just killed it. But I actually think the segment's quite hard and I find it hard to find those brands. You've got to often go outside that for what you like. I mean I guess I think this one divides people, but I'm going to go Apple because when I was at Hssbc I was sort of first of all CEO for their UK business, then ran digital globally for their commercial bank. And people used to joke that HSBC stood for how simple became complex. And I think Apple does the opposite of that. They kind of make the complex simple for the user and some people want to customize it way more. And yeah, Android's better for that. But there's something about just that focus on design that makes the complex simple that I love because actually that is kind of what we're trying to do as alca, right? It's a fairly complex segment where our customers don't have the resources of a enterprise corporate company but still navigating all the complexity of that world. So how do we make that simple I think is a great way to think about things in product design, process design, what you say to customers in marketing, communications, et cetera. So yeah, I'd probably go Apple if I have to pick, I know I'm going to divide people by saying that.

Eric: So I think where I want to start is your background is so interesting particularly for the focus of this podcast because a lot of what we're doing is trying to understand the differences between incumbents and challengers and what is it that drives the growth of these challenger brands? How are they able to grow? Obviously there's exceptions in every category, but for the most part a lot of these challengers are able to grow much quicker than incumbents. And so a lot of that obviously has to do with delivering new unique, differentiated value to the customer and the market through great product. And one of the things that we say is the best marketing is a great product but a lot of it also comes from the brand that they build and how they think about growth more holistically. So in your experience having been involved in early-ish stage startups and now three unicorns including your non-exec role at World Remit but also being at HSBC and some of the bigger incumbents, I'd just be curious, very broad question, but what are the biggest differences that you've seen between how challengers incumbents approach growth?

Richard: Yeah, I think it's a really great question. I think the large companies I've worked at, I think you get this culture of protect the status quo and risk aversion that can really kill new initiatives, growth, et cetera. And it's not deliberate, but it's just almost how you get, particularly in a financial services company, it's regulated. You get this immune system that grows up within the organization that sort of tries to kill things that look like they might be interesting or fast growing. And I guess that's what a true challenger brand thrives on growth and creativity. I think the interesting question is how do you that in a regulated environment? Because it's way harder when you are a regulator than when you're not because yeah, you kind of unleash creativity A, you break a bunch of stuff and you get a whole bunch of shit with the regulators which is not good. So there's an interesting kind of balance, which I find it's why I really like FinTech and financial services because I think it's kind of one of the most interesting problems places to work with. You've got that sort of, not just how do you drive innovation and growth, but also how do you keep in the right sort of space with the regulation and risk. And I think it can be a hard balance, but yeah, if you kill creativity, you kill the ability to take some measured risk, you don't deliver growth. And I think that's the sad thing in most big organizations is they really struggle to create that culture that can allow for that space for the creativity grace.

Eric: And so knowing that, having seen it firsthand, how did you think about when you first came into the CEO role at alca having a business that had some scale already a hundred people but obviously was still moldable by you there, or I'm assuming there wasn't also knowing it was still a relatively young business, that kind of bureaucracy and inertia and aversion of risk internally, or correct me if I'm wrong, but how did you think about intentionally creating that or harnessing it if it was already there and maintaining it? As the business has scaled to 300 and in my experience having been in a couple businesses that have done that jump, 300 is a very different company than 100 and I think 500 and I'm sure you're already starting to think about this is a completely different tipping point in terms of how people relate to each other, how they relate their job, how they relate to the, it's a big business at that point. So if what the answer is of what you need to do to drive that innovation and creativity, how are you thinking about making sure that happens at alca as CEO?

Richard: So I wouldn't pretend to have all the answers for sure. I, I'm a massive fan of the, I think it was originally kind of popularized from a white paper by Spotify, but the kind of squad model. So you align cross-functional teams to internal or external customer facing services and seek to I guess give empowerment to those squads to push on with stuff so that through that you seek to scale what might work at a smaller scale to a larger scale by trying to keep that degree of autonomy at a sort of squad level. So I mean we've gone from five squads a year ago to 12 squads now and it's not easy, it's not perfect but a massive fan of that is probably the single biggest way you solve for this question. And I think somewhat Revolut actually just did this on a phenomenal scale. It was, I mean when I was there they must have had 55, 60 squads operating in parallel. And I think very, very few companies managed to achieve that level of parallel scale with still very high speed. I mean shipping in 35 countries across maybe 20 to 30 different product verticals. I mean you're probably talking Amazon, not many others that can get to that degree of cross-country, cross vertical speed of shipping. So yeah, big fan of that is kind of a organizational principle, ways of working principle as part of solution. I think beyond that, you've got to put a lot of focus on what cultural values you want to see and how you hire for that, how you put that into performance management and so on. Because I think behaviors scale but I wouldn't say I've got the perfect answer and I think it's one that probably we need to have a go around again as we go forwards as to how do you get that sort of almost like front to back alignment around what ultimately you want to achieve because to a degree who you hire, how they behave, what they do is your customer proposition and you've got to have that resonance from target market propositioned right through what year, your kind of people you hire and how they work to day act happens. And I think there's something really interesting to do more on there for us next year. Actually, I don't think we've fully cracked it, but as say there's one single thing that'd be that way of organizing the kind of squad model, I'm a massive fan of trying to get more autonomy down the organization.

Eric: Have you studied the Netflix? I think it's less of a model and more kind of principles. So the culture deck that they put out probably, well more than 10 years ago now. And then Reed Hastings I think came out with a book a couple years ago. So it's less on the kind of product engineering and how you form those squads, but I would imagine a lot of the principles are the same. I will we'll include the Spotify white paper in the show notes, but for people who aren't familiar with it, maybe you could give a quick overview of what it is. And I don't believe marketing is included as part of that. So I'd be curious how marketing fits in, if that's kind of the organizing principle and structure, how do you think about marketing in or around that?

Richard: Yeah, and actually interesting question. We've been playing around with ourselves. So I mean basically yeah it was about 2012 the paper came out and it really described how Spotify had set up these sort of the unit organization vertically was squad. Squad was aligned to a particular service, most of the external customer facing, but it could also be a squad that enables other squads like ie internal customers. And I give an example, I think you look at the Spotify app and it's got many features like radio or search or whatever and each of those is a squad. And so each person's got its own remit, its own little business there to maximize and that squad's given KPIs or OKRs or whatever framework you want to use to have some goals as to what they are trying to maximize. But then it's given degrees of freedom to work out how best to deliver combination of things that maximizes those goals and that. So it's like whatever the skills are needed in that area to deliver likely product owner, likely designer, likely front and back end. But it does depend on the squad. And then there's a sort of nuance to it which is having some degree of horizontal what called chapters but more functional expertise from a sort of best practice career development point of view. I dunno, web or iOS or design. So that was kind of the model and I first came across it in I want to say 2015/16. And it just made so much common sense to me against the kind of bullshit old school way of doing things. You got complete, you're aligning vertical functions, they're all quite siloed, they all kind of fight with each other and then you have a big waterfall program for 18 months where you try and get these people to work together to deliver an outcome. And yeah, just wasn't great. The combination of that organizational model and agile as a way of working just really passed the common sense test for me. So ever since then I've been an advocate for it and I think to be honest, probably place I've seen it ever worked best is Revel. I think it was quite awe-inspiring actually. See the degree of parallel parallelization of squads and the kind of speed of shipping that was creating across semi geos and products. So how does product fit? So how does marketing fit into that I think is a really interesting question. We'd actually set up a growth squad which has disbanded that and I think probably going to think more about aligning what have you call it, right? Growth marketing, product marketing into product tribes. So a tribe is a collection of squads. So for us we have a tribe working on lending a tribe, working on our payments, current account side of things. And there's probably something about attaching the growth marketing resource at that level. So that does that sort of I guess marketing input to what the product build looks like as well as into, I dunno, iteration of application journeys, this sort of stuff. So you're trying to connect that sort of more technical product delivery with the go to market and all goes with that. Yeah, we did previously have a gray squad that was sort of it's squad saying, right, don't actually I'd be interested to see what the wider world doesn't it. I think you often attach the product marketing at the squad of tribe level, certainly what Revel did as well. But yeah, what are you seeing on that? Interesting to chat about actually.

Eric: Yeah, that's what I was just thinking of and I was, I'm thinking of some of the clients that we work with but also the time at 11 Fs it was relatively earlier stage because we were building greenfield propositions and so I guess it really wasn't in, it's such a different thing because we weren't our own product, we were building other people's products and it was a consulting business model. I think it probably does, design is not marketing that it is a part of marketing but it's also a part of product. And typically the design person in that squad or whoever's zoning that role is not going to be solving the job to be done that I think marketing needs to do, which is essentially, of course there's kind of the go to market and the communications and the advertising, which is a lot of what non-marketing people think marketing is. But fundamentally marketing is about connecting the product to the customer. And so there needs to be someone having done a lot of these interviews and I'm sure it gets talked about so much, particularly in the FS industry how do you be more customer centric? To me, of course you want that flowing throughout the culture and the process of everything that you do. And every business has their own ways of doing that. But fundamentally I see that as a responsibility of marketing, or at least I should say good marketing functions, good CMOs, good heads of marketing, good marketeers make the businesses they work for more customer centric. So I think it's actually an interesting conversation. I didn't know I, I didn't know were going to bring it up. I didn't know I was going to ask the question, but I'm definitely going to be thinking more about this because how should marketing fit into that squad model if that's kind of being adopted by a lot of challenger or even incumbent businesses now. I think that's a really interesting prompt and potentially something for us to think about and maybe put something out about. I'm sure there's stuff out there already but yeah, I definitely want to look into that.

Richard: Yeah, cause I think I'd say that pretty much every, yeah, startup I know in FinTech is using this model and I think you are seeing a lot more of the incumbents move this way certainly for their spinoff greenfield stuff, but I think also in the main core as well. So there is definitely interesting question out there and I agree with you. The CMO definitely should, has to be a customer champion and often does a lot of the not the user design type stuff where you're doing that sort of design research, but the kind of wider understanding of the customer experience, your metrics on that typically owns, certainly with us is about hundred driven in the marketing department. And there's that massive feedback loopers to if you want to have top in market customer experience, if you're doing that already, great, but where do you improve from there to keep top of the market? If you're not top of the market, what the hell is it you're missing to make sure you are top of market? So yeah, I think it's so interesting there. Yeah, I think an interesting question org design wise and don't think we've cracked right now.

Eric: Yeah, and I think the other thing is much to your point of talking about the traditional incumbent 18 month waterfall processes. I think a lot of businesses treat marketing as the next step after product development when it really should be integrated. Ideally you have someone who's thinking about how the product gets brought to market while the product is being developed as opposed or a feature, whatever it might be, as opposed to developing something and then figuring out if or how it can be brought to market. I think that's really interesting as well. And actually Jason Bates is a co-founder of 11:FS We spent a lot of time together and him being at Starling and Monzo relatively early on, I think that's interesting. There was a marketing perspective at the table even if he wasn't the CMO or however long he was there. But I think both of those businesses, and I think you see it in the brand that they've built and the product that they've built, they had people that were thinking about how to build a brand that people would care about, how to build a community around what they were doing, how to bring the customer into the product development roadmap.They were thinking about those things from the very beginning. Yeah, really interesting conversation. So we probably got time for one more big question and I think that I want that to be, let's talk about the SMB market. So you know were saying, I can't remember if it was after we press recorded before we press record, but you're clearly passionate about this. It was during we pressed record the third of the economy. This clearly factored into you choosing to go to alca and take this opportunity when it comes to bringing the alca proposition to market, driving the growth of the business, how do you think about the SMB segment and the opportunities or challenges of growing a business in that space?

Richard: So I think the first point is just breaking down the market a bit. So I guess in particular I make quite a difference between what people often call a micro business. So it's one person or maybe two or three people, but it is very much an individual or a couple of individuals versus what we call an established business. So they've got 10, 30, a hundred staff and I think they look quite different because one is really about me as an individual and how you help me cause I've got all the hassle of doing everything cause it's just me. And then you've got the established business where they've actually got a bunch of staff. So it's not like they're doing everything themselves personally anymore, but they've got nothing like the resources of a large company and yet they've got quite a lot of complexity of that large company because they're employing staff and they've got payroll and they've got to do pensions and they've got to do other benefits and they're on the financial side, they've got a legal entity, they might have other subsidiaries when they borrow it's secured anyways, there's so much complexity and yet they haven't got a 20 person finance department that the enterprise company has. So we are really focused on that established business and 10 to two 50 staff is how we'd define that within think the micro business space. It's super interesting as well, but it's already had a lot of focus in the UK with Starling, with Tide, with Monzo, a whole bunch of people have done micro business banking propositions centered around that individual and doing a good job. So we are exclusively focused on the piece that the established business segment. It's about a third of gdp, so that's pretty important and yet no one's done it right apart from traditional banks. So we find that really interesting as a space because it basically looks like the last big unaddressed opportunity for FinTech in the UK banking market. So I guess then you kind of asked the question, well why is it unaddressed? And I think you've got this fact that you have to have a bank license because these are companies that are borrowing quite materially amount of amounts of money. So when they borrow us, they borrow typically about half million pounds. So they need quite a good interest rate on that. If you haven't got the bank license, you can't actually provide a low interest rate, you get stuck pay providing a much higher interest rate. So you've got to have a bank license, which actually then cuts off 90% of FinTech you don't. And then there's also this dimension of understanding the customer deeply and how do you solve that complexity for both them and you. So the high street banks are kind of retreating from this space because they used to solve this complexity by having people in branches, but that's kind of not working for them anymore. So really what we are trying to do is build our own proprietary technology that helps us solve this complexity within people that can speak to the client to ensure it's put across in a easy to understand manner. And we sort of also build relationship and hopefully get referral over time into the rest of the market. So yeah, the problem we're trying to solve we think is the segment is inherently complicated and complex for both banks to serve and customers to work in. How do you make that complexity simple by technology and how do you combine that with great people that have great relationship with the end customer base.

Eric: Great. And I know one of the things that you mentioned is you're not going for the mass market, but you're also not going for the tippy top enterprise where it's more of a sales approach because exactly who you're trying to reach. So when you think about marketing or when you're meeting with your head of marketing on the marketing strategy and investment, how do you think about trying to find that balance between needing to go to a broader audience but trying to be as efficient as possible with where you invest and how you get the brand in front of your potential customers?

Richard: Yeah, I think this is one of the really hard questions for this segment. So if we define it as roughly 10 staff to two 50 staff, there might be 400,000 businesses in the UK that looked that, which is quite a lot. It's not a small number. So if you're talking enterprise, you might be talking a few thousand at most. So we're not in that kind of, as you say, tippy toy kind of really small defined market. But equally these are not consumers. There's not 60 million out there. And so you're in that kind of how do you reach the business owner, the person, cause it is still a person at the end of it in your target segment and build a brand with them in particular. Cause you can clearly go and indeed targeted sort of LinkedIn or other type communications to that market, but you need some brand build as well alongside that. And I guess if we go and do some TV campaign, that's going to be pretty inefficient given most people that's touching and not the target market. Yeah, I guess again, I don't think we've cracked it and it's why I wish there was sort of a amazing brand I could quote in this space that I could copy <laugh> having done it in the past in whatever walk of life. But I think often people have done this space as sort of a bit of adjuncts to having done another space. And I certainly, one has, let's say hbc, they spent huge amounts of money on all sorts of things. I mean, for example, you look at all the air bridges at most airports most places and there's HSBC on those and that has quite a big collateral benefit into the sort of target market I'm talking about because yeah, business owners travel and nice, but they're doing it because they're targeting consumer or actually corporate as well.It it's really, they're aimed at those segments but gets a side benefit of this segment. So yeah, I think it's a really interesting space. I mean we've done a lot of very targeted space at what you might call influencers, but the people are intermediaries in this market. The people are often where that end business owner will go if they're uncertain about how they raise finance which yeah, there's commercial finance brokers, there's also accountants. And I think building the brand there can be quite powerful in terms of giving you leverage to the end SME market. And I'm also really, really interested in a theme of how you build your own rather than just intermediary but also your own direct brand. And I think personally there is a role for that in terms of some degree of targeted couple. We sponsored, sponsored a few sports events where we know there's quite a high propensity for business owners to watch those but we're doing it pretty, we're sort of like the people I call if the main consumer guys have pulled out.

Eric: So you're trying to get good value on that stuff which does help. And you do see people then, I mean we did one of the ashes cricket tests in Australia last year and just loads of people suddenly texting us or pinging us on a LinkedIn account going, whoa, <laugh> amazing Seattle Aica on the pitch at the ashes. But I think there's the most powerful thing if we can get it really working is actually in the business communities, which tend to be either regional or industry. Because yeah, if you're a 50 person business owner, you've got suppliers and customers that are also that in your sector or your geo. And I think that's one we really want to work on going forwards is how do we build that real brand and therefore word of mouth in those particular communities. And I think some of that could only be done via people actually. There's something about having the right people out there and getting those communities with the right attitude as well as the right products that starts to build that everyone else in this market is old school. Have you tried Allica? Basically? Yeah,

Richard: Well I think totally, and one of the reasons that there's still opportunity in doing something like that is because it's not scalable with technology. There's no programmatic buy for all those intermediaries or influencers or whatever it is. And a lot of people aren't willing to invest in the humans to be able to do it. So I think that's really interesting. Hopefully you are building the brand that people will be able to point to as the example in this space if there's not one there already.

Eric: So Richard, we're out of time. I really appreciate you taking the time to chat with us today. I think this was really interesting to get your perspective. So last question before I let you go. What's the one thing that people should do differently after listening to this episode?

Richard: Oh God. Honestly, I think if you haven't gotten checked out the whole Spotify scout Agile squad model, go check it out. That's like is <laugh>, certainly if you are in something incumbent large organization, it can be, I think game changing if you actually properly go there, but you've got to properly go there. It's not just putting some lipstick on stuff. But yeah, go check that out if you've not checked out already. I think a paradigm shift in how people think about organizational models.

Eric: Great stuff. All right, so we will definitely include a link to that Spotify paper in the show notes and maybe I'm definitely going to go reread up on it again. So maybe if I find some other interesting articles talking about it, particularly from a marketing perspective, I will send them to you and include them in the show notes as well. But Richard, thanks so much again for your time. Really appreciate it.

Richard: Thank you. Pleasure.

Eric: Scratch is a production of Rival. We are a marketing innovation consultancy that helps businesses develop strategies and capabilities to grow faster. If you want to learn more about us, check out If you want to connect with me, email me or find me on LinkedIn. If you enjoyed today's show, please subscribe, share with anyone you think might enjoy it and please do leave us a review. Thanks for listening and see you next week.

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