Simon O'Connor and his NAB story
For Simon O’Connor, storytelling is a battle between art and science - balancing the creative with analytics and customer needs.
He tackles this challenge as the Head of Content and Social Media Marketing at National Australia Bank (NAB), leading his team of eleven in content development, partnerships, social media activity and strategy. Theirs is the first centralised team in NAB dedicated to content marketing.
In his thirteen years at NAB, Simon has been involved in creating iconic NAB campaigns and sponsorships such as the NAB AFL Auskick and the NAB - More than Money campaign. Prior to his current role, Simon led the marketing team for NAB’s Business Lending.
From advertising credit card offers to tier one campaigns, one constant remains - you have to provide value and a reason to engage with the ad.
“People are very good at decoding advertising messages, with each generation more so than the previous. They can quickly work out what the company is trying to say, and accept or reject it,” he said.
“But the power of storytelling and the power of emotions to connect with people is a human trait. We use this as a way to be authentic and real and market ourselves differently.”
“Understanding the customer is key, and knowing what will resonate with them.”
An avid sports fan, a career highlight was when NAB flew him to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany with the Socceroos, to work on their customer hospitality program.
Simon’s journey into marketing started at RMIT, where he undertook the Bachelor of Business, Marketing degree (Applied) and worked at ANZ starting during his 12-month internship (sandwich year) and staying on to work full-time whilst completing his final year of study part-time. Simon credits his internship for the work opportunities he received once graduated, including a four year stint working at Visa in London.
“Once you’re in the workplace, you are able to apply the learning much better compared to when you are in the classroom,” he said.
For many, thirteen years is a long time to stay in an organisation. However, Simon attributes his loyalty to the vibrant work culture at NAB that values collaboration and fun.
“Work should be fun. If the marketing team is not having fun, then there’s something wrong with the organisation,” he laughed.
“Our role is to sell the brand and we want to enjoy the process.”
Simon’s exciting story is not ending anytime soon. As digital reigns supreme and mobile applications become increasingly relevant to customer experience, Simon intends to be a part of NAB’s future.
“How relevant and connected we are is important. As that evolves, I’m really excited about the opportunities to keep progressing,” he said.
“Every day, every month is different. It feels like a very different organisation from when I joined, and I’m sure it will feel like a different organisation every few years.”
Simon O'Connor completed the RMIT Bachelor of Business (Marketing) degree
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“Work should be fun. If the marketing team is not having fun, then there’s something wrong with the organisation" - Simon O'Connor