Microsoft UK CMO: 'I don't want an emotional relationship with my insurance company'

Microsoft's UK CMO, Philippa Snare, has rebuked brands that try and maintain an emotional connection with customers at the expense of giving them a useful service.

Microsoft UK CMO Philippa Snare
Microsoft UK CMO Philippa Snare

Speaking at Advertising Week Europe, she dismissed the idea that consumers want to be 'friends' or champions of brands, pointing out that most customers want the best service at the cheapest price.

Snare was responding to findings from the Future Foundation, presented at the same session, which examine how relationships between brands and consumers will look in 2025.

In some scenarios, it’s not about the brand, it's just about getting the service as quickly as possible to people that want it

Future Foundation's managing director, Meabh Quorin, outlined four scenarios that could prove challenging to brands within the next decade.

The first scenario, '

Snare described Microsoft as an 'iControl' brand, noting: "I don’t want an emotional relationship with an insurance company, I want the fastest quote at the best price.

"Technology is an enabler. In some scenarios, it’s not about the brand, it's just about getting the service as quickly as possible to people that want it."

Unilever on gay marriage

Snare was also outspoken about brands that put seemingly irrelevant causes at the heart of their campaigns. 

She referenced Unilever's marketing strategy for Ben & Jerry's, which involved taking a stance on gay marriage. She said: "Do you think ice-cream has got an interesting voice in gay marriage? I find that a bit of a struggle. I don’t understand why Ben & Jerry's have gone there.

"I wouldn’t make a different decision about my ice-cream based on their beliefs."

But Jon Goldstone, vice president of brand building for foods and refreshment at Unilever, defended the choice, saying the campaign both lifted sales and gave the brand an authentic voice.

He said: "It feels really authentic, and it does engage consumers when brands get involved with campaigning, and it does drive purchase. If you compare the purchase intent for Ben & Jerry's [after a campaign] with Haagen-Dazs, it's through the roof."


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