Justine Pattullo – Marketing EMEA
This year (2023) marks a special anniversary for me – it’s my 25th year working in the dynamic and vibrant Financial Services Technology sector.
Of course, I haven’t always been at Bravura during this time, and I’ve been fortunate enough to cut my teeth at some of the leading companies in the investment, pensions and tech space.
I started out at Standard Life creating and managing internal communications for IT with a particular focus on Y2K (and, the world didn’t end!) before moving around the Edinburgh set including names such as Scottish Equitable (now Aegon).
But my experience at Scottish Life (now Royal London) was a real game changer for my professional development.
In my five years there (2001-2006), I experienced and learnt so much in such a short space of time but I didn’t really appreciate that until years later. I was part of newly formed team called eCommerce. We liked to think of ourselves as three bandits, as we sat outside of both the marketing and IT teams, despite working closely with both areas and understanding the disruptive power technology – in all its forms – was going to bring to our industry.
After starting out traveling across all four corners of the UK demonstrating our tech to would-be clients, I moved into Product Development (PD). I can’t quite believe that 20 years ago I was writing Business Requirements Documents for things like “Online Member Switching and Redirection” – and to think, this is still a ‘special’ requirement when such functionality should be standard.
This then led to me moving departments to become Royal London’s first-ever web manager, setting up and managing the full online experience for a variety of stakeholders, including advisers, administrators and members.
In keeping with tech and marketing, it was only natural that I moved to an industry fintech to head up the first industry initiative to help financial advisers and their staff drive greater efficiencies through the adoption of technology. Upon leaving the business some 14 years later, I was leading the group’s marketing and communications – and it’s all pretty much history from there on.
Heading up the EMEA Marketing function at Bravura
It feels like only yesterday I started my Bravura journey, yet simultaneously that it’s my home and where I belong. I’ve been here for almost two years, joining when the UK was still in lockdown in February 2021.
Now that Bravura is entering its next phase of growth, external marketing is becoming a key focus.
This step up has brought some key challenges of its own. How do you create an external marketing function from scratch at an established and leading fintech company that boasts an enviable client roster?
Firstly, I’ve grown the team threefold, but our output has increased exponentially more thanks to finding fantastic people who have increased our capability immensely.
We’re still very much building the plane as we’re flying as I like to say but we’re carefully putting in the right processes and systems in place – while we’re delivering large industry campaigns and initiatives.
There’s no typical day in the world of Bravura marketing. In EMEA (mainly covering South Africa and UK), we’re a small team of six and we’re agile.
In a day I can cover everything from strategic global business announcements and drafting client and staff Q&As, to finalising a press release on the South African DFM market to supporting our internal comms function to ensure that our 1,500 colleagues across the globe are up to date on all the latest campaigns and activity we’re running.
There’s never a dull moment, and I keep learning every single day about all our huge breadth of products and propositions that sit right across the wealth value chain, from fund admin to advice.
Creating campaigns to enact positive change in the market or forging strategic partnerships is another key focus and a large part of my role consists of planning to support these overarching business objectives.
We’ve run campaigns in every market and in every part of the value chain we operate in. One of the first campaigns I led was on the future of Fund Administration, which included working with a futurologist to present a thought-provoking session at Fund Forum in Monaco.
Another notable campaign and one that is dear to my heart was the creation and launch of the Women in SA FS Network last year, where we managed to secure an interview on national radio for our Head of Country, Carolyn Erasmus. From a standing start, the network has grown to almost 200 members and counting and we’re hosting another session in Cape Town in March.
A more recent example of the work we’ve been doing is the promotion of Bravura’s Pensions Dashboards ISP (Integrated Service Provider) solution, Dashboards Connect.
Among other things, it involved creating two bespoke research reports, hosting eight webinars, drafting five supporting thought leadership articles and distributing media releases and commentary to media. Oh, and we launched the highly successful and industry’s first and only Pensions Dashboards Week, too!
The campaign is still ongoing and we’ve received excellent support from Bravura’s leadership team and the pensions dashboards working group – including our very own Mr Pensions Dashboards Jonathan Hawkins – which has led to us being nominated for several industry awards, including Pensions Age’s Best Marketing Campaign this year (2023).
Certainly, in some of the businesses I’ve worked in, having this level of support to achieve our business objectives would have been challenging. But, at Bravura it couldn’t have been further from the truth and our work on campaigns like Pensions Dashboards has shown what we CAN do when we pull together as a team and are laser-focused on an objective.
So, for me, the biggest challenge has been “me” – my mentality. Having the confidence and belief in myself that I can do it and I know a lot of colleagues – past and present – feel the same.
It’s no secret that as a business we’re transitioning, and this change is very promising and it’s a great experience personally to be right at the coalface. And that’s all while we’re continuing to deliver, which can sometimes mean that confidence and belief is even more important to drive results.
Looking ahead, it’s exciting to start the year in our new global capacity, where we report directly into Justin Morgan, our Director of Strategy. We have so much innovation happening across the business and supporting our sales and account management colleagues, our counterparts in APAC, and our amazing Diversity & Inclusiveness leads, to name just a few, is a huge privilege.
Currently, we’re on a growth plan that is reliant upon building our purpose and then, very strongly, signalling our intent. Continuing to develop our brands and products in a way that resonates with clients will be a key challenge and a focus area as we work through these landmark projects.
This year is a crucial year for the marketing team as well as the wider business – and we can’t wait to get stuck in and help our clients and key stakeholders become even more successful and importantly celebrate together as One Bravura.