Whats a CBO?
1 February 2012
Continuing on with our Broadgate meets series, I met with the man behind our brand – Simon Osborne to find out more about his role.
Q: Not many people know what a CBO is – can you tell us more?
A: If you say CBO to anyone they automatically assume its an American television channel! CBO stands for Chief Brand Officer, meaning I’m responsible for the brand’s image, experience and promise and propagating that throughout the entire company. I also have the privilege of overseeing advertising, public relations, communications, marketing and client services. You have to look beyond the title and see the job for what it is. I’m ultimately accountable for any experience (good and bad) caused by our company and employees – you may even call me the scapegoat.
Q: How does your past experience lend itself to your current role?
A: To be honest, I have little to no experience in this field at all. My background is in fraud detection, investigation, recovery and process management. If anything, I learnt a lot about psychology in my previous role meaning I know why and how people behave in a certain way so I can adapt that to create an appealing and memorable experience for our clients. I don’t see what I do as work or a job, I see this as a hobby. It’s something I want to do rather than have to do – I really enjoy what I do and hopefully that comes across in the results.
Q: What projects are you currently working on?
A: This year is about pushing for transparency and regaining the trust from the public that was once there . To me, that means building long lasting and rewarding relationships with people from all walks of life through face to face, meaningful and sincere dialogue. Last year was about establishing the brand and core values. We’ve achieved that. This year the challenge is to maintain what we have built and become more agressive with our campaigns. I want to try things “off the wall” with our ads, make it different yet appealing. We have a number of projects underway which I am really excited about but to reveal them now would spoil the surprise!
Q: How is Broadgate different from our competitors?
A: Two words – People and Dynamism. As John (our President & CEO) mentions in our welcome page, without doubt our greatest asset is our people. I have the honour and privilege to work with such a diverse group of people with unique skills which lends itself well to their roles. We run the organisation like a family with a very flat structure – sure we have heated arguments and disagreements but what family doesn’t ? We experience failure and success as one unit. We are a small company but collectively we have around 100 years experience in finance. Corporately, we are extremely dynamic, branching out into areas I could have never imagined. I can honestly see the group becoming a multi industry conglomerate in a few years time with the underlying notion to create a positive impact to society. To me, its about continuos improvement. Someone once asked me why fix something if its not broken. Its not about fixing, its about improving to make things better – car manufacturers continue to roll out new models year after year – its not to say something was wrong with the previous models. We have to keep up with the environment that surrounds us and that ultimately means change for the better. One of our founding core values is Flexibility.
Q: What are you passionate about?
A: Developing oneself and others. I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by good people who have a lot of experience that I can learn from. Education doesn’t stop after college or university, its all about learning from the people you encounter, and sharing your experience with others. In my role, I get to meet a lot of people from varied backgrounds and I try to learn as much as I can from them – you can learn something from everyone! I’ll give you an example, it was only last night I attended a talk from The National University of Singapore’s Asia-Pacific Executive MBA programme and had the honour to meet Professor Prem Shamdasani (Academic Director, Asia-Pacific Executive MBA Programme & Associate Dean, Executive Education NUS Business School). It just so happened he teaches the course on branding and marketing – and we had a valuable discussion on the importance of branding. No matter who I meet or what I do, I will always attempt to create a valuable experience.
Q: Whats in your wallet?
A: Nothing to shout about! Some debit cards, membership cards and a BTS card. At this moment I have 60THB ($1.93) – I try to keep no more than 1000 THB at any given time for security reasons. Anything above that amount I have my cards. My friends know me to be quite tight with my money and I complain about the cost of water in restaurants. Everyone has their own set of values and beliefs that is just mine – I’m also generous at times given the circumstance.
Q: Whats your favorite quote?
A: I have this stuck on the wall behind me in my office so I can remind myself everyday: “I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again”.