Marketers Changing The World: Guillaume Papillon, Head of Marketing at Mable.
Mable is on a journey to revolutionise the aged care and disability support industry. The movement it’s creating has attracted $AU100m in investment from General Atlantic in 2021 and had them recognised as an AU/NZ Interbrand Breakthrough Brand in 2023. It also attracts a high-calibre of staff, doubling its headcount to more than 250 employees in less than a year.
As the Head of Marketing, Guillaume Papillon leads a team of 17 marketers and is at home helping organisations scale up and building brands with a strong growth trajectory. Strategic, switched on and an all-round good person to boot, G has generously shared his insights on disrupting the status quo and changing lives in the process.
1. Why do you think Mable has been so successful, what’s the secret sauce?
I liken it to the taxi industry before Uber came along. It was broken and Uber solved a big problem for its customers. Mable came up with a very fresh solution that put people back in control. I think that’s our secret to success, we’re all about celebrating independence. Whether that's people with disability or people that are ageing as well as support workers, we give them the opportunity to be independent. They can choose their clients on Mable, set their own schedule. Your Italian grandma might want a support worker that speaks Italian, so you look at profiles of people in your area and get back in control of your own life.
Also, I‘ve never worked somewhere where we care so much about our customers. We’re constantly listening to them via my customer marketing team and that comes from Peter Scutt, one of our two co-founders. Together with Tony Cherrara, they genuinely want to change the industry and people's lives. We’re all very on the pulse of what's happening in the community.
2. What’s your biggest challenge in your role?
Mable is an exciting environment, because we’re in the scale up phase, and we’ve had lots of successes. It can also be quite messy!
We’ve gone from saying yes to everything, like you do in a start-up, and now we’re growing up. We’re in our teenage years. We’re not a kid anymore. We’ve got lots of ambition and a lot of marketing experts now, we’re being much more strategic.
So, my challenge is giving my team that strategic focus. That’s so important for our growth in scaling up from a challenger brand and delivering on the big game changing things.
3. What’s a brand you most admire and why?
Airbnb. They have truly changed the way we travel. And they completely live their purpose, which is to ‘belong anywhere’. Before they came along, we never thought about holidaying at people's places. They introduced a new vertical, totally in-line with their purpose and extended that with experiences. I've done cooking classes in a Japanese family home with their kids, hardly speaking English. It was so amazing. I would have never done that before Airbnb. You do feel like you belong.
They also have a programme for refugees and natural disasters. We listed our home on Airbnb for free to help people in the Australian bushfires. So beautifully in-line with their product and their brand.
And they’ve developed a brand that really talks to everyone. This is one of our other challenges at Mable, building a brand that resonates with so many different people. From nurses, social assistance workers, and our customers, everyone with disability needs is so unique. Airbnb do it so well. Whether you’re a host or guest, you get the same brand experience which all ladders up to one brand purpose.
4. As a challenger brand, how do you inspire your teams to maintain a culture of disruption and innovation?
For me the challenge is how to do the opposite. How do we elevate the brand from being a challenger to thinking, acting and working like we are a medium size business of 300 people? We are leading the industry in a new direction and creating our own category. Our technology is disruptive full stop.
How do we elevate our thinking and start thinking big? By making sure our site looks like a brand you trust, taking everything we do to the next level. To go beyond being viewed as a disruptor to having people consider us the norm.
5. What is the wackiest idea you’ve ever been pitched or pitched yourself?
One of my first jobs in Australia was for Delivery Hero, a very successful food delivery business that listed on the Stock Exchange in Berlin to become a global business. In Australia we had to be clever to get PR, since we had a tiny media budget. So ‘doggy bag’ is what I came up with. People could add dog friendly, vet approved restaurant dishes as a treat for their pets onto their takeaway order. It got us on The Project and a lot of free media coverage from a simple, cute idea.
Another idea I was pitched by an agency when I worked at hipages, was to ‘Fix Broken Hill’. I thought that was such a simple yet very effective idea. Send a crew of tradies from hipages with media to fix anything that needed fixing in Broken Hill. Would have loved to get that one over the line!
6. AI; is it taking marketers’ jobs or helping us level up? How are you using it at Mable?
I've seen some amazing experiments with video, it’s crazy...
There are definitely ways we can automate digital marketing, but I think creativity will always remain so important in marketing. Creativity starts with a blank page. If you already have a script to add your brand tone of voice to, I think it limits you way more than starting from scratch.
At Mable, we need to be very switched on and sensitive to our audience. One of our brand pillars is to be human, so it’s really important we make sure we keep humanity central to our brand.
7. Describe the vibe of the Mable Christmas party in three words?
Hot. Karaoke. Covid.
It was hot, fun and one of our team tested positive the next morning, but luckily the rest of us dodged it!
8. If budget was no issue and you could afford any brand ambassador for Mable dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
We have collaborated with Dylan Alcott previously, but I would use the money to make all our customers brand ambassadors. There’s no-one that can speak better about Mable than the people whose lives we’ve changed. We have such a strong, vocal community, including a Facebook group of more than 5000 support workers that auto-regulate and answer their own questions. To elevate those people and make them our brand ambassadors in the community would be amazing. They’re truly living our brand of changing lives through independence and celebrating the uniqueness of disability.
9. How are you going with the war for talent?
I've been so lucky. I've built our A-Team over the past year, and we've got such a strong offering that I've had no issues recruiting. The last few people have come from Google or Amazon. There are two big things we offer that are very sexy. Firstly, we’re a tech business that is disruptive and exciting. People can make their mark, really influence and shape our growing business which really resonates.
Secondly, we’re profit for purpose. After the great resignation people want to do good for the community, and at Mable you have a purpose. We’re truly changing lives. I've worked in businesses where it feels like putting lipstick on a pig with brand purpose. At Mable in my heart, deep down we genuinely care about changing peoples’ lives.
So, at Mable you can do both. Work in a massively growing tech business and do good for the community. That combination has been very attractive, including for me!
10. What’s the next world changing move for Mable?
Our industry is very broken and the NDIS is so complicated. With COVID, we saw horrible stories in aged care, people not being able to see their families, nurses quitting en masse. It’s just not functioning.
This is an opportunity for our brand to be even bolder. It's a sensitive industry and a sensitive topic. We've been quite shy, but we have created a better way, one that's really championing independence, offering true trust and control. And I don't want this to just be the better way. I just want it to be the way.
We can really help fix our industry. A lot of people don’t want to think about it because it makes you afraid of getting older and a lot of people don’t want to talk about disability. And that's why Mable was created in the first place, to help fix the industry. And we can own this narrative. Moving from being a disruptor to a category leader and highlighting the way to do things better. To help more people live an independent and happy life.