Q+A with Jeremy Dale, Chief Marketing Officer at Likewize
For our latest interview, Business Leader spoke to Jeremy Dale, Chief Marketing Officer at Likewize (formerly known as Brightstar), an end-to-end tech protection and support service provider.
What is your background in the industry and what were you doing before joining Likewize?
Let me, first of all, say I have been tremendously lucky, or blessed, to have worked at some great companies just at the time when they have been launching amazing products and I agree with the saying “it’s better to be lucky than good.” Prior to taking on my new role as Chief Marketing Officer at Likewize, I had the privilege of working for many innovative tech companies, including Nintendo, Orange, Motorola in their heyday and Microsoft.
My 30+ year career has seen me be a part of the launch of many great products, from the Pokémon Motorola Razor to Xbox One. I created the hugely popular Orange Wednesdays initiative during my time at Orange. At ITV Digital, I led the rebranding of the company and created the much loved ‘Al and Monkey’ advertising campaign and while at Nintendo’s UK business I had the privilege of launching the legendary Pokémon franchise and the resurgence of the Game Boy brand.
Before signing on with Likewize, I was Co-Founder of a digital start-up in football called OTRO. We signed 19 of the world’s top footballers to create their own social media platform which was very exciting, and we launched it to huge acclaim. It was the fastest brand to 500 Instagram followers. Sadly it didn’t become what we wanted it to be.
Around the same time, I published my first business book ‘The Punk Rock of Business’ which opened the door to speaking at conferences.
It has been an action-packed couple of decades to say the least!
What is your book, The Punk Rock of Business, about, and what inspired you to write it?
This is how I see things; many businesses these days are clogged up by bureaucracy that thwarts innovation, slows down creativity and encourages mediocrity. I hate mediocrity, I’d much rather have spectacular success or fantastic failure. I believe mediocrity occurs far too often, because too many people in business, particularly in middle management roles are more concerned about protecting their job rather than striving for greatness and being everything they could be.
They are fearful of putting their heads above the parapet, so they take a ‘play it safe’ attitude and come up with the conservative and expected proposals. Too many businesses create an environment and a culture that encourages averageness and behavior that is destined to deliver results that at best, can only ever be lukewarm. This is a huge problem as lukewarm is no good to anyone, not to businesses and business people.
As I thought about the influences of punk, I realized how much more inspiration modern businesses and business people could and should take from punk rock culture and a punk rock attitude.
There were 5 key reasons why I wrote this book:
- I want to see bureaucracy stripped away – it drives me mad
- I want to see talented business people realize their full potential: I see too many highly talented people achieve good results, and enjoy reasonable success, without ever becoming everything they could be. They just need to go for it all guns blazing.
- I want people to enjoy business: I have found that a punk attitude has allowed me to be true to who I am and that has enabled me to enjoy work so much more than I ever would have imagined.
- I want to help accelerate people’s career: This is the stuff I wish someone had told me when I was starting out?
- It’s the only way to succeed in the future: We need to be far more punk if we are to succeed in the technologically rampant world we see exploding around us.
Why was 2020 such a significant year for Likewize? Were you aided or hindered by the pandemic?
We’ve been transforming as a company over the past three years, so while we were slightly hindered by the early lockdowns, as we all had to get used to working remotely, our overall business trajectory was on the up, and has remained so over the last year or two. It’s fair to say we benefitted from the pandemic. We saw people have a much greater reliance on their technology and as such, we became far more important to them. For example, one of our services WeFix, a mobile repair service, grew by 100% year on year, because people were remote working and didn’t have access to the existing repair services, which they had historically used.
There is no doubt that the pandemic has heightened the importance of technology significantly, and therefore as technology becomes more important, so does Likewize. We don’t think that the pandemic altered any trends, as these were already underway, but it accelerated the digital revolution, transforming the prevalence and importance of technology in our lives; which is where we come in to play.
One significant part of our transformation was our very recent rebrand. We rebranded from Brightstar to Likewize because we needed people to reassess who we were, and understand what we now do – we were previously misunderstood. We started out as a mobile phone distributor, but that is not what we are today. We are a tech protection and support company. When someone’s tech goes wrong, we make it right. We cover people against every eventuality whether a phone is lost, stolen, damaged, malfunctioning, in need of any upgrade or someone doesn’t know how to do something, we have the solution. Most people didn’t understand that this was what we are and what we do.
That is why we had to take the significant decision to rebrand, and we’re delighted with the rebrand and how people now have a far better understanding of who we are and what we do. Most importantly, why we exist and how we make the world a better place.
Is Likewize your biggest business success story?
Likewize is a huge success story because it has transformed massively in the past few years into the company it is today. However, I haven’t contributed to that yet. I was brought in as CMO to rebrand the company, which we did last month and while I’m hugely excited about the potential of that, I’m not calling a victory yet; I have to deliver the real benefits, and these are still to come.
Could it become my biggest success? Well, when I l reflect upon what I’m most proud of in my career – Pokémon, Orange Wednesdays, Al and Monkey, the Xbox One, the Motorola RAZR – people always say to me ‘which is your favourite?’ and it’s similar to when you get asked that about your children. You don’t have favourites; you love them all equally, but differently and I’m looking forward to a point in 12 months’ time or so when I can list Likewize amongst the same group of products that I’ve been involved with and if Likewize can hold its own in that list I’ll be delighted.
What are the company’s future plans in the UK now that lockdown is over?
The answer to that is “more of the same.” Obviously, everyone was affected by the pandemic in how we did things, but, the last twelve months proved to be our most successful year to date in the UK. We saw strong growth, big new customer wins and we also made some strategic acquisitions in the UK market. I am sure that we will see exactly the same as we close out 2021 and move into 2022.
Also during the past two years, we’ve invested globally $200 million in our global technology platforms to be able to make things far more automated and effortless for customers. Within the UK we have opened brand new office facilities and a state-of-the-art fulfilment centre both in Crewe. We are also hiring over 100 more people in that area to handle the growth we are experiencing.
These are exciting times for us.