‘Nobody wants to be friends with a dickhead’: PayPal boss warns businesses to focus more on their ethics

PayPal Australia’s marketing director has warned companies that consumers today associate brand values with their own ethics, and joked “nobody wants to be friends with a dickhead”.

Elaine Herlihy was talking at Mumbrella’s Finance Marketing Summit in a seminar exploring the emotional connection customers feel when making transactions.

Herlihy: “Today’s audience wants brands that contribute”

She used her talk to highlight how PayPal has increasingly put doing the right thing ahead of making money, and also advised businesses to pay more attention to the experience they can provide on mobile platforms.

Herlihy joined PayPal Australia in February 2016 and has a remit to both drive customer engagement and build her company’s brand.

She told delegates: “Trust doesn’t just come and go. It’s the foundation of making an emotional connection with a consumer.

“Today’s audience wants brands that contribute. People want to feel like they’re doing the right thing. Look at United Airlines’ recent mishap [where a passenger was dragged off a plane]. Today, people associate brand values with their own and nobody therefore wants to be freinds with someone who is only in it for themselves.”

Herlihy cited research that claims 77% of Australians think that companies should be taking steps to improve the social conditions of communities in which they operate.

“You are more trusted if you take a stand for what you believe in,” she concluded. “You can’t put a price on trust.”

In a wide-ranging address, Herlihy said that many firms are making the mistake of thinking that their particular service didn’t involve an emotional response, but argued that the end product nearly always does.

“Payments are emotional because there is a risk and reward. Consumers are driven by safety and convenience. But there is always risk, too. Will the jacket fit? Will it arrive? Will I be a victim of fraud?

“Go through the consumer journey and focus on where fear plays a part. It’s a powerful emotion. We’re twice as likely to refuse to pay than take the reward.”

PayPal has based much of its success on its efforts to protect customers, and its rise has worked in conjuction with eBay’s in reassuring customers that buying online can be safe.

She advised that the best way improve a business’ reputation is to focus on relationships with its partners, so that word-of-mouth recommendations can spread.

“Our partners are our most powerful advocates and we consider our PayPal merchants to be our partners.”

Finally, she said that despite people’s reliance on mobile, many businesses are still ignoring the potential of their mobile offering.

“According to Apple, we open our phones 80 times a day. That’s changed how we absorb information.

“In 2010, less than 1% of PayPal payments came from mobile. Last year it was 32%.

“But a phone is where we store our memories. We talk to loved one on it. We shop on it. In fact, 68% don’t go anywhere without it.

“Every company is on mobile even if they don’t have a mobile website. Your absence affects you, too.”


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