A year after leaving Iris to start his own consultancy, former APAC CEO Luke Nathans has opted to take up a new CMO role with B2B company Kingfisher.
The company has developed products that work with mobile service providers to allow their customers to upgrade their mobile phones whenever they like. Based in Singapore but with team members in Hong Kong and around the world, Kingfisher is currently working with Telstra in Australia and planning a launch in the US and Europe.
Referring to itself as a ‘next-gen mobile experience (MX) company’, it offers a service plan for mobile carrier customers called ‘Flip’. When a customer buys a new device through their phone provider but doesn’t like how it performs, damages it, or simply wants a newer model, they can 'Flip' it. Kingfisher takes the old phone and repurposes it through its second-hand device reseller called Nexus, which it claims is the 'world’s leading supplier of the newest pre-owned devices.'
In this way, Nathans’ new marketing role will have both B2B and consumer elements, since both are needed to get on board with the service. The pitch to telcos is an increase in subscribers from legacy products, less customer churn and better experience to differentiate from competitors. Nathans will work with carriers to articulate how the product works for consumers, positioning the benefits of freedom and flexibility. There is a sustainability message as well, since all devices are repurposed.
The work will come with considerable challenges as the big telcos don't have the best records for enabling change easily and implementing ideas quickly. But the chance to work with companies directly to help make real shifts in their business offerings, rather than simply jumping in midway to contribute on the communications side, is something that attracts Nathans to B2B after years of agency life.
“In an agency it’s sort or frustrating when we’re always trying to get a better seat at the table in a strategic part of the business. But we rarely spoke about B2B,” Nathans tells Campaign Asia-Pacific. "That’s why at this stage, this is where I wanted to focus on next.”
But there will be continuity in Nathans work from Iris as well, which actively courted startups and challenger brands. “I've based my career on building participation brands that actually make a significant difference," he says. "They mean things to people who will actively lean in and want to engage with those brands and products.
“There are so many discussions about brand purpose going on but it was very clear with Kingfisher that there was a purpose behind what we were doing. We just had to articulate it better around the need for freedom and flexibility in this industry. So what I can bring is a clear understanding of how to articulate the brand and product better while making sure everything we’re doing is relevant and impactful in people's lives.”