Nikita Mishra
Jul 21, 2023

The CMO's MO: Astrud Burgess' disruptive and innovative work at ANZ Bank

Astrud Burgess on why she's committed to innovation, heritage and supporting women in sport.

The CMO's MO: Astrud Burgess' disruptive and innovative work at ANZ Bank

The CMO's MO: 9 questions with dynamic APAC marketing leaders, insights and personalities revealed. 

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Spending her childhood in Kiribati with the sun, sand, and the beach, Astrud Burgess grew up to be a marketing professional, having been with ANZ Bank since 2008. Starting as a marketing manager, she now leads marketing, data and customer experience at New Zealand’s biggest bank. At heart, she cares most about the customers and is committed to supporting Kiwi businesses and SMEs, as the backbones of the New Zealand economy. What keeps her up at night? The question: "Are we innovating fast enough?" 

Campaign Asia-Pacific sat down with Burgess to talk about all things customer experience, innovation, the power of data, and keeping the values of Kiwi culture and heritage alive. 

Astrud Burgess, CMO, ANZ Group.

1. What are the three biggest marketing challenges for your brand right now?

  • Our key challenge is continuing to grow our reputation as the bank that helps all Kiwis thrive.
  • We’re also focussed on connecting with younger customers in a way that’s relevant to them but also fits with the role that they expect us to play. We need to be empathetic, supportive and speak to them in a way they understand.
  • And of course we are trying to understand how to best reap the benefits of Generative AI.

2.  What are the three biggest opportunities for your brand?

If we can really crack using data to help Kiwi businesses grow and people to achieve financial wellbeing, we know we can make a significant difference to our customers' lives.

Personal marketing is performing very well, so we will look to focus more on business to business marketing in the coming year.

Continuing to produce great disruptive work that builds our brand, engages our customers, and is interesting to the market.


3. 2023: survive or thrive? Elaborate.

It’s always thrive! If you don’t try to grow and innovate your brand will become irrelevant. Planning to survive is like planning to fail.

4. Where are you investing your marketing budgets this year? In what areas are you increasing or cutting spend?

We’re focusing more of our budget on one-to-one communications. Our commitment to helping our customers increase their financial wellbeing means we need to mine our data for ideas that will help them achieve this. As part of that work, we will also extract the insights we need to create compelling content.

We’re also planning to invest more in creating compelling propositions for Kiwi businesses. SMEs are the backbone of the New Zealand economy, and we’re looking to engage them with our new proposition around insights created by our newly acquired company Dot Loves Data. 

5. Are you missing the AI boat? What’s your C-suite AI strategy?

No. We are working hard with our partners to understand the potential for AI and to run tests with the technology. I believe it will be game-changing for knowledge workers once AI is incorporated into their everyday tasks. But for that to happen, we need enterprise designed tooling that can meet our security and privacy requirements. The really interesting question is: What we will do with this new time? Will it turn into shorter work days, or will we simply super-power our outcomes?

6. What do you feel separates your brand culture from others?

Heritage. As New Zealand’s biggest bank we’re always building from our heritage of helping more New Zealanders than any other bank. It’s reflected in our long-term commitment to partners such as New Zealand cricket and to supporting women in sport.

7. What needs to change in your industry when it comes to working culture?

I think in our industry people need to find the fun in work again by spending more time with each other, both socially and in the office.

8. Complete the sentence: “Today’s CMO must be ….”

Numbers driven, but prepared to take a leap of faith and be brave even when there is no data to support your decision.

9. What kind of a CMO are you? Answer using a maximum of three adjectives.

Commercial, innovative, ambitious.


10. Tell us one personal thing about yourself that others might not know.

I spent my childhood on Kiribati. In many ways it was the perfect childhood with sun, sand, the beach, and always more to do at your doorstep. And school that finished at lunch time!

Burgess with her family

11. What’s your favourite brand campaign that you participated in or wish you had?

I wish I had created the Nike Campaign with Michael Jordan, where the tag line is “I’d like to be like Mike” because it so accurately distilled the power of Michael Jordan to inspire people.

My favourite ANZ campaign is Mr Humfreez, which we created with TBWA\New Zealand because he’s a product that helps to solve a real problem. Not many people know the right temperature and humidity levels needed to create a healthy home. The WHO recommends between 18-21°C and less than 65% relative humidity. But the average home temperature in New Zealand is 17.8°C, with some as cold as 10°C. And due to excess moisture, half of all our homes have visible mould. Mr Humfreez, is a little sheep that helps people understand the health of their home, by telling them at a glance when it’s too damp, or too cold. You can find out more about how he works here: 

12. Finally, what keeps you up at night as a CMO?

Are we innovating fast enough?

Campaign Asia

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