Special Report Tama Marketer of the Year: And the finalists are… Bailey: the artsy stuff comes in handy

Paul BaileyVice-President AdvertisingCIBCProbably the only thing bankerly about Paul Bailey is his career.Bailey has been in financial services all his working life, but he quotes from Milton; holds a degree in French literature and philosophy; has authored a best-selling children's book,...

Paul Bailey

Vice-President Advertising

CIBC

Probably the only thing bankerly about Paul Bailey is his career.

Bailey has been in financial services all his working life, but he quotes from Milton; holds a degree in French literature and philosophy; has authored a best-selling children’s book, and can use the word ‘existentialist’ in a sentence.

Flexibility

The artsy stuff comes in handy along the way, though. It gives him flexibility in problem-solving and the ability to relate to creative types – to ‘build a bridge from strategy to creative brief.’

What he’s achieved this year is much more remarkable.

Bailey has built a bridge from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce to the customer. With the help of his new agency, Padulo Integrated, he has launched ‘Personal Vision,’ a campaign that not only addresses the psyche of the customer, it uses the customer to deliver it.

Far from a hopeless romantic, Bailey is a staunch believer in analysis, strategic thinking, operational capability and risk management.

But, he is also a subscriber to Peter Drucker’s ‘new realities’ and the notion of permission to be creative in business.

Cites Nichol

He cites the creativity of Dave Nichol and President’s Choice branding, saying, ‘There is not a dead category, just dead thinking.’

Bailey crystallizes the current cibc strategy:

‘In two words, customer focus. In three words: hopes, dreams and aspirations.’

The cibc has moved away from talking about the bank and what it can do, to letting the customer do the talking. People telling their own stories, with no scripts.

But, what’s incredible is that Bailey took a behemoth, navy blue-conservative institution with 48,000 staff and six million customers, from there to here in just six months.

‘Timing is everything’

As others among the big banking brethren lurch onto the just-folks bandwagon with varying degrees of skill and sincerity, Bailey says, ‘In marketing, timing is everything.’

The pressure comes also from non-traditional players, even Sears Financial, and non-traditional customers such as eco-boomers and the Generation X (whom he respects as ‘entrepreneurs out of necessity.’)

Even we perenially bratty baby boomers are in flux. We still want our own way, but, as we age, we will shift from demanding sporting equipment to demanding lounging-around equipment, such as bird-watching binoculars.

We might even revive church, Bailey postulates.

Not much good for the cardiovascular system, but, we might relish some spiritual fitness as we hobble down life’s longest slope.

And, just maybe there’s something non-traditional for Paul Bailey down the road.

Make what you will of this, but, invited to discuss what bugs him, he says:

‘I wish there were something you could admire in government. I wish people weren’t daunted by the impossible. The time is opportune for a big thinker on the national front.’

You said it, Paul.