Ian Howard

Ian Howard
  • Chief executive officer at Isobar New Zealand
  • Auckland, New Zealand

Ian started his career as a well intentioned journalist before stumbling his way into marketing via a stint in television production. He has 12 years experience in senior strategic roles across ITV, TVNZ, Interbrand and now at Isobar NZ (formerly Little Giant), where he helms a talented team of storytellers and technologists. Ian’s work has been recognised at numerous awards shows and he has consulted on some of New Zealand’s biggest companies including Spark, Frucor, Genesis Energy, Kiwi Property, Air New Zealand, Lion Nathan and House of Travel. Ian is a regular on the conference circuit and a digital and technology commentator on TVNZ Breakfast.


Can we please stop talking about customer centricity?

If you take customer-centricity to its ultimate conclusion, the free market would fall over. You'd have to strip out any opportunity for profit. Business models would collapse. Economies would disappear. We'd end up with anarchy. Take television as an example. Commercial broadcasters have for years talked about being obsessed by viewer-centricity. But honestly, if they were that viewer-centric, their business models would fall over. What could be less viewer-centric than putting ads in the middle of the content that their customers want to watch? Ultimately, complete customer-centricity is a disingenuous concept that nobody really executes on. It they did, they'd be out of business (after all customers rarely enjoy the moment where they have to part with their hard earned cash but customer-centric businesses don't seem to be removing that friction from their customer experience). So let's stop fooling ourselves that we exist for the benefit of our customers, and instead own up to our reliance on them to keep us in business. Our job isn't to completely eradicate negative experiences, it's to do all we can to make up for them.