The Keys to Building Brand Trust and a Customer-Centric Business

Guest: Simon Mulcahy Chief Marketing Officer, Salesforce

Salesforce has built a company that makes the customers a top priority, and it’s a big part of the brand’s success. Focusing on the customers means a marketing strategy centered on having an authentic voice and encouraging interactions that feel personally relevant to the consumer. On this episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite, Salesforce CMO Simon Mulcahy shares why that trust is so critical, and how companies can put customers first in their business plan.

Additionally, Simon discusses the art and science of marketing, the role artificial intelligence can play, and how GDPR and data security concerns are forcing marketers to get better.

This conversation is sure to inspire, click here to listen!

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What You’ll Learn:

Don’t put a product at the center of your business model

Companies often make the mistake of placing their product at the center of their business model. Simon counters this mindset and explains that in the modern era, it’s much easier to build an amazing product, but much harder to engage the customer in a relevant, honest way. With that in mind, customer-centered thinking has to be everywhere in your business, starting with the CEO. If you keep your focus squarely on the customer, success in other areas of business will follow.

Brand trust takes years to build, but seconds to lose

One of the key points Simon emphasized is that business is all about trust. If your company prioritizes generating trust in the community you’re trying to serve, customers will keep coming back to your brand. Conversely, one major negative interaction can destroy months of rapport with a customer, so you should always be conscious of your tone and how it will be received. A voice that inspires trust in your customers will serve your marketing for years to come.

Marketing isn’t just for the marketing team

Every single touchpoint with the consumer represents the brand. That means that everything from salespeople, to direct communications, to customer service, is marketing, to an extent. Make sure that the brand identity is infused into every element of the company, and that each department is helping deliver a personalized, contextually-relevant experience.


  • [1:20] Drew introduces his guest for this episode, Simon Mulcahy, CMO of Salesforce
  • [3:15] Simon’s Renegade Rapid Fire segment
  • [13:07] Why the customer is at the center of the Salesforce business model
  • [19:53] The most powerful lesson learned from Salesforce – it’s all about trust
  • [25:26] The importance of having a unified view of your customer
  • [31:10] Simon shares his opinion on the future of customer centric businesses
  • [36:39] How GDPR will impact customer-centric businesses
  • [41:50] Simon’s “two do’s and one don’t” for marketers

Connect With Simon

Resources & People Mentioned

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Meet the Guest

Simon Mulcahy is the chief marketing officer at Salesforce, where he leads Salesforce’s global marketing organization and is responsible for driving market leadership, global awareness, demand generation, strategic events and communications for Salesforce.

Mulcahy has held numerous leadership roles at Salesforce. Most recently, he built Salesforce’s Financial Services vertical go-to-market and product strategy, launching the Financial Services Cloud. Prior to this, Mulcahy founded and led Salesforce’s Strategic Innovation Practice, “Ignite,” helping Salesforce’s top customers reinvent business and operating models.

Until 2008, Mulcahy was Head of Technology Industries of the World Economic Forum (known for its annual summit in Davos that attracts CEOs and world leaders). In that role, he worked closely with CEOs of leading global technology companies, as well as prominent thought leaders and government leaders.

Earlier in his career, Mulcahy was a strategy consultant, and before that, a British Army Officer. Mulcahy has an MBA from Columbia University, London Business School and INSEAD, and an honors degree in economics & politics. He speaks fluent French and German, and is a Global Leadership Fellow of the World Economic Forum.

Quotes from Simon Mulcahy

  • Marketers are an incredible species. These are people who are hungry to learn and grow.
  • The devil is in the detail. It's becoming more and more a precision business.
  • I spend a massive amount of time with customers, just hearing from them. What have they been trying to do? What challenges are they trying to address?
  • A successful company today can't just have a marketing department do the marketing. Every single touch point is marketing, is communicating your brand.

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