As a professional services firm with diverse teams in over 150 countries helping clients solve their greatest challenges through assurance, consulting, tax and strategy and transactions services, Fatima Israel has an exciting opportunity to showcase the multidisciplinary value of EY Canada in her role as Chief Marketing Officer.
Israel joined ITWC CMO Fawn Annan for a March 2023 installment of CMO Talks, a podcast series designed by ITWC, Canada’s top digital media publisher, to showcase strategies for gaining a competitive edge through the intersection of marketing and technology. Discussion centred on the way marketing supports and differentiates EY Canada – especially in a highly competitive market.
A Unified Focus
“It’s definitely a fast-paced environment, which I love,” says Israel, “and while it’s a partnership model – meaning we have hundreds of partners who essentially are entrepreneurs in their own right and own parts of the business – we, as a firm, are guided by a central and unified business strategy.”
Israel’s team has a unique role to play as it touches all parts of the business, including those beyond the traditional marketing role. In addition to leading many of the firm’s go-to-market activities, the team also owns the marketing and communications channels and channel execution, which provides a veritable gold mine of data and insights. The goal, according to Israel, is to break out of the sea of sameness and drive distinctiveness by engaging audiences, driving dialogue, and looking beyond B2B for inspiration.
Individualizing Products for the People You Serve
A firm believer that B2H (business-to-human) is the future of marketing, Israel is proud that EY puts humans at the centre of the services it provides and of what it does as a firm. “I think it’s really about putting our diverse and talented people at the centre of our campaigns,” says Israel. “They have amazing stories, and we don’t just want to tell those stories, we want to show them in action.”
“When we do brand studies, we consistently hear that EY is trusted as a firm and that our clients are proud to bring us into the boardroom.” To maintain that trust, Israel believes, “It’s so important for us to walk the talk and connect on human and emotional levels.”
Growing the EY Brand in Canada
In response to a question from Annan about how Israel and her team are growing the brand in Canada, Israel describes the brand strategy and direction as aligned with the global firm, but also as having a large degree of independence locally. “When it makes sense to do so, we bring in global or American campaigns,” she says, “but we also create homegrown branding initiatives that cater specifically to Canadian priorities and opportunities.”
The Critical Importance of MarTech
On the subject of marketing technology solutions, Israel is looking for more than the next shiny object and is strategically focused on connecting data pools. “In today’s marketing world, you are only as strong as your MarTech,” she says, “so our MarTech stack is built on the principle that it should enable our full team with as much self-serve capability as possible to improve efficiency and productivity.” Because EY Canada is part of a global firm, some MarTech solutions are globally selected and managed, but they must all comply with local regulations.
The podcast concludes with a discussion of leadership styles, which for Israel includes believing in others, helping them achieve their goals by clearing away obstacles, and then watching people soar. “That gives me a ton of personal satisfaction,” she says, “and it also aligns with my personal commitment to leave everything I touch better than when I received it.”
As for EY Canada, Israel attributes its success to focusing on relationships and extending the full strength of the firm to its clients. “It’s really about staying true to our values and showing how we are delivering on our promise of building a better working world,” she says. “Being guided by a single strategy really distinguishes us as a brand.”