Cat Williams is injecting humanity into brands and businesses through her marketing business, Humanisation.
What’s your story?
I’m Cat Williams-Treloar, CEO and Founder of Humanisation.
Before starting Humanisation, I worked in senior insight, strategy and marketing roles around the globe.
My first passion was as a researcher. I spent hours spotting trends and understanding behaviours using quantitative and qualitative techniques ranging from ethnographics to user testing, to leading a network of 40 trend hunters globally. Along the journey, data became cool so I took the opportunity to start applying our insights for brands and I started experimenting with customer journeys, technology and ways to change customer behaviour. I’ve been doing this as a marketer ever since.
What excites you most about your industry?
As marketers, we’ve always been builders of brands and now we are builders of growth. We are beginning to recognise that marketers can come from diverse disciplines and backgrounds and that all of our skills are valuable.
Likewise, we are just finding our voice as customers. We know more than ever, we can discover what we need and buy it when we want. We are are now relearning that consumers are people.
Today, we have so much knowledge about behaviours and what real humans want. I am excited about the potential to truly build human-centric businesses.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I grew up in Australia and started working across the region as a researcher helping Australian brands launch into Asia. The move to Singapore came about after working on a project in Pakistan and meeting in Singapore to present the recommendation. I adored the place when I first visited and was lucky enough to be transferred from London. My grandmother also spent time in Singapore as a child, so it holds a special place for our family.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore! Ambition, drive and openness to the region. When you live in a smart nation, it keeps you on your toes.
I also love doing business in Hong Kong for the pace, Ho Chi Minh because of the soul and Seoul for the innovation.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Feedback is a gift.”
When you get feedback from a customer, a colleague or even a friend, it’s because someone cares. The more feedback you can elicit from customers, the more you will grow.
I feel this is critical as a 21st Century marketer because we need to be the champions of feedback. We need to listen and inspire action. If we don’t champion the customer or people inside the business every single day, I don’t know what we are doing.
Who inspires you?
Both of my brothers, Chris and Peter inspire me. I come from a family of entrepreneurs. I was the only one to hold a real “job” until I started Humanisation eighteen months ago. Chris founded Natural Solar in Australia and is breaking through every growth ceiling possible. My brother Peter has just started a new wellness business and is about to revolutionise health.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I saw a demo from Noveto – it’s a startup in Israel that beams sound from your device directly into your ears. No headphones. No wires. It spots where your eardrums are and sends the sound just to you. For example, let’s say you are on a webex or Zoom and in an open room – only you can hear the conversation. Or you are driving and you only want to hear the conversation, not the other passengers. Take a look at their latest demo video – they’ve been working on this for a number of years and when I saw the latest I watched it again and again because it’s just so incredible. Clever.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Remember the movie “Sliding Doors?” You can’t play the game, thinking that you missed out on Plan A. I don’t have any regrets. The only thing I’d do differently is turn my mobile off on holidays. I was the first girl in high school to have a mobile at 14 – because no one else had one, the only people I could message was mum and dad to say I was getting on the train. I’ve been attached to that device for too long and I am glad I put it on silent over 15 years ago, but would have felt better if I turned it off on holidays.
How do you unwind?
I’ve been practicing mindfulness. I do Yin Yoga a couple of times a week and I am starting to meditate and practice being in the present. I think it’s so important to get sleep, clear your head and refresh in a chaotic, always-on world. It’s how I feel human. When that fails, my two mini schnauzers are also mood boosters.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
We got married in Bali. My husband comes from Adelaide and I’m from Sydney. It was the perfect spot to celebrate. Balinese culture is incredible. It wraps you up like a big warm hug and my body completely relaxes as I exit the airport. I first visited Bali in 2000 and have been a regular ever since. Hearing the Gamelan music, getting a massage with the waves crashing and watching the sunset at La Lucciola is bliss. We’ve travelled across Bali and we find, as areas become more developed our holidays move out of the hustle and bustle to reconnect with the Bali we know.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Winning the Story Wars – Jonah Sachs. It’s about the importance of storytelling and how brands with a purpose can drive meaningful change. My second answer is – write your own book. It doesn’t have to be one that you publish. Just keep a record of your feelings, observations, ideas and thoughts. Not only does it help to empty your head, it’s also something you can go back over to reflect or inspire.
Shameless plug for your business:
My business is called Humanisation. We’re a Marketing and Business Consultancy that helps brands launch, scale and transform. Our secret sauce is Human-Centered Marketing. Humanisation was born to uncover how businesses can be more commercially successful by putting humans first. We’re here to help inject humanity into brands and businesses. We partner with tech and digital brands as Asia-Pacific Marketing Consultants to help hunt for growth across the region anywhere from Australia to China to Indonesia and everywhere in between.
How can people connect with you?
Be human and say hello! My email is [email protected] or take a look at www.Humanisation.com.
You can also reach out via LinkedIn too here – https://www.linkedin.com/in/catherinewilliamstreloar/
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.