- Being a chief marketing officer of a banking and payments company means facing disruption on two fronts at once, JPMorgan Chase’s Kristin Lemkau says.
- In this interview with Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget, Lemkau talks about how she manages a whopping $US5 billion marketing budget at a time of tremendous change.
- Lemkau describes why JPMorgan Chase has retreated from an all-in digital marketing strategy and moved some money back to TV even though fewer people are watching.
- She explains why it’s important that Chase’s smash-hit Sapphire credit card is made of metal.
- She questions the long-term sustainability of today’s ad agency model, saying that media agencies, and the ad holding company structure in particular, are challenged.
- She explains what her brother meant when he described her as “fearless” and why this quality has been so important to her success and career.
- She says that one of her most important career decisions was choosing who she had kids with: Marriages come and go, she says, but families are forever. And there are no longer clear lines between home and work.
Following is a transcript of the video, which has been edited for clarity.
Henry Blodget: There have arguably been more changes in the marketing industry in the past couple of years than in the past 30. Our guest today is Kristin Lemkau, the Chief Marketing Officer of JPMorgan Chase. JPMorgan is an organisation worldwide with 240,000 people. She runs a five billion dollar marketing budget, with 1,700 people across all of these different business lines. Welcome, Kristin. Do you agree are things changing as fast as they seem to be?
Kristin Lemkau: I do, actually. When I spoke at the ANA Conference in Orlando, the whole theme of my discussion was the changing marketing playbook – which I think for marketers, most of us are being hit with this disruption twice. So the industries that we’re in, in my case banking and payments, is being disrupted at a pace we’ve never seen. And marketing and advertising is actually being disrupted faster, and that flywheel of change is just accelerating in a way that it’s hard to keep up.
Blodget: So in the context of that, you’ve been in your job and company for a long time. The average tenure these days for a CMO is only 18 months. Four and a half years, plus 20 years at the company. Well done! So, how do you manage this change? How do you build and maintain a brand?
Lemkau: It’s an advantage to have been at the company as long as I have. I came up as a PR person. And the skill of sort of understanding how to tell a story truthfully and directly has been a big advantage for me. And I think in general PR people make great marketers because they start with free first and then they figure out how to supplement through advertising and earned, owned paid media.
But, I think your job is really to remain self-taught in a lot of ways. Even business schools I think are struggling with minting MBAs that have a current set of skills. So you have to constantly stay on top of it. And constantly learn and it’s not just reading Ad Age or even Business Insider, although I think that’s super helpful, I think you have to learn from people, you have to learn from customers, you have to stay connected to people who are using your product. Because in many cases they’re very different from what your own life looks like.
Blodget: And when you look at the different media that you have available to you, most of studies will say that younger folks, under 50, just not watching a lot of television anymore. How do you reach that generation?
Lemkau: When you look at all the numbers, it shows that TV is just falling off a cliff and 18-24 has gone down 52% since 2001. My own kids are nine and 11, I do not think they have ever voluntarily turned on the TV themselves. So that flywheel is just happening at a hugely accelerated pace. The easy answer is, go all in on digital, and we’ve done a lot on digital. But as you know, digital can be the Wild West and it’s not for the faint of heart and the metrics are funky and the fraud and viewability and brand safety, all of these other nightmarish things that we know.
So we’ve retreated a little bit from an all-in digital strategy and we have gone back to TV a bit. Because people are watching are live sports or live events. And you still can get a fair amount of value. All of our models still show that the kind of TV that we’re doing is working and I think because of what’s happened in digital and the awareness that most marketers have realised how their dollars can go awry, you have a flight back to quality – quality digital as well.
Blodget: So what is quality digital? You’ve made headlines in the past few years. First about building a technology stack to manage YouTube because it sounded as though YouTube’s tools were not good enough for you. You made a big splash by pulling your advertising off hundreds of thousands of websites, reducing it to 5,000 when you realised what you were appearing next to. Talk about that.
Lemkau: On the first one, I was feeling really good. Because we had insourced programmatic, and we were reducing our costs and I thought we were ahead of the game on this. And then we got called out by the New York Times who found one of our ads on a fake news site. And when I called my team, they gave me the answer that you would expect, which is “This is very rare, it’s less than 1%. We have all of the big categories blocked but fake news often looks like real news and you know it’s hard, if not impossible. We can try to reduce the error rate, but it’s like fraud, it will never get to zero.” And I sort of accepted that for a bit.
And then you look at the site and it’s really fake news. And there’s like a foot fungus ad, and this was for our Chase private client, it was our quality retirement product. And I asked the question, how many sites are our ads appearing on? And the answer was 400,000. And I don’t care what media-mixed model you’re using, that’s too many. Well how many have actually generated some kind of activity, some kind of click? 12,000. All right, I said, that’s a good start. Go look at all of them and see whether we would want our brand to be on it and when they came back, some poor summer intern, had to look at every single one of them if they had a paid media and it came back 5,000. And we’ve brought it back up a bit, but instead of blacklist sites and constantly updating the blacklist, we just reversed it. We’ll white list it and we’ll only appear on certain sites.
Blodget: And is that now easy to manage?
Lemkau: It is pretty easy to manage because we can manage it in-house. We didn’t see a deterioration in performance when we did that.
Blodget: And what about YouTube? The folks in digital know that there’s this huge pot of money still being spent on television and in fact, your company and others have moved money back to TV. YouTube wants to fix the issues, yet it just seems like every few months there’s another scandal. Facebook, too.
Lemkau: YouTube is different. We weren’t big on YouTube, mostly because I just hate preroll as an ad unit. I think it’s one of those things you don’t have the right to interrupt a consumer’s experience in a digital environment when they are a click away from infinite choice. But we were on there and we never saw our ads next to some of the terrible things that the other brands did. But we just shut down because who’s going to take that risk?
We went back and forth with Google and they were tremendously helpful, but we realised why would I change the standards for YouTube that we’re holding every other publisher to? And we had to go back on a white-list approach, and so we’re on their today.
The real issue is the ad unit and I’d love to find a way that we can collaborate on more content so you’re not forcing a consumer to watch it. And then you feel good about it because it’s viewable and it’s a human and it doesn’t measure that you’ve massively pissed off that consumer and they may not buy your product.
Blodget: Let’s talk about that ad unit. I think your attitude is somewhat unusual there, which is “Hey, you know it’s a terrible experience, we’re not going to do that.” Lots of marketers say “You know what, we’re paying for this, we deserve to interrupt the experience and have the user’s full attention on us for a minute, that’s our right, we’re going to take this 30 second unit even though in digital it feels like an hour long infomercial does on TV.” How do have that attitude and still actually reach people?
Lemkau: Well, I think the point on pre-roll just defies common sense. When I was at the ANA I showed a video of my then 10-year-old daughter getting pop-up ad during a video game and she’s trying to close out of it and it’s taking her a while and she’s actually saying I won’t buy this thing.
The line between publishers, brands, agencies, media companies, are all starting to blur. And the internet has democratized distribution. So anybody who creates content is going to get it distributed. People don’t care if it’s branded, so long as it’s good. So it’s time where we have to collaborate on stories where the consumer will accept that the brand has a right to be in there.
Nobody’s going to want to do a cheesy infomercial, nobody’s going to want to do collaboratively created content that stinks. But where the brand has a right to have a voice in that story, people will watch it, and that’s the advent of permission-based content, that we have to find a way to work together, media companies and brands, and you can still monetise it.
Blodget: And you have examples of content like that that has actually worked – that people are watching voluntarily – that also helps you sell financial products?
Lemkau: Yes, we’ve had a couple. The first is we produce our own show. We partnered with Maverick Carter and Uninterrupted on a show called “Kneading Dough.” Our brand purpose is to help people make the most of their money. And there’s a lot of content out there to help people make the most of their money. This specifically had athletes telling the story of how they make the most of their money. And it turns out, athletes really want to talk about their journey with money, they didn’t necessarily want to talk about their contract, and their knee, and their personal life and all the things that they get asked during a two-hour conference post-game.
But money for them is personal and they understand almost the social good in their journey with money because a lot of them have a very similar story. They started with nothing and they came into a whole lot of money at a very young age, very, very, quickly. And they thought it would last forever. And their careers don’t last forever. So in season one we had Serena when she was pregnant which was a great time to do that interview. She did two interviews when she was pregnant, one was with Vanity Fair and the other was with Kneading Dough.
The other is Lebron James and we had Draymond Green, we had Ben Simmons. And we’re wrapping up season two, we had Gronk, we had Lindsey Vonn, we just finished Magic Johnson. And it’s been really powerful, 165 million have viewed this. There is no athlete holding up a credit card, it’s not an endorsement, it’s just about helping people make the most of their money. Like we think we can re-sell this show. That’s been great, particularly high on brand, on awareness, on consideration, on all the things that you measure.
Blodget: Well, first of all, congratulations. It’s hard to make stuff that people actually want to watch. Sounds easy, it isn’t. But it’s especially hard to make stuff that people want to watch that also actually sells products or creates favourable brand impressions without annoying people. So how do you do the second piece?
Lemkau: Well, the branding in this was super subtle. There was one Chase question in each and then our logo was in the corner, just like you’d have a peacock or some other icon in the corner. The other partnership that we’ve done that is more consideration-based and has been super successful is one with Group Nine and Ben Lerer and NowThis Money. We’re the co-sponsor for NowThis Money and it’s social-first, video-based content, text on screen where some of it is just pure content play and some of it is very specifically product based. And we have found that that has worked very effectively.
Blodget: You’re seeing more brand recognition?
Lemkau: We’re seeing more brand recognition, higher awareness, higher consideration, higher ownership and conversion.
Blodget: And how do you tie it to the videos themselves? This is another thing we hear a lot from marketers. Yes, I I know people are watching it and sharing it, but I can’t prove effectiveness with sales data the way I can with television and a particular market.
Lemkau: Right. In many cases there’s a “click through, learn more” and you can go to the site to hear more about the card and you can pull through.
Blodget: Let’s talk about the Sapphire Reserve, which was one of the most spectacular financial product launches that anybody can remember. You had people doing unboxing videos on YouTube for a credit card. Unthinkable. No paid marketing behind it, and yet everybody knew about it, they wanted it. Talk about that. First, who came up with the idea that the card would be metal?
Lemkau: Yes, that was the general manager and card president for Sapphire, Pam Codispoti, who’s a complete rockstar. Step one in marketing – create an awesome product. And this product in particular had the highest value proposition in the market, so we knew it was going to be a winner. That’s been such a lesson for me, because now if a product is substandard, I will tell them to not waste the money on marketing, just plow it back into the product, make the product great and it will speak for itself.
The second thing we did, we had a super high premium on it, it was 100,000 points to apply and we just dropped it in the market. We thought it was going to be a pilot, we thought we would test and learn and see what happened.
What happened was the blogosphere of the nerdy credit card bloggers and Brian Kelly (the points guy) found it and said “Holy crap, this is the best credit card in the marketplace.” And it was based on a super simple insight of millennials want experiences instead of stuff. And they’re highly rational in that they want value. And they know how to do the maths on the value. So it just caught on and everybody knows, word-of-mouth, refer a friend, people want to navigate to a product, they don’t want to be sold at. They don’t want an ad screaming at them. This followed that new playbook and it was the first time that the new marketing playbook really become effective.
So between the unpaid influencers who saw it and recommended it as the highest value in the market, which it was, and then social, just catching on, we blew through our annual projections of how many cards we would sell in about 13 days. And this is an era where physical payment is dead and everybody is going to be paying with their phone. Turned out, they liked the card, because what the card represented to them was not necessarily status, it was value: that you were in the know because you had this card. And they found about it themselves. They weren’t sold at, nobody told them to do it, they weren’t responding to an ad, they heard about it from their friends.
Blodget: What about the packaging? The whole unboxing, packaging, metal, card. This goes right to what Steve Jobs was such a genius about. Back when Apple started shipping products, they used to come in these just crappy boxes with the annoying plastic packaging. Steve made it this amazing experience to open the box, the battery’s charged, all that. You have somehow taken that to credit card marketing.
Lemkau: Yes, it turns out packaging matters. And the metal of the card, not only was it important in the way the card felt, it was important in the way the card sounded when you dropped it on the table. And what we’ve seen is it’s a new dynamic in the way millennials pay, which is they all put their cards down on the table, and the way the card sounds when it clinks, was actually an important element of it.
Interestingly enough, we have this fancy box, and we had the metal, and we ran out because we didn’t think we were going to sell this many cards. Then we thought, “Oh God, this is it, the backlash is coming.” And it didn’t, because people were afraid of the scarcity value, they thought it was going to run out, so the acquisitions actually just went up. And we still had the unboxing unboxing when we were sending it in the tacky overnight UPS package. We said, we’ll send you your card when we have the metal back in there.
Blodget: Are there other financial products that this can be applied to? Mutual funds. Savings accounts. Is there anything else that you can put this sort of emphasis on packaging and value around?
Lemkau: There is some value with the mortgage product at closing, which is such an emotional experience. There’s no more emotional financial experiences like when you first close on your house. I think one challenge that we’re looking at is how do we extend the Sapphire brand, which now really stands for value, and we have a huge fan base.
Blodget: So what is closing going to look like now?
Lemkau: We’re looking at it. We’re looking at how can you translate a product that based on value and based on experiences and based on community into other products.
Blodget: You mention millennials.
Lemkau: I am not one of them.
Blodget: I know, but I heard you say that you think like a millennial. And I work with lots of millennials, and some of us older people have these millennial attributes too. You mention that it’s actually more how millennials think. So how is that, and what of that transcends age?
Lemkau: You know what my favourite phrase now is? “The HIPPO.” The Highly Paid Personal Opinion, which as we’ve all been in senior management rooms and everybody has an opinion about things. I said, last I checked, you’re not the design target. So let’s go back to the research.
The interesting thing to me about millennials is they’re not kids living in their parents’ basement, they’re not transcendently different than any other generation, except for technology. Their average age now I think is about 34, with 1.8 or 2 kids. They’re buying homes, they’re buying cars, they’re getting married, so they have a whole host of financial products, they’re just approaching it differently.
What is different is through technology they expect to find things on their own and they are much more suspect of brands and don’t want to be sold at or sold to. So for a millennial I think you have to find a way to create a great product, invite them to participate, and then allow them to navigate their way to it, instead of five touches, 10 touches, how many ads can I serve in front of them before I wear them down, which I think has traditionally been the mindset.
Blodget: And that goes beyond that age group.
Lemkau: That’s true. I think our bullseye design target across most of our products are inspiring affluent, millennial females. And I think our belief is if we get the product right for that demographic, with their demands for simplicity, and their demands for value, we will get it right for the range of segments.
Blodget: You talked about how you at JP Morgan Chase built a technology system that manages your YouTube advertising. Presumably you have that for other systems as well, a tech stack. How important is that in marketing today?
Lemkau: It is the most important thing I am doing. I talk to my chief technology officer probably more than anybody else who works for me. I didn’t even have a chief technology officer three years ago and I will tell you most marketers today will say this is the thing they spend the most time on that they understand the least. And are almost afraid to ask questions.
I was on the phone with a number of other CMOs last week and we were talking about this. And we all had a similar story which is we found ourselves easily led down the wrong path on different pieces of technology and we are trying really hard to come up to speed and learn it quickly and we are spending more time with Salesforce and Adobe and some of the tech vendors than we are traditional agencies because this is what the future is going to be, particularly if you are a company that has data and customers entrust you with data. How do you take that and action it in a way that’s relevant to them, not to just follow them around the internet to buy your stuff, but to take the data and make smart ads that are relevant to them.
Blodget: So what are you actually doing? What is a ‘smart ad’?
Lemkau: We are at the advent of the smart ad. Particularly if you have customer data as we do. Which is customers will tell as all the time, they want us to use their data, they don’t understand if they have thousands of dollars sitting in their savings account and nobody has come to talk to them about investments. So the smart ad would be “Henry, I noticed you spent $US400 on Amazon last month, did you know if you had an Amazon credit card you could have saved $US40,” or whatever that looks like. And how can you take the transaction history to present value or get the triggers right of “I noticed you just moved,” how can I have mortgaged pre-approved offer served up in a way that isn’t a channel I know you use that feels relevant to me instead of throwing an offer around when you’ve already got a house.
Blodget: When you talk about your tech stack, how many folks are working on this? Are they the folks that are building your apps and website. Are they the people handling your advertising?
Lemkau: Yes, it’s fully agile, so we have a product owner, we have a program manager, and then we have a set of teams who are leading each of the different integration points. And we have srcum teams who do two week sprints and we get back together and it’s a huge focus. We have a quarter by quarter roadmap of what the customer will see, what will be different in the eyes of the customer so we’re not just talking to ourselves. And we hold ourselves accountable to it.
Blodget: The lines between agencies, publishers, brands, technology, they’re all blurring. Where do you think we’re headed, 5-10 years out? Do we have different agency models, what do agencies do, what do publishers do?
Lemkau: Agencies are going through the same flywheel of disruption that we are. Publishers have in-house agencies, brands have in-house agencies. What can they do that will continue to provide value for the marketer in a meaningful way that we can’t ourselves. So there are two sides of it, there’s the creative side, and I do think creatively agencies will always have a role to play, because they will see different perspectives, they will see different brands.
On the media buying side, I think they may struggle more. I think that is becoming much more democratized and every publisher I’ve spoken to and every CMO I’ve spoken to says that they would prefer that more people get out of the middle, then you know your model is challenged, I think we’re all looking and seeing what’s the value of the holding company structure as valuable for the client as it was for the shareholder? I don’t know.
Blodget: Let’s talk about you in particular. I watched something recently where your brother was introducing you for one of the many awards you have won.
Lemkau: This industry loves to award themselves.
Blodget: Yes, I know, but some people are worthy of those awards. So he said, two words that come mind, smart and fearless.
Lemkau: This is the nicest my brother has every been to me, by the way, which I noted on stage.
Blodget: Very good! Your mum was there, too. Smart, speaks for itself. Fearless, talk about that. What has to go along with fearless is making mistakes. Have you made mistakes, are you ok with making mistakes?
Lemkau: All the time. I make mistakes as a parent, I make mistakes as a spouse, as a boss, as a marketer. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve been at the company so long, even when I took this job, I remember Jamie Dimon and Gordon were looking at me and I think they were a little nervous, frankly, when they gave me the job. And I said listen, if I screw it up, I’m going to come to you and let you know and then I can go back to doing what I was doing. I had enough credibility that they were willing to take a chance when I didn’t have the experience you would have thought I needed.
And I think that’s true within marketing, particularly at a time when it is changing. If you’re not failing then you’re not learning Everybody will say that across every practice, every athlete, everybody. You have to fail in order to develop what the new playbook is. And I think what Jeff Bezos says about one way doors and two way doors is a really powerful statement. Which is if you’re going to fail, fail in a two way door and know that it’s a two way door, not through a one way door.
So we use that language all the time ok is this a two way door, fine go do it. And getting better about that rapid experimentation that tech companies do so well. And then finding the things that work and scaling them and then trashing the rest.
Blodget: And were you always like this, when you started your career, “Hey failure’s fine, goes with the territory?”
Lemkau: No, probably not. You know I had the inner voice that would tell me that I was failing and you have to learn over time not to listen to it. I think the awareness that if I wasn’t failing through two way doors along the way, I’d fail in a one way door eventually down the road. That this is a period of time unlike anyone has ever seen. And you got to start trying things. I think even becoming a parent has helped that. I teach my kids all the time, “So what, forget it, just learn and move on.”
Blodget: And do you encounter people on your team who are risk averse, and it’s hard to get them over that hurdle?
Lemkau: Keep in the mind, I almost have to have a higher tolerance of failure because of that. And we’re in an industry that’s highly regulated and you can’t fail on one of things that’s relevant to a regulator. And I think as a result of that, we have bred a culture that is very risk-averse and very failure-averse in a good way. You don’t want to make failure decisions of character or principle, but you know, we’re selling credit cards and its ok to fail on an ad unit or a content strategy or “I wasn’t prepared for a meeting.” You almost have to raise the bar to have those people get over it. If I’m failure averse, they are going to be ten times more failure-averse than I am.
Blodget: So smart and fearless, anything else?
Lemkau: You didn’t ask about the smart, just kidding.
Blodget: It’s self-evident. We’re not going to get into scores or anything like that. Anything else that think was important for you as you look back and you say “Wow, I have this amazing career and job”?
Lemkau: You know I think the other thing that I said up on that stage that I’m a big believer in is the most important decision you’ll make in your career is the person you choose to have children with. Because there’s nothing in your career that you will take more seriously or important than your children. You will prioritise them over everything at all times. And that’s not necessarily the person you married, because those can come and go. And you can have children in all kinds of different arrangements. But it is such an important decision for how that person can either support your career or detract from your career in ways that you can’t possibly understand until you are in it.
Blodget: Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook said something similar. I think you made the distinction about having children. Also, I have never heard a man say that – that the most important career decision he made was who he married.
Lemkau: Is that true?
Blodget: I will go ahead and say it, it has certainly been true for me. If my wife hadn’t been there in many critical moments including the day-to-day, it would have been a heck of a lot harder, put that way. Is that something you can know in advance?
Lemkau: No. I mean you should test out character in advance, but you don’t know. My husband and I have been together for 13 years. He was working intensely at the time, we were at similar points in our career, and my career just started to take off and it became clear that we were either going to outsource child rearing or one of us was going to stay home. He raised his hand to stay home. It would be incredibly difficult for me to do this job in the way I do this job without that support. And be the kind of mother I still want to be.
Blodget: Is it possible for you both to have had careers? I think in Sheryl’s case, both she and her husband had very strong careers.
Lemkau: Everybody has to figure out what their own arrangement is. And the other thing I think we all have to not do is judge one another, like “Oh they both work.” There’s been way too much of that. Stay at home mums judging working mums, judging dual-career parents, judging single parents. Let’s all get over it. Being a parent is hard no matter what. Working is hard no matter what. I think it’s whatever system works for you and even then, if you’ve got a system that’s awesome there’s going to be days where it all goes to hell and you’re a hot mess and you have to admit that too.
Blodget: A lot of people talk about work-life balance, Jeff Bezos, you mentioned him a few minutes ago. He said it’s actually not the way to think about it. You have to think about integration, harmony, not balance. Is that the way you think about it?
Lemkau: Absolutely. I think technology has blurred the lines and I think you have to be present and confident in whatever you’re doing. There’s a tendency to have your mind at home if you’re at work, or have your mind at work if you’re at home, devices down and being present. And using technology to your advantage. So ok, I’m at my son’s soccer game yesterday on Mother’s Day in the driving rain and 45 degrees. He’s on the bench, I can get a couple of emails done. He’s playing. I’m totally there.
Blodget: So we live now in a country that is more divided on so many issues than any time I can remember. I think going back to the ’60s and ’70s there were equally strident divisions.
Lemkau: You aren’t old enough to remember the 60s and 70s.
Blodget: I read about them. And I learn that “hey, maybe this isn’t so unprecedented as it feels.” In that environment, normally corporations will avoid any hint of taking sides on issues people care about especially issues that are linked to politics. How does JP Morgan Chase view that? There are lots of people saying “Look, I want my companies to actually take a stand.” Millennials in particular say, “I want to buy from companies that care about what I care about.” Is that true?
Lemkau: So my CEO has been very vocal about this and said this an important time in business for us to stand up and to take a broader role in developing communities in a way that is potentially more important than ever, particularly with government gridlocked. And I think that there are a few companies that can stand up and move progress along as much as JP Morgan Chase. Just given the scope of products that we have, the amount of philanthropy dollars that we have. And the core value of banking in and of itself, access to credit is one of the most important elements to progress a society of anything.
So I think the approach is to take a stand on things that your company can have a meaningful difference on. So we made a $US100 million investment in Detroit. We were the only people to do that. It had a great mayor, we had great partners with Dan Gilbert and Quicken and some of the other companies that were there. It made a meaningful difference, we doubled down, we’re going to spend $US150 million on Detroit. We’re now looking at that as a scalable model. Can you do elements of that in Chicago or New Orleans or in Baltimore and Washington D.C. that we’re now entering in with new branches. I think the place for companies to do it is where your business model can actually make a contribution. So for us it’s small business, it’s financial empowerment, particularly with access to credit for individuals, and it’s jobs and skills training. Access to college would be great. But for the millions of Americans that aren’t going to go to college, how can you give them trainable skills to where they can have a sustainable career.
Blodget: And what about issues that go right to the heart of the political divide – like gun control, for example, which you’ve personally been advocating. Others around LGBT stuff. Salesforce and other companies have said you know what, we’re just not going to do business in states that come out against what we believe. How do you think about that?
Lemkau: Equality has been an interesting thing to watch because if you remember 10 years ago, you couldn’t find many politicians who would stand up and say they were for gay marriage because the polls showed that people weren’t ready for it. And culture has moved along and I think business has led the way. It started with same-sex benefits and then it started with being who you want to be at work, and then embracing it. It’s one where a lot of the advocacy groups will say business-led, culture-led, and then policy changed.
Gun safety is one that is super important to me, personally. I’m clear that this is a personal issue for me, it’s not something I speak on behalf of the company for. I do think that’s one that could follow a similar track. The vast majority of people agree on certain positions and we can lead. In particular the reason I’m so passionate about it, the advertising and marketing industry helped tell stories that bridge common ground.
Blodget: And how do you differentiate between your personal opinion and the company’s? How do you bridge that?
Lemkau: I’m super clear even on my twitter handle, these views are my own. And as it relates to the company I can make inputs on things but I’m also clear I’m not a decision-maker. I think everybody feels passionately about things outside of work, this happens to be one of mine. There are others, but this is one of mine, and it’s one where I think our industry is now starting to activate and I’m a part of the industry and I want to encourage that.
Blodget: And if you’re CEO, is Jamie Dimon asked by your customers to have views on things?
Lemkau: Jamie has a lot of views on things.
Blodget: I know. He is admirably outspoken. On the other hand he’s also careful, and I’m sure that there are some issues that a lot of people would like him to have views on that he hasn’t articulated. In this climate, not just at JP Morgan, but more broadly, should CEOs be taking positions on political issues?
Lemkau: I think it’s up to the CEO. But I think people expect leaders to have a point of view. And they expect leaders to stand for things. And I think Jamie is one of the most vocal and principled people who’s leading the way of a broader responsibility for business.
Blodget: Kristin, it’s great to have you, thank you so much for the time. Congratulations on everything.
Lemkau: Absolutely. Thanks, Henry.
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