Roni Millard is about helping Australians secure those memorable moments like owning their first home or buying a car.
Our Game Changers host Gemma Acton talks to Roni, Chief Marketing Officer at Equifax, about how credit scores work, tips on how to improve your rating, and Equifax’s role in rebuilding trust in the construction industry.
Call it meaningful storytelling or marketing with purpose, Roni Millard’s message is helping everyday Aussie’s live their financial best. Plus, rebuilding trust in our construction industry. The result? A stronger and improved Australian economy. So, is she a game changer? Let’s find out! I’m Gemma Acton, welcome to Game Changers.
Gemma: Now Roni, you have a very established career in marketing. You’ve worked for a host of organisations; how did you end up at Equifax and why is that the right place for you right now?
Roni: I’ve been in Australia now for over 10 years and I’ve always loved marketing. At university I studied politics, history and marketing, so storytelling was always very close to my heart. I then started teaching English as a foreign language and I began teaching these wonderful children how to talk and communicate. Equifax then sealed the deal for me because I can come to my own with passionate storytelling and helping people.
Gemma: You have an important story to tell. Financial inclusion can sound like jargon; how do you make that resonate with a really diverse audience?
Roni: For Equifax, our mission is to help people live their financial best. The other statement that’s really important to us is empowering Australians to make great financial decisions. For those two messages it’s really important to bring that story tale to life and really land with the audience. Whether we’re connecting with consumers or corporates, we’re about helping make those decisions that will enable them to live their life moments. We bring moments into reality if it’s buying a house or taking a car loan and giving those audiences that freedom.
Gemma: There are some big life events you just mentioned but at a very basic level it’s all about ongoing financial well-being. What does that phrase mean to you?
Roni: It means having enough information to be able to navigate across the credit system and being able to understand where you fit. For example, are you a migrant, student, looking to get your first loan or first mortgage? Making the right decisions based on that and having access to the right services and products, that Equifax can provide, to help you make those life moments become a reality. When you feel financially well, you’re able to navigate the system with confidence because you’ve got the right information behind you and you’re making an informed decision.
Gemma: Roni, let’s talk about the credit score. This is just a number to many people. What’s the magic behind it and what do we need to know to optimise our chance of getting the right credit score for our lifestyle?
Roni: The credit score can range anywhere from 0 to 1200. The higher the score, the more credible you are in the eyes of the credit provider and the lender. They’re looking at whether you will be a good investment for them and if they lend you that finance. All of your financial footprint becomes visible in your credit score and there are different behaviours that can either negatively or positively impact what you do. The score gives you that empowerment, putting you in the driving seat of your financial decisions.
Gemma: Let’s talk about those behaviours. What are some real-life examples you can give us?
Roni: When taking out credit, make sure that you’re paying your repayments on time and in full. Ensure you’re limiting unsecured credit like personal loans and that you’re not taking out multiple loans from different sources. Just be really vigilant about being on track and in control of your finances so that you continue to be seen as a credible investment for the lender or the credit provider.
Gemma: Lots of good advice there. Equifax doesn’t just help individuals. We’ve talked a lot about what you do for individuals, but you help businesses as well. What does Equifax do for businesses?
Roni: We feel really privileged that Equifax contributes to the thriving Australian economy and part of that is the construction industry. We know that the construction industry has over the last few years gone through a lot of turmoil and hurt. Equifax is really proud to be part of iCIRT, which is really representative of the industry coming together. ICIRT provides transparency and is bringing trust back into the construction industry since the builder or developer with an iCIRT stamp of authority showcases to the consumer that this is a reputable, honest, and trustworthy construction company.
Gemma: This sounds like a very welcome initiative. You’re trying to increase transparency between building companies and consumers to engage them for some of the biggest, most important lifetime projects.
Roni: That’s right. If you are an individual, a family or wherever you are in your life stage and you are putting all your money into a property, you want to make sure that every dollar that you’ve earned over the years is actually being put into something that you’re going to be proud of. To have the trust that what you’re investing in is legitimate, is what iCIRT gives you: that freedom and complete reassurance to the consumer.
Gemma: Roni, how do you decide what consumers actually need to know and what is background information that’s just going to confuse them?
Roni: We keep our is to the ground to make sure that we are keeping in trend. We’ve got a lot of analysis, as you can expect, and a lot of data that we feel very passionately about. We’re analysing and delving into those key insights, behind the scenes, to make sure that what we put out is talking to those gleaned insights.
Gemma: You must come across a barrier, in terms of people finding the intricacies of their financial position quite confronting. How do you break that down? How do you give the human touch to all this data?
Roni: The language that we use needs to resonate and we ensure that we’re joining the dots for the consumers and corporates as our key audiences. We are a data, analytics and tech company at the heart, and we make sure that the wonderful analytics is weaved into something that will actually make sense when putting it out to the market.
Gemma: There’s quite a clear information asymmetry: big companies tend to have it quite easy with access to a lot of data. It’s harder for smaller businesses who don’t have the resources at their fingertips. How does Equifax level the playing field such that small businesses are empowered as well?
Roni: When it comes to our audiences, SME’s are a big part of the Australian economy and we feel very passionately about supporting them and feel financially included. We produce many insights on a daily basis and wrap it up into bite size chunks of various forms for small, medium enterprises to make much better-informed decisions. This will help them in their day-to-day business workflow.
Gemma: Roni, small businesses are no doubt grateful for that help. Thank you so much for your time.
Roni: Thank you for having me.
More about Equifax
Equifax powers the financial future of individuals and organisations around the world. Using the combined strength of unique trusted data, technology and innovative analytics. Equifax has grown from a consumer credit company into a leading provider of insights and knowledge that helps its customers make informed decisions. The company organises, assimilates and analyses data on more than 820 million consumers and more than 91 million businesses worldwide, and its database includes employee data contributed from more than 6,600 employers.
Find our more here: Equifax.com.au