With a mission statement that promises to “seek to empower the people of Britain, boost consumer confidence and stimulate the sustained customer-led economic regeneration of British and global retail through the provision of locally-delivered personalised liquidity solutions”, it's no surprise that Joe Dixon, CEO of Spondoolica Group, has been named Corporate Communicator of the Year by the readers of Platitude magazinem the trade journal for the PR industry. When we met up at his harbourfront office in the Cayman Islands, I asked him how he first got into the high street payday loans business.
“Personalised liquidity solutions have always been a passion of mine” he says. “Even as a child, I helped others liberate themselves from the fiscal oppression that denied them additional dietary stimulation – lending money to buy sweets, in lay terms. You could say I operated a kind of local food aid agency.”
Spondoolica has achieved “phenomenal” growth since the onset of the recession: “Certainly the flexible labour market has driven a very positive engagement with our brand” he acknowledges, “and we anticipate a very client-rich environment going forward.”
He feels his upbeat communication style is central to his success today. “We like to focus on the positive, not the negative” he insists, “particularly with reference to interest rates. 'Can't', 'debts', these are terribly stigmatising words. We prefer to focus on what our clients can achieve over the long term. Indeed, some of them are likely to remain in valued relationships with us for many years!”
He is not troubled with his association with the debt-collection sector. “A key part of our customer offer is the promotion of personal growth through the discipline of an educational programme, delivered by grassroots facilitators” he enthuses. “This helps the less fortunate in our society to truly appreciate the mechanisms of the financial sector, and the value of their money as relative to, say, their furniture or their legs. These are valuable lessons which they will carry with them for the rest of their lives, however long – or short - that may be.”
Further questioning on this topic provokes the first signs of irritation in this smooth talker. “Let me show you the true secret of our communication success” he says: “actions speak louder than words”, and with a click of his fingers he summons two heavily built “grassroots facilitators”. “You'll notice that rather than the bland bureaucratic labelling device of name-badges, we encourage our facilitators to introduce themselves in a more personally tactile manner through their names tattooed onto their knuckles” he adds, with a nod of his head to the scowling black-clad men, who punch me in the face and throw me out of the window.
As I lie stunned on the pavement, I reflect that in addition to his diversified portfolio of communications techniques, Mr Dixon’s enterprise is truly setting the industry benchmark for the rationalisation of corporate social responsibility considerations, and look forward to cascading the exciting news of my involuntary defenestration to the local criminal law compliance officers.
hat-tips to Titus, Beau-Jolly, weematt, NewBiscuit and Midfield Diamond