Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) & Message Stick

Tristan Landers, Executive General Manager, Corporate Sustainability - Group Corporate Affairs,
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) - Supply Nation Member Since October 2009

Michael McLeod, CEO,
Message Stick - Supply Nation Certified Since September 2009

Tristan Landers - Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA)

The first reason that the CBA and Message Stick partnership is strong is because Message Stick is a very commercial enterprise. Michael and his team think very commercially and their product is very strong.

The team at Message Stick put a high value on relationships, and that includes all the different sectors they deal with at CBA, such as corporate sustainability, procurement and enterprise services. When you are dealing with a large, complex, multi-business entity like CBA you need to be able to connect with the right people.

A lot of work goes into sustaining and maintaining relationships and that is one of the keys to their success. They never take this for granted and are diligent with their follow up to check if we are happy. We have a broad relationship with Supply Nation and Michael McLeod but none of that would help at all if the service and product were not strong.

As soon as I met Michael it became clear that he has fantastic vision. He thinks outside his sphere of influence to how he can benefit others. We had the confidence to sign an extensive agreement with Message Stick because of the quality of their leadership and because the level of service is exemplary.

I guess that’s why it is no surprise that we haven’t had any challenges or issues with the partnership. Message Stick work so hard to maintain relationships and connections. They spend the time to follow up and see if we are satisfied with the service. They know that the decision is a commercial one but they are still so appreciative. And we are grateful for the level of service, so I guess you could say we are mutually grateful.

Message Stick is an excellent role model for emerging indigenous businesses. They really illustrate how important it is to maintain and build relationships and they don’t take those relationships for granted. They are commercial and competitive in their outlook. They know that real value, long-term sustainability comes from maintaining connections and not taking the relationship for granted. Michael is one of the most persistent people you will ever meet, but he always does it in a respectful and polite way. We like the diversity of our suppliers to meet the diversity of our customers and Message Stick make that a pleasure.

Michael McLeod - Message Stick

Tristan Landers is wonderful. She is our focal point and she is supportive and proactive. She introduces us to the decision makers but that is no guarantee; after that it is up to us to do the rest.

CBA is our largest customer and that has given us an opportunity to prove that Message Stick can compete commercially at the highest level. It is very exciting and it challenges our professionalism at every level. It has taken over eight years to get to this point. We started small, building relationships and growing to engage with companies until we had a corporate grade service. We have 80 of Australia’s top corporate customers as clients and we turn over 10 million profit annually.

Being an Indigenous business does not give us free range. We still have to prove that we can deliver great service and that we are as competitive as anyone.  Supply Nation is brilliant and has helped us build the business but it is not a hand out. It provides an introduction but after that suppliers have to prove they are capable of delivery. My advice for Indigenous businesses is to build and maintain relationships and to be persistent.

A successful business is built on successful relationships. You need to understand what the clients require. You need to recognise where they are going and then tweak your services to help them get there. To do that you have to know your clients, you have to build the relationships so you can truly know what they want and if they are happy with the service.

CBA have given us the opportunity to show that we can compete at the highest level with a quality product and diligent customer service.