CMO’s need to connect with their audience and internal staff thru aligning their creative freedoms and thoughts throughout both groups. A companies core values MUST BE connected internally and externally in an organization. It must be embraced in your marketing and advertising as well as your established brand strategies, but most importantly it must be aligned internally with all departments and staff. Your ability to convince your consumer of your real brand values and attributes only happens when your entire organization reflects those values everywhere the consumer is touched or connects with the brand. Only then do you build brand loyalty, and create a unique culture that your audience embraces and connects with.
Marketers Need More Creative Freedom: Interbrand Event
by Mercedes M. Cardona
Brands are not dead; in fact, their value is established and expanding in a volatile marketing environment. But to truly succeed, brands need to combine a firm positioning with the flexibility to riff on that identity, said top marketers at Interbrand’s Best Global Brands event, in New York City.
- The brands that invest in marketing and see creativity as a competitive advantage will win in busines, said Jonathan Mildenhall, CMO of Airbnb.
- More universal insights to deliver against at a global scale require a “hub-and-spoke model” for global marketing functions, said Alison Lewis, global CMO of J&J.
- In pushing disruption, marketing chiefs need to be selective and limit what they get involved in, said Roel de Vries, CMO of Nissan.
That seeming contradiction requires aligning culture, creativity, and organizations internally so brands can evolve from a strong foundation yet adapt quickly to the accelerating pace of change in the market, speakers said.
Marketers need to focus on creating “micromoments” with consumers to define their brand, said Jez Frampton, Interbrand’s global CEO. However every micromoment is judged in the context of the larger brand, he said.
The brands that invest in marketing and see creativity as a competitive advantage will win in business, said Jonathan Mildenhall, CMO of Airbnb. He noted that a recent report from analyst Mary Meeker compared a list of the top tech brands two decades ago and today, and the only name on both lists was Apple. That is no coincidence, Mildenhall said.
The Interbrand event honored the 100 top brands ranked by their value to their companies. For the third year in a row, Apple and Google were the top brands in that order; the fastest riser was Facebook, at No. 23, which saw its brand value rise 54% year over year. New entrants in the top 100 were Lego (No. 82), PayPal (No. 97), Mini (No. 98), Moet & Chandon (No. 99), and Lenovo (No. 100).
Marketers need to stay true to their brands’ core identity and heritage, and centralize their organizations to build brands in a global economy, speakers at the event said. At the same time, they agreed marketing organizations must give more creative freedom internally to experiment with new channels and messages.
“Fixed and flexible, it’s hard to balance those,” said Quinn O’Brien, VP of global brand strategy, content, and design at Lenovo. “Defining brand architecture is a moving target.”
Technology is changing how customers interact with brands, as well as when, how, and where content is created, “but the consumer journey is fundamentally the same,” said Jon Potter, CMO of Moet Hennessy USA. The marching orders to creatives should be, “Be clear about our DNA—then go create,” Potter said.
“Keep it simple,” added Ralph Rijks, SVP of marketing at Heineken USA. Focus on five core principles of your brand and build around that. That will speed up the process of marketing in real time, he explained.
“We all know the world is much more flat,” said Alison Lewis, global CMO of Johnson & Johnson. More universal insights to deliver against at a global scale require a “hub-and-spoke model” for global marketing functions, she said.
That brand centralization can work in the creatives’ favor, freeing them from fighting for attention from decision-makers and for resources, Lewis said. The shift to digital media actually works in favor of local marketers, who lead digital efforts for their regions, she said.
Most speakers agreed: Enforcing a global branding mandate sometimes requires getting tough with regional marketing organizations, said Roel de Vries, CMO of Nissan.
“Those are the moments … when you as a global office need to put your foot down,” he said. He ran into such an issue when Nissan’s European region started developing its own brand positioning, and he “gave them the yellow card,” but de Vries noted many of those same people were celebrating in the audience that day.
In pushing disruption, marketing chiefs need to be selective and limit what they get involved in, de Vries added. But once involved, they need to see it through with the staff, he said.
“Don’t break eggs just to break eggs,” he said. “You need to show them the positive energy and possibilities.”