Brand building not a priority for marketers, Deloitte report finds

By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 10 January 2019
David Phillips

Just 17% of marketers consider brand building the most important part of their role, a new study from Deloitte said.

The report, which looked into the current debate around the diminishing importance of CMOs, urges marketers to see themselves as promoters of brands rather than protectors.

It also suggested that employees in front of house roles should take a greater responsibility in brand building.

Speaking to AdNews, Deloitte partner David Phillips said the report was carried out to understand how marketers feel about the rising concerns over the CMO role, such as diminishing influence and short tenures.

Deloitte spoke to 20 senior Australian CMOs over six months and completed a meta review of 10 global quantitative studies for the report.

“It’s staggering, it’s absolutely terrifying to think marketers didn’t know their role is to build and grow a brand,” Phillips said.

“What’s happening is there’s a shift in organisation from building a business to delivering short term results and we see it everywhere in public life,”

“Many organisations invest anything between 6-12% of their sales in marketing. That’s a huge amount of money to not help them deliver that short term result, so I understand why there’s more and more pressure on it.”

Marketers can help stop this trend by becoming ‘brand promoters’ and better demonstrating the value of brand, Phillips argued.

“Brand doesn’t belong to marketers, it belongs to the entire organisation,” he said.

“Anyone that goes near a product or customer has a role to play in brand.

“Brands are not being understood well enough at senior levels and part of that is because marketers have been unable to communicate the importance of brand.”

Australian brands slow to make the change
Phillips is concerned the lack of understanding of brand value means businesses will be slow to make the transition.

“There are some organisations that understand its importance, then there are others that think it's simply sticking on a logo,” he said.

“Organisations are going to destroy more and more brands if they don’t make the shift. You’ll see things that are completely off brand and they start to erode value very quickly.”

While CMOs aren't concerned with reports they're losing influence in their organisations, they did reveal they felt their roles are under threat.

Phillips noted the lack of senior marketers across C-suites means they have to work hard to educate legal and finance people, who tend to fill these positions, on the importance of brand.

He highlighted ANZ as one business that understands brand building and as a result is putting purpose at the centre of everything they do.

“Retail and the service industries haven’t done it well. Auto has completely forgotten how to put brand as essential to everything they do,” he said.

“The interesting areas in Australian marketing are around the arts, festivals and dotcom start-ups.

“They really stand for something special and everyone in the organisation gets it, but when you get to banks and you have 24,000 people working for you it’s a much harder task than when you’re a start-up of a 150.”

Phillips also spoke to AdNews about the need to allow automation to take on a bigger role in the future of marketing.

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