Brand shouldn’t be a purely marketing function; CEOs must step up

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 18 May 2017
Sam Hegg, Paul Bradbury, Jenny Willams, Jo Kelly, Brent Smart

Marketing as a discipline is still considered an isolated function in Australia, top marketers from HCF, IAG and UBank have said.

Speaking at the AdNews Media + Marketing Summit in Sydney, former HCF marketer Jenny Williams argued that the idea of brand needs to become more democratised within businesses.

“Brand shouldn’t be a purely marketing function,” she said, adding that everyone from the finance to the customer service team should embrace marketing.

“If every part of the organisation embraces what brand means, then it becomes the DNA of the organisation as opposed to a siloed campaign.”

Williams said that while marketers overseas are beginning to better incorporate brand into overall business objectives, Australia is lagging behind.

“We need to have more conversations in a wider business context. Overseas, brand valuation is becoming part of balance sheets and changing the way the business operates, whereas in the Australian market we are still isolated as a marketing discipline and not as integrated as the mainstream business,” she said.

“We are getting there, but still have a way to go.”

From a creative standpoint, TBWA Sydney CEO Paul Bradbury challenged CEOs to become more involved with their brand rather than leaving it to the creative agency.

He gave the example of Apple, which as been a TBWA client for 21 years. Founder Steve Jobs would meet with the agency for two hours every week.

“That’s how important brand was to Steve. It’s beholden on CEOs to be more attune to their brands on a weekly basis,” Bradbury said.

“I think the CMO role is becoming more important to the great CEOs as they recognise everything is reflective of brand. Every touch point is brand – it’s every interaction the consumer has and the remit is extending because of the important of customer experience.”

IAG marketer Brett Smart argued marketing is as much as craft as it is a job.

“Many of us think we can just use science, but it's art and science and you need to know when to apply the art. I don’t think marketing is a job, it’s a craft and I think we have to practice our craft and we need to think of the way we need to present things and work at execution.”

He also mirrored Williams’ thoughts that marketing deserves a seat at the executive table.

“Too often we want to delegate the execution but you have to be involved with it. If you don’t think of it as a job and instead think of it as a craft it can lead to amazing marketing.”

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