Philips CMO: Social is a 'red hot mess' for brands

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 14 May 2015

Consumer electronics and lighting brand Philips is moving away from using social as a distribution platform for brand messaging because it's not as effective as many brands believe it to be.

Damien Cummings, CMO of Philips, who is understood to be leaving the firm and joining Standard Chartered Bank later this year, told AdNews that using social for content marketing doesn't work because it's largely a customer service channel.

Cummings says it is moving away from using social media as a distribution platform for content because is has become a “red hot mess” of brand communications, and isn't the best place to have an influence.

In technology brands, he says around 40 – 50% of what's on social is customer service, in telcos it's around 75% and in banking it's 80 – 100%.

It has developed a regional 'command centre' that brings together its five regional agencies alongside Philips marketers to develop content that it will then distribute through a network of 10,000 influencers it has cultivated.

“So when you look at brands like CommBank that have set up command centres, they have all been set up to deal exclusively with customer service. We're not doing that. We realise digital is the future, and content marketing is the way forward but we realised that we wanted to own those conversations,” he said.

“Very few brands have thought about the value proposition of their Facebook page. Social is difficult for brands because the value proposition of social isn't clear. The reason you go there is you've broken something or you want to buy something, it's either customer service or sales and. You're dealing with a graveyard of likes from people who have entered a competition and never gone back.”

“If you look at Philips on social right now the first post is about lighting, the next could be about new X-Ray machine, then something corporate about a new office opening. So as a consumer it's confusing. If you start to push thousands of bits of contents through there it's going to become a red hot mess.”

Cummings said the centre has helped drive efficiencies in its marketing, including a 20% saving on costs and encouraging its agencies work together in better alignment.

Cummings is is speaking at the ADMA Techmix conference on Friday (15 May) where he will outline more details about the set up and output of its regional command centre


Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop me a line at

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day. Need a job? Visit

Read more about these related brands, agencies and people

comments powered by Disqus