Last week, I kicked off a blog series titled, A Tale of Two CMO’s: A Study in Contrasts. The goal of the series is to contrast the styles of an old school and new school CMO whose personas I’ve fleshed out in my original post. Over the next five weeks, the series will focus on a different aspect of the marketing funnel (awareness, interest, desire and action) in order to get a perspective from each CMO.
Before I start asking our two CMOs questions about this week’s topic, I am going to take a question from Steve Poppe who was kind enough to ask a simple yet profound question in the comments’ section of last week’s post.
Who owns the brand?
James: I know that the answer that everyone wants me to give is, the$customer. And believe it or not, I do believe that our customers share in the ownership of our company’s brand. However, at the end of the day, our management team is responsible to our shareholders. Occasionally, what our stakeholders (customers, prospects, employees and partners) want and what we are financially required to do on behalf of our shareholders are mutually exclusive. Whenever possible though, we do everything in our power to steer the brand in the direction that all of our stakeholders desire.
Tessa: Based on what you read in today’s press and in the blogosphere, companies have little to no ownership of their brands. To me, that is a load of horse crap because without our products, employees, website, press relations, advertising and yes, social presence, brands wouldn’t exist. With that said, I am a firm believer in the fact that the old “command and control” style aka “we’ll tell you what our brand is and you’ll like it” days are over. Smart companies — I’d like to put ours in that bucket — are realizing that we live in a world of customer co-creation and that customers are sharing what they think of “us” every day. We may not like what our customers are saying about us, but shame on any CMO that isn’t paying attention to their customers’ feedback.
If you could only spend money on facet of marketing to generate brand awareness, what would it be and why?