December 17, 2009
This is part two of a ten-part series that will share my Ten Habits of Highly Effective Chief Marketing Officers, based on my experience and what I have learned from others. See my December 10 entry for Habit #1 – Reveal Your Brand Ideal And Operationalize It.
Habit #2 – Be Clear What You Stand For And Be Visible Inside And Out.
Too many CMOs are either not clear on what they stand for, or are not explicit enough about it. You cannot lead if people don’t understand what you believe, and your beliefs need to be consistent with your brand ideal, or higher order benefit your brand is giving the world.
When I was leading a training session at Yum! Brands in December, I asked the marketers in the session about leaders who are clear in what they stand for, and are visible inside and outside their companies. They talked about people like Steve Jobs of Apple, Eric Schmidt of Google, Tony Hsieh of Zappos, Eric Ryan of Method, Jeff Immelt of General Electric, A.G. Lafley of Procter & Gamble. These leaders build confidence among employees and consumers and customers, because they know what they believe and they are constantly reinforcing this.
We also talked about the CEO of Yum! Brands, David Novak. He also is very clear on what he stands for, and he is a relentless advocate of the ideals behind the Yum! Brands. David is a prolific speaker, and he is constantly meeting with groups of employees. David has a book he has authored, and is working on another one to make it even clearer what he believes.
It is important that CEOs and CMOs are clear in what they stand for. And it’s not for “soft” reasons, it’s simply good for their business: the people most important for each brand notice this and it builds greater affinity and affection for the brand, and greater confidence in the brand. It’s important for employees, for customers, for investors, and for all business partners.
When I was Global Marketing Officer at Procter & Gamble, I made it very clear to everyone that I stood for transforming our marketing to become the best brand-building organization in the world, benchmarked against the best CPG and non-CPG companies. I also stood for more creativity and innovation in our brand-building programs, and in building a culture that was consumer-centric, empathetic, and driven by higher ideals.
So don’t go another day without clarifying what you stand for, and thinking carefully about your plan to be more visible inside and outside your brand/company.