I once wrote a blog where I compared being a marketing leader to a big movie franchise producer. CMOs that are competent, curious and creative are able to create a compelling storyline, authentic narrative and appealing campaigns that engage audiences.
During the pandemic CMOs stepped in and stepped up to orchestrate operations in new ways, establishing deeper levels of internal and external connection. Marketers were front-and-center of organizations, making bold decisions quickly. Authenticity and agility have become table-stakes and moving forward these core competencies will determine which brands will become blockbusters in their marketplaces.
First and foremost, CMOs must be fearless… and fast. Like a movie producer, marketers are charged with protecting the franchise, ensuring brand integrity and making myriad decisions in real-time. It is essential to be able to quickly collect information, assess situations and take action, knowing that you’ll need to iterate and course-correct, based on market response. Sometimes done is better than perfect, even if you have to defend your position or people.
Simple acts of humanity set the best leaders apart. The pandemic revealed that we all have a variety roles, responsibilities, relationships and lifestyles that we bring to work. Brand stewards that provide clear direction, a framework for decision-making, and flexibility for individuals to accomplish what they need to, in their own way, help their team become more productive, creative. Personal loyalty to the team and associate longevity to the organization also increase.
Customers are not the only important audience. Teams, partners, prospects, competitors, agencies, analysts, trade organizations, press, influencers and advisors are important recipients of your story and sources of insights. Information exchange across communications paradigms, via formal and informal networks help CMOs understand market conditions, identify new opportunities and to consistently deliver on their brand promise.
The basics – storyline, cast and creativity – are essential for successful movies and brands. CMOs must make strong statements, accommodate individuals’ differences, and create authentic flows of information to bring their brand to life and deliver tangible business benefits.