Sunday, December 12, 2010

Shared Vision, Values and Cultural DNA During Turbulent Times

My fellow board members and I recently returned from our CMO Council Board meeting and 2010 CMO Summit in San Jose. The theme of this years event was Synchronizing the "C-Suite".

It was an honor to share the stage with a distinguished and diverse group of world class marketers from many industries including:

  • Steve Jones: Former CMO - Coca-Cola
  • Perry Kamel: Founder and MD - Accenture
  • Tony Pace: CMO - Subway
  • Tom Ogle: CMO - Motorola
  • Tony Wells: CMO - 24 Hour Fitness
  • Steve Jones: CMO - Brand Ignition Group
  • Jan Soderstrom: CMO - SunPower
Each of the following topics was kicked off by a Keynote Address with supporting contributions from several CMO's panelists with experience or passion for the topic.
  • Synchronizing the "C-Suite"
  • Giving the Back Office a Front Office View of the Market
  • Making a Move to the Corner Office
  • Leveraging Global Field Experience in Leading Cross-Culture Companies
  • Driving market Intelligence Through Business Intelligence
  • Provising The Frontline: marketing Supply Chains and Procurement Practices
  • Corporate Incident Response: A New Measure of Business Performance
It was my pleasure to give a Keynote Address on the topic of: Shared Vision, Values and Cultural DNA During Transformational Times. My presentation focused on my belief that - CMO's are best positioned, best suited and it is their responsibility to drive Cultural Identity and Brand DNA within their organization!
I offered the following points for consideration:
  • The board assumes this is being done
  • The CEO/President is likely to busy or focused on other areas - it may also not be his natural orientation
  • The Sales team is focused on getting orders - today, this month, this quarter...
  • This subject is not on anyone else's radar (operations, engineering, finance, etc)
A few other points were made to emphasize the importance of leading this effort for the CMO.

Traditionally Marketing is defined in terms of the 4 P's that we are all taught in marketing 101 in undergraduate school. This is still true today but I contend that this External perspective is only half of the job of today's CMO. Yes consumer insight, competitor foresight and external forces vision are all critical to create the ideal marketing mix to win in the marketplace but...
If the Internal aspects of the CMO's job are ignored or not treated seriously all of the good work on external aspects of the CMO's efforts will be wasted. If their is not a Shared Vision and Company Culture that is consistent with the marketing program this will lead to execution failure that could ultimately damage the brand/company. A simple example is if marketing is promoting great service or world class supply chain performance and either the call center or shipping departments don't share the same vision or culture the customer will be disappointed. The call center is rude or gives bad information, the shipping department mishandles a shipment, it arrives late or damaged could all be simple breakdowns in cultural alignment. The point is that if the departments don't understand or don't care the company is not aligned. It is therefore the CMO's responsibility to immediately recognize the breakdown and begin the process of addressing it...until these issues are eliminated the CMO's job is not done!
The Internal responsibility to brand/culture is often overlooked and misunderstood. Your organization needs you - the CMO's that embrace this concept will break through and will lift their organization and themselves to brighter futures!

1 comment:

  1. Charlie, thanks for sharing your perspective on this issue. I've long believed that the internal culture and the external brand must reflect the same values and vision. Great to see you have put it into practice.