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!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Selling Luxury in Challenging Times

I hope you find my recent interview with SuppyHouse Times interesting. We explore luxury marketing and how Franke is growing in challenging times.

Monday, July 12, 2010

105 Miles to beat Cancer!

One flat tire, one missed turn, 6.5 hours and 105 miles. The ACS Bile-a-Thon was a huge success with the Franke team raising $2,000 to contribute to the $1,500,000 raised by the other 4,000 riders.

This is a terrible disease that affects all of us in some way and it was an honor for me to help and inspire others to contribute while doing something I enjoy...riding my bike.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wooden on Leadership

John Wooden was arguably the best college basketball coach ever. The records he set at UCLA will never be broken but if you have ever heard his former players speak of him it most always was about leadership off the court rather than on the court that made him so revered.

His model is simple but clearly is an example we should all follow.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

American Cancer Society Bike-a-thon

On Sunday, July 11th, I will be riding my bike 100 miles to fight cancer. This year marks the 38th year for the Annual American Cancer Society Bike-a-thon in Philadelphia. We will be riding from the Ben Franklin Bridge to Lake Beuena Vista, NJ. If you would like to support the cause please visit my fundraising page.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Market Sense-Ability

Below is my recent interview with the CMO Council. It was conducted as part of the Councils Market Sense-Ability Center. Please visit the following link if you would like to see the entire newsletter.

An Interview with Charles Lawrence

A brand is only as good as the people, processes and products that define it. That's one reason the CMO Council believes the role of today's senior marketers must expand to embrace greater responsibility for business growth, measurability, customer engagement and alignment of marketing goals and strategies across the enterprise.

Charles Lawrence, who now heads the U.S. consumer products business for global kitchen products and systems leader Franke, became CMO of the company in 2006. His ability to define the company's problems through an employee-based audit, helped him drive dramatic changes, in concert with the new global President of Franke's Kitchen Systems Division. Lawrence's effective use of an organizational audit, working with the consulting firm MarketCulture Strategies, offers lessons for CMOs seeking to become market-driven change agents within their companies. What follows is an interview with Charles Lawrence.

Give us an overview of Franke's business and global operations.

Franke is a $3.5 billion privately held organization based in Aarburg, Switzerland. We have manufacturing operations in 40 countries around the world and sales and marketing offices in over 80 countries.

The company has two main divisions. One division is our Commercial Products Division, where we are the world leader in kitchen systems for quick service restaurants and the largest beer keg producer in the world. We are also the number three commercial coffee equipment maker and serve McDonald's and Starbucks among others.

The other business is our consumer-based Kitchen Systems Division, where we are the world's market share leader in kitchen sinks. Based on our success we have been able to expand our brand to other materials and other product categories that support some of our core businesses.

What were the factors facing Franke when you decided to undertake an analysis of your market culture?

A lot of the issues facing Franke were not unique to us. The economy is driving some very significant structural changes.

In the U.S., Franke is positioned as a luxury brand. From the mid-90s through the mid part of the 2000s there was phenomenal growth in the luxury segment of most consumer goods categories. Our best estimates say the luxury segment ballooned to about ten percent of the total market. We're finding now that the luxury segment is settling back to its historical five percent of the market.

During that period there were also some internal issues of organizational change and confusion, the poor integration of some acquisitions and senior management turnover that also caused challenges.

What is Franke doing now to create a more customer-driven, market-minded and agile business, and how did your measurement of the culture help drive that?

After working through the measurement process, we got back some pretty alarming information. The feedback came directly from every single employee in the organization, it was not just another management idea or something one of us picked out of the latest book on the market.

We began a complete restructuring that launched in November 2009, a complete global restructuring of the kitchen systems division into what we're describing as the three-layer model. In the three-layer model, the first layer is the market layer, which includes all the commercial teams around the globe in sales and marketing. The second is the technology, innovation and product development layer. The third is the operations layer, which is manufacturing, sourcing and the supply chain.

The MRI also became a powerful tool to help communicate not only at the local level, but at a much broader strategic level for the entire organization. I'm very pleased with the progress we've made in eight months.

How did the MRI inform the changes you're making internally?

First and foremost it became a tool to share with the organization how they felt, and it just so happened that I felt the same way. It provided a tangible starting point to begin making important changes throughout the organization, and also to change the overall cultural mindset.

In our warehouse, we had also cut back and weren't shipping orders as quickly as our competition, and sometimes the quality of the shipments weren't what they should have been. It would have been harder for me to get the organization to embrace the need to fix these areas if I didn't have the tool to communicate the need and remind them that they also felt that way.

Is it too early to talk about how these changes are impacting business performance?

The economy hasn't changed much since we started all this. But in the beginning of the fourth quarter, after we started to make changes, I noticed about a ten percent lift in business beginning in October, and we have been able to maintain that pattern. The economy certainly isn't driving that. So we're encouraged that the marketplace is responding favorably.

Do you think the need for companies to become more market and customer focused is increasing because of the economic and business changes we've seen over the last couple of years?

Absolutely. A lot of companies are chasing volume and forgetting about what made them successful. That focus creates tremendous turmoil and a great deal of pressure on the CMO position.

And when CMOs are replaced after a short tenure, it whipsaws the organization, because the new CMO has a slightly different spin. So the organization gets whipped around and the marketing budget is the first to get cut, because it's so hard to quantify its impact on the top and bottom line in many organizations. The CEO and the CFO are under such pressure financially that the organization often just loses its way.

CMOs have to be courageous and find ways to be able to support what they're doing, and that's a never-ending challenge for marketing people.

How can CMOs who are looking to build a more market-driven organization become better change agents?

I think marketers have to step up as a group and accept responsibility for culture within an organization and be a cheerleader, be that thought leader within the organization and be relentless about it. Secondly, we have to be proactive and outspoken about the importance of market knowledge, and how that can be a differentiator in an environment where your competitors are doing what I just described, cutting marketing, cutting their focus on the marketplace, cutting their investment in their brands. If you can find a way to carve out some investments and some focus in those areas, you can stand out from the crowd.

Thirdly, I can't over-emphasize the importance of the tool that you have to help communicate the need to the rest of the organization. I think the MRI and the output of that analysis was absolutely invaluable.

Please let me know what you think.