Why Marketing Needs a Reset: Marketing Leaders from Global Brands Speak Their Mind

Tune in to Time for A Reset

In a special episode of Time For a Reset: The Marketing Podcast, we took a moment for, well, a reset. We’ve had so many wonderful guests join Paul and Nick to lend us their experience, wisdom and analysis and it’s time to take a look back and see what some different senior marketers would like to reset in marketing. 

From the dynamic intersection of purpose and profit to the transformative power of marketing in today’s digital landscape, this episode blended the art of brand purpose with the science of business-centric strategies. Our senior marketers have dissected the complexities of marketing jargon, advocated for simplicity, and discussed the evolving role of marketing in fostering customer well-being and long-lasting relationships. 

Whether it’s their thoughts on diversity and inclusion in marketing, transforming digital marketing through innovation and collaboration, or the role of data in marketing to name a few, some things bear repeating.

Selecting what marketers want to hit RESET on, is better was a challenge and it was so hard to narrow it down, so we’ve picked fourteen short excerpts from ten exceptional guests for you to enjoy. It was a pleasure to revisit all of these conversations, and we’re confident that we’ve picked out some pearls for you. Each of these world-class professionals had so much to share from their time representing the biggest and most beloved brands on the planet, but we’ve zoomed in on five of them here below:

Jesh Sukhwani Global In-housing Media & COE Director at Lenovo

When we sat down with Jesh Sukhwani, we explored how breaking down barriers, democratizing marketing and promoting diversity were goals that could not only improve working environments and people’s lives, but were the gateway to the new exciting future of marketing. Lenovo, as Jesh explained to us, has achieved collaboration across its teams through its ‘One Lenovo’ approach which encompasses all this and more. 

Creating a culture, a social ethos, and having a wider mission that everyone at your organization can get behind is something that’s been shown time and time again to bring the best out of people and tap into their intrinsic motivations. Lenovo’s vision of a better world is to democratize technology. By ignoring boundaries and borders and aiming to bring technology to the whole world, they’re convinced they can play a part in improving lives on a global scale.

As a result, diversity, equity, and inclusion are integral across their marketing organization, and that from media planning right to the minutiae of internal team dynamics. 

“It’s not just about having a diverse team, but it’s about integrating diversity and inclusion at the grassroots level”

Jason Carter, Global Transformation Director at Reckitt

Jason joined Paul on the show as the Global Transformation Director at Reckitt with strong and compelling ideas on how marketing departments should and could work within organizations structurally. As a marketing leader with bags of experience, he has a rarified perspective that allows him to see the structure and processes of business in quite a holistic way, and this allows him to say with confidence where inefficiencies are being created, where processes need tightening up and where operations are more complicated than they need to be.

For Jason, marketing in many cases, falls some ways into the latter category and he advocates for a removal of the unnecessary blocks between marketing departments and overall business strategy. He is keen to underscore leadership’s pivotal role in facilitating marketing success by eliminating these barriers and bringing marketing into better alignment with business objectives. 

By simplifying the communication channels, It has become clear to Jason that marketing strategies and corporate goals can sometimes develop a gap that doesn’t need to be there, and that gap can be bridged by simplifying communication channels as he explains in the discussion. Leadership has to be clear and committed to marketing’s value, and by focusing on what they’re good at like driving sales, constantly seeking customer engagement, and fostering long-term brand loyalty, marketing professionals can nurture and protect that all-important leadership support. 

Aparna Sundaresh, Global VP of Transformation at Unilever 

Building a brand means more than what it may have meant 20 years ago, and Aparna Sundaresh of Unilever understands that as well as anyone. The reason to build that brand has always been to connect customers to a product, but as society changes, customers change and their expectations change, so sticking blindly to the principles that made brands a success in the past is a losing battle. 

“If you look at purpose and profit as two circles in a Venn diagram, the customer sits at the intersection.”

Connecting to customers now means filling in a gap – that is, what is the purpose of a brand. How is a product really improving people’s well-being, how is it bringing positive impacts into the world and reflecting the things that consumers increasingly value, like sustainability and personal expression. Aparna picks out Dove as an example of a brand who’ve done this exceptionally. They are in the business of beauty, but more than that, they’ve developed into a brand that focuses on the beauty of feeling comfortable and happy in your own skin. Those are the values they project alongside their product, rejecting unrealistic standards of beauty that may be prevalent in other less positive areas of media and society.

Francisco Bram, VP of Marketing & Customer Insights at Albertsons Companies

Francisco highlights the importance of being data-driven to earn credibility with product and tech teams. He stresses the role of customer insights in marketing, which not only informs marketing strategies but also aids UX and tech teams in product development. Every industry is putting increased emphasis on data as the technology they can use to harvest and analyze that data becomes more sophisticated and comprehensive. His advice to marketing teams working in a large organizational structure is to not shun this aspect of modern business. Francisco has years of experience and understands every side of the marketing landscape, but he has always been known for his analytical data-driven approach, and his advice is always worth taking on board. 

His reasoning comes down to wanting to create an environment where a marketing department commands the respect of other more naturally analytical tech and product teams. Customer insights is where Francisco really drills down into and this is where his thoughts move into fascinating territory, because the way he sees it, a marketing team using customer insights in a purposeful and imaginative way is how a company can move beyond the bottom line and start fine-tuning its offering to help their organization start changing people’s lives. 

As he explains in this revisited highlight, by focusing on diverse metrics around product success, including profit and customer quality, marketing can be a powerful tool that drives meaningful change within the organization.

Lars Silberbauer, CMO of HMD Global, the home of Nokia Phones. 

Lars was clear about where he’d like to see a reset, and as can be heard in the section we’ve returned to, product waste, longevity, built-in obsolescence, these are things that bother him, which is why he’s keen to point out how Nokia have done things a little differently to other companies.

Durability, affordability, these positives are all built into the smartphones that HMD build for Nokia – and if these phones are lasting their users years and years, easy to repair, difficult to break, then that question of sustainability versus electronic waste is being answered. And it’s not just Lars and Nokia that think so either, as he points out that Time Magazine also recognized the importance of Nokia phones being fully repairable. New screen, new battery, new charging sockets, no problem. But Lars doesn’t take any of this lightly, and his nuanced approach to the subject demonstrates his commitment, because, as he illustrates, sustainability has to be able to scale to make a difference, and in that case, it’s vital that sustainable products are also profitable.

“That’s why I think we also need to really challenge people and sometimes say, well, it’s great that you have a sustainability business, but it’s borderline charity, and charity can’t scale, and it can’t create an impact.”

So join us on Time For a Reset: The Marketing Podcast, to reflect, reset and return to some of these incredible marketing minds and the scintillating conversations we were lucky enough to share with them.

You can read the full transcript episode here.

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