In a year where the technicalities and transparency issues of media came under severe scrutiny, great brand stories are a critical counterpoint to the current challenges of media governance.
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With specific focus on the importance of developing, defending and demonstrating the value of a strong corporate brand, 18 marketing leaders met on 22 November at the WFA CMO Forum in Singapore to discuss what it takes to make a brand take flight and why branding is good for business. Here are our 10 take-outs.
1. You can bring a good brand all the way to the bank
It’s been proven that strong brands drive consistently higher share prices, lose value less precipitously in a recession, and emerge with a sustainable competitive advantage. It’s a long-term play, but one that literally pays dividends.
2. Branding uplifts not just shareholders, but internal stakeholders too
As one regional CMO testified, the knock-on effect of an improved corporate brand on the employee brands saw a resulting swell in employee pride, confirming countless research pieces that attest to the same.
3. Which is why an inside-out approach is the only approach to take
Two different CMOs reinforced how it was absolutely business critical to win with employees or “internal advocates” first. “Before the creative work was shared publicly,” said one Global CMO, “we made sure we showed it to our employees first, and that they were behind it.”
4. And that’s where a strong corporate brand has the power to unite a company
As one regional CMO noted, “it can be hard to get the business leaders across different product units to see eye to eye – and that’s where the neutrality of a corporate brand cuts across silos and acts as a common denominator in marketing conversations.”
5. The brand story will need slightly more sell-through in a commercially-driven sales environment
You can’t change culture overnight and it can take more time to win over sales professionals for whom marketing isn’t the most natural or channel partners conditioned by tactical deals. “It’s important to stick to your guns,” said one CMO, “but the minute you have the results you need, don’t hesitate to shout about your successes!”
6. It’s all about storytelling
Especially with new brands or re-launches. “You need to take your audience on a journey with you, bring them in, get them engaged – they need to get to know you”, said a senior marketer.
7. Video tells the best stories
While there were some evocative audio clips shared, the visual impact of video was not to be denied. “In our key market, audiences soon came to know us not for our products, but for our highly-viewed and instantly recognised TVCs,” said a CMO.
8. With global purpose conveyed through local eyes…
The right local lens can make or break how the brand is perceived and received.
9…and well positioned for the right audience
Whether it’s small tweaks that to tune the messaging, or bold statements that grab the attention of your target audience “you need to do what it takes to resonate with the audience that you’re after.”
10. Bold branding is borne of bold briefing
“We challenged our agency to bring us the best work they could,” said one CMO. “Scare me, we said. And they did. In the best possible way.
The next WFA CMO Forum will be held in Singapore on 21 of March 2018. For more information on the agenda, please contact Ranji David, APAC Director – Marketing Services at firstname.lastname@example.org