Being a brilliant brand leader – Part 1

This is the first of 2 posts on the results from our 3rd brandgym research paper, this one on Being a Brilliant Brand Leader. Thanks to everyone who everyone who took part. We had feedback from people working in sectors from breakfast cereal to banking, and regions including Europe, Africa, Asia, the USA and Latin America.

In this post we cover the role of the marketing director and Chief Marketing Officer versus the CEO and the “revolving door” syndrome of marketing directors frequently changing jobs. In the next post we'll cover the qualities of brilliant brand leaders.

1. Who's in the lead?

Our research confirms that as expected Marketing/Brand Directors have the critical role in leading brand and business growth, with 64% rating their role as being extremely important. It is interesting to note that the role of Chief Marketing Officers/Group Marketing Directors is seen as equally important. We believe this reflects the CMO role moving beyond one of co-ordinating and sharing best practice into a more hands-on job of driving brand vision to action. A good example of this sort of CMO is Phil Chapman at Kerry Foods, who is playing a hands-on role in leading rejuvenation of the brand portfolio including Walls, Cheesestrings and Denny.

The research also highlights the crucial role played by the CEO/MD in brand leadership, with over half the panel saying their role was extremely important. This confirms the need to get top management engagement and alignment to any brand vision to action work.

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2. Leaving your legacy

The research confirms our belief that leaders need staying power to make a lasting impact on a brand and business. Over 3⁄4 of our panel said that 3 years or more was needed to have a true impact, with an average of 3.5 years. This is over a year longer than the average 2.5 year tenure of Marketing Directors according to research by Spencer Stuart. This backs up our own experience with companies, which shows that the brand leaders who make real impact, such as Silvia Lagnado on Dove, were in their role for 4-5 years.

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In the next post we'll complete the survey results by looking at the qualities of brilliant brand leaders.