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Building Marketing Excellence: It goes beyond you (Guest Blog by Brand Learning)

On 4th July, BRAND LEARNING was delighted to welcome 17 of this year’s Marketing Academy scholars to our Marketing Excellence Faculty Day.

BRAND LEARNING is a marketing capabilities consultancy with a mission to transform the marketing capabilities and commercial performance of people, teams and organisations across the world. As the first Faculty Day of the year-long scholarship, we look to set up broad concepts about marketing and its unique role in creating better consumer value and driving demand-led business growth. The scope of the session is 2-fold: To provide inspiration and practical support in how to be a great marketing leader and how to build your teams to deliver world-class marketing.  As such, we explore the development of both individual capabilities as a marketing leader as well as team and organisational marketing capabilities.

The morning session was facilitated by Andy Bird, Co-founder and Executive Director, who focused on the functional practices (cf. behaviours) of being an effective marketing leader. Using the “Future–Engage-Deliver” framework and vox pops stimulus from current marketing leaders, we considered what great looks like from a marketing perspective with regards to setting a vision, getting commitment across an organisation and ensuring executional excellence. Such a remit is not for the faint-hearted, covering everything from defining commercial objectives to developing brand conversations to maximising market presence, and we asked the scholars to consider which practices they might personally want to give more attention to in building their own capabilities. There was also lively discussion around examples of companies who have done this brilliantly, and particularly healthy (sorry, couldn’t resist) debate around McDonald’s engagement strategy.

We then shifted focus into the area of marketing capabilities development and how businesses create a change agenda in this area to enable them to deliver business growth ambitions. Exploration of this topic started with a case study, where we were joined by Karen Jeffery, Global Marketing Capability Director at Akzo Nobel, who shared the journey this organisation has been undertaking since 2004.  The real life challenges of moving in a new direction and the practical approaches taken, which directly wired the capability programme into the bigger business agenda, resonated with many of the scholars. Brand Learning’s Recruitment Director Susan Sochart and Partner Nina Holdaway then facilitated a review of where marketing needs to improve its contribution in the scholars’ own organisations. These outputs were captured into our BRAND LEARNING Wheel™, a framework which illustrates the key drivers of marketing capability – organisation, people, processes, skills and culture – and highlights the holistic and integrated nature of this work. The scholars were then given the opportunity to apply their own experience and this framework to real-life examples and they enthusiastically presented back some very insightful ideas (highlights also included Ry’s brave attempts to decipher Rob’s writing and entertaining ‘consultancy speak’ from Dan – does anyone really say ‘willy nilly’ now??).

This is our 4th year as Faculty Partners and we never fail to be struck by the energy, passion, level of debate and sense of fun in the group. Ahead of signing the Declaration of Independence in 1776, John Adams, future US President said: “It will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America….It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from this time forward forever”. Whilst a less momentous event occurred in Hampton Wick on July 4th 2013, we nevertheless hope it provided the scholars with some useful food for thought to build on as they continue through the scholarship. Good luck!

Brand Learning has been Marketing Academy Faculty Partners since 2010, delivering group development initiatives for the Scholars on the topic of Marketing Capabilities and Leadership.  To read more blog post by the Brand Learning team, please follow their blog, The Capable Marketer

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