The colouring-in department (notes from the first Marketing Academy faculty day)

Sarah Plater, a 2013 Marketing Academy scholar, shares what she learned at the Brand Learning Marketing Excellence Faculty Day.

Put down your crayons, girls and boys.

If you need a glossy brochure or some shiny new business cards, just head straight to our very own colouring-in department, also known as marketing.
Just take the lift to the basement, first left then second right, past the archive boxes and reprographics supplies. You'll find them there, right at the heart of the organisation…

It's not enough to be a technically competent marketer, churning out advertisements, firing emails from your scatter gun and tweeting about your special offers.

You won't succeed with marketing relegated to a 'creative services' department either.

Andy Bird, co-founder and executive director of Brand Learning, started the 4 July Marketing Excellence Faculty Day with his own view of the role of marketing today:

'Creating better value for customer by building salient brands and innovative propositions to drive sustainable, profitable, demand-led growth'

You can't do any of that from behind a Mac in the basement.

First, you need to become a marketing leader. To achieve this, begin by putting customers at the heart of your commercial objectives. Identify the brand strategy best suited for the marketplace. Spot and harness opportunities for growth and develop innovative propositions that offer genuine value for customers.

Next, engage via customer insight and two-way conversations.

Finally, deliver on those propositions.

In order to deliver – consistently matching or exceeding customers' expectations – you will need to build your organisation's marketing capabilities.

The Brand Learning Wheel provides a framework which helps you identify where you need to focus attention in order to develop those capabilities.

It encompasses business objectives and strategy, organisation, processes, people, skills and culture.

On our Marketing Excellence Faculty day, guest speaker Karen Jeffry from AkzoNobel demonstrated how she used this process to transform the brands under her remit by undertaking an exhaustive capabilities audit.

One of the other case studies used to illustrate the points made was Virgin's brand book, titled Do it Yourself. Virgin puts its staff first, as only they are in a position to consistently and repeatedly deliver the brand experience. In service industries, if the staff don't buy into and deliver the vision, your customer is going to notice straight away and not believe in your brand.

That's something I'm going to take back into my own place of work, as well as conducting my own capability audit to identify where the gaps are that need investigating and fixing. These audits extend much further than marketing's traditional sphere of influence, rating the organisation's current performance at aspects such as identifying emerging market trends, measuring product quality and complaints and organisation design and development. By establishing where we are currently, I will be able to clearly see where our weak areas are and – as importantly – know what we need to change and achieve in order to improve.

Intrigued? Andy Bird has distilled his knowledge into a book, The Growth Drivers (Wiley, £29.99), in which you can read the AkzoNobel case study, among many others.

Alternatively, become a Marketing Academy Scholar and not only will you meet Andy and his team face-to-face (they have been involved with the Academy from the start), but you might just get a signed copy of his book free too.

Nominations for next year's Scholarship will open in December and aspiring marketing leaders can click here to find out more.

Colouring-in skills are optional.

For more information about how Brand Learning can help you lift your organisation’s marketing capabilities, please get in touch. You may also like these films, perspectives and resources on Marketing Capability.

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