7 Learnings from Cannes Lions 2016 The 2016 edition of Cannes Lions, the world’s
“Half of the executives surveyed by McKinsey & Company in May 2014 rank capability building as a top-three priority”
Source: McKinsey & Company Survey May 2014
More and more companies decide to invest in an in-house Marketing Capability Hub to train their marketers to maximum strength. Here below are the recurring reasons that in my experience are at the base of this choice.
#1. A structural commitment
Some companies hold the strategic conviction that marketing teams that are better trained than competitors’ teams build stronger equities, achieve higher topline growth and drive better profitability. For a company like Procter & Gamble, having an in-house Marketing Capability Hub is a strategic choice, an investment into an asset that despite being intangible has high visibility in the organization and therefore attracts attention and resources. Companies with a Marketing Capability program in place create a virtuous cycle as they tend to be more successful in attracting, motivating and retaining talents.
#2. From good to great Marketing
Most companies have good marketers, but what is good in Marketing? Although it is difficult for companies to assess the caliber of their marketers, the choice of setting up a Marketing Capability Hub is rooted into the belief that all efforts should be made to secure that the front line performs at the maximum possible level, operates on a proprietary brand building framework, uses the same language and believes in the same brand building truths.
# 3. Control of glide path to ambition
Every company or brand has an ambition, formulated as the desired position in the market, the % of top line growth, or the increase in profitability levels. However, only some companies realize that in order to deliver their ambition their marketers must be significantly stronger in those capabilities that will make a competitive advantage vs the companies contending the same space. No team will win a competition if they are not better equipped than their rivals. Marketing capabilities may well differ from one company to the other, or even from one brand to the other in one company.
#4. Expanding role of Marketing
Consumers’ expectations evolve at the same pace as the digital transformation of our lives. As a result, they will benchmark their experience with a particular brand not only vs other brands in the same category, but vs the overall set of experiences they are exposed to. So an innovative, engaging brand experience will set a new bar of expectations across all categories. More than ever, Marketers need the capability to anticipate and deal with these developments. And what is more, the list of important marketing skills keeps evolving, which may render the previous knowledge of marketers as perishable as yoghurt. While brand building fundamentals remain key, they must deal with all the virtual platforms, channels and assets in which consumers are often just one tweet away from taking control of a brand or company reputation.
#5. Better discipline in Marketing
Complex organizations with many brands are constantly torn between the necessity to leave space to the initiative and creativity of the different marketing teams on the one hand, and the need to create an efficient working environment with a common language, shared tools and processes on the other. Creating discipline in the way of working in Marketing allows for more efficient communication, a stronger sense of community and team spirit, and easier identification of benchmarks and best practices. Marketing Capabilities create a framework within which personal experience and explorations of different brand building routes are encouraged, so new ways of working find their place as they remain connected and become potentially scalable.
#6. Curb chaos after mergers & acquisitions
Mergers and acquisitions bring waves of new brand building skillsets and tools as people with different marketing cultures, ways of working and capabilities are asked to work together in one department. This is the right moment to undertake a Marketing Capabilities program because:
- It limits the inefficiencies deriving from different ways of working
- It forces participation and creates a sense of identity and cohesiveness
- It builds on the richness of Marketing solutions available, either different in their substance or in the way they are executed
#7. Attune global and local
There are many ways to design an effective collaboration across different layers within an organization, but all options will be more difficult without a common library of definitions, ways of working and tools that facilitate effective understanding and alignment among the different hubs in the business. Besides this, there needs to be a good understanding of where decisions are taken in the broad marketing organization, and of what are local, regional, and global decisions. And how can this allocation of responsibilities be interlinked effectively in a way that avoids finger-pointing when results are unsatisfactory. Getting clarity here will leave ample space for a “freedom within a framework” mindset. By a wide margin, respondents in over-performing global companies will agree that working with a common Marketing framework helps alignment and fosters collaboration.
#8. Harness and scale the good stuff
“If we knew what our Company knows”
An effective Marketing Capabilities program in place is like having a periscope to identify, analyze and define best practices in terms of way of working, solutions, tools, strategies and executions. This limits the replication of efforts to find solutions to similar challenges and warrants proper replication in other markets and brands.
#9. Become a brand-led company
Many B2B companies rely disproportionally on the quality of their products or services and the strength of their footprint and route-to-market, and make a (reluctant) transition from a product-based to a brand-based organization. The reason is often rooted in the company culture and the safeguard of the values and assets that made the company successful so far. The success of Adobe, Wistia, GE, Intel are examples for their respective categories.
#10. Take Marketing outside of Marketing
Marketing Capabilities include the recognition that a marketing mindset should not be not limited to the marketing department. Identifying the reasons why consumers buy and use a product and how a company can satisfy this need constructs the foundation of the company. It pays the salaries and the dividends to the shareholders. Some companies take Marketing outside of the Marketing Department to educate all employees and the Board on the foundations of marketing, and the importance of putting consumer and customers at the center of every commercial decision.
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The key motivations why Marketing Capabilities are adopted