Leaders’ lack of understanding is damaging customer relationships with brands, say marketers
Report reveals that two-thirds of marketers believe senior leaders fail to gain maximum value from their brand
Two-thirds (67%) of marketers believe that their senior leadership teams see brand as merely a communications concept, failing to fully embed brand values throughout their organisations and relationship with customers.
CIM’s Brand Experience study of professional marketers, supported by Brandworkz, reveals that more than three-quarters (77%) think their senior leadership teams have a high impact on the delivery of their brand promise through customer experience, yet only half (52%) believe these same teams have a strong understanding of their role in doing so.
Positively, two-thirds (65%) of marketers believe that their senior leadership teams regard brand as a high priority for the entire company, yet the report indicates that this often fails to cascade down an organisation. Additionally, more than a third (36%) feel that leaders within their organisation don’t understand what brand means for the areas they lead, and 39% don't think the key business functions, including leadership, speak with a unified voice with regards to a brand vision.
Worryingly, 48% report that brand performance and brand-related metrics aren’t regularly discussed at the most senior levels of their organisation, and 48% don't have a Marketing Director or CMO on the executive committee and management board.
Reflecting on these findings, Steve Woolley, Head of External Affairs at CIM, said: "A strong brand drives growth when customers see its promise delivered. So it’s great that marketers tell us brand is a priority for their company, but dig deeper and this looks worryingly superficial. Many report not delivering consistently on brand promise, and that leaders within the business often don’t understand what brand means for their teams. For a company to implement brand and truly understand its value, the motivation needs to start at the top. Our report highlights that this is not always a reality. As it stands, opportunities are being lost and brand is not being utilised to its full potential."
CIM's recommendations for marketers and businesses to take on board to improve their brand experience are:
- Make sure it starts at the top - marketers need to agree a clear mandate for brand within their business, and invest time in gaining consensus on this.
- Gain clarity around the brand promise - securing collective buy-in from leaders whilst also translating what brand vision and priorities look like for those leading specific business functions.
- Allow the brand to permeate the organisation - marketers should partner with HR colleagues to integrate the brand into company culture and change initiatives.
- Create space for brand to be in the right conversations - marketers need to identify what they can bring to the table in other functions across the business, to help keep brand on the agenda. This may include customer insight, market or competitive intelligence, as well as brand performance data.
- Establish more meaningful measurement - partner with finance, IT and customer service to develop a dashboard of useful metrics to actively track and understand how the brand is being delivered across the customer journey.
To read the full report and find out more about Brand Experience and CIM's findings, please visit exchange.cim.co.uk
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Notes to Editors
CIM Brand Experience Report
The research was conducted between 24 November - 17 December 2015. Over 2,000 marketing professionals from across the world completed elements of the survey, with 844 complete responses and 477 of these from UK marketing professionals. The statistics in the release are taken from the fully completed responses only. The Brand Experience 2016 research builds on a previous report released by CIM in 2012.