DANA POINT, CA: Achieving excellence in modern marketing requires looking beyond "shiny objects" and tapping best practices in areas like content creation and customer-centricity, according to Bob Liodice, President/CEO of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

"Never before has there been so much opportunity to make change and build brands. Think about the media that we have at our disposal," Liodice said at the ANA's 2017 Brand Masters Conference. (For more details, read Warc's exclusive report: Liodice's 12 successful habits of marketing excellence.)

"Think about our ability to target our consumers. Think of our ability to reach them with messages across a variety of approaches that we've never, ever had before."

Digital capabilities, however, do not negate the importance of qualitative art to partner with quantitative expertise. "Not everything works perfectly," said Liodice. "We're an industry very much attracted to shiny objects and fleeting messages.

"But there's one thing that continues to endure – and that's the brand. And brands wouldn't be brands without great marketing. And brand marketing isn't great unless it produces results."

Positive results, he added, feed into growth: "When we build brands, we make lots of people happy. When we have growth, our consumers are happy, our shareholders are happy, and your internal officers are happy."

Among the best-practice guidelines outlined by Liodice to obtain this goal was following the advice of Marc Pritchard, Procter & Gamble's Chief Brand Officer, who has urged brand custodians to enhance the quality controls on content.

Another recommendation, this time drawing on the consumer-centricity of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE), is to let customers know that brands care and want them to be involved.

Delivering on brand passion is a further core tenet of modern brand building – as shown by CVS Health removing cigarettes from its stores in evidencing its commitment to improving consumer health.

"To accomplish its brand-purpose goals, it sacrificed nearly $2bn in annual tobacco sales," Liodice reminded the ANA delegates."

And the reward? "The new awareness of being a healthcare-related company has translated into record earnings and revenues and has catapulted CVS to being number seven in the Fortune 500."

Data sourced from Warc