LONDON: Brands must truly place consumers at the heart of their operations if they are to succeed in the long-term, rather than only making token efforts to do so, as is often the case at present, the audience at the Marketing Society's 50th Anniversary Conference heard earlier this week.

Speaking at the event – which is covered in more detail hereProfessor Hugh Davidson said one major change that needs to take place is a shift from "Shareholder Value" to "Stakeholder Value", with marketers playing a central role in this transition.

Antony Jenkins, chief executive, global retail banking, at Barclays, suggested this particularly applied to banks, which should be more transparent and consumer-focused, and try to rebuild trust after the troubles of the financial crisis.

Indeed, businesses of all kinds will have to learn to talk to customers in a more intelligent way, according to Rory Sutherland, vice chairman of Ogilvy UK.

Similarly, Tess Alps, ceo of Thinkbox, the UK television industry body, predicted TV will become more international, targeted, mobile and available, in-keeping with the evolving lifestyles of viewers.

Sir John Hegarty, of BBH, further suggested that brands must replace the idea of the "consumer" with that of an "audience" that wants to be entertained.

As part of this process, marketing directors will have to stay in touch with the latest trends, in order to recognise new developments in both the style and substance of what matters to consumers.

Warc subscribers can read a report from the Marketing Society's 50th Anniversary Conference here.

Data sourced from Warc