Turn identity strength into marketing muscle

Larry Ackerman

Increased corporate identity strength leads directly to revenue rises. CMOs must fully understand the identity of their company to do their job effectively

Marketing is in trouble. A recent survey from Spencer Stuart, the executive recruitment firm, asserts that “the role of today's chief marketing officer (CMO) is fast becoming one of the riskiest jobs in business.”

Why is this? The survey offers several explanations: misaligned performance expectations between the CEO, CMO and board of directors; over-promising and under-delivering by the CMO because he/she doesn't fully understand the complexities of the company's strategies and the challenges in navigating operational issues; or a poor cultural fit between the ethos of the CMO and company culture.

These answers are useful up to a point, but there is more to this story. The main, if unspoken, challenge every CMO faces is clarifying, articulating and, in fact, 'marketing' the identity of the company. Without knowing what that centre of gravity is, marketing strategy is subject to changing customer attitudes and shifting management priorities.