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02 July 2021
CBOs are more than just CMOs with new job titles
Brand identity & imageCorporate social responsibilityBrand safety
As biotech company Moderna becomes the latest company to announce the appointment of a Chief Brand Officer (CBO), many companies are realising a more holistic approach to brand building, and protection, is needed.
Why it matters
Over the last two years or so, issues that were previously of relatively little concern to consumers – how employees are treated, how ethical supply chains are, how much attention brands pay to diversity and gender issues, and what they are doing about the climate crisis – have become a crucial influence on how many perceive brands.
More companies are seeing value in having an executive who takes control not only of external communications, but every message a company sends, because defined ethical positions, or a lack of them, resonate with increasingly watchful and judgmental consumers. It’s a trend that’s noticeable among upmarket fashion brands.
In early June, Italian luxury fashion brand Moncler appointed former Nike executive Gino Fisanotti as its first CBO, explaining it had become “increasingly critical to be able to maintain a relevant brand identity that resonates with the spirit of the times”.
The move followed similar recent appointments at Banana Republic, Valentino, Versace and Theory.
How CBOs differ from CMOs
The CMO role is a structured economic and business role, Banana Republic CBO Ana Andjelic told The Business of Fashion, whereas “when you start moving that towards brand strategy and brand creative, then the role becomes more responsible but also way more fun because you’re basically participating in culture and in society”.
CBOs work across their companies, connecting departments – from corporate communications, to human resources, and customer service – to ensure the way they operate is consistent with the company’s values.
According to Lisa Butkus, partner and head of the retail and luxury goods practice at executive search firm Hanold Associates, the perfect person to succeed at the job is “a chameleon”.