Free ebook on How to be successful in your Marketing Career
A playbook to help you reach your full potential in a Marketing career
Brand Coach whose purpose is to help Brand Leaders unleash their full potential
Why passion matters
When I was head of Marketing, one of my Brand Managers brought in a print ad for my approval. It was just
awful. I kept looking at this pathetic ad, wondering where even to start to give this guy feedback. It was
obvious he saw this ad as a mere task on his to-do list. So I asked one of the best questions I have ever asked,
“Do you love it?”
He said, “No, not really.” So I gently passed the ad back across the
table and said, “Bring me back something you love.”
While I hope it was an excellent lesson for him, it was an even more
significant lesson for me. My passion for my work has always driven
me. I wanted that passion from everyone. From that day on, I kept
asking my team “Do you love it?”
I even had one person say, “Does that matter?” I said, “Of course it
does. If you do not love the work, how do you expect your consumer
ever to love your brand?”
If you can create a deep emotional bond with your most cherished
consumers, you will create the stored energy of power that you can
use against every possible stakeholder in the market. You will even
have power over the very consumers who love your brand, the
retailers you sell through and the influencers who recommend you. You
can leverage that added power to drive higher growth rates and higher
profit for your brand.
You have to love your work,
How to build your career behind your core
Just like a brand, we each bring a core strength as a marketing leader. Focus on your natural skills, your leader
behaviors or the experiences you have had in your past. It can also be impacted by where your passion lies. You
should map out your future marketing career based on your core strength, whether that is running the business,
marketing execution, strategic thinking or people leadership.
One of the toughest questions I ask is to pick your #1 strength as a Marketer from these four potential choices:
1. You like running the business and managing products
2. You have a passion for marketing execution
3. Strategic thinker writes strong Brand Plans
4. As a leader of leaders, you can get the best out of others
I know it must be a tough
question because everyone
refuses to pick just one. Even
if you are well-rounded,
explore what might rise or fall
based on skills, feedback,
success, passion, or interest.
While you have been trained
and have learned to be a
generalist, it might be time to
re-focus on a specific strength.
Let’s take it a step further.
Here's a game you can play to
force your thinking. Look
below at the diagram. You
have four chips. You have to
put one on the highest
strength, two on the medium
and force one to be at the
If you still say, "I'm pretty
good at all 4" then push
yourself, I might not believe
you. No one is equally great at
all four. You have to know your
strength. As you make your
next move, each choice may
lead you to 4 different career choices.
If you like running the business, your career choices could be Product Management, Private Equity or New
Industries. If you are into the Marketing Execution, explore switching to an Agency role, maybe a brainstorming
ideation leader or become a Subject Matter Expert. And, if you are a Strategic Thinker, you could move into
becoming a Consultant, Professor or go into a Global role. Finally, if you feel your strength is on the people
leadership side, you can keep moving up to GM, explore the Entrepreneur world or become a Personal Coach.
When your strength is running the business
You are naturally a business leader, who enjoys the thrill of hitting the numbers–
financial or share goals. In Myers Briggs, you might be an ENTJ/INTJ (introvert/
extrovert, intuition, thinking, judgment) the “field general” who brings the
intuitive logic and quick judgment to make decisions quickly to capitalize on the
You like product innovation side more than advertising. You are fundamentally
sound in the core elements of running a business—forecasting, analytics,
finance, distribution—working each functional areas to the benefit of the
products. You may have gaps in creativity or people leadership, but you are
comfortable giving freedom to your agencies or team to handle the creative
My recommendation is to stay within Product Management as long as you can.
If you find roadblocks in your current industry, consider new verticals before
you venture into new career choices. You should consider running businesses on
behalf of Private Equity firms or venture into Entrepreneurship, where you can
leverage your core strength of running a business.
When your biggest strength is Marketing Execution
When you are the type of Brand Leader, who is highly creative and connects more to ideas and insights than
strict facts and tight business decisions. You believe facts can guide you but never decide for you. And, you are
high on perception, allowing ambiguous ideas to breathe before closing down on them. Moreover, you respect
the creative process and creative people. You are intuitive in deciding what a
good or bad idea is. You may have gaps in the areas of organizational
leadership or strategy development that hurts you from becoming a senior
leader. And, you likely see answers before questions and frustrated by delays.
Staying in the Marketing area, you may end up limited in moving beyond an
execution role. You may be frustrated in positions that would limit your
creativity. Stepping into a Director level role could set you up for failure. Look
to grab a subject-matter-expert role in internal advertising, media, innovation
role or merchandising.
Going forward beyond Marketing, consider switching to the Agency side or
Consult on subject-matter expertise (Innovation, Marketing Communication or
Public Relations) to build on your strengths.
When you are naturally a strategic thinker
You enjoy the planning more than the
execution. You might fall into the INTP,
where you’re still using logic and
intuition, stronger at the thinking that
helps frame the key issues and
strategies than making the business
decisions. The introvert side would also
suggest that your energy comes from
what’s going on in your brain, than
externally. An honest assessment
would indicate that managing and
directing the work of others is likely
not be a strength.
If you stay within the marketing industry, you would be very strong in a Global Brand role, General Management
or even a Strategic Planning role. You need to either partner with someone who is strong at Marketing Execution
or builds a strong team of business leaders beneath you.
Going outside, you would enjoy Consulting and thought leadership which could turn into either an academic or
professional development type roles. Continue building your thought leadership to carve out a specific
perspective or reputation where you can monetize.
When your biggest strength is leading people
You find a natural strength in leading others. You are skilled in
getting the most from someone’s potential. You are good at
conflict resolution, providing feedback, inspiring/motivation
and career management of others. You are a natural extrovert
and get your energy from seeing others on your team
succeed. As you move up, you should surround yourself with
people who counter your gaps–whether that is on strategy or
If you find yourself better at Management than Marketing,
and you should pursue a General Management role where you
become a leader of leaders. You would benefit from a cross-
functional shift in sales or operations to gain various
perspectives of the business enable you to take on a general
management role in the future.
After you hit your peak within the corporate world, consider
careers such as Executive Coaching where the focus remains
on guiding people.
The Marketing skills, behaviors and
experiences you need to be successful
As you manage your Marketing Career, you assess your skills, behaviors, and experiences, to figure where the
gaps that you should address.
A marketer must build their capability around essential skill areas strategy, analytics, positioning, planning, and
execution. The best marketers must exhibit leadership behaviors, ownership and inspire others. And, they run
their business like an owner. They can display broad leadership across the entire organization. Finally, many of
the more complicated areas of marketing take experience. Over the years, I found myself saying, “You almost
screw up the first five times, you…” And, I started to realize, that message fits with advertising, managing
others, brand planning, launching new brands, and leading beyond your team.
First, you must nail the obvious.
Let me start with the expected behaviors for success at any level of Marketing. Trust me: if you do not hit these,
you will eventually annoy someone enough to get rid of you. They would undoubtedly annoy me enough. These
are non-negotiable, and if you miss continuously, they could become
potentially career-limiting moves.
1. You must hit deadlines. Never look out of control or sloppy. Marketers
have enough to do, so if you begin to miss deadlines, things will just
stockpile on each other. Do not be the one who is seen trying to negotiate
extensions constantly. There are no real extensions. Just missed
2. You must know your business. Avoid getting caught off-guard with
questions that you cannot answer, such as P&L (sales, growth, margins,
spend) market share (latest 52, 12, 4 weeks for your brand all significant
competitors) and your sales forecasts. Make sure you are asking the
questions and carrying forward the knowledge.
3. Open Communication. There should be no surprises, especially with your boss. Keep everyone aware of
what’s going on. When you communicate upwards, always have the situation, implications, options and then
quickly followed by an action plan of what to do with it.
4. Take control of your destiny. We run the brands;
they do not run us. Be slightly ahead of the game, not
chasing your work to completion. Proactively look for
opportunity in the market, and work quickly to take
advantage. When you don’t know something, speak in
an “asking way,” but when you know, speak in a
5. Able to use regular feedback for growth. Always
seek out and accept feedback, good or bad, as a lesson
for you. Do not think of it as a personal attack or
setback. Identify gaps you can close, never think of
them as weaknesses that hold you back. You should
always be striving to get better.
6. Listen first; then decide. It is crucial that you seek
to understand to the experts surrounding you before
you make a decision. Early in your career, use your
subject matter experts to teach you. As you hit director
or VP, use them as an advisor or sounding board to issues/ideas. They do want you to lead them, so it is
essential that you listen and then give direction or push them towards the end path.
The crucial Marketing skills you need
At Beloved Brands, we use a 360-degree view, where you need to be able to analyze, think, define, plan and
then execute. And then repeat.
1. Analyze brand performance
Great brand leaders must be willing and able to dig deep into data, draws comparisons and builds an analytical
story to help draw out the business conclusions. They have to able to lead a best-in-class 360-degree deep-dive
business review for the brand. They understand all sources of brand data—whether that’s coming from sales,
consumption, market share, brand funnel data, market research or brand financials. Finally, the great brand
leader must be able to write analytical performance reports that outline the strategic implications
2. Think Strategically
A brand leader must be able to think strategically, by asking the right interruptive questions before reaching for
solutions. They must be able to employ 360-degree strategic thinking that looks at five types of strategic
thinking: your brand’s core strength, consumer strategy, competitors, situation and consumer engagement.
Strategic alignment is a crucial skill. They have to be able to lead a well-thought strategic discussion across the
organization. Finally, the great brand leader must be able to make smart strategic decisions, based on vision,
focus, opportunity, early win, and leverage.
3. Define your Brand
A brand leader must be able to define
their brand. You must be able to define
the ideal consumer target, framed with
need states, insights and enemies. They
must take a consumer-centric approach
to turn brand features into functional
and emotional benefits. And then, they
must be able to bring it all together to
find a winning brand positioning space
that is own-able and motivates
consumers. Finally, the great brand
leader should be able to develop a
Brand Idea that can lead every
consumer touchpoint. There are five
consumer touch-points including the
brand promise, brand communication,
innovation, purchase moment and the
4. Create Brand Plans that everyone can follow
The brand leader must be able to understand and lead all elements of a smart brand plan; vision, purpose,
goals, issues, strategies, tactics. They must be able to turn strategic thinking into smart strategic objective
statements for the brand plan. They must be strong in presenting brand plans to senior management and across
the organization. And finally, the great brand leader must be able to develop smart execution plans that deliver
against the brand strategies
5. Inspire creative execution
The brand leader must be able to write a strategic, focused and thorough creative brief to inspire great work
from experts. They must be able to lead all marketing projects on brand communication, innovation, selling or
experience. And they must be able to inspire greatness from teams of experts at agencies or throughout the
organization. Finally, the great brand leader must make smart marketing execution decisions that tighten bond
Taking this a step further, you can use the assessment tool to identify gaps in your team.
The ideal leader behaviors for a Marketer
1. Be Accountable for results
The great brand leader holds everyone accountable to the goals of their tasks. They can make things happen,
they get things done, and they do not let details or the timeline slip. Moreover, they stay on strategy, by
eliminating execution ideas not focused on the vision and strategy. They can works the system behind the
brand, anywhere from sales to finance to operations to HR.
2. People leadership
They manage their core brand team with elements of focus, communication, solutions, and results. They know
how to let others shine. They are keenly interested in their people’s development and career development. They
take the time to coach, teach, guide the team for higher performance. They provide honest assessments to their
people and upwards. From what I have seen, the best go far above and beyond the people requirements of the
3. Broad influence
The best brand leaders are active listeners, who seek
opinions and then make decisions. They own the
strategy, yet know where to offer flexibility to let the
subject matter experts pursue new ideas on the
execution. The best carry influence throughout the
organization. As a leader, they think of others beyond
themselves, empathy to pressures/challenges others are
facing. This broad influence is like leadership capital,
stored up during the good moments, and then leveraged
during a time of crisis.
4. Authentic style
The best brand leaders are self-aware of their impact on
others within and beyond their team. They are
exceptional under pressure. The four pressure points a
marketer faces typically include the pursuit of results,
the ambiguity over the expectations of any new program,
the constant state of change when operating in a live
market and the ongoing strain to hit every deadline. One
of the most important leadership qualities is to show up
consistently and almost predictable. The best are also
willing to admit mistakes, challenges themselves to
improve and finds ways to adjust to new ideas.
5. Runs business as an owner
Brand Leaders are running businesses. The best ones act like a ‘Brand CEO’ who is accountable to the long-
range health and profits of the business. It should never be about just doing cool stuff. They have to make
smart decisions that add to the health of the brand, not their career or personal wealth. It is crucial to make the
right choices, which are good for the company, consumers, customers, market, and society. As the brand and
culture are becoming one, it is crucial that the brand leader is seen to live and breathe the culture, as an
example to all those who work behind the scenes of the brand.
20 Behaviors Marketers need to win
Necessary experiences every marketer must go through
Many of the hardest experiences a Marketer must go through almost takes 3-5 opportunities for the Brand
Leader to nail. I remember how challenging it was for me the first time I launched a new advertising campaign.
Can I confess now that it was a complete disaster? I had no clue what the significant steps were and no one on
my side who could teach me. I was lucky that my client service person helped me through every step. Over the
years, I would get better and better, learning something new each time. I then struggled the first time I
managed a person for the first time. Then I struggled to launch a new brand. It is starting to sound like I was a
disaster at everything. Well, I might be exaggerating, but I can tell you that I got better each time. And you will
The experiences you need learn at each stage of the way include writing brand plans, leading a brand
turnaround, managing a team, firing a Marketer, launching a new brand, and leading across the organization.
Write Brand Plans
Writing a brand plan takes experience. At the early stages of your career, I recommend you should learn some
of the same skills through writing brand recommendations, writing a brand review or writing a section of the
brand plan. As you move up to Brand Manager, you have to take full ownership of the plan. One of the hardest
elements to work on is the flow. I always say that a well-written Brand Plan should feel like an orchestral
arrangement, with each component of the plan with separate song sheets, but everyone’s contribution adds up
to one plan.
Leading a Brand Turnaround
When the results are not meetings the expectations of the business, the pressure goes up exponentially, and the
scrutiny intensifies. If there is a hint of concern, senior leaders will roll up their sleeves and get involved.
Launching new advertising
Launching a big new campaign from scratch involves a lot of crucial steps to manage while dealing with the
ambiguity of what makes a great creative and smart media choices. On top of that, it is essential to keep the
agency motivated while keeping your boss aligned.
Managing a team
Managing can be such a challenge that when I worked at J&J when we promoted someone to Brand Manager, we
usually tried to avoid giving them a direct report. Most people mess up their first direct report. A similar pattern
happens: excited to have someone do the little stuff they hate doing; then the person struggles so the manager
does it themselves and gets mad at the person who
can’t do it, then begins to think their direct report is
incompetent. On the other hand, the direct report
thinks their boss refuses to train them, gives them
little feedback and is a control freak.
Firing a Marketer
Firing someone sounds like a strange experience to
put on the list, but it is one of the most difficult
decisions you will have to make. I wish you would
never have to fire one, but the reality is that you will.
To make sure you are making the right decision, you
need to understand the role and be able to measure
that person against the criteria for what they can and
Launching a new brand
While managing a brand is difficult enough, creating
a brand from scratch involves every element of
marketing from the concept to the product to naming
to production, selling, shipping, advertising,
displaying, promoting, and analyzing the
performance. You better be great at Marketing before
taking on a launch from scratch.
Leading across organization
As you move into more senior leadership roles, a great way to extend your breadth across the organization is to
take on more cross-functional roles, whether special projects or stepping into a cross-functional role. This move
allows you to begin seeing every corner of the organization through the eyes of other team players in sales, HR,
operations, and finance.
Here is a tool to track Marketing experiences from an entry-level up to a senior role. I tell Marketers that you
should try to have a good balance as you move up, so you can avoid having any experience gaps when you hit a
How to successfully climb the Marketing
When I look back on my 20 years in the consumer packaged goods industry, I remember fondly every
promotion I received. We will look at four levels of Marketing which are Assistant Brand Manager, Brand
Manager, Marketing Director and VP/CMO. While we present linearly, I think learning is somewhat random. We
gain confidence through our success, but we learn from our failures. You must boldly look to make an impact
and take chances. Put all your passion into your work.
At every level, you have to adjust to
the new role. Brand Managers fail
when they keep acting like ABMs who
are looking for a to-do list. Directors
fail when they keep working like
Brand Managers by micro-managing
and making every decision. And, VPs
fail when they don’t know what to do.
We all say we want to advance, but
don’t think of it as just a title: think
of it as a challenge to step back.
In every job I’ve ever been in, no
matter what level, or what company,
I rode the IDIOT CURVE. The idiot
curve lasts about 90 days,
coincidental to what most companies
call probation period.
The basic rule behind the
Idiot Curve: you will get
dumber before you get
During the idiot curve, the first thing to go is your instincts. Your brain is only so big, that all the new facts you
learn, that when pressed, you reach for one of these new facts instead of using your instincts. The second thing
to go is your ability to make decisions.
New jobs are always stressful–trying to impress your boss, trying to maintain composure with ambiguity, and
trying to deliver when you aren’t sure how to do that yet. Most of us think that stress impacts execution
first. But it influences decision-making–you might find yourself frozen like a deer in the headlights or you might
make choices you think you are supposed to make instead of taking the time to think things through. The third
thing to go is your natural strengths. Everyone has natural strengths and weaknesses. But in these early days,
you spend too much time, covering up the weaknesses, that you don’t allow your strengths to show fully.
The Assistant Brand Manager (ABM)
For the most eager first-time marketers that want to change the world, the role is a reality check where you
learn before you can run. Too many new grads want to focus on strategy right away, but this is a “doing” role.
You will be executing programs, analyzing results and learning how to be a project manager. Through the
execution, try to send signals that you are capable of thinking and leading in the future. In my 20 years of
marketing, I must have interviewed 1,000s of potential Assistant Brand Managers. I was lucky to have hired
some of the best, who have gone on to have solid marketing careers.
The Idiot Curve
Day 1 Day 90
You tend to get
(and feel) dumber,
before you get
Know that the IDIOT CURVE is a normal part of
every job. Be patient. Take your time. Ask
questions. Reach for your instincts
What separates the average from the great ones that get promoted? The best seem to figure out the right thing
to do and then make it happen. Some figure out the right thing to do but struggle to work the system to make it
happen. Other ABMs can work the system, but they forget to think through what is the right thing to do.
The Assistant Brand Manager role will feel frustrating to you, many times inhibiting your creativity and even
your ideas, but fight through it. It provides a foundation you will use throughout your career.
Five success factors for Assistant Brand Managers
1. Analytical Story Telling
A great Assistant Brand Manager can tell stories, where others just see data. There is a ton of data with
market share results, tracking scores or test results. One of the most critical skills to work on is developing
stories with data. It is one thing to have the data point, but another to have thought it through and know what
it means, and what action you will take on this data. Look for patterns or data breaks, ask questions and start
putting together stories. Use stories backed up by data to sell your recommendations. Never give a data point
without a story or action. You risk letting someone else (your boss) take your data and run with it or tell a story
different from yours.
2. Be Pro-Active
A great Assistant Brand Manager takes action before being asked.
Your manager already sets most of the projects for Assistant Brand
Managers. When you are new, it is comfortable to wait for your projects. But
don’t get in the habit of waiting for someone to create your project list. A
great Assistant Brand Manager starts to push ideas into the system and
create their own project list. The best Assistant Brand Managers start making
smart decisions, on their own, and communicating their decisions with their
boss. Don’t ask permission, but tell what you want to do and look for the
head nod. Know what’s in your scope and align with your manager.
3. Make It Happen
A great Assistant Brand Manager gets what they want. Instead of just
functionally managing the steps of the project, they “make it happen” whether
that means faster, bigger or better. You need understand the important milestones you need hit, and manage
bottlenecks. You have to figure out the task with the longest completion time, which impacts the entire project.
Sometimes you need to push people to get things done. To make the project bigger, you need to find a bit of
magic. Inspire people to give their best ideas, their best effort or their best work. Every ABM meets resistance.
The best ABMs can knock down those resistance points.
4. Contribute Strategically
A great Assistant Brand Manager is outspoken on strategy. You need to ask the right questions. Ensure
you stay on strategy. Avoid just falling in love with an execution tactic, not aligned with your brand’s strategy. It
is so easy to get lost in your own “cool” projects. At the ABM level, show you are always thinking, and feel
confident in your strategic thoughts. Silent Assistant Brand Managers never last.
A great Assistant Brand Manager is accountable and owns their work. Accountability is the stepping
stone to ownership, which is a signal you can be a Brand Manager. Great ABMs motivate but do not delegate
their own work on others. If you have to step in, then jump in. You cannot let things slip or miss. You have to
stay on top of the timelines and lead your project teams. You have to be action-oriented, and solution-focused.
You can never allow your team to get stuck. Be the hub of communication to all team members, and to key
stakeholders, including upwards to your manager.
The ten reasons Assistant Brand Managers fail:
1. Cannot do the analytical storytelling.
2. Struggle to deal with the ambiguity of marketing.
3. Slow at moving through projects.
4. Selfishly think about themselves.
5. Don't work well with others.
6. Miss answers by not being flexible.
7. Fall for tactical programs that are off strategy.
8. Hold back from making contributions to the team strategy.
9. Settle for "OK" rather than pushing for "great."
10. Poor communicators, with your manager, senior management or partners.
The Brand Manager
Most new Brand Managers mistakenly think this role is about managing others because they finally get a chance
to manage a direct report. However, the bigger part of this role is the transition from doer to owner. Yes, you
will get your first chance to manage someone, but many times that effort can be a distraction from your chance
to continue to learn and grow. Many brand managers are disheartened to find out they are a disaster with their
first direct report. I tell them they should try to improve with each new direct report and then they will feel
more comfortable around the fifth direct report.
Five success factors for Brand Managers
A great Brand Manager takes ownership of the brand. Many struggle with the transition from being the
helper to now being the owner. As you move into the job, you have to get away the idea that someone will hand
you a project list. Not only will you make the project list, but you should also come up with the strategies that
set up the need for the projects. The best Brand Managers speak with a telling voice, rather than an asking
voice. It is great to be asking questions as feelers, but you must realize that most people on the team will be
looking to you for the decisions. They want to be heard and have their expertise recognized. They recommend;
you decide. Even when managing upwards be careful you do not ask what you should do. A great boss will want
you to tell them what you want to do, and let the debate begin from there.
2. Strategic direction
A great Brand Manager provides a clear vision and set of strategies. You should create a vision for the
brand, to serve as a rallying cry for your team. Let everyone know where you want to go. The strategic choices
and your brand’s execution should match up with your vision. As the brand owner, you become the steward of
the strategy. You should reject everything that does not line up to your vision. Learn to think in terms of
strategic pillars, to steer, control, inspire and manage the various functions and Agencies who support your
brand. You have to be the one to drive a consistent delivery on your brand, despite having a wide-ranging
collection of people behind the brand.
3. Working the system
A great Brand Manager knows what they want, then goes and gets what they want. Organizations are
filled with functional groups, layers, external agencies, with everyone carrying a different set of goals and
motivations. To an outsider, every organization appears to be a collective mess. The best Brand Managers can
see much clearer. They can quickly understand and appreciate the motivations of various key stakeholders, and
use that knowledge to work the system. Your greatness comes from the greatness of the subject matter experts
who work on your brand. You must get them to give you their best. Tap into their motivations, to ask for their
best work. One secret that took me many years to figure out; if you want someone’s best work, sometimes it is
as simple as asking for their best work. The reason it works is very few Brand Managers ask.
4. Dealing with Pressure
A great Brand Manager can handle the pressure of Marketing, including ambiguity, the push for
results, dealing with relationships and managing their time. If you can manage these four pressure
points effectively, then you can even begin to use them against each other.
The unknown of ambiguity and the time pressure of deadlines can work against each other. However, the best
Brand Managers figure out how to work them to our advantage, as they evoke the right balance of patience with
ambiguity and persistence in getting things done. At every level, there is time pressure. Be organized,
disciplined and work the system, so it does not get in your way.
If you are fully aware of the timelines, better than others on your team, you can use time pressure against your
people to push for better work. I have found many subject matter experts, especially creative people, will
choose the best path when pushed with time pressure.
For example, with creative advertising, I have pushed
right up against a known timeline, and asked, “We do not
see good enough ideas yet. What else do you have?”
More often than not, the next answers are their best. If
you wait too long, you might miss an opportunity.
However, if you move too quickly, you can choose a
suboptimal path. How long are you able to deal with an
unknown variable on your brand, without losing your
composure? Stay relaxed. The consequence of not
remaining composed is it creates a scared and stressed-
out team, who might make poor decisions that lead to
poor results. It is a dangerous game. But, when played
well, you can get the best from your team.
Another significant pressure for Marketers is when
positive results do not come in. It can be frustrating but
is a reality we face. Force yourself to course correct, re-
examine the underlying issues, and regroup with your
team to look at other options, rather than continuing to
repeat and repeat and repeat.
There is pressure in relationships that many Marketers feel, but are not able to fix. I recommend you should be
pro-active in making the first move to build a relationship. Try to figure out the motivations and frustration
points in those you work with before they become a problem. You have to know where someone stands before
you can figure out where you can move them. Common ground is usually not that far away.
5. Managing others
A great Brand Manager spends the effort to make their Assistant Brand Manager as good as can be. Most Brand
Managers struggle with their first five direct reports. The key is to keep self-evaluating and looking for ways to
improve with each direct report. It can be a struggle to shift from “do-er” to coach. It is always tempting to
think you can do something faster, so you may as well do it. The problem is you just become the “super ABM.”
Many Brand Managers fail to share the spotlight, so it becomes hard for you to showcase your Assistant Brand
Manager. But you must believe the work of your Assistant Brand Manager will reflect positively on how good of a
manager you are. Assistant Brand Managers need feedback—both the good and bad—to improve. I see too
many Brand Managers not giving enough feedback. And so many afraid of “going negative” so the ABM is left in
the dark or left believing they are doing a good job. Great Brand Managers take the time to teach up front, give
the ABM some room to try it out and then provide hands-on feedback in real time. Use weekly meetings to give
both positive feedback and address gaps. I believe Brand Managers should do quarterly performance reviews
with their ABMs. At that level, an annual review is just not enough. They will learn faster with more feedback.
The ten reasons Brand Managers fail:
1. Struggle to make decisions
2. Not analytical enough
3. Can't get along
4. Not good with ambiguity
5. Too slow and stiff
6. Bad people Manager
7. Poor communicators, with manager, senior management or partners
8. Never follow their Instincts
9. Can't think strategically or write strategically
10. They don't run the brand; they let the brand run them.
At the Brand Manager level, I hope you love the magic of Marketing. Let it breathe and let it come to life. It is
easy to lose your passion and try to do what your boss wants or do things to make short-term numbers so you
can get promoted. My advice is you should not just do the job, but do it with all your passion. If you do not love
the work you do, then how can you ever expect your consumer to love your brand.
This role becomes less marketing and more oversight and leading your team. Your purpose is to set the
consistent standard for your team and then hold everyone to that standard. To be great, you need to motivate
the greatness of your team and let your best players do their absolute best. Sometimes you will need to teach,
guide and challenge. Sometimes, you will have to put your foot down to stay fundamentally sound. At other
times, you can follow creative ideas and take a chance. Let your best people shine, grow and push you. It is
their time to be a star, not yours.
Five success factors for Marketing Directors
1. Set a consistently high standard
The best Marketing Directors hold their team to a consistently high standard of work. Rather than
being the leader by example, establish a high standard and hold everyone and yourself to that standard. Shift
your style to a more process orientation to organize the team and keep them focused. Stay on top of deadlines,
keep things moving and produce consistent output. Deliver a consistent quality in your Brand Plan, Marketing
execution, and your interactions with everyone. Balance the freedom you give with the standard you
demand. Delegate enough to motivate your stars, but never abdicate ownership for how your team shows up.
2. Be the consistent voice on the team
A great Marketing Director is the consistent voice of reason, acting on behalf of the brand team. The
director is the point person the VP, Sales team, and Agencies turn to for decisions. The Director has to allow
their Brand Manager to own the brand. Ensure they are heard, bring their issues back to your team, but once
you and your team agree, you must then back up any decisions made by your team.
3. Consistent people leader
Great Marketing Directors let their people shine. Stop acting like a “Senior-Senior Brand Manager" and let
your team breathe, let them shin and grow. We know you can write a Brand Plan, roll out a promotion super fast
and make decisions on Advertising. But, can you inspire your team to do the same? You must manage and
cultivate the talent. Most Brand Managers have high ambitions. They continuously seek praise, but may
also seek out advice on ways to get better. Be passionate about people's careers. Anything less and they will see
you as merely fulfilling a duty. A great Marketing Director should be meeting quarterly with each team member
one-on-one to take them through a quarterly performance review. Waiting for year-end is just not enough.
4. Consistently shows up to the sales team
Marketing Directors become the spokesperson for the sales team to approach. Great salespeople
challenge Marketers to make sure their account wins. Marketing Directors fail when they do not listen, and they
stubbornly put forward their plan without sales
input. Be the director who consistently reaches out
and listens. When salespeople feel heard, they are
more apt to follow the director's vision and
direction. A great Marketing Director should
informally meet with all sales leaders on a
quarterly basis, to get to know them and listen to
their problems. This informal forum allows issues to bubble up and be heard before they become a problem.
5. Consistently makes the numbers
A great marketing director makes the numbers. They have a knack for finding growth where others can’t.
And yet when they don’t, they are the first to own the miss and put forward a recovery plan before being
asked. You have to bring an entrepreneurial spirit of ownership, reach out for help across the organization,
make your goals public and keep your business results perfectly transparent. Then, everyone will follow you.
Hopefully, you noticed the word “consistent” show up in all five success factors. Show up consistently in the
standards for your team, your brand strategy, people management, dealings with sales and owning the
numbers. With a bigger group of people that you influence, a broader array of interactions across the
organization and with a bigger impact on the bottom line, anything less than consistent will confuse everyone
around you. No one wants an inconsistent or unpredictable leader.
At the Vice President or Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) level, success comes from your leadership, vision, and
ability to get the most from your people. If you are good at your role, you might not even need to do any
Marketing, other than challenge and guide your people to do their best work. Your greatness comes from the
greatness of your people. Invest in training your people as a way to motivate your team and keep them
engaged. At the end of each of your meetings, use moments to teach, mentor and share your wisdom.
Quintessentially, rule #1 is you have to make the numbers. Your primary role is to create demand for your
brands. You are paid to gain share and drive sales growth to help drive profit for the company. The results come
from making the right strategic choices, executing at a level beyond competitors and motivating your team to
do great work. Making the numbers gives you more freedom on how you wish to run things. Without the
numbers, the rest might not matter.
The five success factors for VP Marketing and CMO roles:
1. Your people come first
Focus on your people, and the
results will come. Smart people
produce great work and in turn
outstanding results. You should have a
regular review of the talent with your
directors. Build a system to provide
feedback to everyone on the team,
preferably on a quarterly basis.
Invest in training and development.
Marketing Training is not just on the
job, but in the classroom to challenge
the thinking of your people and give
them added skills to be better in their
careers. Marketing fundamentals
matter. Your people need to know how
to strategic thinking, define their
brand’s positioning statement, write a
Brand Plan, write a Creative Brief and
judge advertising. People are NOT
getting the same development they
did in prior generations. Investing in
training, not only makes them better,
but it also motivates them to know
that you are investing in them.
2. Run the process and the system
The best VPs should run the P&L and all the Marketing processes. You have to run the P&L and make
investment choices. Bring an ROI and ROE (Return on Investment and Effort) mindset to those decisions. These
choices will be one of the essentials to making the numbers and gaining more freedom in how you do the job.
Regarding process, it has always been my belief that smart processes in place—brand planning, advertising,
creative briefs—should not restrict your people, but instead provide the right freedom to your people. Get your
people to drive all their creative energy into great work that gets in the marketplace, not trying to figure out
what slide looks cool in the brand plan presentation.
3. Be the visionary
The best VPs bring a vision, not just for the direction of the brand but
the inspiration for the team. Come up with a theme that taps into the
purpose, beliefs, expectations and the behaviors you will reward. You are now
the Mayor of Marketing. What’s your campaign slogan? Get up, walk around and
engage with everyone on your team. You can make someone's day, motivate
and encourage them to deliver excellent work. Set a high standard, and when
your team put an outstanding idea up for approval, and it is fundamentally
sound, then approve it. Do not do the constant spin of fear. It makes you look
indecisive and bureaucratic.
4. Put the spotlight on your people
The best VPs let their people own it and let them shine. It has to be
about them, not you. Do not be the super-duper Brand Manager. By making all
the decisions, you bring yourself down a level or two, and you take over their
job. Instead of telling; start asking questions. Challenge your team and
recognize the great work. It might be my own thing, but I never said: “thank
you” because I never thought they were doing it for me. Instead, I said:
“you should be proud” because I knew they were doing it for themselves.
5. Be a consistent, authentic, approachable leader
The best VPs have an open door and make it easy for people to engage them. You have to set up an
avenue where they can approach you and feel comfortable enough to communicate the good and bad. A hidden
leader scares people. No one wants to share concerns or bad results, for fear of how you will react. Don’t get
left in the dark. Open communication keeps you more knowledgeable. Get your people to challenge you.
Inconsistent and unpredictable behavior by a leader does not “keep them on their toes.” It creates tension and
inhibits creativity. Be consistent in how you think, how you act in meetings and how you approve. Leadership
assumes “follower-ship.” Create an atmosphere that will make people want to go the extra mile for you. Once
you show up ready to listen, you will be surprised how honest they will be and how much they will tell you.
The VP role can be very lonely
I remember when I first took the job as VP, I found it surprisingly a bit lonely. Everyone in marketing tries to be
“on” whenever you are around. And you don’t always experience the “real” side of the people on your team.
Just be ready for it. It takes a while to get used to the distance from your new peers (the head of sales, HR,
operations or finance). It is far greater than you might expect and it may feel daunting at first. Your peers
expect you to run Marketing and let them run their functional area. And the specific problems you face, they
might not appreciate or even understand the subtleties of the role. Your boss also gives you a lot of rope, which
can be either good or bad. There will be less coaching than you had in prior positions. It is crucial for you to
have a good mentor or even an executive coach to give you someone to talk with that understands your role.
Success factor summary for each level of Marketing
What I have noticed is that Marketing careers are an iterative learning process that builds on the skills and
behaviors we pick up at each level. Looking below, you can see how each of the five success factors build upon
one another. If you learn to be accountable, then you need to translate that into ownership. If you can make it
happen at the ABM level, then it allows you to work the system at the Brand Manager level, and eventually run
the process at the Director or VP level.
What is your 7-second personal brand pitch?
A typical marketing job interview starts with you waiting in the lobby longer than you wanted. Then the big
introduction, the handshake, that awkward small-talk on the way to the tiny little room where all you can think
to talk about is the weather or you find a great parking spot. Then you sit down, and outcomes that dreaded
question, “So, tell me about yourself.”
Oh god well all hate that question. “Ummm, let me see, I like basketball, walks in the park and I think I’m
rather funny, or at least my wife does.” Wow, bad start.
Then you get asked a series of 8-10 questions like “tell me a time when…”. And finally, they end the interview
with, “Anything else to add?” You say, “No, it’s all good.” Then there is that awkward walk back to the reception
desk, where you talk about your plans for the weekend. Then you drive home and realize you forgot to mention
your three most significant career accomplishments. Even though you are a Marketer, you forgot to act like a
Marketer, and most importantly, you forgot to define and deliver your brand.
Tell me about yourself: Deliver your 7-second pitch
“As a brand leader, I find growth where others couldn’t, and I create a motivated brand team that delivers great
work to drive results.” Think of this like your 7-second personal brand pitch, where you give a summation of
your personal brand idea.
Here is a simple tool I have
created to help you answer:
1. What is the shortest way that
you define yourself?
2. What is the primary benefit
you will provide your next
3. What is the secondary benefit
you will provide?
4. Then, wrap it up with an
expected result you can
Brainstorm by yourself
Look at your resume and then
start off by brainstorming as
many options for each of the
four areas as you can.
1. Short definition
2. Primary benefit
3. Secondary benefit
4. Expected result
This model is a great way to
summarize yourself, based on
what you have done over the
last few years. Make sure your
definitions are more forward-
looking with an aspiration for
what you want to be, not
stuck in what you have been.
Once you get that done, you
can then begin to piece it all
together and see what your
own 7-second pitch might
start to look like. Keep
tightening that pitch until it
In my 20 years of CPG
marketing, I became the
turnaround guy, so “As a
brand leader, I can find
growth where others couldn’t”
became my little hook.
What is yours?
Expand your 7-second pitch up to a 30-minute pitch
When you feel comfortable with your 7-second pitch, take each of those four statement areas and try to come
up with 2-3 examples and stories from your past that can prove and demonstrate. These examples help define
your 30-minute pitch:
Now you have ten stories you can use to bring into your interview to answer any of the “so tell me a time
when…” questions. If these are your best 10, then you should refer to these to help demonstrate your big idea.
This is also a great page that you can be looking at when you are sitting in the reception area, just before your
So here’s how the interview should go:
• “So tell me about yourself”: Deliver your 7-second pitch.
• "Tell me about a time when you...": Deliver any of the ten examples from your 30-minute pitch.
• “Anything to add?”: Repeat your 7-second pitch as the closing line.
This way, you are now controlling up front how you want to define yourself. All 8-10 examples will help add to
that definition. And as you get to the end, you want to use a 7-second close to re-affirm your big idea.
Later on, as the various interviewers re-group to discuss each person, you hope your big idea sticks in their
head. “I like Bob because he could turn this brand around. He has done it before. He gets results”.
Lead everything with your 7-second persona brand pitch
You can use this 7-second pitch that top of your resume, your descriptor for your LinkedIn profile, your
handshake introduction at networking meetings, or within the body of any emails that you send looking for jobs.
The more you use it, the more you begin to make this your reputation.
The Six habits of great Brand Leaders
Habit #1: Great Brand Leaders make focused choices
Focus your limited resources on a distinct opportunity you have identified based on a potential change in the
market, including changes to consumers, competitive situation, technology or sales channels.
In today’s data-driven world, everyone has access to the equivalent information and in turn, can see the same
opportunities. You must use speed to seize the opportunity before others can take action, and then that
opportunity is gone.
The best brand leaders never divide and conquer. They force themselves to focus and win. The smartest brand
leaders use the word “or” more often than they use the word “and.” If you come to a decision point, and you
try to rationalize doing a little of both, you are not strategic. Force yourself to make choices.
Many marketers struggle to focus. The most prominent myth of marketing is to believe that your brand will get
bigger if you have a broader target market. Too many marketers target anyone. I will always argue it is better
to be loved by a few than tolerated by many. You have to create a tight bond with a core base of brand fans,
and then use that support of fans to expand on the following.
The second myth to becoming a more prominent brand is to believe if a brand stands for everything. Some
brands try to say everything possible with the hope the consumer hears anything. Hope is never a strategy. To
be loved by consumers, a brand must stand for something with a backbone and conviction. Trying to be
everything to anyone just ends up becoming nothing to everyone.
The third myth is to believe that your brand will
be bigger if you try to be everywhere, whether
in every sales channel or on every possible
media option. If you went to Las Vegas and put
a chip on every square, you would be bankrupt
before midnight. The worst marketers lack
focus because they fear missing out on
someone or something. By trying to be
everywhere, the brand will drain itself and
eventually end up being nowhere.
Every brand has limited resources, whether
financial, time, people, or partnership
resources. Marketers always face the
temptation of an unlimited array of choices,
whether in the possible target market, brand
messages, strategies, or tactics.
The smartest brand leaders limit their choices to match up to their limited resources, to focus on those that will
deliver the highest return.
When you focus, five amazing things happen to your brand:
1. Stronger return on investment (ROI): When you focus your dollars on the distinct breakthrough point or
against a program that you know will work, you will see the most positive and efficient response in the
2. Better return on effort (ROE): You must make the most efficient use of your limited people and resources.
Find the Big Easy! Focus on the ideas with the most significant impact that is the easiest to execute. Avoid
those ideas that are small and difficult to implement. While you may not always have the data to calculate
your ROI, you should have the instincts to figure out your ROE.
3. Stronger reputation: When you limit your audience and brand message, you will have a better chance to
own that reputation among that core target audience.
4. More competitive: When you focus your message to a specific target audience, your brand will start to
create a space in the market you can defend against others from entering that space.
5. More investment behind the brand: When you focus and deliver business results, your management team
will ask you to do that again. They will give you more money and more people resources. Even with
increased resources, you must take the same focused approach.
Habit #2: Great Brand Leaders represent the consumer to the Brand
I always ask Brand Leaders: “Do you represent your brand to your consumer or do you represent your
consumer to the brand?” It is an essential question as to your mindset for how you do your job. There is only
one source of revenue on your financial statements. It is not the products you sell, but it is the consumer who
buys your brand. Start thinking about your consumer and be
their representative of your brand.
Do you know your consumer better than your
competition knows your consumer?
Brands should think of consumer insights like you do
intellectual property. Your knowledge of your consumer is a
competitive advantage. The deeper the love a brand can
build with your most cherished consumers, the more
powerful and profitable that brand will be, going far beyond
what the product alone could ever deliver. There is only one
source of revenue. Not the products you sell, but the
consumers who buy them.
Consumer Insights are little secrets hidden beneath
the surface, that explain the underlying behaviors,
motivations, pain points and emotions of your
consumers. Your consumer may not even be able to
explain the insight until you play it back to them. And when
they say, “Yeah, that is exactly how I feel.” Brands should
think of consumer insights as a potential competitive
advantage, equal in importance to intellectual property.
Good insights get in the SHOES of your consumer and use
their VOICE. We force every insight to be written starting
with the word “I” to get the Marketer into the shoes of the
consumer and force them to put the insight in quotes to
use their voice.
Consumer Insights must show up at every consumer
touch-point. Knowing the secrets of your consumers can
be a potent asset for your brand. The best brand communication should be like whispering an inside-joke that
only you and your friend get. When the Consumer Insight connects, it makes consumers stop and say, “Hmmm.
That’s exactly how I feel. I thought I was the only one who felt like that.” When portrayed with the brand’s
message, whether through packaging, advertising or at the purchase moment, the consumer will think the
brand is made just for them. Learn to use their voice. Build that little secret into your message, using their
language, so they’ll know you are talking to them. We call this little secret the consumer insight.
Habit #3: Great Brand Leaders are fundamentally sound
I am a massive believer that marketing fundamentals matter. In fact, we train Brand Leaders on all the
fundamentals of marketing including strategic thinking to writing brand plans and creative briefs. But that’s a
starting point from which you can grow.
Strategic thinkers see questions before they see solutions. Ever hear someone say, “That’s a good
question.” It usually means someone has just asked an interruptive question, designed to slow everyone’s
thinking, so they reflect and plan before they act. The strategic thinking side of marketing is logical and has to
map out a range of decision trees that intersect, by imagining how events will play out in the future. The risk of
being only strategic is that if you think too long, you may just spiral around, unable to decide.
And, you may miss an opportunity window.
Opposite to a strategic thinker is the instinctual thinker who jumps in quickly to find
answers before they even know the right question. Their brains move fast; they use
emotional impulse and intuitive gut feel. They want action now and get easily frustrated by
delays. They believe it is better to do something than sit and wait around. They see strategic
people as stuck running around in circles, as they try to figure out the right question. Instead,
these instinctual leaders choose emotion over logic. While a “make it happen” attitude gets
things done, if they go too fast, their great actions may solve the wrong problem.
Brand leaders must be both strategic and intuitive. You must learn to change brain speeds. Slow down the
thinking when faced with challenging issue and move quickly with your best instincts on execution.
Habit #4: Great Brand Leaders find their greatness in the
greatness of others
I think what made me good at my job is that I did nothing. Over my 20 years of Brand Management, whenever
I walked into a meeting, I used to whisper to myself: “You are the least knowledgeable person in the
room. Use that to your advantage.” The power was in the ability to ask clarification questions.
When I was in with the scientists, I was about as smart as my consumer I represent. I needed to make sure all
the science was easy to explain. With my ad agencies, I finally figured out that I never had to solve problems. I
just gave them my problems to solve. It became like therapy. Plus, with six years of business school without one
art class, what do I know about art. I was smart enough to know that I needed to make the most out of the
experts I was paying.
While we don't make the product, we don’t sell the product or create the Ads, we do touch everything that goes
into the marketplace, and we make every decision. All of our work is achieved through other people. Our
greatness as a Brand Leader has to come from the experts we engage, so they will be inspired to reach for their
own greatness and apply it to our brand. Brand Management has been built on a hub-and-spoke system, with a
team of experts surrounding the generalist Brand Leader.
When I see Brand Managers of today doing stuff, I feel sorry for them. They seem lost. Brand Leaders are not
designed to be experts in marketing communications, experts in product innovation and experts in selling the
product. You are trained to be a generalist, knowing enough to make decisions, but not enough to do the work.
Brand Leaders need to take a step back and let the creativity of execution to unfold. It is okay to know exactly
what you want, but you should never know until the moment you see it. I like to think of marketing execution
like the perfect gift that you never thought to buy yourself. How we engage our experts can either inspire
greatness or crush the spirit of creativity. From my experience, experts would prefer to be pushed than held
back. The last thing experts want is to be asked for their expertise and then told what to do. There is a fine line
between rolling up the sleeves to work alongside the experts and pushing the experts out of the way.
It is time to step back and assume your true role as the Brand Leader. It is a unique skill to be able to inspire,
challenge, question, direct and decide, without any expertise at all. After all, I am an expert in doing nothing.
Habit #5: Great Brand Leaders create other great Marketers
Great Brand Leaders focus on their people first, believing that is the best way to drive results. The formula is
simple: the smarter the people, the better the work they will produce and in turn the stronger the results will
be. Invest in training and development. Marketing Training is not just on the job, but also in the classroom to
find ways to challenge their thinking and give them added skills to be better in their jobs.
Great Brand Leaders know that marketing fundamentals still matter. There is a lot of evidence in the market
that the classic fundamentals are falling, whether it is strategic thinking, writing a brand plan, writing a creative
brief or judging great advertising. As things move faster, too many Marketers have let go of the fundamentals.
However, as the speed increases that should be even more of a reason o reach for your fundamentals. People
are NOT getting the same learning and development they did in prior generations of Marketing. Investing in
training, not only makes your people smarter, but it motivates them to know that you are investing in them.
Great Brand Leaders find ways put the spotlight on their people. It is time to let them own it and let them
Shine. Make it about them, not you. Great Brand Leaders find ways to challenge your team and yet recognize
when the work.
Habit #6: Great Brand Leaders have a desire to leave a legacy
The best marketers I have seen have an ego that fuels them. They are like a thoroughbred racehorse. Use your
ego in the right way, so that it shows up as confidence and a belief in yourself. I can tell you that out of the ten
great projects I worked on throughout my career, each met significant resistance at some point. It was my
confidence that helped me overcome roadblocks whether they came from peers or bosses.
I always challenge Brand Leaders to think of the next person who will be in their chair, and what you want to
leave them. When you create a Brand Vision, you should consider ten years from now, advertising campaigns
should last at least five years, and the strategic choices you make should gain share and drive the brand to a
new level. The reality is you will be in that the job for 2-4 years.
When you write a Brand Plan, you should think of the many audiences like senior leaders, ad agencies and those
that work on your brand, but you also should think about the next Brand Leader.
What will you do, to leave the brand in a better position than when you took it on?
What will be your legacy on your brand?
Great Brand Leaders always push for greatness
and never settle for OK
Beloved Brands: Who are we?
At Beloved Brands, our purpose is to help brands find a new pathway to growth. We believe that the more love
your brand can generate with your most cherished consumers, the more power, growth, and profitability you will
realize in the future.
The best solutions are likely inside you already, but struggle to come out. Our
unique engagement tools are the backbone of our strategy workshops. These
tools will force you to think differently so you can freely generate many new
ideas. At Beloved Brands, we bring our challenging voice to help you make
decisions and refine every potential idea.
We help brands find growth
We start by defining a brand positioning statement, outlining the desired
target, consumer benefits and support points the brand will stand behind. And
then, we build a big idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the
clutter of the market, motivating enough to get consumers to engage, buy
and build a loyal following with your brand. Finally, the big idea must influence
employees to personally deliver an outstanding consumer experience, to help
move consumers along the journey to loving your brand.
We will help you write a strategic brand plan for the future, to get everyone in your organization to follow. It
starts with an inspiring vision that pushes your team to imagine a brighter future. We use our strategic thinking
tools to help you make strategic choices on where to allocate your brand’s limited resources. We work with your
team to build out project plans, creative briefs and provide advice on marketing execution.
We make Brand Leaders smarter
We believe that investing in your marketing people will pay off. With smarter people behind your brands will
drive higher revenue growth and profits. With our brand management training program, you will see smarter
strategic thinking, more focused brand plans, brand positioning, better creative briefs that steer your agencies,
improved decision-making on marketing execution, smarter analytical skills to assess your brand’s performance
and better management of the profitability of the brand.
Beloved Brands Training Workshops
Workshop 1: How to think strategically
Strategic Thinking is an essential foundation for Marketers, to inspire them to ask big questions that challenge
and focus their decisions.
• You will learn how to think strategically, by asking the right questions before reaching for solutions, mapping
out a range of decision trees that intersect and connect by imagining how events will play out.
• To start, we take you through the eight elements of good strategy: vision, opportunity, focus, speed, early
win, leverage, and gateway. We introduce a forced choice to help Marketers make focused decisions.
• We emphasize the value of asking the right questions, using four interruptive questions to help frame your
brand’s strategy. This thinking model helps to look at the brand’s core strength, competitive position, the
brand’s connectivity with the consumers and the internal situation the brand faces.
• As a result, you will learn how to build strategic statements to set up a smart strategic brand plan.
Workshop 2: Brand Positioning Statements
A winning brand positioning statement sets up the brand’s external communication and internally with
employees who deliver that promise.
• Our program shows how to write a classic Brand Positioning statement with four key elements: target market,
competitive set, main benefit and reason to believe (RTB)
• We introduce our Consumer Benefit ladder tool, which starts with the consumer target, with insights and
enemies. We layer in the brand features. Then, get in the consumer's shoes and ask “what do I get” to find
the functional benefits and ask “how does this make me feel” to find the emotional benefits.
• You will have access to a unique tool that provides the top 50 potential functional and top 40 emotional
benefits. This help Marketers stretch their minds yet narrow in on those that are most motivating and own-
able for the brand.
• Then, we show how to build an Organizing Big Idea that leads every aspect of your brand, including promise,
story, innovation, purchase moment and experience.
Workshop 3: How to write a Brand Plan
A good Brand Plan helps make decisions to deploy the resources and provides a roadmap for everyone who
works on the brand
• We demonstrate how to write each component of the Brand Plan, looking at vision, purpose, values, goals,
key Issues, strategies and tactics. And, we provide definitions and examples to inspire Marketers on how to
write each component.
• You will have a full example of a Brand Plan, with a framework to use. Marketers can try out concepts on their
own brand with hands-on coaching and feedback to challenge them.
• We show how to build Marketing Execution plans as part of the overall brand plan, looking at a Brand
Communications Plan, Innovation Plan, In-store plan and Experiential plan. These plans give the strategic
direction to everyone in the organization.
• We offer unique 1-page formats for an Annual Plan and Long-Range Strategic RoadMap.
Workshop 4: How to write Creative Briefs
The Creative Brief frames the strategy and positioning so your Agency can creatively express the brand promise
• Marketing Execution must impact the brand’s consumers in a way that puts your brand in a stronger business
position. The Creative Brief is the bridge between the strategy and the execution.
• Through our Brand Positioning workshop, you will have all the homework on the brand needed to set up the
transformation into a succinct 1-page Creative Brief that will focus, inspire and challenge a creative team to
make great work.
• The hands-on Creative Brief workshop explores best in class methods for writing the brief’s objective, target
market, consumer insights, main message stimulus and the desired consumer response.
• You walk away from the session with a ready-to-execute Creative Brief.
Workshop 5: Get better Marketing Execution
You will learn how to judge and decide on execution options that break through to consumers and motivates
them to take action.
• We provide Marketers with tools and techniques for judging communication concepts from your agencies, as
well as processes for making decisions and providing effective feedback. We talk about the crucial role of the
brand leader in getting amazing marketing execution for your brand.
• To start, we teach how to make marketing decisions with the ABC’S, so you can choose great ads and reject
bad ads looking at tools such as Attention (A), Branding (B), Communication (C) and Stickiness (S)
• You learn how to provide advertising direction that inspires and challenges the agency to deliver great
execution. You will learn about how to be a better client so you can motivate and inspire your agency.
Workshop 6: Analytics
You will learn how to build a deep-dive business review on the brand, looking at the market, consumers,
competitors, channels, and brand.
• To start, you will learn the smart, analytical principles that will challenge your thinking and help you gain
more support by telling analytical stories through data.
• We teach you the steps to complete a deep-dive Business Review that will help assess the health and wealth
of the business, looking at the category, consumer, competitors, channels, and brand. We show key formulas
you need to know for financial analysis.
• Marketers will learn how to turn your analysis into a presentation for management, showing the ideal
presentation slide format. We provide a full example of a business review, with a framework for every type of
analysis, to use on your own brand.
Bio for Graham Robertson
Graham is the founder of Beloved Brands, a boutique brand consulting firm, which
has a robust client roster that includes the NFL Players Association, Shell, Reebok,
Honda, Jack Link's and Pfizer. Graham has provided advice in over 20 markets around
the world. Graham’s purpose is to use his marketing expertise and experience to help
Brands Leaders realize their full potential.
Graham Robertson spent 20 years in Brand Management, leading some of the world’s
most beloved brands at Johnson & Johnson, Coke, General Mills and Pfizer, rising to
VP Marketing. Graham played a significant role in helping J&J win Marketing
Magazine’s prestigious “Marketer of the Year” award. Also, he has won numerous
advertising and product innovation awards.
Graham is one of the leading voices of today’s Brand Leaders. His weekly brand stories have generated over 5
million views. As a keynote speaker, he uses passion to inspire marketing minds around the world.
If you need our help, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 416 885 3911