What Happens When You Put Some of the Top CMOs In One Room?

Theory House had a chance to attend the first Brand Experience Symposium put on by Hub Magazine earlier this month in New York. It was a memorable event; a chance to spend two days listening to presentations from a variety of brand CMO's and agency CEO's.

While the topics were not focused exclusively on shopper marketing, there was a lot of direct application. Here are some of my key take-aways:

  • Mark-Hans Richer, Harley Davidson CMO: There is power in branding inconsistency. While consistency of strategy and meaning is critical, allow elasticity in execution. Look for opportunities of selective inconsistency to better connect with different audiences. And yes, that image in the background is Mark giving the Pope a leather riding jacket at the Vatican as part of their global anniversary celebration.
  • Mary Zalla, Landor Associates Global CEO: Harness the power of perception. Creativity and imagination begin with learning how to see in different ways. "Voyage of discovery is not seeing new landscapes, but seeing with new eyes" — Marcel Proust
  • Alfredo Martel, Caribou Coffee CMO: For a brand experience journey, make sure your brand has an origin, a beginning. Don't underestimate the power of a brand marketing to reinvigorate the morale of your internal team and associates.

  • Richard McDonald, Fender Musical Instruments SVP: Instigate a culture of innovation. Innovation cannot be departmental or positional, the full organization has to embrace it. Don't be afraid to dismantle things you have built. It can give you the courage to question and improve. You can see above how he captured the audiences attention.
  • Sharon Love, TPN CEO: Get your audience's attention by earning it – deliver value to them. Think beyond your product and brand to consider your customer's experience. Think about how to add value to what they are already doing.
  • Mary Beech, kate spade CMO: Live your brand, especially within your organization and offices. Create a company mandate of imperfection, be interested and interesting. If you want to enter a new marketplace, offer something new, unique or different. 
  • Stephanie Gallo, E&J Gallo CMO: Empower your front line to bring your brand to life in their unique ways. If they are free to incorporate events and activities they like, they will do more of it. 

I left this event with a lot to think about. Our retail world is changing and there is a lot to be excited about. As purchases become more fragmented, the retail experience is going to become even more critical. Retail marketing has to do more than sell products, it also has to build brands. This demands a focus on every aspect of the experience, ensuring each touch point accurately reflects your brand. 

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