We are in a new era where CMOs must take stands for the causes they believe in. CMOs have become the face of a brand and the go-to for customers seeking answers.
This is a big shift for CMOs who traditionally may have been told to play it safe, as their tenures are typically less than 42 months. The career of a CMO is short lived compared to their C-Suite colleagues. What this tells us is that the cost of playing it safe is worse than the risk of fast turn over.
This is because getting brand attention has become very tough. Having a personality requires having a point of view on diversity, women's empowerment, the environment and other important issues that impact the day-to-day lives of their customers.
While in general I love the prospect of strong brands riding in on horses to save the day this can also pose a great threat. We now have a paradigm where there are white hat and black hat brands depending upon your individual perspective on a particular issue. While I'm favorable to this when it supports my causes, it terrifies me to think that the power can shift in either direction at any point.
What this means is that in this new era of CMO activism we need to be vigilant about the brands we represent. As marketing professionals we must advise our clients with diverse perspectives, and as consumers we must make our individual purchasing choices with great awareness.
“With everything going on in the world, chief marketing officers are exercising their voices in a way that’s showing the fact that they operate in service of both customers and employees,” said Interbrand CMO Andrea Sullivan, who advises brands and corporations on this. And because in some cases they also control actual spend, that can amplify their voices.