A brand holds much more significance than identifiable colors, logos, catchphrases, and products. Brands are icons that represent a company, the people of the company, and the people they serve. If a company’s foundation is not firmly secured by elements of trust, healthy leadership, sustainable efforts, and purpose, the brand will not stand the test of time. At a recent MTM Summit, held at the Intuit headquarters in Silicon Valley, we welcomed the Marketing Hall of Fame legend Antonio Lucio, the Founder and Principal of 5SDiversity, and former Global CMO of Meta, HP, and Visa. He closed the Summit with an inspiring invitation to go on a radical transformation journey–starting with you.
Here is what he had to say at the MTM Summit…
Trust Is the New Brand Equity
As I was growing up in the marketing business, marketing was about building preference and brand equity within the culture. But in building brands for preference, we would typically build them within our categories as a frame of reference. The marketer’s role was to demonstrate that you were better, more emotionally engaged, and more innovative than your competitor.
The moment the pandemic arrived, and as social media, different media forces, fake news, and distorted history became prominent, we started to see the foundations of marketing shift.
Now, what consumers are looking for is who they can trust. You are seeing and will continue to see the more prominent correlation over time will be about trusted brands and long-term performance. The moment you start talking about trust, you must change the marketing equation because you not only have to deliver brand preference and brand equity, but it must be within the context of broader societal values important to your consumers.
With that said, you cannot solely focus on consumers. You must focus on every single one of the stakeholders that touch the brand experience, but most importantly, your employees.
At the end of the day, your employees are your ambassadors and spokespeople for the brand. Ensuring you treat them with the same level of respect as your valued customers will begin to build the foundation of trust essential for long-term performance.
Working Together for the Greater Good
Even though organizations still need to deliver a competitive proposition within their categories, and now within the context of broader societal values, there needs to be a significantly higher level of cooperation between companies if we want to tackle sustainability or social justice.
We will have to create new mindsets, tools, and vehicles to ensure we are leading in the marketplace while simultaneously working together to deliver sustainable solutions. Not only is sustainability important from a value standpoint, but it is also important from a business standpoint because it is one of the key performance indicators to measure brand performance and earn consumer trust over time. Sustainable solutions, however, are dependent upon collaboration.
Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders
I was in the marketing industry for forty years, but over the last 10-15 years, I became aware that marketing ecosystems must reflect the communities they serve. When it was time for me to move on from the corporate world, I began to consider how I would dedicate the energy and time that I have left. My passion for marketing transformation through diversity and inclusion rose to the top.
Although there have been some signs of transformation in the U.S, and we have seen the number of female CMOs increase to 52%, we have not done the same for people of color. Overall, the client side of the industry has done a tremendous job bringing people in at the lower levels. Still, there is a gap in middle management and how businesses accelerate the leadership development journey.
Awareness of this gap led me to create the Leadership Acceleration project with two partners from the Aspen Institute and Yale School of Management to train the middle management section of diverse talent, so they are ready and able to assume leadership roles when available.
The Four Pillars of Leadership
- Capability: You must have strong personal and institutional leadership capabilities. How do you behave as a leader? Who are you as a leader? What is your purpose? What are your values? How do you navigate values-related issues?
- Community: Do you have a community outside of the company? Having a community of like-minded industry peers at the same level will offer valuable perspectives and help you avoid feelings of isolation many senior-level leaders experience.
- Mentoring: Do you have a mentor outside of the company? A mentor is someone who will get to know you deeply, and they will be the person who will ask you the tough questions. They won’t just be there to talk about your craft but where you are taking your life, and they will help you discover the legacy you want to leave.
- Sponsorship: Do you have someone inside the company who will help you drive your career? This is the person who will see your potential as significantly higher than your capabilities, and they will give you the stretch assignment to get you there.
Work is Not Your Purpose; It’s Your Canvas
As we develop in our careers, we must become masters of marketing. You need to know how to do things the right way and win by the rules, and once you are where you need to be, focus on the transformation of your craft.
However, as you begin to move forward, what is most important is the time you spend on yourself. Who do you want to be? Who do you want to be remembered by, and how do you want them to remember you? What do you hope your loved ones, your community, and the world will say about you at the end of the day? The answer to these questions is your purpose.
Purpose-driven individuals become purpose-driven leaders who drive purposeful brands and businesses.
Investing in yourself and figuring out who you are and what you want is not a luxury, and it’s not self-indulgent; it’s the most important thing you can do. You must invest time in yourself to be your best self for your family, team, organization, and society.
That me-time, self-reflection time, and let-me-figure-out-who-I-am time is the most selfless investment you can make. The people you serve deserve the best YOU. That starts with looking inside – any transformation, whether business or personal, begins and ends with you.
The MTM Summit, titled, “Leading into The Unknown,” was moderated by Nadine Dietz, and held at the Intuit Headquarters in Silicon Valley. To see our upcoming events, please visit our event calendar.
Antonio Lucio, Founder and Principal of 5SDiversity, former Global CMO of Meta, HP and Visa: Antonio Lucio is an experienced and successful Global Marketing and Communications Officer whose mission is to build brands that stand the test of time by focusing on the people who build those brands. These brands are anchored in purpose; have a meaningful impact on people’s lives; are built through strong emotional connections; behave with integrity and are constantly reinventing themselves to deliver their purpose. Antonio has demonstrated a history of building strong global brands. He is skilled in developing successful strategies that drive revenue; building high-performing teams and marketing ecosystems; infusing deep analytics into effective communication strategies and driving meaningful innovation throughout the customer journey. He is a recognized thought leader and global influencer in Marketing transformation and driving results through diversity. Most impactfully, Antonio is a coveted mentor, sponsor, teacher, and supporter of our marketing industry and everyone in it.
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