The Brand (M)advocate

October 13th, 2009

A story from this week’s Ad Age print version (not sure why they still have one, but that’s besides the point) entitled “Why It’s Time to Do Away With the Brand Manager” discusses a new report from Forrester coming out next week that recommends companies change the title “brand manager” to “brand advocate.”  This is in light of the way that brands are must change in response to the “onset of social media.”

Among the recommended responsibilities for this job title:

  • Ensuring what local managers do conforms with the brand equity and strategy
  • Creating on-the-fly budgets and media plans that adapt quickly as conditions change
  • Collecting “consumer intelligence,” previously known as market research and analytics
  • Developing “predictive modeling” instead of historical marketing-mix models to target spending

All of this makes sense, and companies like P&G and Unilever say they’re already doing much of it.

The bigger issue here for marketers is not the operations, but the obsession, that will characterize great brand management and advocacy for companies.  The “brand manager” role is now a 24/7 responsibility that should touch every part of the manager’s life.  Social and digital media that make that a reality…and companies should recognize it.

The great brand managers – the ones that live their brand values, understand what drives their customers, and love their brand with all its benefits and downfalls – will be the ones that ultimately have the biggest impact on ROI.

The challenge in this new marketing world is for corporations to understand this and to create an infrastructure that supports it.  The new brand manager requires a different way of working – different hours, different tools, different rules and different measurement.  That will be the challenge of the next 5-10 years, and the companies that do it well will be the ones that will ultimately determine best practices in marketing in the 21st century.

In the days where anyone can be a celebrity, brand managers have the ability to become leaders, influencers and even icons like they never had before.  Welcome the Brand Madvocate.

Posted Under: Advertising, Branding
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