The Brand Reporter - - NEWS - Ash­wini Gan­gal ash­wini.gan­gal@afaqs.com

We’re proud to bring you the 2nd edi­tion of our spe­cial is­sue on brand mar­keters or ‘the clients’, in agency tongue. This time we’re call­ing it The CMO Spe­cial, be­cause ‘CMO’, in its sim­plest form an acro­nym for chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer, has emerged as cor­po­rate short­hand for ‘the one who con­trols the mar­ket­ing func­tion for a brand’. So we’re put­ting mar­ket­ing di­rec­tors, mar­ket­ing heads, mar-com ex­ecs and brand chiefs in the same boat. What one calls the per­son in-charge of breath­ing life into a prod­uct to make it a brand and then go­ing to mar­ket with it, is but a mat­ter of se­man­tics.

Here’s how we went about this project: We asked over 50 CMOs across nine prod­uct groups (FMCG, BFSI, fash­ion/ap­parel, e-com­merce, au­to­mo­biles, con­sumer durables, hand­sets, QSR/re­tail and me­dia) to an­swer a com­mon set of 10-15 ques­tions that cover dif­fer­ent as­pects of their world ‒ What is the hard­est part of their job in the dig­i­tal era? What chal­lenges plague their re­spec­tive cat­e­gories? How does the con­sumer mind­set change across ge­ogra­phies? How do they slice the me­dia pie as it stands to­day? Do they wish they didn’t have to deal with dozens of cre­ative cus­to­di­ans? Per­son­ally, my favourite ques­tion is around the sub­ject of a pitch fee… it led to some of the coolest, at times ex­plo­sive, an­swers.

This time, we added a per­sonal touch to things and asked them three ques­tions that have lit­tle to do with their work per se. We asked them to name their men­tors, the brands they ad­mire (Ap­ple was a hot favourite, as was Ama­zon!), and what they’d be if not mar­keters. (You have no idea how many closet artistes, dancers, ac­tors, sportsper­sons, mu­si­cians and nov­el­ists presently pop­u­late cor­po­rate cor­ri­dors, mas­querad­ing as CMOs!)

One thing baf­fles me, though: The cov­eted con­sumer is made out to be this ever-evolv­ing, digi-savvy, tech-comfy, thumb-wield­ing, app-swip­ing, at­ten­tion-deficit, crazed, con­fi­dent young­ster, be­ing hunted by a swarm of sweat­ing mar­keters. Is the Mil­len­nial colos­sally mis­un­der­stood, af­ter all?

That’s a de­bate for an­other is­sue, of course. For now, en­joy this one.

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