Strategy is the mother of (real) reinvention

Mary Maddever lays out the need for greater strategic collaboration and the changes being tackled at this year's Marketing Evolution: C-Suite Summit.

MaryMaddeverSM_0638 - Copy This story originally appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of strategy.

The Banff World Media Festival held a new initiative this year in collaboration with the CMDC, an invite-only media leaders summit to host frank conversation between media companies, agencies and brands.

It kicked off with a keynote by Content Trap author Bharat Anand, who said the rush to blame digital disruption for all business model woes may be simplistic. Identifying the broad trigger is easy, but isolating the biggest impact and developing a way to connect and win with audiences is where companies often go wrong.

The Harvard prof’s book explores how brands believe that creating amazing content – or a superior product – will win the share battle, when at the core, it’s about creating customer connectivity and capitalizing on related opps.

In breakouts, execs discussed challenges and where there might be a more sustainable working model. One thing is clear: nimbler more collaborative approaches are needed, with greater across-the-board scrutiny on strategy.

The heightened competition, shifting regulatory environment (Bill S-228) and new brand challenges puts more pressure on every decision.

As the CMO’s role evolves to encompass so much more than advertising, partners need to step up. And one area where there’s been a lot of strides made is beefing up the strategic ranks in agencies of all descriptions, from creative to media to PR.

When asked about Canadian agencies’ growing investment in strategy departments for a Cannes Daily article, Media Leader Summit participant Jason Chaney observed that the importance of the CSO remit grew in tandem with the expanding role of the CMO. The Koho CCO and award-winning strategist previously at Cossette says: “A great CSO can isolate the opportunity, de-risk it through insights and data points, and create contingency plans for any potential challenges.”

Strong insights can also be a catalyst for longer-horizon programs. As per Metrolinx CMO Mark Childs: “The opportunity to get closer to a client’s business through real-time customer behaviour, refreshes the insight potential of the brief to inspire creative that not only builds brands, but balances shorter term objectives and customer loyalty.” He cautions that “until everyone has the confidence to make bigger strategic bets, chasing short-term trends and results will slow brand building [progress].”

On a positive note, Chaney says, “hopefully, as a wave of incredibly talented strategic leaders take hold in the industry and grow in influence, we will see change.”

That type of change – tapping new consumer insights and isolating where and how to win – will be on the agenda at the Marketing Evolution: C-Suite Summit. The fall edition will cover brand reinvention, the CMO’s expanding role and the impact of new leadership and go-to-market strategies.

Since the focus is on building brands for the future, wrapping the day with a round-up of the year’s best strategic marketing makes sense. So, now, the Strategy Awards will move out of the Agency of the Year show to its own spot on the calendar, culminating MES.

Join us for what is shaping up to be a transformational and inspirational day, and keep sharing your stories of collaboration and change, we’d love to tell them at MES.

Cheers, mm Mary Maddever, SVP/Publisher