Marketers must mend corporate reputations

MW Live: Birds Eye chief executive Martin Glenn called on marketers to address their reputations both with consumers and the financial community at today’s Marketing Week Live event (July 1).

Martin Glenn
Martin Glenn

He said the recession had thrown a sharp spotlight on two trends that will remain once recovery begins – thrift and trust. Marketers need to be aware of how both of these will impact on their positions and how they do business.

Marketers now have to add value “in a world where people are getting more cynical and understand the tricks.”

To earn the trust of consumers marketers need to realise that environmental and social responsibilities have not evaporated in the recession and that companies must “be part of the solution in making life on this planet sustainable.”

Otherwise aggrieved consumers will lobby politicians and a likely result is more regulatory restraint on marketing, particularly in regard to new scientific techniques now being researched, such as neuroscience.

He suggested that one answer was to seek out positive stories from a company’s corporate affairs department and to make sure there was a strong dialogue between the two.

To make sure marketers are more respected and wield more influence internally Glenn said that they must present solutions to financial problems and “talk the language of cash flow.”

He added that it was no use paying lip service to the notion of gross margin and working capital. Marketers had to demonstrate how they can help contribute to improving the former and generate more of the latter.

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