Global team upheavals an accelerating trend

Global companies are signalling a shift in strategy with a batch of reshuffles of senior marketing and chief executive roles.

Asda, Coca-Cola and Vodafone have all initiated reshuffles of their businesses to “achieve growth, leverage and returns”.

According to a Forrester report entitled “How to manage global marketing”, which will be released next week, moves to restructure global teams will become common over the coming months.

The report’s author, Steven Noble, says: “Brands must harness the strength that comes from their global reach. This includes their ability to harvest best practices which they can apply worldwide [through local teams].” Noble says that regional marketing’s role is to activate the data taken on a global scale according to each market.

Coca-Cola Europe and Vodafone Group have identified effectiveness and efficiencies as prime reasons for reviewing corporate marketing, and will be making redundancies as a result. The plans coincide with news that the UK economy is crawling out of the recession and consumer confidence is increasing.

Noble says problems have arisen as “there is a natural tendency for local marketers to attempt to create silos – to insist on operating their way because that’s always been their approach in their geography.

“The challenge is for local marketers to stop simply insisting the global marketing fails, and to start using customer data and engagement to deepen the brand’s relationship with customers who happen to live in their geography.”

Brand experts argue that these reviews are arising because internal structures have not been geared to making decisions quickly or to creating the best work.

Keith Wells, managing director at The Brand Prism, argues: “What they should be looking for is much greater cohesion internally, with decisions being taken closer to the real market. In a world that is more and more about open-source content, it would be good to see that reflected internally.”

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