The Secret Marketer says too many cooks spoils the brand

Once in a while, somebody joins your organisation and cramps your style. I fear that has just happened to me. The powers that be in global ivory towers have deemed it necessary to appoint a group global brand guardian who shall seek to drive best practice across local markets.

They shall do this by accumulating record levels of air miles through state-like ambassadorial visits and by making me follow tedious brand tool-kit templates in the name of global compliance.

Predictably my new colleague will have no P&L responsibility, but instead will be measured on whether they can persuade everybody to compromise sufficiently to agree a global brand pyramid or whatever similar governance tool is the fashion of the day.

Based on my experience, my French colleagues will vote for an onion, the Munich marketing team will vote for something complex that I won’t understand and the Irish will vote for whatever costs them least to accomplish. I shall be championing the cause for a ladder to help me escape the tortuous global brand planning naval-gazing summits that await under the new regime.

“The credit crunch was such a joyous time as so many of these global waffle roles were disposed of.”

Looking back, the credit crunch was such a joyous time as so many of these global waffle roles were deemed as surplus to requirements and disposed of. Sadly, having proven that we can operate successfully without such intervention, we are now trading well enough to be able to afford to reappoint them.

We shall now gather at least once a quarter in global workshops at nice hotels and meeting venues, carefully wordsmithing the existing brand positioning and essence statements to a point where each country shall have compromised sufficiently to be prepared to wave the white flag and retire to dinner. We shall then return to our respective offices, read the meeting debrief and conclude that the new brand positioning statement is actually a bit bollocks and that we quite liked the old one. We then decide that quantitative consumer research is the only viable form of global adjudication. The results, of course, will be spuriously skewed in favour of whatever agenda the global brand guardian is pursuing at the time. Having all been entirely demotivated by the process we shall eventually file away the documents and quickly realise that we don’t actually have any brand plans to share with the trade. Committee-based global brand management: what a joy.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here