The news that Toyota GBhas scrapped the role of marketing director (MW 24 March) should be of interest to anyone looking at how global brands keep in touch with customers in their local markets.
It sounds as if Toyota still has its important delegated marketing roles, but these will now be taking more of an operational focus.
Although taking out levels of local management or removing strategic brand accountability can help businesses become faster and more efficient, it can also affect their ability to understand and engage both channel customers and consumers at a local level.
When you’re trying to build an enduring brand that spans markets – especially in a sector such as cars where there are widely different attitudes – it is essential to keep connected with how local customers think and feel, their attitude to the brand and the nuances of each market. Toyota should make sure that this roleisn’t neglected.
The structure itself is probably less important than ensuring the organisational marketing capabilities are in place with the right processes and tools to generate insight, engage customers and deliver value.
The important thing for any brand that is thinking about restructuring its marketing teams is to understand what impact it will have on the delivery of superior value to customers.
Without a UK marketing director at Toyota, is the business clear who will be responsible for connecting with UK customers and how the European or global strategy will connect at a local level?
If the answer to that question is no, all the efficiency in the world will not help Toyota build its brands more effectively.
Mark BealesGroup account director