Struggling brands deserve the best talent


It is time for my traditional autumn reshuffle as I freshen up my brand management pack. There is little permanent transfer activity now, as marketers stay in role to the year end to claim their annual bonus.

Quite right too. We are on track for a nice little earner this year. The golden handcuffs bonus scheme will have done its job. Rather like house buying, marketing roles blossom in spring. For now, I seek to maximise performance from the existing team.

I have just drafted the document detailing my team’s responsibilities. We have two bright young thing promotions, a sales and marketing job swap secondment, one brand manager moving to another division in the group and a senior brand manager moving off our lead brand to work on a much smaller one.

All aspiring marketers link the size of their budget to their career progress

The last is not a glamorous move on paper and I fear office gossips will interpret it as a sideways step at best. In fact, it is anything but.

It is human nature to assume that the best talent gets to work on brands with the big, headline above-the-line budgets. All aspiring marketers link the size of their budget to their career progress.

Sometimes, however, it is necessary to put the best talent on to struggling brands and it is a shame when this leads to a dip in profile for the individual concerned. Experienced headhunters and business leaders will tell you that they search for people who have worked for underdog firms, people who have delivered results without the big bucks and comfort of market leadership.

Better still, they value marketers who have experienced a dose of failure or tough times because they are likely to have learned more on the way.

If anything, they are wary of those teflon marketers whose CVs read like a parade of big brand budget, never-ending success and market share boasts. Such show ponies may well have served time on the UK’s leading brands, but did they really have anything to do with the success of those brands?

The real stars are often those who have had to fight internally to secure focus and resources for their brand. They are the brand champions.

To this end, I am rather excited by the prospect of one of my most talented marketers working on one of our problem brands.

If she can deliver business turnaround results here, she will be the real star of the department and can name her next role. That should get the gossips talking.

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