‘Brand managers must be multi-skilled’

Brand managers of the future are going to have to be like “Swiss army knives” and come with a whole new set of skills, argues Diageo Western Europe white spirits director Philip Gladman.

Phlip Gladman

Gladman explained the changes the company was making to its marketing teams in response to the shifts in focus to social media, consumer empowerment and digital marketing.

He pointed to key changes at both the senior and more junior level when speaking at yesterday’s (21 March) annual ISBA conference.

Gladman said: “The brand manager of today has to have brilliant creative flair” and it was no longer enough to be “good with numbers” and strategic thinking.

He added that the managers were a “fundamentally different animal than the traditional brand manager” and had to have new skill sets, such as the ability to edit weekly magazines, create content for online platforms and be a brand spokesman.

He said that the multi-skilling required of such managers means that they are going to have to become like Swiss army knives.

Discussing Diageo’s creative processes and the way it works with agencies, Gladman said: “We have really had to change the way we have people managing these projects” and added that the brand teams now had to have a “really senior very experienced manager with real creative flair”.

“We had far too junior people managing creative processes. If you don’t know how to do it then you will end up following a process and we’ll get the same result. It’s better to move to a far more experienced person – that’s not disempowering for brand managers because they will learn so much more.”

Gladman also talked about social media metrics and said that it is all about scale.

“Most brands communities are between 100 and 200,000, frankly, unless you are going to get to a million you should stick {the money} in TV. There’s absolutely no point in having a little Facebook community bubbling away. You buy your way to scale.”

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