The current Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt is leaving his brief to become Minister for Health. Having already faced huge scrutiny for his role in the £8bn BSkyB ownership bid, Hunt was not seen by many political commentators as performing particularly strongly in his Culture role. However, perhaps the success of the Olympics has buoyed his reputation at this crucial time.
But let’s forget about Hunt for now, although it’s worth remembering that he will probably now be heavily involved in health marketing initiatives. And of course, he may be in charge of the rollout of Brand NHS to overseas nations if that project ever truly sees the light of day (Mwlinks.co.uk/nhs).
Let’s look instead at Miller. She is currently secretary of state for culture and has some significane experience in the marketing world, having held positions at Grey Advertising and as a marketing manager at Texaco in the 1980s and 90s. She also acted as vice chair of the all-party Advertising Group for five years between 2005-10. So she’s clearly very interested in marketing and has a strong grounding in the basics.
Miller will not only be Culture Secretary but also take the Women & Equalities brief from Liberal Democrat Lynne Featherstone. Does it mean Miller will address the issue of why there are so few senior women in the marketing and creative industries? The gender pay gap at the top of the industry also sees the average male marketing director earning £80,733 compared with an average of £74,241 for women in similar roles, according to the Marketing Week/Ball & Hoolahan’s 2012 Salary Survey.
The new Culture Secretary certainly has a big role ahead of her. While culture is sometimes seen as one of the ‘softer’ Government remits, compared to the harder edges of finance, health or justice, it is still vital for the UK economy. The UK is known particularly for its creative industries around the world so the work of the Culture Secretary can help drive a valuable growth engine.
Speaking of creativity, this week’s issue also looks at London Fashion Week. Our cover story focuses on why some unlikely brands are putting their marketing into the hands of fashionistas. At a time when the UK is keen to push itself as a dynamic, super-creative hub, many companies are seeing fashion as the way to communicate these values.
Fashion also has strong links with luxury, which proves to be the sector finding most success at growing its brand value, according to BrandZ figures. Upmarket fashion and accessories brand Hermes increased its brand value by 61%, while Burberry managed an impressive 21% rise.
So at this time of reshuffles, it’s worth noting that creativity and quality – what both Burberry and Hermes are known for – remain constants in creating value. Maria Miller will be hoping to bring the same two elements to her own role over the next few years.