Marketer2marketer: Martin Riley

Ajay Kaul

Ajay Kaul, executive director, global brand communications, worldwide marketing Lenovo, asks:

“In the case of a decentralised marketing structure, how do you optimise digital branding for premium brands that are spread across geographies?”

Martin Riley: Like every marketing company in the world we are trying to optimise our digital activities. At one level we have the brand companies that are creating pages for their brands and tracking what is being said on social media sites, but we also have global brand pages which link into the local ones.

Because we’re decentralised, it’s key that the markets know what the brand companies are doing in terms of big events, big activities and brand content online. They can then take that and work it locally, whether that’s putting it in the local language or linking it to local events. A lot of the things that are happening in digital are happening at market level because they are closest to the consumer.

At a head office level, we outline the sorts of tools both companies should be using and the overall picture we’d like to achieve. We also want to make sure all teams are integrating digital communications into all other marketing activity.

Zoe Howorth

Zoe Howorth, marketing director of Coca-Cola GB, asks:

“What are you doing differently in your marketing strategy to compete in recessionary times?”

Martin Riley: We’re a global brand and not all regions are in recession. Asia, Latin America and Africa are doing well, as are Russia and parts of East Europe. The US is bouncing back in a very consistent and convincing way too.

In Western Europe, what we do varies between brands but overall it is about trying to be smarter. We’re trying to understand more in terms of touchpoint analysis. We’re looking at what’s doing well right now and balancing that with the longer-term view for the brand.

It’s important not to do anything silly, particularly on price. The price of Jacob’s Creek, for example, has actually risen in the UK even though temptation might have been to bring it down for the major retailers. You have to balance short-term temptation with the longer-term strategy for the brand.

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