Secret Marketer: Marketing a brand is more than a job – you have to pledge allegiance to it

I am always intrigued by the calls I get from headhunters. You know they are promoting an obscure brand when they talk up the vacancy and the package, but avoid the question about which brand you will be marketing.

I have been decisive in my career so far, only working for brands my mother has heard of. While that has meant turning down some exciting startups and entrepreneurial opportunities, at least it has made subsequent discussions with future employers easier as they recognise the brands on my CV.

It is also true that I have loved each of the brands I have worked for, often boring my mates in the pub with patriotic stories about why our products and services are the best available.

To be fair, I may not have been an advocate at the outset but once I have understood the value proposition, competitor USPs and the scale of my sales targets, you will be hard pressed to find a bigger fan.

So I wonder whether I would ever accept a role with a ‘marmite brand’. Could I stand in front of a sales team, extolling the virtues of our new product launch or sit in front of a journalist, passionately eulogising our exciting plans for the year ahead? I’m not so sure. I was therefore amused – and a little bit shocked – to learn that the Scotland national football team’s latest recruit, star right-winger Matt Ritchie, who plays club football for newly-promoted AFC Bournemouth, has never been to Scotland.

Apart from the obvious ‘how does that work?’ question, I have to ask how you can possibly run out onto the field, representing a country you have virtually no allegiance to, aside from the fact your dad was born there.

Of course a brand does not demand the same level of commitment as a footballer’s contract.

But at the same time, you must surely feel some empathy for a brand if you are to devote a significant portion of your life to building propositions, attracting customers and, most of all, convincing your mates down the pub that this is the only brand in town.

Are we all so fickle that we can change our allegiances at the click of a finger or, in this case, in response to a headhunter’s call?

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