Marketers call for a ‘rebrand’ of the industry

Marketers from across the business world have called for a change in the way the industry operates in order to reverse perceptions of an industry that is seen as untrustworthy by many consumers.

Puma Clever Little Bag
Puma’s Clever Little Bag was cited by Unilever’s vice president of marketing Marc Mathieu as an example of a brand that can have a successful sustainability agenda.

A recent poll by Reader’s Digest found that the advertising industry is the least trusted industry in the UK with 81% of consumers having little faith in the institution .

Unilever’s vice president of marketing Marc Mathieu, recently told Marketing Week of the need for marketing to become a “noble” profession by being as much about driving social progress as it is business growth.

In an interview for this week’s Marketing Week cover feature (15 March), Mathieu adds that all marketers, regardless of sector, must play their part at innovation stage to produce products that have a positive impact on society.

He cites Puma’s “Clever Little Bag” (pictured), which news shoes are taken home but uses 65% less paper than a shoebox, as an example of a brand that can have a successful sustainability agenda.

Many marketers believe is because many in the industry have focussed on selling at the expense of innovation.

Ashley Stockwell, global sales and marketing director at Global Ethics, which creates products that support charitable activities in developing countries, says: “a product should sell itself and if it doesn’t … you probably need to look at the product.”

Another aspect that marketers should address to improve perceptions of the profession is the language used to talk about marketing within the organisation.

Mathieu believes that language should be more about people than about targets and objectives wile others, including Jane Frost the chief executive of the Market Research Society, who led rebranding projects at HMRC and the BBC, says marketing’s language should fit in with the objectives of other departments to ensure its relevance to the business is understood.

She adds: “At HMRC we would talk about evidence. We’d say: ‘We conducted a huge research programme, if you took certain actions to manage customer behaviour then you would reduce cost.’ The key was to show that you could reduce error by ‘x’ percent. You’re more credible because you’re relevant to the main processes of the business. For the BBC you didn’t talk about marketing, but you could talk about brands. You talked in creative language because that was the language of the business.”

Read our full cover feature on how marketers can rebrand the profession in this week’s issue, dated 15 March.