Marketing and business do play to the same beat

I’m proud to be featuring EMI chief executive Andria Vidler as our cover star this week. Not just because she is the only female major label boss in the UK. Not because she is a sharp operator in charge of an incredibly famous brand at a moment of great turmoil and change in the music industry. But because she is a lifelong marketer.

Ruth Mortimer

Vidler is an example of how the best marketers have the skills and ambition to run businesses. Perhaps it seems like I’m preaching to the converted in a magazine called Marketing Week with this argument. But when you read the research claiming that 70 per cent of CEOs have lost trust in marketers, it is clear just how far apart marketers are from those people generally controlling businesses.

Vidler came to EMI – the label that brought us The Beatles and Coldplay – after a career marketing brands, including the BBC and Bauer Media. It was at Bauer that Vidler became managing director of the Capital and Magic FM radio stations, before moving over to EMI at a time when the company was struggling under its debts. It was bought by Universal last year.

The challenge for Vidler now is to reimagine the concept of a record label in 2013. As Universal now has to sell off EMI’s Parlophone label brand under competition regulation, Vidler is taking on the role of running this new entity, titled Parlophone Label Group and is helping oversee the sale.

With so much corporate-level disruption in the background, it is Vidler’s marketing nous that comes to the fore. She claims still to be focused on the immediate audiences that she needs to serve, from the buyers of music to physical and digital distributors.

Staying with the music theme, our most popular story this week has been Mark Ritson’s column from last week on how rapper Diddy has transformed Diageo’s Ciroc brand as its chief marketing officer. So popular was this piece that it was swiftly retweeted by fellow rapper L’il Kim to her 712,000 followers.

It just goes to show that the relationship between music and brands is

closer than ever. Perhaps in 10 years’ time, Vidler’s record company will be a house of marketers, each creating their own music and running their own branded businesses.



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