By Adam Morton
Managing Partner, Client Services

It’s increasingly rare for CMOs and brand directors to stay in place for more than a few years, with this decline of tenures often linked to the rise in short-termism and associated pressures. New arrivals come into the business and are keen to make their mark, or need to show their value quickly. This might be a career necessity, but can be detrimental to the brands they work for.

The most powerful brands have a clear positioning or identity. Like individuals, they’re unique and have a personality that goes beyond the product, providing consumers with a clear emotional benefit. If they’re going to be successful over the long term, they need to stay true to their original ethos.

But in this world of increased churn, one wonders just how many marketers get to appreciate that. How many recognise they have a responsibility to the brand beyond their own stewardship, whether they’re going to be in place for 12 months or 12 years?

Yes, there is a value in an unsullied perspective and a fresh pair of eyes, but it’s not a case of black and white: brands need guardians, as the name suggests, to ‘protect and defend.’ To provide the parameters and to manage the shades of grey, and offer an informed perspective on which new ad offers an original twist on the brand’s existing values and which is just a step too far.

Normally that would be the CMO or brand manager’s job, but with limited time in office is it possible to be as immersed in the brand as they should be? Even if they recognise that it’s the brand that creates value for the business.

Starting a new role with that clarity of thinking can be a challenge. The first priority is to understand the consumers and the role the brand plays in their minds and lives. This is where their agencies can step in to help, because in many cases they’ve been with the brand for so long that they’ve become part of the fabric of guardianship.

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