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CMO50 #26-50: Paul McGrath, Lendlease Group

  • Name Paul McGrath
  • Title Group head of marketing and brand
  • Company Lendlease Group
  • Commenced role November 2013
  • Reporting Line Group head of corporate affairs, marketing and communication
  • Member of the Executive Team No
  • Marketing Function 130 staff, 6 direct reports
  • Related

    Paul McGrath joined Lendlease in November 2013 in the newly created role of group head of marketing and brand, and was tasked with creating a holistic and strategic approach to the marketing function globally.

    Among his key priorities were unifying the extensive Lendlease story in the minds of stakeholders, investors, clients and customers, building the brand’s reputation, uniting the digital strategy across the group, and better coordinating the approach and framework to marketing through formalised processes.

    Having spent his first two years driving this agenda, McGrath says the strategic aim over the next 1-2 years is to create a content platform that showcases the story and brand to the world.

    “We’re working to create a content marketing platform that provides a ‘one Lendlease voice’ in the communication of a thought leadership program, brand marketing campaign, and the ability to highlight the innovation work at Lendlease, thought a multi-channel approach,” he says.

    “More widely, we’re also working to elevate the marketing function across the group, with a greater voice in the initial phases of our key projects that will contribute to better strategic outcomes.”

    From the CMO50 submission

    Business contribution and innovation

    Following a functional review in January 2014, McGrath set out several key areas of focus which he then used to devise four key objectives: Reviewing the skill capability of the marketers and effectiveness of marketing operations across the group; reviewing the master brand to ensure it was in-line with the business strategy; developing and implementing a digital strategy globally; and telling the Lendlease story to increase brand awareness, sentiment and reputation.

    In the first instance, it was clear the number of agencies and marketing suppliers being used across the business needed to be addressed. As the strategic head of marketing at Lendlease, McGrath led this project through the various phases requiring attention.

    McGrath launched a series of stakeholder engagement workshops with thebusiness unit marketing managers, senior business owners and the regional leadership team of the Lendlease property division in Australia. These workshops provided the platform to deep dive into each of the business units current and future marketing requirements,current operational processes and helped identify areas for improvementand opportunity.

    From there, a centralised production and digital function team was created to oversee key marketing and communications activity. He’s established a marketing agency panel with tier one consisting of three strategic creative agencies and one media agency. A second tier of 2-3 specialist agencies then provide services around design, analytics and build. This has removed duplication and inefficiencies.

    McGrath has also worked to implement agreed ways of working internally (the ‘Lendlease Way’) and with partners for all business units to ensure marketing agency relationship continue to be optimised.

    In addition, a financial framework has been established to consistently identify costs, while a centralised production model allows teams to establish a pipeline of work, providing greater efficiency to planning.

    Modern marketing and customer engagement thinking and effectiveness

    In February 2014,McGarth commenced a comprehensive review of the Lendlease masterbrand. There were several compelling reasons to undertake a rebranding project for the first time in 20 years:

    • Lendlease had reached the ‘Lead’ phase of its business strategy
    • There was an opportunity to develop a stronger connection between Lendlease and its property projects
    • The restructure of the business under one brand in 2011 had created a unique organisation with a broad range of capabilities.

    Among McGrath’s core priorities were to ensure the brand strategy and identity aligned with the business strategy and reflected the goals and aspirations of Lendlease. There was also a need to better leverage Lendlease brand equity off big urban regeneration projects, such as Barangaroo, Darling Harbour Live in Sydney, Elephant & Castle and International Quarter in London and TRX in Kuala Lumpur.

    The rebrand sees the blue canopy logo replaced with a new green ‘fold’, which is interchangeable to align with project brands where relevant. The company has also adopted ‘Lendlease’ as a single word instead of ‘Lend Lease.’

    McGrath said the new brand mark is the core design element of the masterbrand and provides a new and contemporary graphic element. The Lendlease fold is designed to give a ‘perception’ of continuously evolving while providing some control and framework around the application of the brand name.

    “Rather than just a masterbrand in the corner of a document, the fold allows us to maximise our brand presence, while also having flexibility to work alongside other brands,” McGrath said.

    Data and/or technology driven approach

    To support the reinvigorated Lendlease Brand, McGrath launched a digital strategy to produce a new global website, together with a suite of digital solutions, all providing a single source of truth about the organisation.

    Key elements included support for regional and/or business unit perspectives while adhering to best practices, a new digital asset management system, a centralised project library solution to allow creation, hosting and accessing of existing project sheets, and an internal content management strategy and content model.

    Around this, McGrath conducted an audit of all sites, then implemented a global set of website best practises. A governance guide and group marketing worked with different business units, regions and ICT to determine the technical synergies across the digital project.

    As a result of the review, several websites are in the process of being decommissioned,saving the business money in terms of site support costs. is also a key content provider for the regions and business units, with most corporate messaging and business unit summary information presented in a single place.


    For McGrath, the best example of creativity is the development and launch of the new Lendlease branding.

    “This new logo and the refreshed visual identity was created to ‘hold’ the group together, however it also allows it to move and shape itself to meet the needs and opportunities of the business and the marketplace,” he said. “It has given the business a symbol that reflects the diversity of the group while uniting it as One Lendlease.”

    The introduction on nine different brand colour schemes allows the Lendlease brand to adopt the environment and integrated with our project brands.

    “The results of the rebranding has been the uniting of all our businesses under a new identity,” he said. “It has also provided Lendlease will a relevant B2C brand the resonates with our customers and a platform that will take Lendlease into the future.”

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