Unilever, GE and Twitter top world’s most influential CMOs

Forbes World's Most Influential CMOs list shows marketers turning to social to articulate core business values and share perspectives on cultural issues

Unilever CMO, Keith Weed, has been crowned the world’s most influential CMO for the second year in a row, followed by GE’s Linda Boff and Twitter’s Leslie Berland, all key figures driving transformational change within and outside their organisations.

Forbes’ World’s Most Influential CMOs of 2018 list show marketing chiefs increasingly turning to social to articulate core business values and share their perspective on cultural issues. Undertaken in partnership with Sprinklr and LinkedIn, the list aims to reveal the most influential CMOs in the world based on analysis across social networks, powered by Sprinklr. All data on brand performance indicators and personal impact on brand awareness are based on a 1 January 2017 - 15 March 2018 evaluation period.

In its findings, Forbes noted the roles and responsibilities of modern marketers are evolving faster than ever. “Where some see a challenge, however, the world’s most influential CMOs see an unprecedented opportunity to push their organisations forward,” the report stated.

"The world’s most influential CMOs recognise that customer experience is the new brand, and inspire marketers everywhere to ask: How can we better know and serve our customers - not  not as a collection of data points, but as people? How has the relationship between brands and customers changed? How can brands offer the very best customer experience? How can brands become more human and approachable?”

In taking the top spot for the second year in a row, Unilever's Weed is not only on a journey to drive transformation change across the organisation, but is often very vocal about key marketing issues. 

Keith Weed
Keith Weed

For example, he used his speech at this week's Cannes creativity festival to call for the overhaul of influencer marketing in an attempt to end fraudulent activity in the practice.

Earlier in the year, Weed also threatened to pull the FMCG giant’s digital advertising from Facebook and Google if the pair don’t remove controversial and extreme content from their online platforms.

As reported earlier in CMO, Weed has been highly critical of the lack of control across the content being delivered to consumers via the two online platforms, and threatened to boycott sites that “breed division” as a result.

“As one of the largest advertisers in the world, we cannot have an environment where our consumers don’t trust what they see online,” Weed told attendees at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting conference.

“We cannot continue to prop up a digital supply chain – one that delivers over a quarter of our advertising to our consumers – which at times is little better than a swamp in terms of its transparency.”  

Forbes top 10 most influential CMOs:

1. Keith Weed, Unilever, UK

2. Linda Boff, GE, US

3. Leslie Berland, Twitter, US

4. Antonio Lucio, HP Inc., US

5. Raja Rajamannar, MasterCard, US

6. Ann Lewnes, Adobe, US

7. Phil Schiller, Apple, US

8. Dean Evans, Hyundai, South Korea

9. Kristin Lemkau, JP Morgan Chase, US

10. Marc Mathieu, Samsung Electronics America, US

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