The Star's first CMO creates all-new marketing team

The Star Entertainment Group overhauls its marketing structure and recruits four senior marketing specialists as part of its unified brand and growth strategy

George Hughes
George Hughes

The Star Entertainment Group’s first CMO has recruited four senior marketing specialists and promoted one longstanding staffer as part of a new-look, unified marketing team focused on driving brand growth nationally.

The fresh-faced marketing function is under the direction of George Hughes, who was appointed CMO seven months ago as part of a strategic investment into building a cohesive and coordinate brand and marketing approach for the group’s three owned and operated properties: The Star Sydney, The Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane.

Hughes told CMO the decision to bring on a chief marketing officer was the first step in recognising the need for a single brand strategy and approach that could realise the organisation’s lifestyle and entertainment ambitions.

Over the next five years, he noted The Star could invest as much as $5 billion into further developing its tourism and entertainments destinations across South East Queensland and Sydney. This made it vital a new marketing structure be put in place that can respond accordingly, elevate the customer, and position the combination of venues and offerings in a way that’s engaging and relevant.

Previously, the emphasis has been on generalist state-based focus and capability. The new-look team see us bringing together specialist, functional expertise and talent both existing within the team as well, as well as that available outside the business across a variety of sectors, Hughes said.

New recruits include Melanie Luque, who joins as general manager of digital marketing. She was previously the marketing director for the 12WBT program created by fitness guru and celebrity, Michelle Bridges.  

Qantas veteran and head of brand and marketing programs, Anthony Cohen, has also come on-board as general manager of brand, sponsorships and PR, after 16 years with the airline carrier.

Marnie Darren, meanwhile, joins in the newly created role of managing partner, creative agency, after 20 years in the advertising and marketing industry. This includes a stint with TBWA in New York working on brands such as H&M Global, Hearts On Fire, Michelin and Pernod Ricard.  

Another external hire is Nick Turner, who has assumed the general manager of commercial marketing (NSW) post after a stint as general manager of consumer marketing and sales at News Corporation. He also has held several senior roles in the FMCG sector at companies such as Nestle and Reckitt Benckiser.

Finally, existing employee, Shalon Lawler, has been appointed general manager of commercial marketing (Queensland) and has worked for The Star for 15 years across planning, managing and executing marketing campaigns.

“These new recruits offer deep functional expertise and strong leadership and the ability to work in matrix environments as well as knowledge of how to work in a 24/7 business,” Hughes said. “It’s about building the future of the business.”

The other key thing about the marketing team is the diversity of thought, expertise and background they provide, Hughes said. It also reflects the combination of internal talent acquisition as well as head hunting used to build out a team that he believed “could get the best out of each other”.

Importantly, all demonstrated clear commercial acumen, Hughes said – something he believed was too often missing from the attributes of modern marketing managers in Australia.

“The second thing is their customer insights approach, which can then be translated through their functional expertise,” he added.

Such a sizeable commitment to marketing takes considerable executive buy-in. Hughes said his appointment as The Star’s first CMO was arguably the first indicator of the group’s willingness to invest in marketing capability. What also helped is having a commercially minded former CFO and now CEO who identified the need to invest for growth, he said.

“We’re fortunate we have an experienced commercial leader who saw the need for this investment, but is also the first to say he’s not a marketer and who looks to bring in expertise,” Hughes said. “To get this this point, we’ve had an ongoing dialogue to first create the strategy, identify, talk about the challenges and then invest to overcome them.”

Check out other Australian businesses reshaping their marketing functions:

 Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu     

 

 

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

More Videos

It's an interesting direction, and fair play that they've backed what their service differentiator in the market is. It's a bit clunky bi...

Jeff

Versa launches bot-activated website

Read more

Algorithms that can make sense of unstructured data is the future. It's great to see experts in the field getting together to discuss AI.

Sumit Takim

In pictures: Harnessing AI for customer engagement - CMO roundtable Melbourne

Read more

Real digital transformation requires reshaping the way the business create value for customers. Achieving this requires that organization...

ravi H

10 lessons Telstra has learnt through its T22 transformation

Read more

thanks

Lillian Juliet

How Winedirect has lifted customer recency, frequency and value with a digital overhaul

Read more

Having an effective Point of Sale system implemented in your retail store can streamline the transactions and data management activities....

Sheetal Kamble

​Jurlique’s move to mobile POS set to enhance customer experience

Read more

Blog Posts

Brand storytelling lessons from Singapore’s iconic Fullerton hotel

In early 2020, I had the pleasure of staying at the newly opened Fullerton Hotel in Sydney. It was on this trip I first became aware of the Fullerton’s commitment to brand storytelling.

Gabrielle Dolan

Business storytelling leader

You’re doing it wrong: Emotion doesn’t mean emotional

If you’ve been around advertising long enough, you’ve probably seen (or written) a slide which says: “They won’t remember what you say, they’ll remember how you made them feel.” But it’s wrong. Our understanding of how emotion is used in advertising has been ill informed and poorly applied.

Zac Martin

Senior planner, Ogilvy Melbourne

Why does brand execution often kill creativity?

The launch of a new brand, or indeed a rebrand, is a transformation to be greeted with fanfare. So why is it that once the brand has launched, the brand execution phase can also be the moment at which you kill its creativity?

Rich Curtis

CEO, FutureBrand A/NZ

Sign in