CMO Momentum panel: How CMOs can retain creativity

Marketing leaders from Kraft Heinz, Sport Australia and Forever New share the ways they're striving for creativity both in terms of culture as well as creative execution

From left: Sport Australia's Louise Eyres, Forever New's Diane Belan, Kraft Heinz's Shalabh Atray and CMO's Nadia Cameron
From left: Sport Australia's Louise Eyres, Forever New's Diane Belan, Kraft Heinz's Shalabh Atray and CMO's Nadia Cameron

Creative-led versus performance marketing

Yet evidence has been stacking up that creativity in the advertising and media sphere at least, appears to be declining.

A 2016 study authored by Peter Field for the IPA and WARC found the number of short-term campaigns had quadrupled to 30 per cent, while budget investment behind creativity (as measured by extra share of voice) fell by around 12 percentage points. The knock-on impact was that brand fame effects declined for the first time and the efficiency multiplier fell from 12 in 2010 to around six in 2014.

Related: Binet: Digital has skewed marketers too far into sales-driven advertising

In other words, long-term, fully-funded campaigns were as effective as ever but there were fewer of them getting made. Which raises the question: Why is it still so hard to get those creative campaigns across the line and get buy-in?

“I think CMOs have to do a much better job of presenting evidence to show long-term brand building,” Atray said in response. “When you hear some of the best professors in this country talk about it, they have the best evidence we need those creative media and campaigns. It’s like there’s two streams running: There’s academia, and the industry, and the two aren’t coming together.

“There is tonnes of evidence showing if you invest in long-term, and create a healthy athlete let’s say, versus one on steroids, it’s more sustainable. We do get so caught up in the short term that we don’t have the time or advocacy of data for the long term.”

For Atray, talking through great examples of brands globally achieving this, is paramount. “We need to take time, go to our boards and educate them about it. We need to talk to them about how a Nike or Coca-Cola is built. And there has to be a balance of short term and long term. It’s not one or the other,” he said.  

In selling the vision for Sport Australia’s recent big ‘Move It’ launch nationally, Eyres said one ways she gained permission to do things differently was out-of-category expertise.

“There’s this ability and permission as marketers, when you come in to a different industry or sector, to not take on the norms or pre-existing myths of that category,” she said. “We were also fortunate the Government had articulated a 2030 Sport and Physical activity strategy. We were coming in with that and launched the new brand and program off the back of this 12-year vision and government policy.

“To that short and long-term approach, we have been able to tackle everything from under Sport 2030, and use that as air cover for the transformation.”

A further way Sport Australia is balancing short and long-term is by working with state governments. “We can take that long-term view build brand and position and what we hope to be the next ‘Quit’ or ‘Sun Smart’ initiative, to change the nation. The states then, through short-term activities and programs, are our partners,” Eyres said.  

As a final way of getting buy-in, Eyres noted her team’s ability to sell in behaviour change.

“We have a target to get 210,000 Australian every year to achieve physical activity guidelines in order to achieve our over-arching ambitions. So we can talk about it in very quantifiable behaviour change metrics, and hold ourselves to account,” she said.

“That resonated more in driving the change and getting investment and licence, than potentially doing something more in the language of campaigns or brand. With our board, made up of Olympians and investment bankers, you have to sell in with a language that will resonate with them.”  

Belan saw sophistication of performance marketing in terms of targeting and measurement as key to their dominance and agreed it was difficult to sell in a broader and more strategic brand approach.  

“In retail, we’re often looking at trading numbers by the day, even by the hour. So you want to show what you’re doing is effective. But I’m also a proponent of brand health and development. I struggle to find the balance,” she said.

As Belan works on a pitch for Forever New to launch a brand-led program of work in the US, she’ll be investing in pre- and post- research to ensure the numbers back her up. This will include current level of awareness of brand relative to competitors, as well as consideration, attributes and so on.

“And make sure you do the same benchmark study after a campaign to see if you have moved anything. That will help with numbers to show the value of investment,” she said.

One thing Atray has learnt over time is to be very clear in the beginning of the goal. He advocated spending time in the beginning with senior people in the business around what expectations are and verifying if you’re aiming for share gain or behaviour change.

The example he pointed to is Kraft Heinz’s well-established brand, Gravox, which has 82 per cent market share in Australia.

“However, gravy is used mostly only for the roast on a weekend. That’s a dying use case,” Atray said. “We have a beautiful campaign on air right now showing Gravox as hot sauce, not just gravy, and using it among different things.

“I told the business this is about behaviour change. So you have to believe that attribute I’ll measure is Gravox being used for different types of meals. But changing the behaviour of someone who is 65 years old and using Gravox forever isn’t going to happen with one campaign. You have to give it one, two years because it takes time to change behaviour.

“We have to have the foresight and knowledge to wait for that change to expand the category.”  

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