Why David Scribner is calling on marketers to fight for brand investment during COVID-19

Former CMO and oOh!media chief customer officer shares views on the impact of the crisis on out-of-home, marketing mindsets and innovation

David Scribner
David Scribner

What do you think boards and executives are expecting from marketing leaders at this time?

Marketers have to put the position together to the board and c-suite about investment in the brand. They need to make it clear a complete cut or anything that might ruin the brand trajectory would be an overreaction and may not be recoverable in the long term. Hopefully they can help c-suite and boards understand if they get into a position where the brand is unrecoverable, that’s a long-term ill.

Again, that comes back to data, being smart, looking at what the messaging needs to be, and reading the tea leaves of the community. It’s about explaining this is what we’re going to be doing with the brand and it may be a bit different to what we’ve done before, because we can’t be as frivolous or irreverent, but this is what we’re doing and getting it out there.

It can be scary to do and tough but it’s really important. And it’s a personal moment for marketers. It’s an opportunity to lean in and say this is what we want to do, and this is why we want to do it, and this is the data for how it’s going to work. C-suite and boards have got to be open to those conversations. They’re thinking about how to batten down the hatches, what costs do we have to get out of our business, how do we survive, how do our employees work in a COVID-19 environment. No one is saying hey, we should invest here because when we come out of it, we’ll be great. The marketer has a great opportunity to be that voice of hope.

What other suggestions do you have for how marketers make sure they’re able to ride the recovery as we come out of the crisis?

We’re focused on this internally, and have a project in place because when we kick off again, we want to best fast out of the gate. So we have a 10-day plan, 30-day plan, 60-day plan. That’s the first thing.

It’s also important for you team to start planning the good stuff and not lose sight of your 12- or 24-month goals. What are the share, brand growth metrics you want to achieve then? Because they’re still relevant.

Yes, you have to be in the day-to-day, focused on how you’re managing the team, what’s happening, what are we stopping and starting. But look to the future as well. In our business, we want people to talk about the events we’re going to have. Even if they spit ball it for two weeks, come up with something we can never do but it’s magical, it’s something different to think about, rather than being in a lockdown. I think that’s how you can straddle the now and next.

What innovation do you foresee coming out of this crisis then?

There’s no doubt change will come out of this. I don’t think anyone knows what that is yet. We’re all pointing to the ease of working from home. In turn, how does that change media consumption levels? There will be media changes we’ll all have to get our teeth into.

There’s a lot of opportunity for brands now to think about stuff they were marketers were running too fast to question. Look at the data, see what works and doesn’t, and look to do better when you come out of this. That will drive innovative thinking.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia.


Join the newsletter!


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

Launch marketing council Episode 5: Retailer and supplier

In our fifth and final episode, we delve into the relationship between retailer and supplier and how it drives and influences launch marketing strategies and success. To do that, we’re joined by Campbell Davies, group general manager of Associated Retailers Limited, and Kristin Viccars, marketing director A/NZ, Apex Tool Group. Also featured are Five by Five Global managing director, Matt Lawton, and CMO’s Nadia Cameron.

More Videos

Great read. I agree that it should be a perfect balance between interacting with your customers and knowing your brand. As a business, yo...

Caroline Scott

7 ways CMOs can improve their customer engagement game

Read more

Very true. Team development helps improve collaboration among the team members. I was able to improve my team's collaboration skills by t...

Quent Sinder

Why empowering others can help make you a great leader

Read more

CRM is a very good software that can help you succeed in your business. In my company, this system has allowed me to improve customer rel...

Anna Janicka

Sensis rebrands to Thryv and brings business software to Australian SMBs

Read more

AI Leasing Assistants have finally arrived for the multifamily industry. With so many to choose from it can be hard to figure out which i...

Alice Labs Pte. Ltd.

CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 6 May 2021

Read more

Nowadays, when everything is being done online, it is good to know that someone is trying to make an improvement. As a company, you are o...


10 lessons Telstra has learnt through its T22 transformation

Read more

Blog Posts

Why if marketing is all you do, you’ll never be very good at it

OK, so you’re probably thinking: “Here comes another article to badger me about living in my bubble.” And also, “I bet this bubble-bashing piece will go on to explain how I can achieve better results through some heady dose of new life experiences, new routines and annoyingly different opinions on social media.”

Dane Smith and Toby Harrison

Ogilvy Australia

A leader’s role in rebuilding a culture of confidence

Every day, there are new predictions and studies on the future of work, the state of the economy and the unfolding global pandemic. All of which creates uncertainty and heightens the imperative of effective leadership.

Michelle Gibbings

Workplace expert, author

Confused About Your Customers?​

​I've worked in brand and marketing for more than 20 years. But there’s one area where I’ve found myself going around in circles and I must admit I'm becoming increasingly confused.

Rich Curtis

CEO, FutureBrand A/NZ

Sign in