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Hello Marketing…. meet Governance: Workshop outcomes from the Governance Institute

By | Advice for Businesses, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities | No Comments

The need for good governance applies across businesses, not-for-profit organisations and government, as it ensures the right information is available to make informed decisions that have a positive impact on growth and sustainability.

Most areas of an organisation, including HR and IT, embed good governance, yet it remains conspicuously absent from marketing.

Brand, Risk and Reputation: Managing Marketing Governance.

What are the consequences caused by a lack of marketing governance? Higher risks, higher costs and a poorer return from marketing.

This is why we are redefining marketing, through our Marketing Governance Framework and why we partnered with the Governance Institute of Australia to deliver our workshop on Marketing Governance, exploring brand, risk and reputation.

We guided participants through the five pillars of Good Marketing Governance:

  • Strategic alignment, delivering marketing outcomes that impact organisational goals.
  • Risk considerations, to minimise uncertainties and manage marketing activities.
  • Financial rigour, managing marketing budgets by purpose and desired outcomes, to measure return.
  • Roles and responsibilities, providing clearly defined requirements with measurable position descriptions.
  • Accountability and metrics, measuring the chain of activities from initial inputs into outputs and the desired marketing outcomes.

Several case studies provided context on the damage caused by a failure in Marketing Governance, including CPA failing to manage stakeholder risk, Woolworths inappropriately delegating strategic insights and the Victorian Taxi Association measuring the wrong outcomes.

The failure of marketing is evident, with it often being the first role to experience downsizing during economic uncertainty, although its core purpose is to deliver value. The marketing profession, which proclaims to deliver value, has failed to demonstrate its own value.

Meanwhile, marketing related failures, including a lack of customer insights and understanding competitive pressures, are responsible for up to 44% of business failures. Woolworths, through its ill-fated Masters Hardware Stores, is an example of failing to understand customer segments, resulting in poor product selection, mismatched communications and an inability to secure tradespeople as key accounts. The result? Total costs of $3 billion, and reputational damage.

Alex Makin facilitating our Brand, Reputation and Risk Workshop on Marketing Governance.

Marketing must provide the ability for organisations to become market facing by coalescing internal capabilities and market needs – this is why Marketing needs to incorporate Governance.

Each workshop participant has a copy of the presentation, but if you would like to view the slides, please complete our marketing governance survey at www.synekamarketing.com.au/assessing-marketing-governance

Marketing Governance in a Family Business: Workshop with Family Business Australia

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Family Business Australia is the peak industry association representing the diversity within family owned businesses. The association delivers services to family businesses but also builds the capacity of organisations that service the sector.

We were invited to deliver our Workshop on Marketing Governance to family business advisors, exploring the dynamics and role of marketing within a family business. Family businesses require not only sustainable growth, but also the ability to provide support succession planning for their children and future generations.

Alex with PKF Australia and Family Business Australia discussing Marketing Governance.

Alex with PKF Australia and Family Business Australia discussing Marketing Governance.

Marketing is often an entry point for parents seeking to position their children into roles, and as such, it is imperative that the business embed good governance to support these requirements. Marketing is more than just promotions; it needs to ensure consistency across the marketing mix or customer experience, enabling marketing to support growth through customer acquisition and retention.

Our workshop on Marketing Governance explored how family business advisors could identify key issues within marketing and the need to provide support that will strengthen internal capabilities and capacity.

The viability and sustainability of the family business sector are vital to both economic and social growth, and we, therefore, need to provide the resources that enable family businesses to make informed marketing decisions that contribute to tangible business outcomes.

Brand architecture matters: When the CEO becomes a bigger brand than the organisation

By | Advice for Businesses, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, News | 2 Comments

It was a cold and rather dreary day and I was in a rush. I headed into the warmth of the subway between Southbank and Flinders Street Station. There were countless people inside, some on their way to catch a train, others like myself walked by quickly, using this subway to cross over into the heart of the city. The faint sound of an off-pitch busker sitting at the entrance to the subway resonated through.

I looked sideways as I adjusted to the light subway light and noticed a billboard, a face of a youthful looking, clean cut middle aged man. I recognised him instantly – it was Alex Malley. Malley’s face greeted me at various points in this subway and there he was as I walked into Flinders Street. A professional yet friendly presence. It seemed as though he was hosting a new show.

Alex Malley In Conversation

Alex Malley In Conversation

As a former Financial Accountant turned Professional Marketer, this had me thinking – ‘what will happen to CPA Australia if Alex Malley is no longer part of it?’

It was another rather cold and dreary day when I heard Malley’s contract with CPA Australia as their CEO, had been abruptly terminated.

For the past two years, CPA Australia has been facing governance issues with members raising concerns about the conduct of their CEO and the board. These issues are not uncommon and should not be viewed in isolation.

In promoting the Alex Malley brand, CPA Australia took a huge gamble on marketing risk.

When I was at University, CPA Australia was promoting itself to aspiring accountants (such as myself) as a lifestyle. Malley later came as an extension of this brand, personifying the potential of CPA accreditation, at a time when there was a high degree of job uncertainty.

Malley made the organisation appear youthful and ready to engage, however, it also shifted the focus to himself rather than the organisation. His book “The Naked CEO” focused on leadership, perseverance and Malley’s personal story.

Personally, I knew that the day would come where Malley would be removed from CPA Australia. His brand was becoming bigger than the organisation, with CPA Australia fading more and more into the background. The value of the organisation was being communicated less, with Malley’s value being promoted more.

The Naked CEO Instagram

The Naked CEO Instagram

Looking at CPA Australia’s annual reports it appears as though Malley has met most of the metrics that were set by the board. However, the marketing metrics such as increasing social media engagement and being a thought leader, do not necessarily lead to more members successfully sitting exams, which brings additional revenue to the organisation. These “feel good” metrics do not optimise revenue growth and member engagement.

These metrics also do not necessarily consider stakeholder needs, such as the needs of members and the organisations that support CPA Australia. It is often a chain of activities that ensures stakeholders are engaged, which often goes beyond social media and a charismatic CEO. It is clear that risks were not fully identified, with internal stakeholders (including members) feeling increasingly isolated by the organisation. Furthermore, strategic risks exist through the dilution of the CPA Australia’s brand and value as distinct to Alex Mally.

Ignoring the magnitude of stakeholder risk proved costly to CPA Australia, with members becoming increasingly critical of the organisation’s direction.

CPA Australia will need to reposition itself to recover from the removal of Malley. A new marketing plan and brand refresh, as well as the brand architecture of the organisation, will be required to position itself following the departure of Alex Malley.

Join us as we explore Brand, Reputation and Risk: Managing Marketing Governance in partnership with the Governance Institute of Australia on Wednesday the 26th of July 2017 in Melbourne.

Registration details available at www.synekamarketing.com.au/riskworkshop

The Montague Street Bridge: a tale of how marketing fails to understand risk

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Nestled in Montague Street, South Melbourne, approximately ten minutes from our office, is a low clearance bridge of three-metre height. The Montague Street Bridge entered notoriety on the 22nd of February 2016, when a charter bus failed to observe clearance signs and slammed into the bridge.

The driver failed to consider risk, but how did the company respond? Tape, to hide the brand, but clearly not to resolve the issue.

“We are out to protect our brand and make sure we don’t tarnish our brand, it doesn’t mean any disrespect.” (Gold Bus Ballarat)

Hiding rather than avoiding Risk (Photograph: Hamish Blair)

Had Gold Bus Ballarat viewed this action from a viewpoint of risk, they would have realised the consequences of the resulting scrutiny. Unfortunately, marketing often fails to assess risk factors, resulting in an extensive list of campaigns that have caused reputational damage, as well as financial loss:

This year has proven to be no different:

  • In March, Coopers failed to assess sponsorship risks when it was forced into a public apology when the Bible Society used its beers to film a poorly scripted debate on marriage equity.

On behalf of the Coopers Board and seniors staff, we’re incredibly saddened by the impact our involvement with the Bible Society has had on our valued Coopers drinkers and our extended family,” (Coopers Brewery)

  • A month later, Pepsi blew an estimated $100 million, plus a history of corporate social inclusion, due to its doomed campaign featuring Kendall Jenner and the trivialisation of social justice movements.

Each of these campaigns (and many others) would have never seen production, let alone public viewing, had there been suitable oversight and consideration of risks.  Despite these reputational, legislative and financial failures, history is likely to repeat itself with more examples likely to join this list.

Just like the Montague Street in South Melbourne, which has been hit at least six times so far in 2017.

History repeating itself: When Marketing (or road users) fail to consider risk

How do we prevent history repeating? We need to elevate marketing into the domain of governance, so that risk, as well as oversight, is embedded into decision making.

Join us as we explore Brand, Reputation and Risk: Managing Marketing Governance in partnership with the Governance Institute of Australia on Wednesday the 26th of July 2017 in Melbourne.

Registration details available at www.governanceinstitute.com.au/education-training/calendar-of-events/eventdetails/E00693/brand-and-reputation-marketing-governance

Workshop: Brand, Reputation and Risk: Managing Marketing Governance in Partnership with the Governance Institute of Australia

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We are pleased to announce our workshop: Brand, Reputation and Risk: Managing Marketing Governance in partnership with the Governance Institute of Australia.

Marketing governance reinforces good governance by ensuring your marketing performs a strategic role, fulfilling its purpose of delivering value to your organisation and your customers. This workshop will utilise the Syneka Marketing Governance Framework to align marketing with good governance.

Topics include:

  • The role of governance within a marketing context
  • Assessing risk within marketing activities
  • Determining appropriate roles and responsibilities within marketing
  • Suitably allocating budgets and resources to marketing activities
  • Evaluating marketing performance across activity chains.

Attendees will learn how to apply the marketing governance framework within their organisation. Outcomes include the ability to evaluate marketing performance against organisational direction and the touchpoints required for their target stakeholders.

Register online through www.governanceinstitute.com.au/education-training/calendar-of-events/eventdetails/E00693/brand-and-reputation-marketing-governance

Revisiting the Sounds of Silence

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Our six-month experiment where we were absence from content led to very interesting and positive feedback. Several as comments focused on how ‘brave’ we were in taking this risk.

“And the vision that was planted in my brain still remains within the sound of silence”

We undertook this experiment because we knew the result. We know what generates a return from our marketing activities based on our strategic direction and impact on client decision making.  Optimising marketing and understanding marketing metrics is not brave; it is common business sense as reflected through good marketing governance.