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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

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

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

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

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

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.

The Syneka Marketing Governance Framework

Welcome to 2017

By | News | No Comments

Welcome to the start of 2017 and the year ahead!

As always, the year promises to provide exciting opportunities as we pursue our mission of redefining marketing. Our priorities include furthering industry and sector engagement to highlight the role of marketing in securing sustainable growth. We are also continuing our partnership program, supporting agencies through our strategic expertise, by ensuring that their tactics deliver measurable and tangible marketing outcomes.

We are keen to work with Government to advance the language applied to startups. Innovation is not enough, instead, we need to discuss how marketing supports the ability to successfully commercialise ideas.

We are looking forward to how these initiatives and others unfold over the course of this year.  Welcome to 2017!

2016: the year in review

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

We are heading into the final weeks of 2016 and the end of another busy year for us at Syneka Marketing.  At this start of year, we affirmed our commitment to redefining marketing, through the introduction of the Syneka Marketing Governance Framework. Since this time our Framework has been adopted across several key industries and associations, where we have instilled the rigour of good governance into marketing.

We would like to thank you for your ongoing interest in our work at Syneka Marketing and for being valued clients and supporters. We look forward to working further with you in 2017.

We wish you the very best for the year ahead.

Strategy Before Tactics – the very foundation of marketing

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

Over the course of this trimester, I have been undertaking a sessional lecturing role at Kaplan Business School, teaching Marketing Principles to undergraduates and the Value Chain to postgraduate MBA students. Lecturing provides a great way of ensuring relevancy and best practice, by the blending theory with practical applications.

Marketing Principles is an introductory marketing subject and serves as the gateway into further studies within the discipline. Marketing theory has not changed substantially since its initial inception, although the discipline continues to evolve through research and new insights.

One of the fundamental principles taught to students is strategy is before tactics. Strategy ensures that the right tactics are executed in a timely manner while taking into account the available resource requirements and strategic direction.

2015-08-11-a-marketing-plan-informs-your-strategy

Unfortunately, misinformation is rife in regard to marketing, resulting in many non-accredited marketers promoting tactics without the research and insights that are required to achieve positive outcomes.

This is prevalent in areas like branding, where the focus becomes visual and style at the exclusion of the research required to map stakeholders, their decision-making journey, anticipated touchpoints and desired outcomes.

A brand ultimately needs to connect with not only customers but the entire value chain, including employees, directors, suppliers and channel partners. This is particularly important when partners may be supporting joint initiatives, that require each partner to convey mutually supportive value.

Unfortunately, there are many instances where a new brand is commissioned without undertaking these strategic stages. Similarly, many digital activities are undertaken without recognising the need for research and insights that guide the experiences required to create desired outcomes.

The execution of tactics is not marketing. Conducting valid research and determining suitable strategic insights is what marketing is actually about.

First year students are taught and assessed on this basis, and yet there are many instances of reputational and financial risks caused by people within business and organisations when they decide to execute tactics without valid strategies.