Friday, August 17, 2007

New Kimberly-Clark CMO Offers Take
On Changing Landscape In Journal Q&A

The Wall Street Journal ran an interesting Q&A with Kimberly-Clark CMO Anthony Parker this week. The head of marketing for such leading brands as Kleenex, Scott and Kotex shared his thoughts on the role of a CMO as well as navigating the changing media landscape.

Recently appointed to the newly created CMO position at Kimberly-Clark, Parker has an impressive background that includes different roles at Coca-Cola Co., Mars Inc. and Kellogg.

Here is a link to the full article from the 8/15/07 edition of the Journal,

For those of you who don’t have an online subscription to the Journal content, we have provided a few highlight of the interview with Clark here:

On the evolving role of the CMO, Parker offered:

“The role of a CMO is really pretty simple. You can’t ever lose sight of the fact that your role is to sell more stuff to more people for more money more often. That has to be the ultimate goal. You also have to inspire the organization to take calculated risks, and inspire the organization to love winning more than they’re afraid of losing.
The pace of change is pretty quick right now. We've got an industry that has been built around positioning a brand and then shooting a 30-second ad. At Kimberly-Clark we're re-engineering how we think about that. You need to have a view of what your brand stands for that is very media-agnostic and business-model-agnostic. We are also re-engineering the way we work with [ad] agencies to make sure it supports this new way of thinking."

With Kimberly-Clark increasing its marketing spending this coming year, Palmer offered some insights into how he planned to allocate extra funds towards new media:

"We're growing our spending in terms of focusing on new news, driving the promise of the brand, innovating on the delivery of that promise, and driving a dialogue with the consumer in new and interesting places. We're also focused on emerging markets. Our TV spending is about 43% of our [marketing] budget. It was 60% in 2004. Print hasn't moved much, it's been around 30%. But nontraditional marketing activities are now about 25% of our spending mix, versus 10% in 2004. Our digital spending is up fourfold. We are much more focused on alternative media."

Considering the rapid growth of private label and store brands, Palmer offered his take on how Kimberly-Clark and other consumer products can avoid the risk of commoditization:

"You have to go back to the simple point that a brand is a promise and the product is a delivery of that promise. If you make that promise and deliver it better than the competition, you'll build brand equity. I believe brands are more salient today to consumers than they ever have been -- they are a simplifying mechanism in a world where there are many more options. Private label is declining in some categories. My belief is where brands are weak, the people who are stewarding those brands aren't spending as much on communication. Therefore they're not telling consumers about the promise of the brand."

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