Never before has a company’s reputation been so vitally important and so vulnerable at the same time. The chaos of the past year – from the pandemic to a greater focus on social issues like racism and climate impact – has put businesses under major scrutiny, with a 2020 Morning Consult study finding that a brand merely “standing in solidarity” will no longer cut it. Consumers, now more than ever, are choosing to support those businesses that align with their core values and ethics.
How does a brand ensure its every move resonates with its customer base? Normally this kind of messaging falls to the marketing department, but a growing number of companies are creating a new position – the chief brand officer – to not only propagate, but cultivate a coherent and consistent brand story. Some brands are even dissolving the CMO title and folding the responsibilities into that of a CBO.
Bumble has had a Chief Brand Officer, Alexandra Williamson (pictured above), since the beginning of 2018, and earlier this year, Lululemon named Nike veteran Nikki Neuburger as its first-ever CBO. This was followed by Moncler, the luxury Italian fashion brand, who appointed another Nike alum, Gino Fisanotti as its first CBO late last month. And next week Kate Cronin, the former global CEO of Ogilvy Health, joins Moderna in a newly-created CBO role as the company prepares a brand strategy for its COVID-19 vaccine as the biotechnology company continues to “scale up”.
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