Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Can the Centralisation of Brand Teams Lead to More-Effective Marketing?

Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Can the Centralisation of Brand Teams Lead to More-Effective Marketing?

Article excerpt

Lloyds Banking Group, owner of five financial-services brands, has merged its separate marketing teams into a single unit with the seemingly contradictory aim of 'distinction'. Will the strategy work?

MAYBE - GUY NORTH, MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, FREEVIEW

Even the most hardened cynic would struggle to maintain that marketing departments are only ever centralised to save money. This may often be the motivation, but there are other compelling reasons that come into play.

A multibrand owner that allows brand teams to operate independently risks its brands targeting the same consumers and taking share from each other, instead of from competitor brands. Moreover, developing propositions in isolation can lead to brands that lack focus and fail to contribute to the overall objectives of the organisation.

Equally, centralisation should never be allowed to result in brands losing their edge or individuality, which can happen if the primary motive is efficiency. My experience of the very different beer and media markets suggests that the real skill lies in developing a portfolio that has absolute clarity on the role of each brand, with clearly differentiated positionings and distinct target consumers.

MAYBE - BRENDAN TANSEY, CHIEF EXECUTIVE UK, WUNDERMAN

I have observed centralisation driven by many motives: customer clarity, geographic realignment, brand/product rationalisation and cost-cutting The latter is obviously the worst motive and results in a zero- sum-game mentality.

The bigger issue is the rapidity with which some companies, following centralisation, then decentralise.

This creates confusion for staff and customers - via schizophrenic messaging - and, ultimately, generates additional cost or temporary paralysis. In some sectors, these 're-orgs' happen on an 18-month cycle, meaning they never have time to bear fruit (assuming they were ever going to).

If, as with Lloyds Banking Group, the motive is concentration of expertise and alignment of communications so that it is more complementary, then the outcome can be virtuous for customers and the corporation. Cost-cutting can be a by-product, but it should not be the driver.

YES - STEVE STRETTON, FOUNDING PARTNER, ARCHIBALD INGALL STRETTON

As I sat, in awe, watching Borussia Dortmund's wonder-goal fly into the top corner of Arsenal's net three minutes from time, I pondered whether this is the year when the accomplishments of the Bundesliga will translate into European success. …

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