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Global CMOs and the Vital Role of Culture and Teamwork

Steve Olenski
Master Principal Sales Architect

Let me make one thing perfectly clear: In today’s world there is no difference between marketing a global brand and marketing a brand, globally. 

I say, er write that because whether they realize it or not every CMO is a CMO of a global brand. Regardless of where your based out of, or where you brick and mortar locations are - if you have a website your brand is global. Of course there are examples of countries banning websites or the Internet altogether but you get the idea. 

Recently The CMO Club, in partnership with Oracle Marketing Cloud on the subject of global brands and global CMOs. The research brought together 6 of the brightest minds in marketing today who shared their knowledge and insight on five key elements facing every global CMO. 

Culture and Teamwork

Global brand leaders have to infuse their team with a cohesive culture that connects and transcends geographic differences. It’s this culture that is the driving force for so many potential successes that the organization can achieve. 

Additionally, a strong culture bolsters a company’s brand, especially through what employees and customers broadcast on social media about how they love where they work and how they love the products or services. A strong culture is also a means of executing the company’s strategy on a global and local level.

When there are clear guidelines and a set of shared values, employees will want to follow and emulate those, thereby achieving the strategy that has been set out by leadership. Everyone will also be on the same page, furthering the ability of the strategy to be effective.

The larger the organization, the more complexity goes into connecting the organization’s culture. Hubertus Devroye, Head of Marketing and Commercial at Dow Chemical, paints a picture of just how imposing a prospect this can be for some companies.

He explains, “We deal with over 130 different countries in Europe, Middle East, Africa, and India. There is no one-size-fits-all for us. We often start with a centrally governed approach to maintain consistency and then work out from there, dialing in local nuances as we go. We are a very “glocal” company so it’s important to address market and country differences in our overall cultural approach.”

Cohesive Global Culture

One set of findings from the research was the following 6 Key Ingredients for a Cohesive Global Culture:

  1. A desire to win, where good could always be better, and where aspirations never end.
  2. Energy focused on customers, community, and competition.
  3. Employees that think like owners by taking personal responsibility for business performance and doing the right thing for the company.
  4. A team of doers who are focused on getting it done and taking care of those things that make the company better.
  5. An environment where people can be themselves, reach their full potential, and recognize the importance of diversity in team contributions.
  6. A passion to go beyond the adequate or the goal and reach for things that take the company to the next level.

Julie Lyle, CMO of Demandjump and former CMO of Walmart and hhgregg believes too often regional and global leaders assume that the regional office or global office is the single location where all expertise resides, and from which original work and policies must emanate. "This is not only shortsighted, but it also underestimates the power that cross-market communication, collaboration, and best practice sharing can provide for global teams and brands," says Lyle.

Cultural differences span the globe with consumers and marketing teams. These are just some of the challenges Modern Marketers face when they cross borders. Download The CMO Solution Guide For Global Brand Leaders, Transcending the Geographic Divide to learn about the other 4 elements and how leading CMOs are transcending the geographic divide to achieve success.

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