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What does it take to become WFA’s Global Marketer of the Year?

Global and regional marketers need to cook up a new recipe for success in 2019. Stephan Loerke, CEO of the WFA, identifies the ingredients that will make them a MasterChef Marketer.

/ Introduction

Good cooking requires a set of traditional skills; great cooking requires the imagination and vision to combine those skills and ingredients in new and inspiring ways.

The same is true of marketing. The skills are constant: the ability to bring teams together (both internal and external), the capacity to drive great, integrated ideas and platforms through their company and the ability to power business growth.

What defines great marketing is the ability to apply those skills in new ways that meet the challenge from society in terms of expectations of brands and the transformation of consumer behaviours.

We need to reassess how we do that every year and the very best marketers anticipate these changes. Everyone’s to do list needs to be adapted year by year.

The key ingredients to success in last year’s Global Marketer of the Year were diversity, responsible media with innovation being represented, for example, by sonic branding.

Of course, the challenges and opportunities of diversity, the media ecosystem and innovation haven’t gone away but the way that we frame them in 2019 has and will change.

Today’s innovation challenges, for example, are still about voice for many marketers but also about how brands find ways to be part of the rapidly expanding gaming landscape, which is attracting huge audiences and share of media time, particularly in Asia.

Great marketers find a way to balance their desire to innovate with the knowledge that long-term commitment is likely to pay the greatest dividends. The brand promises we remember are likely to be those that have been consistently applied but also played with, so they stay fresh.

And as we saw at Cannes this year, classic ingredients can work surprisingly well. Campaigns such as Nike’s Grand Prix-winning work in Brazil or Burger King’s multi-lauded Whopper Detour used a mix of tools and technologies that have been with us for a fair few years. It doesn’t have to be completely new to be impactful.

This year marketers need to look at the role of their brands in society, the benefits they bring to consumers and the wider public. These need to go beyond woke washing, promising to hit a worthy goal, while huge parts of the company behave very differently.

Corporate promises and the marketing that flows from them need now, more than ever, to be coherent and honest. If there’s still work to do internally then companies need to be open about it because a great goal is still a great goal. Consumers now have access to information about most brands and they will quickly find out if the promise is just empty words or if it has substance.

Society has also set new challenges in the fact that the benefits of these purpose-driven companies need to be transparent and open to all groups. True diversity, for example, isn’t just about gender. All groups need to be given an equal chance to succeed.

Meaningful outcomes are essential to create a meaningful message and initiatives such as Microsoft’s Adaptive Controller may not add masses to the bottom line but they do add hugely to the brand and the perception that it’s open to everyone. Ikea’s ThisAbles adaptations to make its furniture more accessible to the disabled, plays to a bigger potential market but also delivers similar benefits.

Finally, I think we also need to look farther and wider for our shortlist candidates. Great brands don’t only come from North America and Europe. The shortlist for the 2017 Global Marketer of the Year included Glory Zhang from Huawei and there are many other fantastic marketers in Asia who deserve to be nominated for this award.

I’m meeting more great marketers with every meeting that we hold as the WFA and I know that many of them deserve to be nominated for this award. The work that happens at a global and regional level is more important than ever. So let’s celebrate the very best from our business.

So if you’ve come into contact with someone who has created a great marketing recipe, someone who’s making a difference let the world know. Simply visit to celebrate the great work that global and regional marketers are creating every day.

Contact us

For more information or questions, please contact Stephan Loerke

/ Newsletter

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