Leading CMOs: Women Will Power the Future of Advertising

One thing the Chief Marketing Officers of some of the leading brands share is optimism and ideas. Erin Andrews, sportscaster and Dancing with the Stars host, met one-on-one with visionary marketing leaders and discussed the marketing and advertising industry’s upcoming challenges and opportunities for a four-part series on WHOSAY.com first published by Ad Age

For Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at Procter & Gamble, empowering women in and through advertising is not just a matter of good corporate citizenship but also an opportunity to improve the bottom line. “Half the world’s population are women and it’s not equal. It’s not equal in pay, it’s not equal in jobs,” he explained. “So we know that we can focus on promoting gender equality. That’s not only gonna be good for society, it’s actually good for growth.”

Pritchard went on to explain how P&G’s Always Like a Girl campaign—one of Andrews’ favorite Super Bowl ads of all time—changed the sentiment towards the “like a girl” expression. “It’s made a huge difference because we have more than 550 million views of ‘Like a Girl,’ 25 billion PR impressions [...] But what’s better is that 75% of people now view “like a girl” as a positive expression, versus 19% before. So It’s made a difference: good for society, good for growth.”

For Kristin Lemkau, Chief Marketing Officer, JPMorgan Chase,  it’s also about representation. “We look at all of the right measures, look at the G.E.M. score and we look at our women being portrayed in a realistic light,” she told Erin. “In the end, it often would just come down to what is the right judgment and really push people to make sure that you’ve got women in situations that real women are in.”

Raja Rajamannar, Chief & Communications Officer at Mastercard, echoed Pritchard’s point on empowering women as a growth opportunity. “If you look at the purchases decisions that happen around the world, more than 74% of all purchase decisions are taken by women,” he told Andrews. “So why would you not have that kind of representation on your own team?”

“Back in 1818, Eastern Bank’s very first customer was a woman,” revealed Paul Alexander, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at the country’s oldest mutual bank. Alexander went on to share that companies can power new ideas not only with more women but also with members from other historically underrepresented communities.

“[Eastern’s] point of difference has always been about corporate responsibility. And, in fact, the bank’s first customer was a woman, back in 1818, so from that point on Eastern’s always been forward-thinking in terms of helping veterans, immigrants, and in fact next year our focus is going to be about advancing women,” said Alexander.

But how do we “advance women” in advertising? Representation, at all corporate levels, especially in the C-suit, is obviously paramount. However, when it comes to redefining the role of women, and other historically underrepresented communities, in advertising the answer may lay in shifting our vantage point and understanding that instead of companies empowering women it may actually be the other way around.

“I think it’s about trying to understand what are the skill sets we need to solve the problems in the future,” said Diana O’Brien, Chief Marketing Officer at Deloitte. “And those skillsets [...] are really important for analytics, cognitive, AI and all the things that marketing organizations are facing. So that’s the kind of things we need holding up as examples so people can see that there are people doing this and they’re being wildly successful doing it.”