Running a non-profit charity in the arts, I always look for inspiration on how to reach out to our audiences. In a time where this is an overflow of digital entertainment, we look to brands for ideas on how to engage and how to stay relevant.
It was, therefore, a privilege to spend my morning at Under the Spotlight in Singapore Wednesday 26th September with Shekar Khosla, Chief Commercial Officer, Kellogg’s and Viksita Menon, CMO, L'Oreal.
Both Shekar and Viksita agreed in broad terms on three areas of leadership skills required in today’s fast-changing world:
Imagination and as Viksita put it, “being a dreamer by heart”. Always stay true to the brand values. A great example Shekar shared was during a time in his previous company in a marketing function, he tried to mimic the leading brand in that category – it simply didn’t work. Consumers were confused about the direction and it didn’t build trust. As Shekar reminded all that morning, “the company owns the trademark, the brand is owned by the consumers”. Always be true to the brand.
Boldness and courage. Dare to go down the path no-one has gone before and allow to fail – gold nuggets. We have heard that before but sometimes, we need a little reminder, don’t we? Both speakers work for international brands, where data is plentiful and the tools are available to analyse them. Use the data but read the data through the lens of boldness and creativity. Let’s delegate machines to do the mundane marketing jobs to free up creative spaces and thinking.
- Lead through personal commitment which helps shape our perspectives to providing authenticity in leading and guiding the teams we work with. Viksita recommended to read more so that we use the art of storytelling to develop our empathy in people management skills.
Shekar: “Leadership is really all the small decisions you take on a daily basis that makes you the great leader. The massive decisions and investments are always supported by huge teams”.
I left the session mulling over one of the comments about bravery. It is easier to say no and not stick your neck out – but bravery is to stick out your neck, work at it and the guts to go against certain norms in order to bring the organisation new heights. So here is to bravery and authenticity as the core pillars of great marketing leadership.