Chief customer officer, Cazoo
Online used-car retailer Cazoo launched in December 2019 and kicked off a major marketing push at the beginning of 2020 just as the Covid-19 pandemic was strengthening its grip on the UK. Driving its way into the public’s consciousness with TV, radio, outdoor and online ads, the multimillion-pound campaign focused on the simplicity of using the service and how it fits easily into our busy lives.
Since launching, Cazoo has delivered over 35,000 used cars to UK consumers, listed on the New York Stock Exchange and seen revenue rise 300%, putting it on track to reach $1bn (£723m) in revenues in 2021.
Chief customer officer Darren Bentley joined the brand in July 2019, prior to its public launch, after more than seven years at MoneySuperMarket. He reports directly to Cazoo founder and CEO Alex Chesterman and has been tasked with ensuring the brand puts consumers first.
“The opportunity is huge,” said Bentley on joining the company. “Our customers will be at the heart of everything we do.”
The brand is not standing still. It has invested heavily in sponsorships, becoming the shirt sponsor of Premier League clubs Aston Villa and Everton, as well as sponsor of new format cricket tournament The Hundred, a tie-up with the 2021 Rugby League World Cup and a partnership with the English Football League for the 2021/2022 season. Cazoo has also moved into the new car space with an all-inclusive subscription service that lets customers access models from brands including Ford and Tesla.■
CHARITY & PUBLIC SECTOR
CONSUMER TECH & AUTOMOTIVE
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The top100 list
Chief marketing officer, Samsung Europe
A keen exponent of evidence-led thinking in marketing, Samsung Europe CMO Benjamin Braun has held senior roles at Audi, Comparethemarket and British Gas. His campaigns have won Cannes Lions Gold and IPA Grand Prix awards, and he is responsible for growing the Samsung brand in Europe.
The company itself has thrived during the pandemic, with profit increasing 34% in the second quarter of 2021 to £7.8bn, up from £5.9bn in Q1.
Braun feels marketing is still undervalued in some quarters, often perceived as a "creative outpost" within corporations. But he believes marketing has earned a place in the boardrooms of major companies, especially given its importance during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“After years of boardroom battles to prove their return on investment, it is time for marketers to claim their true status as rightful business partners,” Braun wrote for Marketing Week earlier this year. The growth of ecommerce during the last year has seen websites become a vital point of connection between marketers and consumers, he argues, breaking down business silos to drive growth.■
consumer goods, tech & luxury
Director of brand marketing EMEA and LATAM, LinkedIn
After nearly a decade at Microsoft-owned LinkedIn, in a variety of communications roles, Darain Faraz has been behind a push to show the brand’s human side and shake off its stiff perceptions.
The change has been well received by members, as they have navigated the unique professional challenges of the last year. Like many social media brands, the platform has seen growing use during a year of pandemic and changing behaviour - and, unfortunately, increased job losses among platform users.
In January, LinkedIn reported a 23% increase in year-on-year earnings, with engagement up and record ad sales.
The increased importance of keeping in touch with colleagues and work contacts has been reflected in LinkedIn’s latest campaign, launched in April, which sees protagonist Vik rebuilding his confidence - and caring for a houseplant - via the site.
“The pandemic has changed how our members interact with LinkedIn - we’ve seen extraordinary engagement on the platform and countless heart-warming examples of the LinkedIn community coming together to support each other through these challenging times,” said Faraz.■
Senior marketing director international, Peloton
Such is the ubiquity of fitness brand Peloton that it is easy to forget the company is less than a decade old. It was founded in 2012 and grew quickly after a Kickstarter funding campaign the following year. It has always ranked brand building highly in its corporate strategy, a choice which has paid off handsomely.
When the brand launched in the UK in 2018 marketer Marian Holties was one of the first people hired. She had previously worked at brands including Net-a-Porter, Asos and gaming group Activision Blizzard, in a career that has already spanned several countries.
Holties told Marketing Week her current role is the “dream marketing job”, partly because she joined at an ideal time to help grow the brand. “It was such an exciting opportunity, the chance to build a brand from zero to where it is now,” she said.
And Peloton has continued to grow strongly. In the third quarter of the current financial year the company increased subscriptions by 135%, with total revenues up 141%.■
Consumer director UK, Volvo
Volvo has been leading the pack when it comes to switching automotive sales to digital channels. Future models will be sold exclusively online, while the UK is leading Europe in terms of the number of drivers taking out Volvo subscriptions. The brand is pulling in younger, urban "conquest consumers" who have never owned its cars before.
Consumer director Nicole Melillo Shaw was brought in from outside the automotive sector, joining in March 2020 from her role as marketing director for skincare ranges at GSK, to provide a laser focus on customers. After intense market research, the brand decided to lead from the front by rethinking what people want from their car buying, leasing or subscribing journey.
In a falling market Volvo has increased its UK sales of new cars by 15%, with lockdown restrictions leading to a sharp acceleration of its digital plans. “When consumers had the opportunity to do it digitally, many of them responded positively,” said Melillo Shaw.
The brand is now working with its retailer network to make sure car dealers are ready for a new "less transactional" role.■
Nicole Melillo Shaw
Head of UK consumer marketing, Spotify
Swedish music streaming service Spotify has more than 365 million active monthly users and 165 million paying subscribers through its ‘freemium’ business model. It seeks to act as a cultural barometer, with every marketing campaign reflecting what it hears from its users.
Head of UK consumer marketing, Olga Puzanova, has been in her position since 2017, following roles in London and Los Angeles for big name brands including PlayStation and Paramount Pictures.
She told Marketing Week the challenge she has faced over the past year is maintaining Spotify’s sense of fun in the face of the difficulties caused by Covid-19. As a result, the brand’s annual end-of-year ‘Wrapped’ campaign took on new themes of resilience and gratitude for 2020.
“Finding the right tone, especially this year, was more important than ever for us,” she said. Spotify chose to thank those in the creative industry, recognising that many had been unable to work, and to highlight the mutual support provided by creators and consumers in the sector.■
Marketing director, Google UK
Very few marketers can claim their brand name has become a verb. Nishma Robb, marketing director at Google, is one of them. The world’s dominant search engine, it had a worldwide market share of the search market of 92.18% as of May this year.
Despite that global ubiquity, the search giant has been tapping into the UK’s love of small businesses with the release of the ‘Dear Local’ campaign in December. It was inspired by Robb and her team noticing a shift towards localism during lockdown. “There was this concern about these small local companies, about if they could continue to exist,” Robb told Marketing Week.
Pledging to help keep a million small companies in business, Google committed to providing training and mentoring to help these small players become more visible. The campaign also encouraged consumers to leave a Google review sharing what’s great about the business. The ads were designed as a celebration of areas - such as boxer Anthony Joshua touring Golders Green in North London - as part of a drive to make Google’s tech a benefit in the real world.■
Vice-president EMEA marketing, Bumble
Female-first social networking app Bumble is moving so quickly that Naomi Walkland has had four job titles in the space of three years. She joined the company as senior marketing manager before swiftly climbing to her current role as vice-president of EMEA marketing.
The brand’s marketing strategy focuses on social media, with active profiles across multiple platforms and extensive use of micro-influencers. Bumble has been helped in its expansion goals by having a life beyond dating - it can be used for professional networking and to find friends. Above all it is a brand that supports female empowerment at work and outside it.
In February, Bumble successfully went public on the New York Stock Exchange and by May announced first quarter earnings of $171m (£124m), with a 30% increase in paying users. Responsible for delivering new customer growth through integrated marketing strategies, international expansion and brand building, Walkland is active outside Bumble too. She is one of The Marketing Academy’s current crop of Scholars, is an ambassador for workspace group Huckletree and an advisor at mentoring organisation Ok Mentor.■
Chief marketing officer, Microsoft UK
When Microsoft highlighted how Teams had kept the world of business turning during the pandemic, it surely received nods of recognition from workers around the world.
Paul Bolt described Microsoft during the pandemic as being “digital-first responders for first responders” in the way it supported organisations such as the NHS during the crisis. But he also emphasises a core Microsoft mantra - that industry doesn’t respect tradition, only innovation.
Microsoft didn’t just provide Teams (for free to NHS workers), it joined with brands including Ford and McLaren Racing to develop ventilators and launched a global skills initiative. “These are the moments when your integrity and values as a brand are shaped by actions,” Bolt said.
Microsoft’s track record for solving problems in a way that people relate to has borne fruit, not just in rising sales but in its wider reputation. BrandZ’s listing of the world’s 100 most valuable brands, published in June, saw Microsoft claim fourth spot with a brand value of $410.3bn (£296.4bn), up 26% on 2020. Microsoft is behind only Amazon, Apple and Google, making Bolt one of the most significant CMOs in the game.■
Head of marketing, global business solutions, Europe, TikTok
Trevor Johnson’s career in social media included senior roles at Facebook and Instagram before he joined TikTok. His arrival at the platform last year coincided with a huge lockdown boost for the brand as users sought entertainment.
Johnson has described the key to brand success on the platform as understanding that TikTok’s community has a “humanity” based on people needing to be heard and understood - which he believes doesn’t happen elsewhere.
No degree of controversy - TikTok has upset world leaders and governments - can seem to dent the march of TikTok. The brand is reported to have 689 million monthly users, 17 million in the UK alone.
There have been 6 billion downloads of the TikTok app, as users seek an outlet for their self-expression. But that expression can quickly get an even wider audience. “What happens on TikTok doesn’t stay on TikTok,” Johnson told Marketing Week. This combination of social media and culture came to the fore in February when TikTok signed a deal to sponsor the Euro 2020 tournament, the first digital entertainment platform to do so.
Johnson is also a non-executive director of the Professional Footballers’ Association and sits on the board of trustees of The Ideas Foundation.■
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