I start a new job tomorrow. The title I have been given is “Director of Brand Marketing” and one of the members of my team is an “Associate Brand Manager”. That sounds familiar and simple enough.
But then I started thinking about the kind of culture I want to build. I don’t think I want to build a typical marketing department culture. I’ve seen that play out before and I’m not a fan. Plus, that’s part of the reason why I’m leaving my last job. Too many politics, not enough action and too many good ideas being killed. And how old are these department names and titles? Hasn’t everyone admitted that marketing has dramatically changed in the past 10 years? If that is the case, shouldn’t what we call this discipline change too?
This may seem like semantics, but I see it as the start of how our department will behave and interact with partners, consumers, retailers, etc. Setting this tone now is important to me.
The word “marketing” just feels wrong from the start. It sounds like talking AT people instead of co-creating with people and connecting our brand with actions that people want to talk about. The definition of “marketing” is:
the total of activities involved in the transfer of goods from the producer or seller to the consumer or buyer, including advertising, shipping, storing, and selling.
“Brand Management” feels all wrong too. The definition of management is: the act or manner of managing; handling, direction, or control. Do Brand Managers really have “control”? Do they really want control? Not in the culture I want to be a part of. Haven’t we all admitted that marketers aren’t in control because the consumers are now?
So what should I call this department? What should our version of “brand managers” be called? What should my title be?
I’m not totally sure, but I’m thinking something with the word “activism” and/or “activist” makes sense. The definition of “activism” is: a policy of taking direct and often militant action to achieve an end, esp a political or social one. Yea, the military stuff sounds a little over-the-top, but I like the “direct and often” part.
I was also thinking something with the word “cultivation”. I like the idea of planting seeds and growing them. That fits nicely with my philosophy of marketing.
That’s where I am with it right now, but I am certainly up for suggestions. Let me know what you think.