I wonder if I’m the MBA Kevin Keohane had in mind when he wrote his recent post on employer branding? I’d like to think so.
I’m the first to admit that my CV doesn’t follow the accepted path for someone who markets himself as a senior level brand strategist. But, you know what, I’m bloody proud of it, and it’s nice to know that someone else gets it.
In an echo of another of Kevin’s posts from the dim and distant past, mine has been a calico career. Coupled with the MBA, which utterly transformed my way of thinking and helped me to forge all sorts of ideas and connections, it means I bring a very different perspective to someone who’s lived nothing but brand for the last 15 years.
And that’s important when you think about the myriad complex challenges brands face today, particularly in respect of the recurring themes of authenticity, simplicity and responsibility.
Such themes touch every facet of a business’ strategy and operations; they are no respecters of traditional organisational boundaries; they require a whole systems approach, and an ability to unravel complex issues and the interdependencies between people, processes and performance.
It means being much more than just a brand specialist – no matter how ‘strategically’ you claim to practice. These days, creating a relevant, insightful and robust proposition that can be properly ‘operationalised’ by the business requires you to be part management consultant, part executive coach, part occupational psychologist, part marketer, part HR professional, part operations manager… dare I say it, even part accountant.
Old agency models, built on functional specialism, simply don’t cut it any more. This is the age of the multi-specialist – strategist and creative, theorist and pragmatist, skilled communicator and all-round business manager, each in equal measure.