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Brandonomics from Savage

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Should the executive team be involved in the marketing/branding effort? Robin Tooms asks Jim Aivalis, president and CEO of Prometheus Energy Group; and Daniel Cotlar, chief marketing officer at Blinds.com.

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Robin: Hello and welcome to this edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies. I'm Robin Tooms, Vice President of Strategy at Savage. For this edition of Brandonomics we're going to revisit two of our guests that show how successful a company can be when the executive team works closely with marketing to create a sustainable competitive advantage.

First up is Jim Aivalis, CEO and president of Prometheus Energy Group. I had asked Jim about the benefits of branding as a business conversion, not just a marketing conversation, and this is what he had to say.

Jim: It's very much a business conversation. The brand value of any company adds significantly to the overall value of the company and its ability to penetrate the marketplace with its message, its products, its solutions to the end-user customers. What I've seen and experienced in my past is: I have seen two companies with identical products, identical technologies, the same people. The company with the strong brand name commanded a 30 percent premium over the company that was introducing products, services and solutions that were identical, but had a 30 percent discount to the company that had a strong brand image. So from my perspective, I think any investment to look at branding, messaging and how we want to participate in the market space, our reputation, our brand image, our message is very important to the value of our company and hence, to the way customers perceive us.

Our next Brandonomics guest, Daniel Cotlar, Chief Marketing Officer at Blinds.com, shares how the marketing function within a company can be very strategic and play a huge role in determining strategies for growth and innovation. Danel shares specific points on how marketers can leverage their connections with customers, and other groups within the company, to do that.

Daniel: You have to create your own influence, and the goal of marketing isn't to be someone producing collateral. You're supposed to be the eyes and ears of the company, to listen to what the customer is saying. That means surveys. It means listening to phone calls. No one is going to be able to plan a strategy as well as somebody who is in direct contact with the customer. Also, as you're planning things, involve the other groups. Make sure you're in their meetings and they're in your meetings so that new innovations that you're talking about are much better because they have other people's input.

Robin: I hope that this advice from our Brandonomics' guests helps marketers see how they can be strategic and integral to the business. Tune in next week for another edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies.

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