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159: How to Diagnose a Brand by Mark Ritson

Mark Ritson, Adjunct Professor

This week on the “Marketing Today” podcast, Alan talks with Mark Ritson, adjunct professor of marketing at the Melbourne Business School, who also runs the Mini MBA in marketing program in collaboration with Marketing Week, and writes for Marketing Week as well. Ritson has worked globally as a private marketing consultant for esteemed clients like Baxter, Loewe, McKinsey, PepsiCo, Subaru, Eli Lilly, Donna Karan, Westpac, Shiseido, Flight Centre, Johnson & Johnson, De Beers, Sephora, Benefit, Amgen, Ericsson, Jurlique, Cloudy Bay, Unilever, KPMG and WD40. If that wasn’t enough powerful impact, Mark Ritson also spent 13 years as the in-house professor for LVMH, the world’s largest luxury group that handles brands like Louis Vuitton, Dom Perignon, and Hennessy.

Ritson uses his enriched wealth of information and his sharp sense of humor to talk about how he has actually incorporated Marketing Today itself into the Mini MBA program, but with one missing piece ­– the often misunderstood industry topic of brand diagnosis. If you are a fan of the Effie Awards like Alan Hart and Mark Ritson are, you will enjoy hearing what Ritson has learned during the course of his extensive Effie research. Also, find out why Mark Ritson is getting really excited about the idea of “post-digital marketing,” and why Mark feels you are currently listening to the best marketing podcast in the world.

Ritson shares his valuable brand understanding: “You have to go to the place where the brand was born,” says Ritson. “You split up brand management into three distinct slices, the first part diagnosis, the next strategy, the final part tactics.” Ritson goes on to say, “Target customers really want purpose.”

Highlights from this “Marketing Today” conversation include:

  • Mark Ritson shares what he has been working on with Marketing Today. (01:58)
  • How should people go about diagnosing their brand? (04:44)
  • Mark shares his take on social listening with Twitter as an example. (09:40)
  • Why is it so hard to get CMOs to talk about how to manage brands? (11:25)
  • After brand diagnosis, should the next step be positioning the brand or defining its core purpose? (13:49)
  • Brands can support a multitude of causes while also turning a profit. (16:55)
  • Purpose watching is, unfortunately, being used as a smokescreen by some companies that aren’t living up to their claimed behavior. (19:58)
  • What has Mark learned from his research about the Effie Awards? (22:21)
  • What is the difference between distinctiveness and differentiation? (25:47)
  • The biggest ROI factor is that you already have scale. (27:37)
  • Why aren’t we discussing whether media quality is any good or not? (28:55)
  • Why is Mark Ritson so excited about “post-digital marketing?” (30:54)
  • Has there been an experience in Mark’s past that made him who he is today? (34:07)
  • Is there any advice that Mark would give to his younger self? (37:03)
  • What is the most absurd thing that Mark is thinking about now? (37:56)
  • Where does Mark get most of his information? (41:34)
  • Is there an opportunity that marketers should be capitalizing on right now? (42:57)

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