Top 10 most influential CMOs globally

CMOs are often seen as change agents in the company driving the transformation to put the customers in the centre of decision making. To do so, influence is necessary. One of the most influencial CMOs today is none other than Unilever's former chief marketing officer Keith Weed (pictured), according to a report by Sprinklr. Weed, who wrapped up his 35-year career at Unilever in April 2019, takes home the title for the third year in a row.

The research and data analysis for this report were provided by Sprinklr, that pulled in data from 23 social channels, 11 messaging channels and 350 million online sources. The scores were based on brand performance, personal influence measured by mentions on online platforms as well as data gathered by LinkedIn on overall industry and internal influence.

Some attributes of leading CMOs include using influence to bring greater focus to the work of their organisations, shifting the trajectory of a company by changing the tone or structure of its campaign and customer experiences. Those listed by Sprinklr possess parts of the above mentioned attributes and more.

1. Keith Weed, former chief marketing officer, Unilever

Over the past 12 months, Weed has maintained his highly publicised efforts to bring Unilever's creative efforts in-house, sparking a cross-industry discussion of the value that outside agencies do or do not bring to its clients. Weed has also doubled down on Unilever’s Unstereotype initiative that is focused on building diverse creative teams, and on avoiding negative stereotypes that potentially plague advertising content. Moreover, last year Unilever revealed that it will stop working with influencer partners with fake or purchased followers.

2. Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer, P&G

Following close behind is Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer at Procter & Gamble (P&G), who is constantly focusing on telling stories that "truly matter". One such example is the "The Best Men Can Be" campaign from P&G’s Gillette that urged men to set a healthy example for younger generations in the midst of the #MeToo era. While well-received, the ad caught a bit of controversy.

As the head of marketing at P&G, Pritchard continues to drive the company's strategy of creating content that is highly relevant to the most crucial topics of the day. On top of that, Pritchard has a strong conviction that publishers and broadcasters must “elevate quality, ensure brand safety, and have control over their content”. He has also called for social networks to prioritise transparency and data security – a key measure to ensure that well-crafted content reaches consumers with its values and message intact.

3. Antonio Lucio, global chief marketing officer, Facebook

Clinching the third spot is Antonio Lucio, global chief marketing officer at Facebook. Bringing with him the full weight of experience having worked at companies such Visa and HP, Lucio is hard at work to reposition a brand under intense scrutiny with a substantial marketing spend. Soon after helming his new role, Lucio managed the launch of Facebook's More Together campaign that highlights the platform’s ability to bring people with shared interests together. Ultimately, the campaign also looks to soften Facebook’s image in the midst of heightened scrutiny.

4. Ann Lewnes, chief marketing officer, Adobe 

Helming the fourth position is Ann Lewnes, in her 13th year as the chief marketing officer of Adobe. She is also the executive vice president of Adobe and was previously with Intel Corp as VP of marketing. Remaining a strong proponent of both data-driven digital marketing and human skills, Lewnes has been ranked in Sprinklr's top 10 CMO list for the past two years. Under her leadership at Adobe, the company's marketing organisation pioneered the shift to digital — deploying a comprehensive set of digital marketing solutions, establishing an insight-driven culture and setting a template for marketing’s strategic impact on business.

5. Kristin Lemkau, chief marketing officer, JPMorgan Chase 

Taking the fifth spot is Kristin Lemkau, breaking barriers in the financial sector with her expertise. Currently the chief marketing officer at JPMorgan Chase, Lemkau has helped the bank create a kind of humanity in its work. A particular example will be an ad campaign, #ThisMama, that celebrates working mothers and starred Serena Williams with her baby daughter. Lemkau’s focus on humanising her brand reaches beyond the maternal demographic as well. As the bank competes for younger customers, Lemkau's human approach looks to position JPMorgan Chase for sustained success.

6. Leslie Berland, chief marketing officer and head of people, Twitter

Chief marketing officer and head of people at Twitter, Leslie Berland sits on the sixth position. Under the guiding eye of Berland, the platform has taken a back-to-basics approach, retooling its official account to offer more lighthearted, informal posts that drive human exchanges. Last year, the brand handle drew 46,000 likes with a playful tweet that simply said, “Tweet, tweet.” Berland was also overseeing Twitter's #StartWithThem campaign, which encourages brands and agencies to recognise and tap into Twitter’s engaged and "hyperinformed" user base.

7. Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer, Mastercard

One of the most prominent leaders in the industry, Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer of Mastercard, is listed in the seventh spot. Mastercard recently dropped its brand name from its well-known red and yellow wordmark. Under Rajammanar’s leadership, Mastercard also established a sonic brand to go with its iconic logo: a melody that plays during Mastercard ads. Clearly looking to redefine marketing, he was also behind the recently the Priceless experiential skills that the brand is pushing for.

8. Linda Boff, chief marketing officer and VP of learning and culture, General Electrics

General Electric's (GE) chief marketing officer and VP of learning and culture, Linda Boff takes the eighth spot as an influential CMO. As the new chair of the Ad Council Board of Directors, Boff’s impact on the industry goes beyond her leadership role at GE.While GE is unlikely to enter the fashion world, Boff breathed new life into the 127-year-old brand and partnered with fashion designer Zac Posen. Both GE and Posen worked together to release 3D-printed garments at this year's Met Gala. 15 years with GE, Boff shows no signs of slowing down and remains an iconic example of what marketers can accomplish through long-term  investment in a single company.

9. Phil Schiller, SVP of worldwide marketing, Apple

Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, has been at Apple for 20 years. Schiller was also behind the Privacy campaign for its iPhone models, which is the company's latest effort to build trust with customers concerned about data security. Moreover, he was also one of the judges for Apple's Shot on iPhone challenge, that saw a Singaporean photographer win for his shot and have it featured on billboards. This comes as part of Schiller's strategy in expanding the already mature iPhone market.

10. Karen Walker, SVP and chief marketing officer, Cisco 

Entering her fifth year at the helm of Cisco’s marketing team, Karen Walker is the senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Cisco. She continues to tell a powerful story about the company’s good works around the world, with Cisco’s Bridge to Possible campaign a case in point. The campaign highlights stories such as how Cisco helped a particular police department in the US monitor activity in tourist-heavy areas, and how it empowers women in India to sell their crafts online, without engaging a middlemen. Walker believes in translating her commitment to authenticity into powerful and effective campaigns, making her the 10th most influential CMO by Sprinklr.

(Photo courtesy: Shutterstock)