Jonathan Mildenhall (LinkedIn | Twitter) knows a thing or two about building a great brand. He has helped lead one of the world's great legacy brands as SVP of Coca-Cola, as well as one of the world's great new brands as CMO of Airbnb. He is now the co-founder and CEO of TwentyFirstCenturyBrand.
On this episode, Jonathan discusses his journey into marketing, how he learned to drive conversation at Coca-Cola and Airbnb, and what it takes for a brand to achieve success in the 21st century. Early Lessons from Coca-Cola - (4:50) - Jonathan moved from the UK to Atlanta, GA in 2006 as the incoming Vice President for Global Advertising Strategy and Content Excellence. - At Coca-Cola, he learned the power of a brand and the currency of storytelling. - "The currency of humanity is not the Dollar or the Yen or the Euro or the Pound. The currency of humanity is the story." - Jonathan Mildenhall - Jonathan took these lessons to Airbnb, where he then learned the power of dreams, vision, and ambition. - "When the entire organization is fearless, anything is possible." - Jonathan Mildenhall
Building a Successful 21st Century Brand - (12:30) - In his new role as co-founder and CEO of TwentyFirstCentury Brand, Jonathan thinks a lot about what it takes for a brand to be successful in today's world. - He believes there are 4 components to successful brand building: 1) A purpose that transcends the business model 2) The ability to attract and retain the best talent 3) Tech-enablement 4) Strong narrative - "Purpose-led, community-driven, and technology-enabled with an excellence of narrative. If you get those four things right, then you're going to be an unstoppable 21st century brand." - Jonathan Mildenhall
The Holy Grail of Marketing - (19:20) - Jonathan believes that every brand and every marketer should be attempting to earn a disproportionate share of conversation for every dollar spent. - "I want to drive conversation because conversation drives word of mouth, which is one of the biggest generators of growth." - Jonathan Mildenhall "The Holy Grail of marketing is when you do work that is so substantive that people can genuinely recall where they were when they first saw it." - Jonathan Mildenhall - Jonathan often asks companies to imagine their businesses 10 times bigger and then ask themselves how they are impacting the world and what story the world is telling back to them.
Leveraging Technology for Authentic Communication- (38:00) - Jonathan has seen B2B marketing let itself down because it forgets that the person on the other end of the message is human. - "You cannot be a successful 21st century brand unless the product is the most tangible evidence of the purpose and the values and the creativity of your company." - Jonathan Mildenhall - Realtime social media engagement can be used to express a brand's humanity and vulnerability, while also delighting and inspiring followers.
Building a Team & Overcoming Challenges at Airbnb - (48:20) - When building a team, it is important to think about which capabilities should be built in house and which should be outsourced, especially since more functions than ever can be outsourced in the gig economy. - In order to create a great strategic unit, Jonathan recommends having a team that is close to the end consumer, integrating brand marketing and performance marketing. An excellent working relationship with PR is also integral to manage the conversation. - Jonathan saw Airbnb go through one of its toughest times in 2016 and overcome it with external counsel, creativity, and cross-functional collaboration to produce the most successful Superbowl campaign of the year.
Pardot Lightning Round - (1:05:10) - Favorite app: Mr. Porter - Favorite vacation spot: Brazil - Ad campaign most envious of: Andy Warhol Burger King campaign - Favorite show: This Is Us - Best advice for a first time CMO: You will be more successful the more you interrogate leaders at your company about the heritage of the brand and what they anticipate might be the future problems the brand might be asked to address.
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