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Aon’s CMO Cautions Peers: ‘Look At Yourself As Just Another C-Suite Officer’

Phil Clement is the global CMO for Aon, the leading global provider of risk management, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human resource solutions. He’s a rare breed: Clement have been CMO at Aon for more than 12 years—a position with an average tenure of only 23 months. Clement attributes his longevity to a consultant’s approach in getting people to buy in on ideas and projects. He also understands that, as CMO, you are a member of the C-suite team—you can’t have a strategy that is divorced or disconnected from the company vision and team alignment.

One key for Clement in leading branding efforts on a global scale is to let the “local jazz” come through when interpreting the “sheet music” of the brand instead of strictly adhering to brand standards: “The essence of brands translates, but it won’t always translate in the same exact manner,” he told me during this week’s Marketing Today podcast.

Clement also believes listening is critical in understanding the operational differences among cultures. “You can’t spend enough time listening ... and the bigger you get, the more important it gets,” he said. He went on to caution: “Unfortunately, it becomes more tempting not to [listen], because it just takes so much time.”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today” podcast include:

  • A shelf life with no expiration date? Clement’s 12-year run as CMO is nothing short of amazing. (1:35)
  • It’s a pretty big deal: Communicating the essence of a global brand across languages and cultures. (7:39)
  • Organizing effective marketing: Clement discusses the geography of Aon’s marketing offering. (14:42)
  • Embracing fluidity in your marketing objectives: “It’s a great thing to get comfortable with.” (17:02)
  • What’s that on your shirt? The sports marketing story of Manchester United and Aon. (21:03)
  • Mergers and acquisitions: An underestimated part of marketing mixes. (27:56)
  • The future of marketing will be more about problem solving: “As your mix changes, as your needs change, so will your solutions.” (35:57)

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