How we can learn from the founders of brand management –  decades later and still  highly  relevant.

By Kerry Roberts and Jennifer Roberts

We think so, origins continue to delight. Mad Men season 5 premier drew a record 3.5 million viewers and created buzz with the new Mrs. Draper’s performance of Zou Bissou Bissou. Not to mention the countless trace your family tree websites.

What is it about the window into the past that intrigues us so? Salacious bits aside, we think it is “one part” you can always learn something….Take a look at this memo –  but we ask you to channel your inner Don Draper while reading – it’s sexist.  It was written in May 1931 by N.H. McElroy at P&G (he went on to eventually become Eisenhower’s Secretary of Defense).  This job description is said to be the origin of Brand Management.

While it’s fascinating to get a glimpse into the mind-set of a pioneer of branding, what struck us was exactly how much still holds true.

Here it is: How to be a successful Brand “MAN” (I know .….. but recall women had only been voting for 15yrs)

• Be a Data Digger: Know your business inside and out. Know why you are succeeding, and dig into the reasons for poor performance to plan corrective action.

• Hit the Field: Leave your office, often. Go and see consumers in action, your sales force in action, and the retailers. Face time mattered then, perhaps even more so now in the world of text, email, IM and social media.

• Delegate: Know what to pass along to your team so that you can focus on the big stuff.

And 2 favorites that we feel the brand Men (and even some Women) of today often forget:

• You support Sales, not vice versa. Do not look to the Sales force for growth. Your job is to build the brand, and to arm them with the tools to execute on the vision.
• Take full responsibility for Advertising – full stop. Your role is not to criticize and hope for the best. You alone are accountable for your brand’s message to consumers.

Now pour yourself a Scotch, beer or chardonnay, lighten up and make an action plan against each of these pillars in the coming weeks. We guarantee your brand (but not your health), will be better for it and bet the language will be a bit more flowery……….

Thank you to a smart marketer at Rogers who graciously shared this memo.