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Phil Clement, CMO, Aon Corp.

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Title: CMO
Company: Aon Corp.
Years in current job: 4
Quote: “If you can't measure it, don't do it.”

During most of his tenure at insurance brokerage Aon Corp., CMO Phil Clement has focused on below-the-waterline marketing efforts that are difficult for outsiders to see.

One of his first tasks was to have employees understand the Aon brand and then embody it in their daily work and interaction with customers and prospects.

“We had a name, a logo and graphic identity, but we really didn't have a brand personality,” he said. “So we set about creating that. Our brand qualities affect the way every employee is evaluated. The same qualities that are in our brand, we wanted to see those same things in our employees.”

Key elements of the Aon brand that Clement and his team have developed are value, service, teamwork and global expertise. Now, after spending four years solidifying its brand internally, Aon appears poised to unleash it around the globe.

Beginning next year, the company will take over for AIG as the shirt sponsor of Manchester United, one of the world's most recognized professional soccer teams. The price tag for the sponsorship: a reported $132 million.

“One thing that came to mind from the presence of our brand on the Manchester United shirt is this: Think of how many young people in China and elsewhere are going to be exposed to that jersey,” Clement said. “That is something that is going to pay off for 50 years. It's going to be locked into their minds and will be paying dividends whether the sponsorship is still going or not.”

But Clement said brand building is only a side benefit of the sponsorship. He said the primary goal is unifying sponsorships around the globe and simplifying the internal branding message to employees.

“It brings our firm together,” he said. “We spend a good amount of money every year just communicating with our 36,000 walking billboards. If I'm trying to let them know about what's going on in [separate sponsorships in] China, Alaska and Indiana, that's a lot for people to digest. If you can find one common sponsorship that communicates teamwork and commitment to excellence, like those values that Manchester United has, and you can get across that those are also the values you have in your firm, then you get more value out of that spending.”

While continuing to oversee Aon's marketing efforts through digital, print and social media, Clement is also putting together a team to implement Aon's Manchester United sponsorship plans. One of the key elements of the sponsorship is the capability to measure return on investment.

“We will be paying close attention to the return on our marketing investment that we will be making in the many sales campaigns we will be driving across our business units,” Clement said.

“One of the reasons we invested in the sponsorship agreement with Manchester United was because we felt it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build the Aon brand globally. So we are going to be taking a close look over the course of the four-year agreement as to how it is having an impact on our brand awareness around the globe.” —S.C.

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