BMA 2012: Marketing essential in transformations of Emerson, Motorola

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Chicago—The marketing departments played key roles in the transformation of Motorola Solutions, which has a heritage dating back 84 years, and Emerson Electric Co., a 122-year-old company. That was the message delivered in two presentations at the 2012 International Business Marketing Association Conference, which kicked off on Wednesday here. In his remarks, Motorola Solutions CEO Greg Brown consistently praised Motorola Solutions Senior VP-CMO Eduardo Conrado for his efforts in developing the company's brand and culture after its split last year from Motorola Mobility. When Motorola Inc. was divided into two companies, Motorola Solutions faced the challenge of divorcing itself from the cell phones long associated with the Motorola brand. “The future of Motorola is not its past,” Brown said. Conrado, the 2012-13 chairman of the BMA, determined that the newly created Motorola Solutions had a prime opportunity to implement a new brand framework simultaneously with a new cultural identity. He and the marketing team developed a brand and a culture built around how the company's offerings, such as its communications systems for first responders, must work in critical times for customers. As Brown put it, “What we really do is help people be their best in the moments that matter.” And that is the purpose in Motorola Solutions' purpose-driven marketing. Brown said at previous companies where he'd worked, what they called “marketing” was often just sales support, ad campaigns or merchandising. “Motorola Solutions does marketing with a capital M,” he said. Conrado has made sure that marketing—and the voice of the customer—is in every aspect of Motorola Solutions' business, even the transformation of its IT, Brown said. “I don't think of [Conrado] as a marketing guy,” he said. “I think of him as a trusted adviser.” In a separate presentation, Kathy Button Bell, Emerson's VP-CMO, described marketing's role in the transformation of that company over the past dozen years. In 2000, she said, Emerson was a $14 billion company known primarily for its motors and electrical products. “Once upon a time, we sold a lot of motors,” she said. Emerson also had a logo designed in 1967 and had product photos that “looked like a hardware store,” Bell said. In marketing these products, Emerson, which had been built largely through the acquisition of companies such as Appleton Electric and Rigid, used a host of brand names. Bell led an effort to alter this inefficient strategy, implementing a new approach that made the Emerson brand and logo more prominent. In this brand structure, Emerson acted as an “overbrand” to the “free-standing” subbrands, such as Appleton and Rigid. Bell also helped introduce a new brand promise at the company: “Emerson is where technology and engineering come together to create solutions for the benefit of our customers driven without compromise for a world in action.” This brand promise helped define Emerson's purpose for employees. Bell also said the placing of Emerson billboards in airports around the globe elevated the company's brand and helped improve employee morale. “Employees need to have a reason to get up in the morning,” she said. Emerson has implemented two recent branding campaigns: “Consider It Solved” and “It's Never Been Done Before.” Bell said one of the goals of these marketing efforts is to humanize the company. Over the past decade, with marketing playing a key role, Emerson has grown by more than $10 billion to a $24.5 billion enterprise with key positions in the oil and gas and networked power industries. Bell said part of the growth is due to marketing's efforts to differentiate the company. The next step, she said, is putting Emerson “on the path to remarkable.”
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