Branding's power takes spotlight at PRWeek marketing conference

NEW YORK: Brand alignment "from workplace to marketplace" is essential for companies competing today, according to Bill Margaritis, FedEx's VP of worldwide communications and IR.

NEW YORK: Brand alignment "from workplace to marketplace" is essential for companies competing today, according to Bill Margaritis, FedEx's VP of worldwide communications and IR.

Margaritis was the opening speaker at PRWeek's inaugural "Marketing and the Power of PR" conference, held on June 18 in New York City.

Addressing a group of about 190 delegates, primarily comprising corporate marketing and communications professionals, Margaritis also explained that the most successful brands of the 21st century are customer-focused and strive for continuous innovation.

"Companies that are not viewed as innovative are not considered good at serving their customers," he said.

Andy Lark, VP of global communications for Sun Microsystems, spoke about "branding the CEO." Strategic branding of the most senior executive, he said, can help companies reduce marketing costs and insulate themselves from issues.

Lunchtime speaker Beth Comstock, VP of corporate communications for GE, spoke about the company's high-profile CEO transition, as well as its realigned focus on positioning itself as a leader in innovation.

The rest of the program consisted of panels of PR and marketing teams from high-profile brands talking about various aspects of their strategies for using PR in the marketing mix.

Whirlpool's marketing director, Jeff Davidoff, brought along his whole agency roster, from advertising to direct marketing to PR. He told the audience that the key to making a team truly integrated is constant communication between all disciplines.

Other panels included Kodak's digital and applied imaging team with Ketchum, Bad Boy Entertainment with 5W Communications, Unilever with Weber Shandwick, and Snapple with Deutsch.

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