It's tempting to look at our slate of Marketer of the Year winners for 2010 and try to find a common theme, but in truth, there is none. Sure, you could argue that authenticity was a common touchstone for a few. Take Russell Weiner, who bravely pushed Domino's to admit that its previous pizza wasn't all that great, which paved the way for a new recipe (and a big jump in sales).
You could also argue that Tony Hsieh of Zappos has pioneered a form of transparent marketing based on customer service that is a road map for 21st century branding. But is authenticity really something new? After all, consumers never tolerated a disconnect between advertising and truth. Case in point: the 1985 introduction of New Coke. So if not authenticity, then what? Perhaps it's the ability to navigate a 2010 marketing landscape.
Our CMO Special Issue, anchored by AdweekMedia's Marketer of the Year awards (as chosen by the editors of Brandweek), proves that there has never been a more confounding time to be a marketer. The range of media choices these days is infinite, and the economy has created a risk-averse climate.
Yet many marketers, especially those on our Marketer of the Year list, have taken big risks with their brands and, perhaps more importantly, decided what their brands should stand for.
The combination of that restraint and a "consequences be damned" attitude has resulted in success for these winners. If readers are to learn anything from their stories, it's that marketing is not for the meek or faint of heart.
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