5 Questions for Jim Joseph, President of the Americas at Cohn & Wolfe

On his promotion to President/Chief Integrated Marketing Officer

Today Cohn & Wolfe announced the promotion of Jim Joseph — industry veteran, blogger, author, adjunct professor, and President of North America since 2012 — to President of the Americas as well as the newly created position of Chief Integrated Marketing Officer.

We spoke to Joseph this morning (from Brazil!) to learn more about his new role, the future of the industry, and whether we can lay the “is it PR or marketing?” question to rest in 2015.

1. Hi, Jim. What does “Chief Integrated Marketing Officer” mean, exactly?

It’s something we’ve been working on for some time: building out our integrated capabilities, moving beyond traditional PR (though that is still core to what we do), and expanding to produce content and handle paid media, content marketing, social media, communications management, etc. in an integrated fashion.

We’ve had great success so far, and now we want to expand globally so all of our markets can offer those capabilities since we have so many globally-oriented clients. It will be my job to ensure that all of our offices are equipped with the right tools to create that content and deliver results.

In terms of expansion, we are always looking to have a truly global footprint, so we are currently looking throughout Latin America and the Asia Pacific region to have a presence in all the markets where we need to be.

2. Will you still blog and do your thought leadership work?

I will definitely try to continue blogging every day as it helps me keep a pulse on what’s going on and ultimately do better work.

3. Will we continue asking “is it marketing or PR” in 2015?

Oh gosh, I hope we stop asking that question.

There are still some organizations trying to figure out that structure, but we’re now seeing that clients are either part of marketing teams or comms people reporting to marketing as part of an integrated team working side-by-side. That’s more the norm now, and it’s because of exactly what we’re talking about: the lines aren’t even blurred anymore…they’re gone. We all need to work on it together.

4. What is the most important skill for those entering the industry or trying to stay ahead of the curve to develop right now?

Creativity. I don’t necessarily mean that in the traditional sense in terms of writing great headlines or making great designs…but creativity is the key to success in terms of understanding the marketplace, developing strategies and program ideas, implementing those plans, conducting and drawing insights from research, etc. It’s taking a creative approach to everything we do from content to media relations, influencer relations, and more.

5. On a different note, which brands do you think will win the Super Bowl based on what we’ve seen so far?

I’m not sure yet, to be honest. Car brands will not have a strong presence this year, and a lot of the big advertisers aren’t buying multiple spots, so I think the winner may be a surprise. It won’t be something we see ahead of time or any of the brands that have released teasers so far; it will hit us from out of the blue. I think the message will be “global unity, one world”…that’s my prediction.

It could be a big brand like Coca-Cola or it could be a complete surprise.