AT&T CBO Fiona Carter on The Business of Marketing and Societal Impact

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Fiona Carter has “the best job in the world,” as Chief Brand Officer of AT&T, a 142-year-old company which is “at the heart of everybody’s lives” focused on connecting people from the very beginning. But as the world evolved, so did AT&T, acquiring DIRECTV and WarnerMedia, and moving into content connectivity and convergence.  Fiona’s role as CBO is quite unique in that she oversees PR, Employee Communications, Corporate Communications, Media (one of the largest media budgets in the world), Sponsorships and advises her CMO partners.

“My role is to protect and promote the brand, but also to be a thought leader that is really stewarding the way we are moving forward and some of those issues that are affecting every marketer today. Meanwhile, my CMO friends and partners, look to me for creative guidance. My background is an advertising agency, so I have a deep understanding of how to build a brand through creativity and advertising. And I also understand how to work with agencies to get the very best out of [them] and harness all of that on behalf of our CMOs to not only build the brand but to drive our business forward.”

As part of that massive suite of responsibilities, one of Fiona’s complementary skills is financial acumen.  In her last role at an agency, she charted her own course and maneuvered herself into a Chief Operating Officer role (tune in to find out how).  It was at this critical career juncture that she learned the business of marketing and really focused on learning how to talk the Chief Financial Officer’s language.

“What I love about the [marketing] job is that you really are a jack of all trades. I wonder how many of us realize just how many trades we need to master to be hands-on in lots of different areas. You have to understand research. You have to understand data. You have to be a media expert.  You really need to understand PR. You need to be really, really good at the psychology of your target. There are so many different skills you need and there are so many specialists out there that are quite often trying to bamboozle you. So how do you pull all of this together to ensure that you are super smart?”

Join Fiona in this deep dive into all things marketing and media and hear how she built her toolbox of expert skills across agency and brand roles. Don’t miss hearing her amazing origin story and how this little British girl that grew up in the countryside became the Chief Brand Officer of one of the largest companies in the world. And definitely stay tuned to hear how her top role model and biggest fan, her mum and her daughter, inspired her to lead massive change industry-wide for women equality and portrayal around the globe.

My absolute favorite part of this podcast (albeit tough to choose) is the answer she gave her daughter when asked “Mommy, why is everyone calling me a princess? I’m a gymnast and I like reading and I like running around and I’m not really a princess who just puts on pretty clothes. What is that about?” Listen in to hear Fiona’s reponse to her daughter and what she’s doing now as Co-Chair of #SeeHer, along with Co-Chair Marc Pritchard, CBO of Procter and Gamble.

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Why CBO of WW International Gail Tifford Says the World Still Needs Champions Nadine Dietz is chief community officer at Adweek and host of the CMO Moves podcast.