AT&T Brand Chief Fiona Carter: 'Taking action can actually be the best way to a strong thriving economic future'

The exec shares insights on marketing growth drivers, media transparency and much more.

For the last few months, brands and agencies have been hypothesizing about what marketing will look like in a post-COVID world, and while predictions continue to fly around, AT&T’s Fiona Carter believes one thing is certain.

"You’re going to see a real push and pull between a couple of trends," said the chief brand officer, "and you’re going to have to be vigilant to ensure that you’ve preserved the purpose of the heart of your company."

Consumers and companies alike will undoubtedly face cash pressures for awhile due to the pandemic, said Carter, which is why providing customers with high quality products at really great prices will be key going forward.

But she told Campaign US that she hopes the kind of marketing that zeros in on functional drivers and price doesn’t come at the sacrifice of purpose and action.

"I equally and truly believe another trend will be that customers and consumers are expecting companies to step up," said Carter. "They’re going to expect them to step up to support society, support the economy and support humanity. And these two cannot be at odds at each other. We cannot sacrifice one for the other."

The passionate brand chief also touches on media planning and buying issues today, specifically the suppression of the economy and the fact that nobody knows what will come in Q3 and Q4.

"A great marketer is also a good general manager," explained Carter. "You need to preserve cash on behalf of the company and flexibility is more important than ever, so I’m pleased that conversations are happening, advertiser to network, but also at the trade body level to talk about just how important flexibility is now. We need to be able to flex in and out without penalty."

Below you’ll find a clip from the panel with Carter, featuring Sophie Kelly, SVP of North American Whiskeys at Diageo; and Andrew Robertson, global CEO of BBDO Worldwide. In the clip, the trio shares their learnings from the first couple of months of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Note: The fireside chat and panel do not touch on the recent protests against racial injustice because they were recorded prior to the unjust killing of George Floyd).

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