This article is part of a series of interviews with top marketing executives who offer you insights to help further your career: You will learn what makes these executives successful and what they value most in those who work for them.
The following is a transcript of a conversation between William Arruda, MarketingProfs Senior Contributor, and Scott Davis, Senior Partner at branding consultancy Prophet. Davis is also the author of two widely acclaimed books on branding, Brand Asset Management and Building the Brand-Driven Business. This transcript has been edited for clarity and readability. The interview is also available in audio for our Annual Premium members. Click here to play the podcast.
William Arruda: Tell us about the journey you took over 15 years to become a Senior Partner at Prophet.
Scott Davis: I always knew I was going to be in marketing. I grew up in a family that has origins in marketing and sales, and I knew that was my destiny. I also knew that to be credible in any field, I have to learn from the best. So that's why working at Procter & Gamble early in my career was foundational in learning some of the basic marketing skills and a blueprint for good marketing. Then I went back to Kellogg to get my MBA in 1989.I think getting a graduate degree in marketing is also fundamental, in addition to the pragmatic experience that I had.
I could have gone back into industry or down the consulting path, and for me it was more important to get as diverse an array of experiences as possible—looking on a number of different problems across categories and industries, with all sorts of different leaders that would continue to add to my arsenal.
I had assumed around year 10 that I would make a choice: go back into industry with all those good knowledge or stay on the consulting track. And around 1994 I started to discover this topic of brand. It was really a topic that was under-leveraged in the field—it wasn't talked about a lot and was misunderstood. So it was back in 1994 that I started on the journey that started with a very simple dialogue with 10 executives and the state of brand within their company.
I parlayed that into a study and went from a study into a series of articles, then from there into keynoting at several conferences. That started to open up the door to a lot of different projects around the topic of brand in the mid to late '90s. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy—understanding the topic and writing and speaking on it. I got to meet a lot of the brand leaders and had the opportunity to work on a lot of high profile brand cases that provided the fodder for my first book, Brand Asset Management. The book explores what brand really means within an organization, and how it's truly an asset—next to your people, it's the most important asset that you have.
Then I wrote another book, called Building the Brand-Driven Business, which talks about how in order to have any credibility externally with any brand promise, every single employee needs to understand that promise as well as understand their role in bringing it to life.