Corporate Eye

The 6 Hats of a Chief Brand Officer

Chief Brand Officer (CBO) – it’s still a fairly new term in the business world, or at least it’s still fairly unused. So what exactly is a chief brand officer? What does a CBO do, and what value does the CBO bring to an organization? Let’s take a closer look.

First, if you haven’t already read Branding Spotlight: What is Branding? and Branding Spotlight – How to Develop a Brand, and you’re not clear on the basics of branding, then take a moment to read those posts. Then, come back to this post and read on to learn more about the role of a chief brand officer.

Chief Brand Officer as Champion: In simplest terms, a chief brand officer is the brand champion. The CBO lives and breathes the brand image, message and promise and ensures the brand is infused into all parts of a company from marketing and advertising to finance, customer service and everything in between.

Chief Brand Officer as Innovator: The chief brand officer must analyze, modify and create (for new brands) the brand image and message then maintain it consistently and persistently.

Chief Brand Officer as Owner: The chief brand officer is tasked with owning the brand experience. A successful CBO can live in the customers’ shoes and speak for the customer within the organization to ensure all business initiatives consistently reflect the brand.

Chief Brand Officer as Protector and Visionary: The chief brand officer must be protective and visionary at the same time. While acting as steward of the brand and ensuring nothing damages it in the eyes of consumers (or conducting damage control), the CBO must simultaneously be able to take strategic risks with the brand to create opportunities that drive the business forward.

Chief Brand Officer as Motivator: The chief brand officer must live the brand image and communicate the brand message and promise both externally to consumers and internally to employees. The CBO must work to make employees live the brand as well and become a strong team of brand champions.

Chief Brand Officer as Partner, Mediator and Negotiator: The chief brand officer must work to align initiatives and strategies throughout the organization with the overall brand.

Remember, brands represent a promise and an experience which create expectations for that brand in the minds of consumers. A consistent brand message and experience leads to repeat sales and brand loyalty, which turns into word-of-mouth marketing, new customers and overall business growth.

It all starts with the brand. Companies that realize that and make the investment now into creating and growing their brands in the short term, will reap the rewards in the long term.

Does your company have a chief brand officer? Should it?

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

I would add a seventh …

Chief Brand Officer as Market Position Strategist: The Chief Brand Officer is charged with creating the company’s core positioning strategy and maintaining or modifying this core of the the company’s living brand relative to its competitive environment. Market position is not the same as a promise.

Steve Byrne
Chief Brand Officer
Career Management Services, Inc.

I agree with Steve and add an Eight:

Chief Brand Officer as Brand mover, constantly moving the brand to the top, as a sustainable competitive advantage

Alexander R. Torres

Hi, Im from the Philippines, an engineer but I shifted to Business Development. I don’t know then the title of the position for the activities I was doing and imagining every day doing. Until I read the article above.

Many years I wrote this, THE IDEA

We are on the era where total customer satisfaction is the basis for the company’s future. Customers start to ask for more, not just to deliver the goods but they want more. We’re not sure about that “more”, so we have to create this “perception” on our own imagination and initiative. Companies who want to get ahead of their competitors must create a new image of perfection and satisfaction. A NEW IMAGE, A NEW EXPERIENCE.
– Serrot Red Naxela

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