“Don’t be afraid to experiment and take some smart risks. And make sure you measure everything. This is the beauty of marketing in the digital age. Marketing is the new finance.”
How does Adobe foster a creative culture of innovation and collaboration inside and outside of the company to differentiate from competitors?
At its heart, Adobe is a creative company. We make the best creative products in the world—from Photoshop to InDesign and Premiere Pro. That’s our heritage. And we’re constantly churning out new products that anticipate where the market is headed—from creative touch applications for tablets and cloud-based services to new HTML5 design tools. There’s a saying in technology that “you either innovate or you die.” We take that seriously. And it’s not just on the product side. We really push the envelope from a marketing perspective. With ready access to our creative solutions and digital marketing optimization tools from our Omniture business, we strive to develop the most creative work with the most impact. In sum, we think our creative DNA separates us from other companies in the technology space and it makes working here professionally rewarding.
It’s evident to see that Adobe understands the importance of CSR in business practice. To what extent do you feel that your commitment to corporate citizenship impacts your brand?
Adobe’s founders and current co-chairmen of the board, John Warnock and Chuck Geschke, started this company with a very strong sense of responsibility to the community. It’s a really important part of our culture. We have some of the most environmentally sound buildings in the world (with four Platinum LEED certifications), astoundingly high employee volunteer rates, and a strong commitment to charitable organizations in our communities. All of these efforts project positively on our brand and engender loyalty among our customers. But, I believe the biggest value to a brand comes from programs that directly link back to the mission of the company. Our signature philanthropic program, Adobe Youth Voices, does just that. Now in its fifth year, Adobe Youth Voices provides kids in under-served communities with Adobe creative solutions to create media that expresses their feelings and views on issues affecting them. We have reached over 50,000 kids in more than 40 countries with our program. These kids produce some of the most inspiring and humbling creative work and involvement in this program has literally changed their lives. For the past two years, we’ve collaborated with The Black Eyed Peas and created joint academies in the U.S. that enable youth to create music and dance as well as digital media. We are enabling the next generation of creators—designers, filmmakers and photographers. There’s nothing better than that.
Can you provide us with insight on how you have managed to successfully balance a diverse portfolio of brands while building equity back into the masterbrand?
This can be challenging for a company as diverse as Adobe. We have some of the world’s most beloved product brands—Photoshop, PDF and Flash—and the Adobe brand was built on the backs of these product brands. Happily, our research shows that our master brand is very strong among all our customer segments. However, the brand is viewed too narrowly. For example, people think of us as a creative tools company but may not know that our acquisition of Omniture made us the leader in digital marketing measurement and optimization tools or that we are also a major player in content management with our recent acquisition of Day Software. To address this, we recently launched our first-ever brand campaign featuring marquee customers who are using a wide range of Adobe solutions. The goal of the campaign is to communicate Adobe’s brand promise of enabling our customers to make, manage, mobilize, and monetize their digital experiences.
What advice do you have for marketers at other companies who are facing similar challenges that you face in keeping ahead of such a fast moving business sector?
Don’t be afraid to experiment and take some smart risks. And make sure you measure everything. This is the beauty of marketing in the digital age. Marketing is the new finance. Today, marketers can segment their audiences and collect data in ways that simply weren’t possible before—allowing them to quickly measure what’s working, what isn’t, iterate, and improve marketing effectiveness. Most importantly, we’ve never been in a better position to prove marketing’s ROI and its contribution to the bottom line. There’s never been a better time to be in marketing.
What inspires you personally and feeds your ideas? Are there any particular books, people or other external resources that have changed or influenced you in a certain way?
I am a media junkie. I am on the Web all day—Twitter is my social drug of choice—see at least two to three movies a week (on demand), watch TV (yes, TV) and am a voracious reader of fiction and non-fiction. I love design, art, and music. Satellite radio changed my life. All of this provides huge inspiration to me as a marketer. I was always the kid who knew all the lyrics to TV commercial jingles and, despite what my parents thought, I believe all that marketing exposure actually made me very attuned to what people respond to. When I first read David Ogilvy’s Ogilvy on Advertising I knew this was the career for me.
What other brand(s) do you admire and why?
I have always been a huge Coca-Cola fan. The soul of that brand is so consistent and still so strong after more than 100 years. They have managed to keep their brand fresh and relevant. It’s an amazing feat to do that.
ABOUT ANN LEWNES
As senior vice president of global marketing, Ann Lewnes is responsible for Adobe's corporate brand and integrated marketing efforts worldwide. She drives the company's corporate positioning, branding and identity, public relations, marketing campaigns, field marketing, and education segment marketing to ensure strong connections with customers and constituents. As champion of Adobe's brand to employees and the community, she also oversees Adobe's internal communications and community relations efforts including the Adobe Foundation, which funds philanthropic initiatives around the world.
In 2000, Lewnes was elected to the American Advertising Federation's Hall of Achievement. In 2010, she was honored with a Changing The Game Award by the Advertising Women of New York (AWNY). She serves on the boards of the Advertising Council and the Adobe Foundation. Lewnes is on Twitter at www.twitter.com/alewnes.