Brand and Demand: Driving Business Results in the Golden Age of Marketing Effectiveness

Kate Price, Partner at Prophet speaks with Colin Westcott-Pitt, Global Chief Brand Officer at Glanbia Performance Nutrition on how to link marketing initiatives to broader organizational goals.  

Colin Westcott-Pitt is the Global Chief Brand Officer at Glanbia Performance Nutrition where he is responsible for the development and oversight of their brand portfolio. 

Kate Price: Given the disruption of the last few years, marketers are being asked to take on greater accountability and demonstrate the impact and ROI of their marketing investment while creating tighter alignment with overall business objectives. How have you shifted your strategy in response to these challenges? 

Colin Westcott-Pitt: Certainly, the disruption in recent years has been a significant factor in reshaping our marketing priorities. Although, I’ve never viewed business outcomes in conflict with marketing outcomes. In fact, we’ve always operated with the mindset that one leads to another. At a brand’s core, it comes down to revenue and margin objectives. While there might be instances where marketers are overly focused on awareness or perception, in the current landscape it’s essential to strike a balance and recognize that marketing plays a crucial role in driving revenue and overall business success. 

To address the disruption, we’ve adopted a balanced scorecard approach to measure impact and ROI. This involves incorporating both short-term and medium to long-term measures. Recognizing the importance of a balanced strategy, we understand that there is no long-term without the short-term.  

We’ve taken a hard look at the role of data and how to apply it effectively has become essential for identifying growth opportunities, ensuring a balance between existing and new consumers, and ultimately driving strategic decision-making. The challenge lies in ensuring that the organization, at all levels, is fluent in interpreting and applying this data effectively. It’s crucial for the insights and analytics group to simplify complex data for broader understanding. 

KP: How have conversations with your C-suite evolved in light of recent disruptions and how has that impacted the role of brand at your organization? 

CWP: Our conversations have changed significantly. Our leadership team is increasingly engaged and curious about the changing landscape. They increasingly understand the shifting dynamics and ask more of marketing. They often begin with business objectives, emphasizing the importance of linking marketing initiatives to broader organizational goals. 

However, while marketing has undoubtedly become more data-driven and shifted towards performance metrics, the role of storytelling cannot be overlooked. We strive to find a unifying principle that everyone can align with, and that principle is often the brand. We reject the notion of silos where marketing is solely responsible for the brand. Instead, we emphasize that everyone plays a crucial role in shaping the brand experience. This approach helps break down barriers and encourages collaboration. We recognize the importance of each function, whether it’s marketing, manufacturing, or sales, in contributing to the overall success of the brand. Small initiatives, like rewarding employees with branded merchandise, can foster a sense of unity and shared purpose. 

Challenges arise when the brand is not perceived as fundamental. In functions such as finance or manufacturing, for example, it is a key task of marketing to help these teams understand the role of brand across these various departments. To do this, it requires a meaningful effort to communicate that everyone contributes to the success of the brand and, by extension, the business. It’s about instilling a sense of appreciation for the unique role each function plays in achieving overall success. We come back to the phrase “everyone has a unique contribution to success” which reinforces the idea that each person, regardless of their role or function, is integral to the overall success of the brand and the business. It doesn’t always have to be a big initiative. We hit a major milestone in our business this year and handed out t-shirts to all of our teams, which was a relatively small thing, but from an internal employee engagement, it made everybody feel like part of the story. The small things can sometimes go a long way. 

KP: How do you navigate the tensions between brand and demand, especially in the context of demand marketing and short-term performance? 

CWP: I think the key is to avoid viewing brand and demand as an either-or situation but rather embrace the idea of “both-ism,”. Balancing brand and demand is crucial, it really requires a disciplined brand planning process. Our process involves a systematic approach that aligns brand strategy with demand opportunities, setting clear objectives that include pricing strategies, promotions, and channel roles.   

To deliver against this “both-ism” approach, balancing the long and short term, the key is starting with a comprehensive situation assessment and aligning brand strategy with demand opportunities. From there, the brand planning process sets clear objectives, including pricing strategies, promotions, and channel roles. It’s crucial to recognize consumer moments (e.g., New Year’s Resolutions) that matter and retailer moments that matter (e.g., Amazon Prime Day). Success really requires a systematic and collaborative planning approach that considers each function’s unique role at different moments in time.  

We are also relentless in our measurement. Goals are tracked through a strategic performance pyramid that encompasses business objectives like household penetration, market share, and consumption. The pyramid narrows down to more specific metrics like website visits, search levels, and media reach. This provides a clear structure for tracking leading and lagging indicators at both strategic and tactical levels, ensuring the brand’s performance is measured comprehensively and preventing over-reliance on a few seductive metrics. 

KP: In our report, “Brand and Demand: A Love Story” we outline for common principles of brand and demand: anchoring marketing investment in business objectives, experimentation, building a modern marketing organization and putting the customer at the center. Do you agree with these and how do you apply these to your organization? 

CWP: Absolutely, I think these all apply. I’d say recently we’ve especially shifted towards more enthusiasm and passion for experimentation, fostering an environment without fear of failure. As we put a greater emphasis on experimentation, we’ve been able to encourage a culture of trying new things quickly, building curiosity and being data-driven. Our approach to agile learning is facilitated by having specialists delve into emerging areas, utilizing social listening and even experimenting with artificial intelligence. 

I also think we are living in the golden age of effectiveness. Building a modern marketing organization involves understanding contemporary principles and building off models like Ehrenberg Bass. Distinctive assets, a key aspect of discussions, have become more formalized and structured. Our conversations around consumer-centricity have evolved, emphasizing real-time insights and quick feedback mechanisms. We put a greater emphasis on tapping into consumer behavior through super consumer groups and communities, ensuring a continuous effort to stay agile and adapt to changing consumer dynamics. We have a small group of consumers that we tap into on a regular basis for quick feedback. Everything is changing really fast, so having the ability to tap into real-time insights allows us to stay on top of new consumer trends.  

KP: Last but not least, what keeps you excited about marketing?   

CWP: There are a couple of things that I’m particularly excited about. The first is this shift towards being measured against business outcomes. If this is the golden age of marketing effectiveness, and when we’re doing a good job, then our business results should reflect that. Witnessing the tangible results of effective marketing is exhilarating. On the consumer side, the joy lies in working with brands that can make a positive impact on people’s lives. Whether it’s contributing to a healthy lifestyle, performance improvement, or weight management, seeing the positive change in consumers’ lives is truly fulfilling. The happiness and satisfaction of consumers after using the product, like completing a marathon with a smile, adds to the overall excitement. 


Taking a disciplined approach to brand and demand – and building processes to address both functions is crucial for delivering marketing effectiveness. As Colin discussed, more and more, executive teams and boards are asking marketing leaders to prove their ability to influence revenue generation. And to do this, marketers need an integrated strategy to both brand and demand marketing. Talk to our team to learn more about building relevant brands and driving demand that leads to uncommon growth. 

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