There are many similarities between the roles of a Chief Brand Officer (CBO) and a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), but there are also some key differences.

1 Idea – 1 Challenge – 1 Quote




Both disciplines involve understanding customers’ needs and desires through market research and creating a strategy to meet those needs. Both also require an understanding of the competition and the ability to create a unique positioning for their respective products or brands.


Brand management vs product management

There are two schools of thought when managing a company’s products: brand management and product management. Each approach has its own advantages and disadvantages, but which one is right for your company?


Brand management

It is all about creating and maintaining a strong, consistent brand identity. This means ensuring that all your company’s products reflect the same values and messages. The advantage of this approach is that it can help build customer loyalty and trust. The downside is that it can be inflexible and slow to respond to changes in the market.


Product management

Focuses on creating products that meet customer needs. This approach is more flexible and can help you quickly adapt to changes in the market. However, without a strong brand identity, it can be difficult to build customer loyalty.

Brands have become increasingly important as consumers have become more savvy and media has diversified. In today’s marketplace, brands can be powerful tools for companies to differentiate their products from the competition.


Is brand part of marketing?


I support the view that it is brand strategy first. If brand is part of marketing, then it is the first part of marketing.

As I wrote earlier, there is a lot of misconception and strong views regarding this, and two things added significantly to the confusion.

One, initially marketing was anybody’s and nobody’s responsibility in a company. Then the position of CMO came about more or less 50 years ago. In the early days, the CMO was primarily responsible for advertising and promotions. The role of the CMO has evolved over time as marketing has become more complex but is still limited in many organisations to the promotional mix elements, excluding the other marketing mix elements from the responsibilities of Marketing. Marketing managers often have limited input into the development of new products, the product roadmap, do not even serve on cross-functional teams or product development teams.

Two, when brand came along, it was tagged onto product as part of the marketing mix and this is probably why we have a Brand Manager that is actually only responsible for product, with brand as an afterthought.


Chief Brand Officer vs Chief Marketing Officer


Chief marketing officer


Today, the CMO must also be experts in digital marketing, data analysis, and user experience, among others.

A chief marketing officer (CMO) is a corporate executive responsible for marketing activities in an organisation. The CMO leads the marketing department and sets the company’s marketing strategies. If the organisation does not have a CBO, then the CMO would also be the CBO.


Chief brand officer

A chief brand officer (CBO) is a corporate executive responsible for the overall branding strategy of a company. The CBO is responsible for creating and maintaining a strong and consistent brand identity and brand image. This includes developing an overarching brand strategy and managing day-to-day branding activities.

The CBO must have a deep understanding of both the marketplace and the company’s target consumers. They must be able to translate this knowledge into actionable strategies that will help the company achieve its business goals.

An effective CBO will have strong leadership skills and be able to inspire and motivate others to buy into the brand vision. They must also be excellent communicators, able to clearly articulate the brand message across all channels.


Brand managers

The job title Brand Manager is often used to refer to someone tasked with ensuring enough stock on shelves, running promotions and so on – part of the product team or sales team, product marketers or product marketing managers, if you will. They are responsible for the product line and are also called the product owner due to their focus on specific product and marketing plans.

The CBO and the CMO should work together closely and both report to the CEO and should be members of the executive team.

The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and the Chief Brand Officer (CBO) are both essential roles in a company. The CMO is responsible for creating and executing marketing campaigns, while the CBO is responsible for developing and managing the brand. While both roles are important, the CMO is more focused on generating leads and sales, while the CBO is more focused on building customer loyalty and creating an emotional connection with the brand.


Challenge To You


You wear many important hats, like Founder, Owner, CEO, CMO, but you have probably neglected your CBO role. Get absolute clarity in your mind as to the importance of the CBO role, what it entails and devote a fair share of resources to this role. This may be the missing leg of your business table.



“Life is like an escalator; you need to exert effort just to remain where you are, let alone progress. If you stand still, you slip back and soon end up at the bottom.” – Pieter Steenkamp

Share this quote on Twitter



Pieter Steenkamp, BrandDoctor


If you found this article helpful, then please share this link:


Newsletter managed with


Meet Dr Pieter Steenkamp, your BRAND FOR SUCCESS guide.

I am actually a brand doctor with a PhD specialising in brand management from University of Stellenbosch Business School. As a brand management lecturer and researcher at a university in Cape Town South Africa and a regular visiting professor at universities in Germany, I stay up to date with the latest brand management developments. This affords me the incredible opportunity to consult with leaders of some of the most admired brands.

Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn

Visit BrandDoctor site