Leadership can occur at any age and within any level of an organization. Scientific Marketing Leaders are needed to drive the integration of applied chemistry into the broader world in a way that places science in a more influential position to help change the world for the better. From a diverse career in sales, marketing, communications, advertising, crisis & issues management, public relations, new business- and product development, brand strategy, management and licensing, broadcasting and copywriting, Carolmarie C. Brown is the Director Global Marketing, Brand and Business Communications at Ashland.
In 2015, Carolmarie successfully convinced Executive Leadership that Ashland needed a brand transformation and that doing so could significantly improve Ashland’s competitiveness and increase the value of the company’s offer and enterprise. In 2016, she led the evolution of the Ashland corporate brand strategy, new positioning and creative identity, post the IPO of Valvoline. Following its launch, the portfolio of work won a REBRAND® 100 Award of Distinction in 2018, and an Ashland Chairman’s Award in 2017. Some of the brand creative has been featured on the covers of industry trade magazines combined with feature stories within the publication.
Below is her story,
“Inspire, empower, and trust”, says Carolmarie. The marketing leader completed her education from Ithaca College with a Bachelor of Science in Communications and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. During her career, she has held many roles and experiences which afforded her opportunities to lead. These include executive producer, account executive, copy supervisor, extensive brand and communications management, consumer packaging manager and market development sales manager at DuPont, and marketing manager at INVISTA. Today, she leads a highly-talented global, marketing and communications team that supports Ashland’s commercial enterprise that includes pharmaceuticals, personal care, health & wellness, paints and coatings, packaging and structural adhesives, composites, industrial chemicals, advanced materials, and more. She often refers to her team as “rock stars” because they are always solving™ and they outperform their previous “record,” creating new ways to satisfy a variety of stakeholders including internal and external customers and critics. They support the company’s diverse businesses and functions and focus on building brand equity as the organization solves customers’ most complex challenges through revenue-generating opportunities. They partner together and collaborate on exciting marketing programs. They are a high performance team and a “source of inspiration” for her. Interpersonal relationships, a positive culture, and strong business competencies are important, says Carolmarie. In addition to business skills, the role of a CMO includes managing the internal as well as the external brand. It includes fostering an environment of collaboration and true teaming because great results come from individuals and teams who feel empowered to share innovative ideas. Planning, organizing, and systematizing maximizes efficiencies, so systems and processes are necessary. Clarity of communications supports this effort. Decision making based on the best information at the time is crucial to keep moving forward. She says, “Uplift your team. Be their “cheerleader” and hold yourself accountable and to the same expectation of your organization”. The ability to be decisive in managing conflict quickly also allows an individual to remain focused on the priorities that will be most impactful.
According to Carolmarie, as a creative visionary with a passion for excellence and a drive to deliver great things, I’ll seek challenges where I can continue to make an impact, take risks, be approachable and demonstrate an open-door policy. I really care. Maintaining an unwavering commitment to champion your plan especially when it is hard or you face challenges which are certain to come, define strong leaders. Technology is all the buzz today, and the landscape is rapidly evolving. Technology, however, should make things easier and not more stressful. There are levels of complexity to consider. Is the reason for the technology part of your strategy or just because it is “on trend” or expected? Strategy and a clear understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish should come first. Carolmarie stays on top of trends through networking and word of mouth. Animations, drones, AR and other technological advances are being used or considered as part of marketing programs. Personalization and customization add another level to marketing and anything digital magnifies the experience. Increasing the digital skills of her team and constantly benchmarking and watching analytics help further develop our digital strategy.
Successful strategies come from a place of strength and not from following competitors. She is a firm believer in market research especially when conducted “blind.” The most successful companies, marketers and branders clarify and amplify their own “compelling truth” and they remain steadfast in their positioning and identity developed directly from their own research says Carolmarie. At Ashland, it is particularly important that we focus on where we add genuine value and deliver on the promises we make in a thoughtful and consistent manner. Ashland is comprised of passionate, tenacious solvers and our brand associations are not accidental, rather they are the result of a disciplined and strategic program. Our plans are based on the true nature of what we do unlike any other company and in demonstrating how we advance the competitiveness of our customers, across the diverse industries in which we compete. The company’s plans are steeped in strategic work based on research, and it uses proven processes, and traditional and new methods of marketing. It constantly monitors data and analytics.