McDonald's Marketing Director

Susan Schramm is named CMO of the Year 2020

CMO of the Year: Susan Schramm from McDonald's
CMO of the Year: Susan Schramm from McDonald's

Susan Schramm of McDonald's Germany will be honored by a 20-member jury with the title "CMO of the Year" for 2020. Originally, she was supposed to receive this award in September 2020, but due to Corona, the ceremony had to be postponed.

Susan Schramm prevailed in this election among seven top CMOs. They had been nominated in an online poll and subsequently rated. In their decision, the jury was particularly impressed by the McDonald's marketing manager's performance during the Corona crisis.

Originally, the award was to be made up for this spring, but once again this was thwarted by the ongoing Corona pandemic. Florian Haller, CEO Serviceplan-Group: "We had really hoped that it would be possible to celebrate Susan Schramm and her award in person again in spring 2021. Since this is unfortunately not possible after all, we are now honouring her purely virtually. And in September, we hope to be able to applaud her on a 'real' stage as part of the CMO Gala 2021."

Susan Schramm not only got to prove her expertise in the usual range of marketer challenges during Corona's 2020 year - from agency pitches to the workmanlike execution of sales promotions. It also had to demonstrate, in a historically exceptional situation, that marketing as a crisis communications tool can effectively rescue a business model by reinterpreting sales channels.

The fact that the jury of the CMO of the Year Award honored her is not only consistent with the past year, but also with the cooperative attitude of the marketing professional, which is reflected in the marketing philosophy of McDonald's: Schramm does not want to be seen as a lone fighter. Her success, she says, is based on "great collaboration with colleagues, franchisees and agency partners."

And this cooperation also means that the marketing manager, despite her own classical background, approaches the possibilities of digital communication without fear of contact. At McDonald's, digital has long since ceased to be the can of worms of the classic brand presence. In fact, Schramm himself is one of the driving forces behind the expansion of the McDonald's app to form the basis of the in-house CRM system and the central channel for personalized customer contact. The antagonism between classic and digital brand communication sometimes conjured up by industry observers has long since ceased to be an issue at the fast food giant. In fact, Schramm has an agency partner on board in the form of Scholz & Friends, whose mandate is visibly to work more intensively on the emotional desirability of the brand, following the value established by Leo's Thjnk Tank. And yet, phrases like "Personalized digital outreach to our guests has become a key component of our growth and in marketing" or "Our McDonald's app is the most important milestone for us" can also be heard from her.

Another antagonism that has no place in Susan Schramm's brand universe is the competition between marketing and PR. Whereas in other companies the two are often two corporate divisions strictly concerned with their independence, McDonald's Germany has long cultivated a division of labor in brand communications. In this way, the often-hostile fast-food giant can discuss issues with its critics on an equal footing and at the same time engage in modern product communication.

Without internal friction, attitude issues like the company's diverse workforce work both for the corporate brand when recruiting new employees and as a likeability factor when people visit the restaurants. Many companies first learned how forward-thinking this brand philosophy is during the Corona pandemic, when PR and marketing suddenly had to work together to respond agilely to changing market conditions.

McDonald's was able to leverage the power of its app as a marketing platform in this situation to push its delivery service and its own McDrive as new customer touchpoints in the face of closed restaurants. With her successful crisis management, Schramm delivered a commanding answer to an issue that continually plagues the marketing industry in its external presentation: its own relevance. Because without a quick marketing strategy that takes into account modern communication trends in their own target group, the franchisees would have been left without customers and without sales overnight.

In the end, this performance also convinced the CMO-of-the-Year jury. Horst von Buttlar, Capital editor-in-chief and spokesman for the jury: "Susan Schramm represents a brand that has to navigate many a cliff in its perception and the change in our lifestyle. She has to embrace major trends such as healthy eating, meat consumption, waste reduction and digitalisation. Ms. Schramm has tackled these issues boldly, her ideas are innovative, her leadership style inclusive. She has been creating a holistic brand identity for McDonald's for years, she launches surprising product campaigns with the consistent use of digital technologies. Ms. Schramm also sets standards in personalized communication and customer experience."

The 20-member jury is made up of members of the "CMO of the Year" as well as selected marketing and media experts from publishing houses, TV, universities and agencies. The jury's work is based on dossiers on the most nominated marketing managers compiled by the Institute for Marketing at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich (LMU).

Only Chief Marketing Officers from the "CMO of the Year" Council may nominate. The shortlist of the most nominated is then presented to the jury for discussion. Winners of the "CMO of the Year" Award in previous years were: Ian Robertson (BMW), Godo Röben (Rügenwalder Mühle), Hans-Christian Schwingen (Deutsche Telekom), Eric Liedtke (Adidas), Karsten Kühn (Hornbach) and 2019 Tarek Müller (About You).

The "CMO of the Year" Award was initiated by the Innovation Day partners in 2014. Hosts of the award are: Serviceplan Group, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Ad Alliance, Salesforce in cooperation with Capital, N-TV, HORIZONT, Institute for Marketing-LMU Munich.

The next Innovation Day and the presentation of the "CMO of the Year" Award 2021 are scheduled for September 29, 2021. cam

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