A chief brand officer (CBO) and chief marketing officer (CMO) are similar but different roles.
Branding is a form of marketing. Branding is a higher-level concept while marketing is more performance-oriented. This lies at the heart of the CBO vs. CMO debate.
The CBO vs. CMO debate is one that has been around for some time, but it seems that there is no clear consensus on which role is more important.
There are arguments to be made for both positions.
Some say that branding is more important than ever in today’s economy and that the CBO should be the one in charge.
Others argue that marketing is more important than ever and that the CMO should be the one in charge.
It’s hard to say who is right and who is wrong in this debate. It’s likely that both roles are equally important and that it depends on the company and the industry in which they operate.
The same goes for Nike or McDonald’s. You kind of know exactly what you’re going to get and that’s largely a function of its brand.
CBO vs. CMO
Let’s look at the key differences:
#1 CBO is a higher-level role, involved in all departments, while the CMO leads one
A CBO will coordinate with all departments given the nature of the brand. They are also more likely to report to the CEO.
On the other hand, a CMO will lead the marketing department and will usually report to the CBO, Chief Operating Officer (COO), and possibly the CEO.
#2 CBOs focus on long-term branding strategies while CMOs focus on performance results
CBOs are more concerned with developing long-term strategies that will build the brand equity.
#3 CBOs have a strategic role while CMOs have a tactical role
The CBO is more of a strategic thinker while the CMO is more of a tactician.
The CBO will develop the overall brand strategy while the CMO will execute it.
#4 CBO is more of a creative role
Performance marketing can be much more analytical.
Branding can be much more about creativity. CBOs focus on creating an emotional connection with the consumer.
CMOs, on the other hand, are more focused on getting near-term results.
#5 CBOs may be up the hierarchy relative to CMOs
A CBO may not have quite the same knowledge about a company as the CEO, but they may be close to that level.
This is because of their focus on higher-level strategic thinking.
A CMO is more of an executor who is focused on core marketing procedures for a company and not responsible for thinking as globally about the company.
They are more likely to report to the CBO than a CBO reporting to the CMO.
So, what’s the difference between a CBO and CMO?
CBOs focus on long-term branding strategies while CMOs focus on performance results “in the now.”
CBOs have a strategic role while CMOs have a tactical role. CBO is more of a creative role.
CBO may be up the hierarchy relative to CMO.
So, in conclusion, the CBO vs. CMO debate is one that is unlikely to be resolved any time soon.
Both roles are important and it really depends on the company as to which one is more important.