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Beware scandals that rock the brand.

Byline: John Duckers

Sir Dominic Cadbury will today warn marketeers that company scandals can badly harm brands.

Delivering a keynote speech at the Academy of Marketing annual conference, this week at Aston University, he will point to five main challenges -globalisation, governance, the economy, public policy and technology.

Responding to the recent corporate outrages in the United States that have rocked confidence in the world markets, Sir Dominic is expected to emphasise the importance of raising the standards of corporate governance to win back trust in business practices. He will say: 'Raisingstandards of corporate governance raises the bar for company performance. Corporate reputation is increasingly linked to brand reputation and failures of governance will lead to the discrediting of corporate brands.'

The former Cadbury Schweppes boss, now chairman of the Wellcome Trust, believes globalisation provides the opportunities of larger markets, wider distribution and lower costs but also the risks from new sources of competition, trade wars and antiglobalisation activists.

'Tracking and participating in the public debate and engaging with the media are increasingly important in preserving our licence to operate. Opting out or even keeping a low profile are seldom valid options. 'Managing the consequences of the market excesses of the millennium era will take a good part of the next decade. Excess capacity, possible deflation and lower rates of economic growth are the new realities.

'Technology, knowledge and intellectual property are the keys to competitiveness and economic growth for western economies. Have we learnt the lessons of the bubble so that we can manage our intellectual assets better in the next decade?'

Sir Dominic heads a list of prestigious speakers that also includes Professor David Montgomery, Singapore Management University and Stanford University, Peter Fisk, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Aston University's vice chancellor, Professor Michael Wright.

Prof Montgomery will take up the theme of corporate governance. He will say: 'Society must play an important role in marketing's evolution.

'Dysfunctional marketing tactics, such as spam and much telemarketing, are going to be less acceptable to most societies.

'In the wake of the Enron and Worldcom scandals, the crass and utterly dishonest behaviour of many financial analysts and financial institutions, and the ineffectiveness of boards of directors will lead to restrictive reregulation unless dealt with swiftly and effectively. Ethics will need to play a bigger role in the agenda of academic marketing.'

There is an eclectic mix of titles among the submitted papers -ranging from Blowing Bubbles Forever -the West Ham Syndrome Revisited to Marketing to Classical Music.

Conference chairman Aston University Professor Graham Hooley said: 'We are proud to play host to delegates from at least 21 countries at the biggest conference of its kind in the UK.'
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 8, 2003
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