Bank of America & Belkin win Valiente Awards for marketing leadership & courage at SXSW

Kieran Hannon (right), global chief marketing officer of Belkin, receives Valiente Award from award founder John Ellett

Senior marketers were in the spotlight at the fifth edition of the Valiente Awards at SXSW. The peer-judged honor was given in five categories with winners from brands such as Belkin, Bank of America, Deluxe, Farmers Insurance Group, #SeeHer and Stanford Children’s Health.

Previously known as the Cojones Awards, ‘valiente’ loosely translates from Spanish to “bold and courageous, which is the intent of the awards from the beginning,” said John Ellett, chief marketing officer of agency Springbox, which leads the program.

Presented last night (March 11) at Dell’s SXSW activation, the five Valiente Awards categories are: inspire (building brands with a sense of purpose), be bold (disrupting the status quo), connect (delivering meaningful customer experiences across channels), innovate (implement new ways of engaging customers living in a digital lifestyle) and transform (building organizational capabilities to become modern marketers).

Amanda Brinkman, chief marketing officer of Deluxe, and Gail Tifford, founder of #SeeHer and recently named chief brand officer of Weight Watchers, were co-winners in the inspire category. Les Lifter, chief marketing officer of Stanford Children’s Health, won in the be bold category. Kieran Hannon, global chief marketing officer, took home the connect category prize while Charissa Messer, senior vice president for enterprise creative solutions for Bank of America and Mike Linton, chief marketing officer of Farmers Insurance Group won in innovate and transform respectively.

“There are a lot of awards for marketers and CMOs, but it's usually around the work,” noted Ellett. “To be recognized for the attribute of courage — which all CMOs recognize as important to success — and to have that public acclaim and to be within the group that is now our alumni and peer group, is exciting.”

For his part, Hannon sees the importance of celebrating the overall contributions of marketers among the broader group and that there is still some misunderstanding of the marketer’s role.

“I think for that [the award] is important to me because courage is about having trust in yourself, trust in your team, and confidence. To get the award at SXSW from your peers is special,” he said. “I think the most misunderstood thing about CMOs is that [people think] we waste money, and that’s unfortunate. We are seen to be the spend group rather than the growth group. Luckily where I am, we're integral to everything we do. We're part of the growth of Belkin for our own brands — but also for our retail partners, business partners and the end result: consumers.”

Ellett added that: “From the outside, a lot of people think of CMOs as the artsy people — the ones that do the commercials — and it's a right brain, fun thing to do. They don't appreciate all the science, technology and data that goes into their job and how, if they do it well, they're impacting every part of the company. I think that role is really underappreciated from the outside.”

See the rest of The Drum's SXSW coverage from the 2018 event in Austin

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