I’ve been building brands for more than 20 years, but I’d begun to feel like I was missing something important—something I just couldn’t put my finger on. Digital is moving so fast, and while I grasp the outline, I felt I wasn’t connecting all the pieces in a truly holistic way.
“I’ve been building brands for more than 20 years, but I’d begun to feel like I was missing something important—something I just couldn’t put my finger on. Digital is moving so fast, and while I grasp the outline, I felt I wasn’t connecting all the pieces in a truly holistic way"
Michelle Cornu heads up global brand management for Bayer. She is a veteran brand builder, but by her own admission she is not a “digital native” and in 2022 had started to notice an itch.
Michelle was looking for a programme to help her see the fuller picture. She wanted something special that could simultaneously accelerate a technical and a broader understanding of digital as an integral part of her marketing strategy
“Quite a few of my friends had done their MBA at INSEAD and told me that I really had to try the INSEAD experience because of the difference it had made in their lives. Thanks to them, I enrolled on the Leading Digital Marketing Strategy course on the Fontainebleau Campus. Right from the word go, I knew that this was going to be something different—a full and transformational experience.”
Many of the concepts that she explored on the programme were not unfamiliar to her, says Michelle. What was new was bridging the gap between knowing about something and knowing how to leverage, and go beyond that something.
“Through case studies and the dynamics of group discussion, we really unpacked the methodologies and the strategies to engage people in different ways. Our professors were not only hugely knowledgeable, they were also incredibly approachable and flexible. They really pulled out the relatability of each case as we worked through them, in such a way that we all felt open and fully at ease, no matter where we came from or what kind of organisation we represented.”
In fact, being part of a community of diverse marketing managers from all over the world was “a special thing,” says Michelle. Her peers variously came from B2B and B2C companies, from different countries and cultures, each of them sharing unique perspectives and approaches that enriched the learning exponentially, she adds.
“When you bring INSEAD professors and experienced marketers from around the globe together, this is where the magic really happens; it creates something truly special. You can get insights from everywhere in the world, and we end up feeding each other. As you interchange ideas, you end up saying to yourself: I would never have thought of it like that.”
For Michelle, listening to customers remains the “beginning of everything.” Listening, she says, is the key to driving understanding, and from there, building relationships based on continuous improvement. Yet, the greatest insight gleaned during the course is the need for digital ears and the break-through notion of “the power of outside in.”
Going forward, these are the key insights that Michelle intends to build into her practice as she reshapes her branding strategy.
“We already listen to our customers, but now I have the understanding and the tools to listen with a different, digital-empowered approach. We have a long and interesting path ahead of us and it’s going to be fascinating to see how it evolves.”
These are concrete and actionable benefits that the INSEAD experience has delivered, says Michelle. She has no hesitation in recommending the Leading Digital Marketing Strategy to anyone who wants to rethink their approach and drive new value for their customers and their organisation. She also has a piece of advice to share:
“We are all very busy, but turn off the phone and ensure you read the case studies thoroughly ahead of class or you won’t get the full experience; and what’s the point of signing at INSEAD if you don’t get the experience? Immerse yourself and enjoy the ride because it’s brilliant.”
Find out more about the Leading Digital Marketing Strategy programme.