Dominic Jeff: Financial companies are stars once again in marketing awards

Financial services companies will be a strong presence again at the Marketing Society's Star awards, sponsored by The Scotsman, reflecting a renewed confidence from the sector, writes Dominic Jeff.

Jo Coomber of Standard Life and Alan MacKenzie of Clydesdale parent National Australia Bank are among five candidates shortlisted for the top award at the annual ceremony, which brings together marketing professionals from across Scotland.

The other nominees for the top Marketing Star award are Gillian Govan, Peter Sandstrom and Sally Ann Stanley.

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Marketing Society director Graeme Atha, pictured right, said: "Financial institutions, the bedrock of the business community in Scotland, have taken a bit of a battering over the last few years so its great to see some of the organisations back again.

"Standard Life is making fairly significant changes and pursuing a far more marketing orientated business strategy.

"Clydesdale Bank wasn't really at the forefront of the financial crisis, and has become a very strong and credible brand again."

He said that the financial services marketing renaissance was still at an early stage, and Clydesdale and Standard Life were "ahead of the pack".

It is telling that neither of the two campaigns involved was particularly lavish.

"It's not about glamorous big advertising or big sponsorship strategies," Atha said. Instead, he praised their "solid, best practising marketing".

Coomber is nominated for Standard Life's marketing of pensions to a younger audience, whereas MacKenzie is singled out for guiding the Clydesdale brand through difficult times for the banking sector.

Coomber and MacKenzie will face stiff competition from both the public sector and consumer brand marketeers for the award, which will be announced on Thursday at a glamorous ceremony in Glasgow's Old Fruitmarket.

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Govan is chief marketing officer for the Scottish Government, and successes include campaigns on road safety, knife crime and healthy eating.

Sandstrom is marketing director for Maxxium UK, where he leads a 27-strong team building brands in the UK spirits industry, achieving "outstanding results". Stanley is group marketing director of Highland Spring, heading up a marketing team of 12 on a 12 million brand support programme from the company's headquarters in Blackford, Perthshire.

As well as the marketing star, awards will be awarded in categories such as "Strategic Stars", "Sector Stars" and "Communication Stars" as well as for creativity and craft development.