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Pwc recently released the results of their 16th Annual US CEO Survey. It’s an interesting report with a focus on how the 167 US-based CEOs surveyed plan to create value an uncertain economy. There were three findings in particular that all marketers should be paying attention to.

Renewed focus on M&A. Over 42% of the US CEOs surveyed said they were planning to complete a domestic deal this year, concentrating on consolidation and expansion in the US market.

Getting closer to the customer. US CEOs are putting customers at the center of growth initiatives this year, with 63% of CEOs surveyed saying that expanding their customer base was one of their top three priorities and 90% saying they want to strengthen client engagement programs.

The social factor. 53% of US CEOs said social media users influence their business strategy.

Interestingly, the corporate brand plays a critical role in the success of each of these business strategies. A merger, for example, requires a company to recraft their brand so that it reflects the new reality and conveys enhanced value in a way that makes sense to key audiences, such as customers, employees, investors and the media. A powerful brand can actually lead a company through this type of transformation. The same can be said of client engagement programs, where brand behavior directly shapes the customer experience. As CEOs make the push to rally their companies around the customer in 2013, marketers must ensure that this behavior is informed by the company’s brand strategy – how they want to be perceived – not the business strategy.

An important question for marketers to ask themselves as their companies embark on new growth strategies is, given the changes, is your story still the same? Companies that are able to align their brand and marketing strategy with their business strategy will compete more effectively, grow market share and build loyalty with the audiences most critical to their success.

As CEOs redirect investments and strategies to focus on domestic growth and building stronger relationships with customers, how will your brand need to evolve to align with these changes in business strategy?

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