Ann Lewnes

Senior Vice President of Global Marketing, Adobe

"Our brand strength has been based on the great products we make. That said, it’s time to make some noise. This fall, you’ll see a provocative new campaign from us, which I’m confident will move the needle considerably. We want people to understand the new Adobe."

"Changing the world through digital experiences" is the essence of the Adobe brand. In what ways is Adobe changing the world for their consumers?

It starts with creativity. We did a study earlier this year that showed that only one in four people believe they are creative. That’s so depressing. We believe that every person is inherently creative in some way. It’s Adobe’s mission to enable that creativity – to both inspire it and provide the tools necessary to turn an idea into something real.

It could be a major retailer bringing its business online, a print magazine publisher that wants to develop an engaging tablet version of its magazine, or a student who wants to embed photographs and videos into a book report. All of these examples change our customer’s world in a very real way.

Just as important as creating something is the ability to measure the impact of what you’ve created. For that retailer, it might mean increasing sales and improving customer satisfaction. For the magazine publisher, it could be reaching a new audience and driving new ad revenue. And for the student, it may mean getting that elusive “A.”

Making creativity count. That’s our goal.

In a recent keynote speech at the Forrester Marketing Leadership and Customer Intelligence Forum, you stated that "Adobe is a brand on the move," one that is evolving and expanding its mission to “allow people to manage their content, measure their content…and ultimately monetize their content." As you consider the year ahead, what are some of the biggest challenges Adobe may face as it sets out to accomplish this?

One of the biggest challenges we face is transforming the perception of the Adobe brand. When you’ve been really successful in a certain area, it’s hard to change people’s ideas about you. People typically associate Adobe with popular creative tools like Photoshop or critical programs like Acrobat. But, as a tech company, we are constantly changing. We just introduced a completely new way to experience our software called the Creative Cloud. Creative Cloud is a monthly subscription service that gives you access to all the Adobe products you know and love, plus sync and storage capabilities, web and digital publication services and, most importantly, access to new products and services as they emerge. It’s a totally new model and, while we think it’s the best way to purchase our software, it’s new. That means we have to clearly explain why it’s better. That’s how we’ll get our customers comfortable with it.

An even bigger challenge is building awareness around our other big business, which focuses on optimizing customers’ digital marketing efforts. This is a relatively new, but very fast-growing category and is becoming increasingly crowded. Several years ago we purchased Omniture, the leader in web analytics, and subsequently acquired and developed a lot more technology. By all measures, we are the leader in this category, and yet we are not yet well known in this space. Our company is not brash and boastful. Our brand strength has been based on the great products we make. That said, it’s time to make some noise. This fall, you’ll see a provocative new campaign from us, which I’m confident will move the needle considerably. We want people to understand the new Adobe.

Moving into 2013 and beyond, what are your chief areas of focus with respect to the Adobe brand?

We are focused on three key areas: brand transformation, demand generation and being a world-class digital marketer. In terms of the brand, that means expanding customers’ perception of us from a packaged software company to the leader in digital media and digital marketing solutions.

Creating a great customer experience is a big part of our brand transformation. I love a brand when I feel like they get me. The way I experience the product and the way the company talks to me are super important. I think we deliver the world’s best software, so my job is to make sure that people have a great experience with us through other critical touch-points. Technology today makes that so much easier. You have to keep improving the way you interact with your customer. Is our website sufficiently personalizing content for our visitors? Are we responding quickly enough to comments or complaints we get via social media? That stuff really matters. Brand building is a two-way, 24-hour job today.

We are blessed with having the world’s best digital marketing optimization tools at our disposal. That means we better be world-class digital marketers. We set really aggressive goals for ourselves in terms of ROI for every marketing dollar we spend. My group’s credibility, and ultimately our budget, depends on us meeting our commitments.

Last, but never least, marketing needs to drive growth. And now more than ever, we have the tools to measure marketing’s impact. It’s a beautiful thing.

Adobe has been ranked as a Best Global Brand since 2009. As SVP of Global Marketing, how has this helped you do your job better? Does this ranking inspire the company to invest more in marketing efforts and/or do you use it as a benchmark each year?

I have the 2009 Interbrand ranking hanging up in my office. It was a big deal to make the list for the first time. And it still is. Improving our position is now a real goal and one we take very seriously. We consider it a real honor to be on the Best Global Brands list.

How important is your CSR commitment to the growth of the brand?

I believe companies have an obligation to “do good.” At Adobe, we’re committed to being socially responsible, not because it’s in vogue, but because it's the right thing do. While our first priority is improving the lives of our employees and the communities in which we operate, the positive impact our CSR activities have on our brand is undeniable.

Working for a socially responsible company is a point of pride for our employees and is a surprisingly strong selling point for prospective employees as well. Whether it’s our Adobe Youth Voices program, which has given nearly 100,000 students in under-served communities around the world the opportunity to create media that expresses their views on challenging issues they face, to energy efficient, low-waste office buildings – it’s all part of Adobe’s DNA. You can’t fake being committed to CSR. It’s either a priority for your company or it’s not.

  • About Ann Lewnes

    As senior vice president of global marketing, Ann Lewnes is responsible for Adobe's corporate brand and integrated marketing efforts worldwide. She drives the company's corporate positioning, branding and identity, public relations, marketing campaigns, field marketing, and education segment marketing to ensure strong connections with customers and constituents. As champion of Adobe's brand to employees and the community, she also oversees Adobe's internal communications and community relations efforts including the Adobe Foundation, which funds philanthropic initiatives around the world.

    In 2000, Lewnes was elected to the American Advertising Federation's Hall of Achievement. In 2010, she was honored with a Changing The Game Award by the Advertising Women of New York (AWNY). She serves on the boards of the Advertising Council and the Adobe Foundation. Lewnes is on Twitter at