When Kristin Lemkau speaks, the business world listens. As JPMorgan Chase’s Chief Marketing Officer, Lemkau is responsible for guiding the organization’s brand and voice. It is a tremendous leadership position, especially in an age when a company’s image wields as much power as its actions. But it’s a fitting position for someone capable of tempering keen storytelling with a knack for empowerment and challenging the status quo. With a degree in creative writing from Vanderbilt University and a history of taking risks that bucked trends, Lemkau has accomplished a lot. For that, she has earned this week’s Bold Leader Spotlight.
Taking Risks and Seizing the Opportunity
Lemkau joined JPMorgan Chase in 1998, and in 2010, she was named Chief Communications Officer. Then, in 2014, she was advanced to Chief Marketing Officer, where she has continued to advance her leadership talents. Each step of the way, Lemkau has challenged the status quo and taken risks. With a value-focused mission, she has been able to overcome barriers that others may see as impossible to overcome.
As an example, Lemkau drastically cut back on the number of advertisers JPMorgan Chase used. In essence, the number of advertisers decreased from 400,000 to 5,000. Such a decision could have been fatal for her career. But instead, the bold risk resulted in tremendous cost savings for JPMorgan Chase with no change in visibility. Ultimately, the move led JPMorgan Chase to launch its own internal marketing agency.
A Chief Marketing Officer with Visionary Leadership
According to Lemkau, both the financial and marketing industries are undergoing remarkable disruption. Digital transformation is forcing dynamic change, and as she describes, chief marketing officers must embrace that change and seek to focus on new innovative ways to market their brands. For Lemkau, that means developing new ways to reach customers. And it also means using marketing data analytics for new product design. Those chief marketing officers who fail to invest in these areas are likely to be left behind.
This visionary perspective has led Lemkau to pursue some innovative strategies as a result. JPMorgan Chase now has a media campaign that highlights sports figures talking about money matters. The marketing campaign naturally reaches consumers with financial products, but simultaneously, it serves to help and educate people. This type of approach, and using marketing data to create customer value, are key components of marketing leadership today.
A Belief in Mentorship and Promoting Positive Change
When asked what type of people she considers when hiring, Lemkau notes that individuals who are self-learners, curious and determined grab her attention. But at the same time, she greatly values mentorship and role modeling. And she readily acknowledges the importance that key mentors have served in her own success.
The ability of marketing efforts to promote positive change in the world is something in which Lemkau believes strongly. Being able to tell the truth through marketing stories can bridge gaps and create collective forces for change. Lemkau notes that this is happening for women today, especially among those in business. As she describes, a sisterhood is evolving that is advancing needed reforms through collaboration. This highlights her team-valued approach to change.
Bold Leadership in Action
Lemkau is a steward of JPMorgan Chase’s $5 billion marketing budget. And she has repeatedly demonstrated strong marketing results that drive revenue for the company. But this is not the only reason why she has been named among the most 50 most daring entrepreneurs by Entrepreneur Magazine. She demonstrates the qualities of a truly bold leader. Her passion and values have fueled her successes and continue to make a tremendous impact on others around her.
To learn more about JPMorgan Chase, read how they are advancing cities.