Staff Reporters
Jun 17, 2021

Asia-Pacific Power List 2021: Lisa Ronson, Coles

Esteemed marketer has helped transform a traditional bricks-and-mortar supermarket into a digital retailer, while dramatically improving its perception as a brand that cares, in her second year as CMO.

Asia-Pacific Power List 2021: Lisa Ronson, Coles
Asia-Pacific’s 50 most influential and purposeful marketers

Lisa Ronson

Chief marketing officer
Coles Group
Member since 2018

Lisa Ronson has driven a total turnaround at Coles in her second year as CMO.

Firstly, she’s helped transform a traditional bricks-and-mortar supermarket into a digital retailer by investing in its app and using data and technology to deliver a personalised shopping experience. To enrich the brand’s online offering, Coles digitised its catalogue and launched a new platform, Coles&co, to house deals and food-related content.

Ronson has also put significant investment in improving Coles’ brand perception. She launched the supermarket’s sustainability pillars ‘Together to Zero’ and ‘Better Together’; a health platform, Coles Healthier Living, which provides health tips, recipes and deals on fresh fruit and vegetables; and a new sustainable store concept, Coles Moonee Ponds, which was recently awarded IGD’s store of the month.

In addition, Ronson continued to hone Coles’ purpose under a new brand positioning—‘Value the Australian Way’—and responded swiftly to customer needs during the pandemic. In July 2020, in recognition that more people were confined at home and suffering economic hardship, she launched a budget meal initiative, ‘What’s for dinner’, containing easy recipes. The platform was created in three days, and won second place in the AFR ‘2020 Most Innovative Companies’ award.

As a result of these initiatives, Ronson has driven significant increases across key brand metrics over the past year, including establishing Coles as a trustworthy brand, one that follows environmentally sustainable practices, and one that cares about the health and wellbeing of Australians. Coles also catapulted into the number two spot for ‘most trusted brand’ in Australia in Roy Morgan’s 2021 report—a huge turnaround from being a top 10 most distrusted brand two years ago.

Ronson is both a purposeful marketer and leader. As “chief flexibility officer” she has helped team members adapt to home working. To improve team engagement, she launched a learning and coaching series, CMO&Co, in which high-profile guests including David Droga, Les Binet and Russel Howcroft have presented to the marketing team. Elsewhere, Ronson initiated a ‘Golden Beets’ marketing awards to recognise employees fulfilling its core purpose, and encouraged 120 marketers to undergo Mark Ritson’s Mini MBA in Marketing. This year, Ronson became a patron of the Australian Marketing Institute based on her active membership. She also participates as a mentor in the AMI, Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) and The Marketing Academy mentoring programs for up-and-coming marketers. Ronson is a board member of Coles’ loyalty programme Flybuys and the AANA.

Ronson joined Coles in 2019 from Tourism Australia, where she led a number of award-winning marketing campaigns for the brand. She has an impressive CV of senior marketing positions at companies including Westpac, David Jones, Telstra, Visa and Carlton & United Breweries.

Ronson can be found on Twitter at: @lisaronson.

Asia-Pacific’s 50 most influential and purposeful marketers


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