With three-quarters of its marketing budget devoted to digital media, Adobe Systems Incorporated is practicing what it preaches when it comes to digital transformation. A driving force behind the software giant's forward-thinking approach to branding and advertising is Ann Lewnes.
A recent example of the company's willingness to shed traditional marketing methods was the online-only launch of Creative Suite 5, the latest version of its flagship lineup of digital content tools including PhotoShop, Flash and Illustrator. More than 200,000 people pre-registered a week before the virtual event in April, and three times that many were on hand for the debut that featured product demos, testimonials and other materials.
Lewnes learned to bring an open mind to marketing during a 20-year tenure at Intel Corp., where she helped connect consumers to the chip maker through the "Intel Inside" campaign and oversaw introduction of the Pentium and Centrino processor brands. Joining Adobe in 2006, the New York native views the company as poised to capitalize on the digital transition the way Intel did the PC revolution of the 1980s.
That doesn't mean there haven't been some bumps along the way. Adobe's feud with Apple over CEO Steve Jobs' public bashing of Flash and blocking of the technology from the iPhone this spring might be many a CMO's nightmare. But Lewnes helped make the case in defense of Flash and encouraged an upwelling of support from the developer community, including a Facebook group dubbed "I'm With Adobe" that's drawn 13,000 members.
Earlier this fall, Apple announced it was easing its restrictions on third-party software used in iPhone apps, effectively lifting the ban on Flash. Underscoring Adobe's campaign to elevate the fight over Flash to one about "freedom of choice," Lewnes tweeted that the company was encouraged by Apple's about-face, "giving developers the freedom to choose the tools they use." Score that round for Adobe and Lewnes.