Nation's Restaurant News has partnered with the Marketing Executives Group of the National Restaurant Association to launch CMO Perspectives, a monthly feature exploring the ever-changing marketing landscape for restaurants.

Restaurant branding and advertising has become more complicated than ever with the emergence of digital and social media — and nobody knows this new reality better than the industry’s leading marketers.

For each new installment of CMO Perspectives, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers' chief marketing officer Clay Dover, a member of the MEG board, will engage one industry colleague in a discussion on the new reality of restaurant branding and advertising.

The monthly conversations will identify the biggest challenges in restaurant marketing and discuss their possible solutions, as well as trends in advertising and consumer insights. The aim of the feature is to help increase advertising effectiveness for the whole industry by sharing how leading marketing executives manage agency relationships, create new campaigns, track customer data, integrate branding across all media platforms, and more.

The first CMO Perspectives feature is a conversation between Dover and Ignite Restaurant Group chief marketing officer Robin Ahearn. Among other topics the two marketing leaders will cover is how Ignite will integrate the advertising and branding responsibilities of its newly acquired chain, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, into a marketing department that also serves Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap.

Read Dover's interview with Ahearn >>

Established in 1980, MEG is a nonprofit study group designed as an educational forum for foodservice executives. Its mission is to raise the level of excellence in restaurant marketing by providing leadership and raining as well as encouraging the exchange of ideas among marketing professionals for the betterment of the industry and participating restaurant companies.

The group’s first biannual meeting of 2013 will take place in Chicago, May 15-17, before the NRA’s annual Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show.