Corporate Branding Digest, Oct. 29, 2014


It’s Your Job to Tell the Hard Truths
(Harvard Business Review, 17.10.14)

What comes to mind when you think of what might constitute a “major issue” with some senior leaders? Maybe they’re in a fight? Maybe they’re making poor strategic decisions? Perhaps they’re not following through on commitments they made about the business? Maybe they’re being abusive to their employees? Maybe they’re stealing?


CMOs—Learn from the NFL Missteps to Protect and Build Your Brand
(Forrester, 16.09.14)

I admit it; I’m a sports junkie. And, this is usually one of my favorite times of the year — the first few weeks of the NFL season. But this year, it’s been more about how poorly the NFL is managing what happens off the field than it is the excitement of what’s happening on the field of play.


A New Euphemism: ‘Story Advertising’
(The Dish, 17.09.14)

They keep coming up with ways to camouflage the out-sourcing of journalism to advertising, don’t they? Check out this screen shot of the NRO home-page this morning.


It’s Inevitable that Good Employees Will Leave, So Plan for It
(Entrepreneur, 20.08.14)

Every business owner knows the acute pain of losing a talented employee. Anticipated or abrupt, it never feels good and it can disrupt the flow and focus of the entire company. It shouldn’t though.


“Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still.” —Harry S. Truman


Corporate Branding Digest, Oct. 27, 2014


New Study Reveals Disconnect Between Brands and Consumers
(MobileMarketing, 10.13.14)

Kitewheel recently revealed the findings of an independently commissioned study—“The State of the Customer Journey 2014”—that “examines the current breakthroughs and breakdowns in engagement with today’s connected consumer.”


8 Keys to Telling a Competitive Brand Story
(Branding Strategy Insider, 22.09.14)

Everyone has a story now. Or at least most brands claim to have one. But having a story in many ways is like having a product. Really it means nothing if it is not competitive as a narrative and personally relevant to each recipient. So your story must be distinctive from the other stories that are in play in a market and it must continue to be so. That’s challenging in fast moving sectors where there is always something new to look at, another brand tale to try.


Corporate Parents: Don’t Lose Yourself in ‘Baby’ Brands
(CMO.com, 30.09.14)

Best-selling author and brand guru Al Reis, who gave birth to the concept of positioning, stated, “Every company should have a powerful company brand, but they don’t.” And although Reis didn’t distinguish between B2C and B2B brands, a strong company brand is especially essential for B2B companies that typically operate with smaller marketing budgets and more defined target markets than their B2C peers.


5 Steps Toward Building Influence as a Great Thought Leader
(Entrepreneur, 20.08.14)

Do you have something to say about a topic you are well versed in? If so, you could become an influential thought leader in your field of expertise.


“Great stories happen to those who tell them.” —Ira Glass


Corporate Branding Digest, Oct. 24, 2014


Lessons from Gap: Tying Your Brand to Social Causes and Values
(Ragan, 07.10.14)

The clothing chain’s online presence promotes more than clothing and accessories. Take a look at how meaningful stances can enhance your public profile and engage the public.


Boot Camp for the Wise Manager: 5 Key Steps
(Forbes, 29.09.14)

Management training is a $60 billion annual business, according to a number of experts, including fellow Forbes contributor Rajeev Peshawaria.


The Experience Is the Brand
(The Economist, 24.09.14)

It’s tough out there for CMOs these days. Marketers are held accountable to drive the brand and economic results, but rarely have the full influence needed to make them happen.


How Crabby Bosses Ruin Company Culture
(Entrepreneur, 19.08.14)

If happiness is contagious, then crabbiness is like the plague. People write about startup culture all the time, praising the flexibility and casualness, and often mistaking perks for culture.


“Do you know what my favorite renewable fuel is? An ecosystem for innovation.” —Thomas Friedman


Corporate Branding Digest, Oct. 23, 2014


Meet the CEO Who’s Never Fired Anyone
(Fast Company, 09.10.14)

Peter Platzer, CEO of Spire, a fast-growing space and data startup with a team of 30, has not fired a single employee in his company’s two year existence—and that’s by design.


What a CMO Can Learn from a Comic Book
(Forbes, 29.09.14)

Just about a month ago I wrote a piece about a very well-known brand and its use of comic books as a means to promote a product that is not normally associated with comic books. All modesty aside and nothing to do with me, it’s an interesting read about the use of something normally not associated with marketing and/or advertising.


8 Quick Ways to Make Consumers Hate Your Brand
(Ragan.com, 16.09.14)

There are seven deadly sins here, and one for bad measure. You do NOT want to venture into that eighth circle of hell.


16 Traits of the World’s Most Successful People
(Entrepreneur, 18.08.14)

When the young journalist Napoleon Hill interviewed the industrialist Andrew Carnegie in 1908, Carnegie liked Hill so much that he decided he would share all of the strategies that turned him from a penniless immigrant into the richest man in the world.


“A noble purpose inspires sacrifice, stimulates innovation and encourages perseverance.” —Gary Hamel


Corporate Branding Digest, Oct. 22, 2014


‘We Need a New Field Manual for Business’: Casey Gerald
(Fast Company, 14.10.14)

“We need a new field manual for business,” Gerald tells me a few weeks later, while on the road for his new nonprofit startup, MBAs Across America, which pairs students with local businesses. “It can’t be about hierarchy, leaders sitting in the corner office and going to the Hamptons while everyone else is pressing sheet metal. It can’t be just pursuing quarterly earnings considerations. Leaders can’t just say, ‘Let’s do this because it optimizes efficiency.’ There’s got to be a larger vision of our future and ourselves.”


Goof Up as a Leader? Then Apologize and Take Action
(The Globe and Mail, 05.10.14)

According to Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist at Oxford University in the United Kingdom, there is a type of lie that is actually good for business—and for business relationships. It’s called pro-social lying, although most people refer to it as telling “white lies.” It’s the kind of lie we tell when we want to protect someone or make them feel better.


Lessons from Airbnb and Pinterest: Two Questions to Create a Culture that Scales
(Forbes, 29.09.14)

Lots of executives I talk to at fast-growing companies are obsessed with numbers. Numbers—of customers, offices or countries—are important. But numbers are only half of the story in a scaling company. The other half: Narrative.


How to Solve Big Problems: Start Small
(Entrepreneur, 18.08.14)

This central idea, that solving large complex problems is often accomplished by first attacking smaller micro-problems, is useful not just for cancer treatments, but for life in general.


“Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.” —Robert Louis Stevenson


Corporate Branding Digest, Oct. 21, 2014


‘Inspiration Is the Common Thing’: Robert Wong
(Fast Company, 14.10.14)

“In high school, every year they gave us a test that was supposed to give guidance about what we should do when we grow up,” Wong tells me. “And every year, the results would come back for me and ‘preacher’ would be in the top three. I’m not religious, and I always discounted it. But when I look at what I do now, it makes sense,” he says. “How I work with my team and with others, in some ways it’s all preaching. Inspiration is the common thing. It was always there, and you discover it.”


What Apple’s Steve Jobs Could Teach Aristotle
(Forbes, 29.09.14)

When it comes to business guru status, the late Steve Jobs arguably stands head and shoulders above other contenders of his generation.


Get Creative to Keep Your Top Employees
(The Globe and Mail, 28.09.14)

One of the key differentiators of a successful company is its ability to attract and retain high performance employees.


7 Reasons ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ Lives on 25 Years Later
(Entrepreneur, 15.08.14)

While thousands of leadership books are published each year, only a few might get some short-term success while the vast majority are quickly forgotten. So how has the bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People maintained its enviable shelf life for 25 years while so many other business and leadership books fade away fast?


“The difference between people who believe they have books inside of them and those who actually write books is sheer cussed persistence—the ability to make yourself work at your craft, every day—the belief, even in the face of obstacles, that you’ve got something worth saying.” —Jennifer Weiner


Corporate Branding Digest, Oct. 20, 2014


‘Business as a Movement’: Eileen Fisher
(Fast Company, 14.10.14)

What does happiness mean to success? This is a question that fashion icon Eileen Fisher has been asking of herself and her company over the past year and a half. “We’re successful financially,” Fisher says, citing record earnings the last two years, “but we’re pretty stressed out, we’re not sure all our workers are happy. Should we be measuring something beyond financial results?”


Brand Matters in Hiring Shows Survey
(The Economic Times, 12.10.14)

Brand name matters. A survey by the British Council has shown that 51% of companies hire only from the top 20 Indian institutions, and less than a quarter of these firms hire only from the top 10 in any discipline.


Tsunami, Earthquake: How to Lead When Absolutely Everything Goes Wrong
(The Globe and Mail, 16.09.14)

Good companies share some common practices. They focus on strengthening leadership, they develop plans for what to do when things go wrong and they prepare as much as they possibly can.


7 Funny Quotes with Serious Leadership Lessons
(Entrepreneur, 16.08.14)

Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training was both the best and worst time of my life. It was awful in the sense of pain and suffering, but also a blast (pun intended) because of that pain and suffering. What made the six-month selection course tolerable was having a sense of humor.


“The slogans ‘hang on’ and ‘press on’ have solved and will continue to solve the problems of humanity.” —Ogwo David Emenike


Corporate Branding Digest, Oct. 17, 2014


Being a CEO: Six Attributes that Matter
(The Economic Times, 06.10.14)

Becoming a CEO is the greatest achievement of one’s career. But what makes this position extraordinary? It is the intricacy attached with the role and the skill sets required to manage this complexity, successfully.


Listening to Unhappy Customers Can Turn Them into Happy Ones
(Forbes, 29.09.14)

The use of social media to engage customers has been a top priority for marketers over the last several years. According to a 2013 study by the University of Marketing Research, 77% of successful U.S. companies use Twitter and 70% use Facebook to communicate with customers. Companies however are slowly starting to realize that frequent usage of social media outlets does not necessarily mean a better bottom line, according to “Using Social Media to Improve Customer Loyalty,” a Forbes Insights case study sponsored by SAP.


Why It Takes a Crisis to Get Women in Leadership
(Fortune, 17.09.14)

Why does it take a full-blown crisis for organizations to bring in women to key leadership positions? The answer is a complicated one, but it is perhaps rooted in the stereotype that women don’t take risks. As the NFL works to restore its image as a family-friendly organization worthy of female fans, the last thing it wants is to bring in risk takers who could make the problem worse. Instead, they hire women who they believe can manage the crisis in a calm and effective manner.


Inspire Innovators to Step Up at Your Company with Transparency
(Entrepreneur, 12.08.14)

As Millennials make their way into the workforce, they bring with them a strong spirit of entrepreneurship influenced by great innovators such as Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.


“Winners lose much more often than losers. So if you keep losing but you’re still trying, keep it up! You’re right on track.” —Matthew Keith Groves


Corporate Branding Digest, Oct. 16, 2014


6 Buddhist Principles that Will Help You Be a Better Boss
(Fast Company, 13.10.14)

Think of your top inspirations for building a company and leading your team: Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Richard Branson are sure to make the cut. Probably not Buddha.


6 Critical Experiences Are Essential to Most Effectively Lead
(Forbes, 29.09.14)

To be an effective leader in the 21st century you have to do a lot more than just deliver results (that much is expected). Effective leadership requires certain critical experiences to deliver clarity of thought, along with the ability to embrace differences and broaden observations to see beyond the obvious. Leadership can no longer live in a highly structured, overly defined box of silos, but rather must move into an interconnected, boundary-less ecosystem of diverse minds, ideas and ideals.


Be the Boss People Love to Work for
(The Globe and Mail, 27.08.14)

In Gallup’s most recent State of the American Workplace study, 70 percent of workers admitted they neither enjoyed their boss nor were engaged in their work.


4 Bulletproof Productivity Secrets Gleaned from the World’s Great Achievers
(Entrepreneur, 13.08.14)

What defines an elite performer isn’t how they perform when everything is going well but the way they deliver when their well-laid plans are falling apart.


“I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.” —Steve Jobs


Corporate Branding Digest, Oct. 15, 2014


Your Brand’s Positioning Should Rest on the One Thing You Do Best
(Entrepreneur, 17.09.14)

A really important part of crafting your brand’s positioning is to understand the functional benefits that you offer as a product or service. What do you “do” for your customers?


CEOs Can No Longer Stay Neutral on Society’s Big Issues
(The Globe and Mail, 26.08.14)

When Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook decided to lead a contingent of his employees in a Pride Day parade in San Francisco in June, he was subtly crossing into uncharted waters for a major business leader.


Do These Daily Rituals to Unleash Your Vocal Leadership Skills
(Entrepreneur, 14.08.14)

During the economic recession, dentists saw a rise in patients suffering from tooth-related injuries. Many were reporting teeth-grinding and jaw-clenching as a result of the stressful times. Although the recession has been over for years, entrepreneurs know that the anxiety of running an enterprise never stops. Unfortunately, these stress-related dental habits eventually harm our speech, and thus, how we communicate.


10 Shocking Stats About Employee Engagement
(The Muse, 06.08.14)

When it comes to productivity in the workplace, employee engagement tops the list of must-haves. When employees don’t care about their work and don’t feel connected to the company in some way or another, the entire team is going to suffer.


“Innovation is the central issue in economic prosperity.” —Michael Porter


Corporate Branding Digest, Oct. 14, 2014


Why Leadership Is Like a Three-Legged Stool
(Fast Company, 07.10.14)

Researchers at the University of Illinois sought to understand the science of leadership, and what they came up with is a metaphor involving a stool.


The Right Things Brands Need to Do to Stand Out and Become Leaders
(The Economic Times, 03.10.14)

Management guru Peter Drucker has famously put his view on leadership—“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” However, understanding the right things is a challenge that baffles most managers. The matter becomes even more complex when you are trying to understand a diverse market like India.


The Power of a Charismatic Leader
(The Globe and Mail, 23.09.14)

The ancient Greeks, not sure how to pin down the notion that some people seemed magically capable of drawing others to them, called it a gift of the gods or a divinely conferred “gift of grace.” Max Weber, the German sociologist, reintroduced the term centuries later, using it to indicate a strong bond between leader and followers.


What Leadership Will Look Like in 20 Years
(Forbes, 25.08.14)

Let’s face it, most of us are addicted technology futurists. Who doesn’t enjoy speculating about what technology marvels will be commonplace in the coming decades? Will it be 3D printing? Artificial intelligence? “Singularity”? All are buzzwords of the emerging technology future.


“Paralyze resistance with persistence.” —Woody Hayes


Corporate Branding Digest, Oct. 10, 2014


7 Ways to Make Your Reputation Indestructible
(Forbes, 05.10.14)

It seems that every time a new product comes to market, the hype is short-lived before consumers shift their gaze to the next emerging technology making headlines.


Living the Brand Purpose
(Branding Strategy Insider, 01.10.14)

What would you do with your company’s mission statement? Would you tweet it? Just as importantly—would you retweet it? In other words, does it carry enough meaning for you, and is it personal enough to what you strive in life for that you would literally want to put your name to it and circulate it?


What Companies Are Getting Wrong About Every Generation
(Fast Company, 30.09.14)

Maintaining a happy, productive workforce is much more than categorizing and catering to generational differences.


The Question That Will Change the Way Your Team Gets Things Done
(The Muse, 28.07.14)

If we’re honest with ourselves, we probably all have something on our to-do list that isn’t getting done. It’s not because we’re lazy, incompetent, or unproductive—when workloads are high, some things just have to take priority over others.


“If you wait for customers to tell you that you need to do something, you’re too late. Good business leaders should be half a step ahead of what customers want; i.e., they don’t actually quite know they want it.” —Stuart Rose


Corporate Branding Digest, Oct. 9, 2014


Keeping Brand Promises
(Branding Strategy Insider, 30.09.14)

The difficult part is aligning the organization in support of the brand promise. Consider what might be a part of this. The brand promise might have implications for employee recruitment and training, performance metrics, organization design, internal systems, processes and procedures, customer feedback loops, investment and budgeting decisions, recognition and reward systems, product and service features, quality standards, customer service design…and the list could go on and on.


A Mathematical Argument for More Women in Leadership
(Fast Company, 30.09.14)

Do the math. More women in leadership roles equals greater success for your company. Here’s why.


The Journey Is Everything: Lessons from the World’s Leading CMOs
(Forbes, 29.09.14)

The journey is the reward. Think about this for a moment. It sounds like what parents tell their children about life: try to enjoy the journey. Life is about what you learn along the way, not where you arrive once you get there.


Are You Making Your Employees’ Lives Harder? (Hint: Maybe)
(The Muse, 21.07.14)

As a manager, you’ve found the perfect balance of coaching your employees just enough (without hovering), delegating efficiently (without micromanaging), and making yourself available for questions (while still encouraging your team to think for themselves). Right?


“Innovation is taking two things that already exist and putting them together in a new way.” —Tom Freston


Corporate Branding Digest, Oct. 8, 2014


The Other Cross-Cultural Leadership Is Creative Collaboration
(Forbes, 28.09.14)

One of the great assets of any global academic or training program is the national, regional, social or economic diversity of its participants. In its still relatively young EMBA program, the Berlin School of Creative Leadership has enrolled participants from more than 50 countries. That diversity helps people expand their individual networks and to join (or deepen their place in) a global community of creative professionals.


The 4 Rs of High-Stakes Decision-Making
(Strategy+Business, 24.09.14)

Decisiveness is often cited as a desirable trait in leaders. Definitions of decisive include “having the power to decide; conclusive” and “characterized by decision and firmness; resolute.” Yes, a leader must make decisions, but effectiveness depends on when and how the decision is made, not just that it was made.


Allowing Others to Tell Your Brand Story Add Authenticity
(Luxury Daily, 10.09.14)

Where brands used to be expected to come up with content each season, consumers now have an appetite for branded content on a consistent basis. Keeping heritage at the forefront and allowing influencers to share their take on a brand can help brands keep up with this demand and retain a level of authenticity.


8 Tips for Managing an Underperformer
(The Muse, 09.07.14)

It’s your job to motivate the troops, but what about the stragglers? Many leaders believe we’re all adults, so if some employees aren’t keeping up, ultimately you must fire them. Before the problem gets to that point though, are you putting in the right effort to get your weaker employees up to par?


“Every project is an opportunity to learn, to figure out problems and challenges, to invent and reinvent.” —David Rockwell


Corporate Branding Digest, Oct. 7, 2014


Engage Your Employees or Lose Billions
(Forbes, 29.09.14)

Most employers are failing to engage employees, and it’s costing billions of dollars. According to Gallup’s 2013 State of the Global Workplace survey, just 13 percent of worldwide employees say they are engaged at work. In the U.S., where engagement is at 30%, Gallup estimates that active disengagement (18% of the workforce) costs the economy $450 billion to $550 billion per year.


What Are Brands For?
(The Economist, 30.08.14)

Brands are the most valuable assets many companies possess. But no one agrees on how much they are worth or why.


Should Leaders Be Heroes or Relationship Builders?
(Strategy+Business, 29.07.14)

As I walked through the airport recently, a quick scan of the magazine rack showed a preponderance of glossy covers featuring photographs of single individuals: a CEO, a celebrity, a politician. This focus on the individual is an extension of a narrative tradition that goes back at least as far as Homer. We like stories about heroes, villains, and victims, and those stories are brought to life through compelling characters.


Could Moving Your Desk Make You a Better Boss?
(The Muse, 01.07.14)

The open office concept has been around for a while, but lately has come under fire. Apparently the setup—no walls, no doors, shared workspaces—undermines what the concept was designed to achieve: communication and flow of ideas among employees. According to some research, the open concept decreases employees’ job satisfaction and decreases privacy, which also affects productivity.


“Innovation is the central issue in economic prosperity.” —Michael Porter