Corporate Branding Digest, Jan. 26, 2015

Marketing in 2015: Make the Customer Experience Count
(The Guardian, 26.01.14)

In the modern, connected world, nearly every company is working towards a digital frontier of meaningful customer experiences across all channels. As we charge into 2015, it’s imperative that marketers realise that the customer journey is an integrated, enduring experience that needs to evolve as the customer interacts with your brand – from in-store, to mobile, online, email, sales and support.

Sharp Corners: The Key to Customer Engagement
(, 21.01.15)

Have you ever wondered how some brands get along without ever having to issue a coupon? How did Apple build a following so strong that its users are borderline fanatical? Why is the Harley-Davidson logo tattooed on many a rider’s arm?

Embrace a New Leadership Mindset by Facing 8 Critical Realities
(Forbes, 06.01.15)

As we enter the New Year together, this is the perfect time to reflect upon the ways we can mature and grow as leaders. With the economy beginning to show signs of life, leaders must take stock of their attitude, approach and style and identify ways to improve their performance for the betterment of the employees and the organizations they serve. This process begins by accepting the fact that you may need to adopt a new leadership mindset—a realization awakened by your past experiences, previously missed opportunities and the business trends that demand it.

5 Ways to Maintain Brand Engagement on Mobile After the Holiday Rush
(Entrepreneur, 05.01.15)

During the holidays, everyone ramps up their advertising efforts. And as mobile continues to become a larger part of the consumer experience, brands are focusing on increasing mobile advertising to meet new shoppers on devices. While sales skyrocket during this time, numbers usually slump after the holidays are over.

“If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.” —Elon Musk

Corporate Branding Digest, Jan. 23, 2015

The Capabilities Your Organization Needs to Sustain Innovation
(Harvard Business Review, 14.01.15)

Why are some organizations able to innovate again and again while others hardly innovate at all? How can hundreds of people at a company like Pixar Animation Studios, for example, work together to produce blockbuster after blockbuster over nearly two decades—a record no other filmmaker has ever come close to matching? What’s different about Pixar that enables it not only to achieve, but also to sustain innovation?

Want a Powerful Customer Experience? Make It Easy for the Customer
(Forbes, 13.01.15)

We live in the period of options. Today there are more options for customers than at any point in history. For executives who understand today’s business reality of customer options customer experience is an emergency, not an afterthought. However today this is predominantly not the case.

The Best and Worst Branding of 2014
(Fast Company, 26.12.14)

Great branding is more than a logo. It’s more than a list of acceptable fonts, too, or even some 100-page PDF containing everything from measurements on proper margins to deep verb-subject-adjective explorations on writing the proper “voice.” Great branding is really the DNA of product or company, manifested through various media in ways that the public can recognize and understand.

How to Use Internet Memes to Market Your Brand
(, 26.12.15)

Marrying images to clever or heartwarming words can boost your organization’s online profile. Here are some techniques for making a positive, lasting impression.

“Every man is the architect of his own ambitions.” —Horton Bain

Corporate Branding Digest, Jan. 22, 2015

6 Ways to Finding Your Brand’s Next Strengths
(Branding Strategy Insider, 19.01.15)

How do brands keep improving? If you’re already a market leader, where should you expend your energies to future-proof your business? A lot of the advice we read in the business press focuses on weaknesses and vulnerabilities and what needs to be fixed and updated. But if highlighting what isn’t working doesn’t work for your brand culture, maybe take your cues from the strengths movement and focus on further improving where you already shine.

Why Customer Engagement Is the Future of Ecommerce
(Entrepreneur, 01.13.15)

The rush of shopping that typically begins just after everyone has had his or her fill of turkey and cranberry sauce has dramatically changed. Both online shopping and mobile devices are having an effect on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. According to eMarketer, 41 percent of online retail traffic on Cyber Monday was attributed to tablets and smartphones. That represents nearly a 10 percent increase from the previous year. Now that consumers are able to purchase practically anything they desire on whatever device they wish and wherever they happen to be, the ecommerce experience has changed dramatically. As a result, businesses need to ensure they are ready for those changes and are prepared to focus on customer engagement to drive long-term success.

Biggest Marketing Fails of 2014: Apple, Coors and More
(CBC News, 29.12.14)

Bad luck, bad judgment and horrendous timing turned some creative marketing campaigns into PR disasters this year. Here’s a roundup of some of the more remarkable ones.

Why Bad People Make the Best Leaders
(Forbes, 14.11.14)

Most of the modern leadership development industry is based on a myth. It’s a feel-good myth, spread by consultants and academics and “gurus,” about how the best leaders are collaborative, compassionate, empathetic and free of most defects of character.

“Getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.” —Steve Jobs

Corporate Branding Digest, Jan. 21, 2015

3 Takeaways from Pew’s Women in Leadership Survey
(Inc., 14.01.15)

Women may be making inroads into the tech and political realms, but when it comes to the corporate world, they have a lot of catching up to do–or rather, society does. That’s according to a new Pew Research Center survey on women and leadership released Wednesday, which outlines just where they stand in the labor force.

For Leaders, Looking Healthy Matters More than Looking Smart
(Harvard Business Review, 02.01.15)

Every year around this time, people make resolutions to improve their lives and careers. The most common of these typically involve health-related goals such as quitting smoking or losing weight. The next most common might be career goals like finding a new job or getting a promotion. While we tend to separate out career goals from health/lifestyle goals in our minds, in reality there is a lot of overlap. If you’re looking to set some career goals, then you might think about getting healthier too. New evidence suggests that healthy-looking individuals are perceived as better leaders, even over intelligent-looking people.

What Millennials and Their Leaders Need to Know
(Forbes, 29.12.14)

“Career entitlement.” It’s a term I’ve only heard recently, but it’s a concept I’ve felt keenly over the past eight years as a first-time CEO. At first I thought it was just me. (In some part, it was. Millennial’s leaders share a fair portion of the blame for the angst.) Then I heard reactions from other CEOs with similar stories.

Brands That Got Influencer Marketing Right in 2014
(SocialTimes, 23.12.14)

The words “influencer marketing” became buzzwords this year, with new marketplaces and efforts to connect with consumers through influential social media personalities.

“The chiefest action for a man of spirit is never to be out of action; the soul was never put into the body to stand still.” —John Webster

Corporate Branding Digest, Jan. 14, 2015

A Month-by-Month Strategy to Reinvent Your Personal Brand
(Entrepreneur, 13.01.15)

As we start a new year, many of us are turning to our goals, from losing weight to reconnecting with long-lost friends. I enjoy motivational goals but appreciate an action plan to make them come to life. If building up your reputation and enhancing your personal brand are on your to-do list for 2015, this monthly strategy will help you stay focused.

The Art of Content Marketing [Infographic]
(Direct Marketing News, 09.01.15)

When it comes to creating content, not all marketers share the same aesthetic. Some prefer a more humorous approach, while others enjoy producing educational information. There are also a number of mediums content marketers can explore, ranging from blog posts to videos. But even if marketers don’t share the same content style, they often struggle with the same challenges: mainly, speed and collaboration.

4 Truths About Managing Younger Workers
(Inc., 02.01.15)

There’s no shortage of opinions regarding the merits and demerits of Millennials as employees. Whether you resent their disdain for rules or appreciate their desire to make a difference in the world, managing them well—not to mention attracting and retaining them in the first place—is a much different matter than leading older workers born before the 1980s.

Three Things Everyone Should Know About Millennial Leaders
(Forbes, 29.10.14)

We live in a world where generational companies such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Airbnb have not only created new marketplaces, but have set a course to change our economies and the very world we live in.

“Adversity is the trial of principle. Without it, a man hardly knows whether he is honest or not.” —Henry Fielding

Corporate Branding Digest, Jan. 13, 2015

Content Lessons from Three Brands that Kept Their Brand Promise (and Three that Didn’t)
(Marketing Profs, 08.01.15)

Content marketing has the power to help companies articulate and communicate the brand promise—which goes beyond a corporate mission statement. Marketers can craft content that shows what they really stand for.

Leadership Lessons from Admiral Rickover
(Forbes, 06.01.15)

How can I change the culture? How should I make tough decisions? How do I build talented teams? These are the challenges that all business leaders face today.

Working Too Hard Makes Leading More Difficult
(Harvard Business Review, 30.12.14)

In 2007, the same day Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone and the same year Twitter debuted at SXSW, executive coach Marshall Goldsmith published a book called What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.

Beyond Clicks: Headlines that Persuade
(Neuroscience Marketing, 29.12.14)

In the days when articles were on physical paper, headlines appeared in large type directly above the content. They were written to capture the essence of the story and, frequently, amuse with clever wordplay. While a newspaper’s main headline was written, in part, to sell copies, article headlines served to get you to read, or start reading, the article.

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” —Napoleon Hill

Corporate Branding Digest, Jan. 12, 2015

Brand Activation 2015: Complex, Uncertain and Filled with Opportunity
(, 08.01.15)

On the whole, the predictions of top B2B marketers and agency leaders (from the BMA International board of directors) are positive and optimistic. Yet underlying the sense of opportunity is uncertainty. I’d go so far as to call it anxiety. You can read the full set of predictions here, but these extracted passages make my point.

I’m with Stupid: The Management Mistakes that Attract Activist Investors
(Forbes, 06.01.15)

Activist investors have always had a fair bit of notoriety. And over the last year, their reps have evolved as they have become “increasingly involved in the financial, operational and management sides of the businesses in which they invest,” according to the latest Shareholder Activism Insight Report from the law firm Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP. (Technically an activist investor gets this status through regulatory filings called 13Ds; these are submitted when they have a 5% stake in a company—although even with smaller stakes, some investors can use moral suasion and social media to be “activist.”).

How to Lead a Purposeful Company Toward Social Change
(Fast Company, 05.01.15)

While a cause can often find its voice through social media or grassroots movements, Purpose cofounder and CEO Jeremy Heimans believes using resources towards advocacy and movement building is the key.

Research: 10 Traits of Innovative Leaders
(Harvard Business Review, 15.12.14)

Many organizations would like their leaders to create more innovative teams. But how exactly should they do this? If you ask highly innovative leaders what makes them effective you are apt to hear, “Well, I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it.” Or they will make something up that sounds compelling. But the fact of the matter is that people who excel at something aren’t usually very good at pinpointing exactly what accounts for their skill.

“Times of transition are strenuous, but I love them. They are an opportunity to purge, rethink priorities and be intentional about new habits. We can make our new normal any way we want.” —Kristin Armstrong

Corporate Branding Digest, Jan. 9, 2015

3 Secrets to Building Your Best Executive Team
(Inc., 08.01.15)

Your executive team helps you run the company—but it’s your job to make that team successful. How can you get it right?

The Collateral Damage of Selfish Leadership
(Forbes, 05.01.15)

I’m from Canada and although I’ve never played hockey, there is a colloquial expression in my country known as a “puck hog.”

Mission-Driven Business Will Always Win
(Social Media Explorer, 04.12.14)

Last month an article was written and widely circulated about a former employer of mine, the who is not important, what was important was the assertion that they lost their mojo because they shifted focus from being all about the “mission” to maximizing shareholder value. These types of articles always cause me to pause because the downward spiral of a business is not one decision, but a series of decisions. But, the fact remains when you stop delivering value to your customers; you are exponentially less likely to follow a growth trajectory.

How to Keep Your Team Motivated
(Harvard Business Review, 22.12.14)

As a manager, motivating employees is one of the most important things you do for your company. After all, engagement is linked to firm profitability, customer satisfaction, and employee retention. Yet garnering loyalty and commitment from employees can be a challenge.

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” —Lao Tzu

Corporate Branding Digest, Jan. 8, 2015

Quenching Consumers’ Thirst for ‘Authentic’ Brands
(The New York Times, 28.12.14)

Authenticity is a fuzzy concept, but Julie Napoli, a marketing professor at Curtin University, and colleagues recently reported in the Journal of Business Research that consumers see three dimensions to brand authenticity: heritage, sincerity and commitment to quality.

Are Brands Making the Most of the Voice of the Customer?
(MyCustomer, 09.12.14)

The growth of social media and online reviews means the voice of the customer is stronger than ever. As a result, many businesses have been working hard to become increasingly customer-centric by dedicating more resources to collecting and responding to consumer feedback. Businesses that do this well are not only more likely to improve the loyalty of their customers, but to reap significant financial benefits.

An Upside to Brand Genericide
(Strategy + Business, 20.11.14)

Despite conventional wisdom and years of legal practice, becoming a household name can prove to be a brilliant marketing strategy for companies.

The Morning Routines of 12 Women Leaders
(Forbes, 17.11.14)

We thrive from the consistency and efficiency of routines; they reduce our deliberation and in turn, our stress. So it is no wonder that these 12 extraordinary women adhere to strict ones.

“Innovation and best practices can be sown throughout an organization—but only when they fall on fertile ground.” —Marcus Buckingham

Corporate Branding Digest, Jan. 7, 2015

Never Mind Corporate Responsibility, Companies Can Solve Actual Social Problems
(Fast Company, 06.01.15)

Can Michael Porter’s theory of “shared value” change the way multinational companies fundamentally relate to society?

Forgiveness: The Least Understood Leadership Trait in the Workplace
(Forbes, 05.01.15)

Within the fabric of our culture is the innate ability to forgive. It cascades through everything we do and is recognized by those who work with us and first-time visitors. Everyone in the company is respected equally. It’s an even playing field. No one person is better than another.

How (Not) to Lose Friends and Alienate People: Key Rule of Customer Engagement
(MyCustomer, 02.12.14)

The subject of loyalty programmes is more topical than ever, with today’s brands falling over themselves to win customers and grow a loyal fan base. However, in doing so many are in fact turning consumers away by failing to properly engage with them. Indeed, Gartner suggests that brands have been disengaging them for over a decade, in a bid to lower costs.

Context Is Critical
(, 01.12.14)

Why should you consider context in marketing? Your customers (consumers, businesses, or both) are influenced by an increasing number of new digital inputs as they move down the purchase funnel, many of which only became available in the past 10 years. (Recall that the iPhone has only been on the market for a short six years, and the iPad for a scant four years.) Marketing organizations are increasingly able to identify and shape what Google calls “The Zero Moment of Truth,” where a purchase decision is made further upstream in the funnel, well before a consumer enters a store and clicks the buy button, or a corporate purchaser publishes an RFP.

“If you’re successful, most of the things you’ve done were wrong. What ends up mattering is the stuff you get right.” —Mark Zuckerberg

Corporate Branding Digest, Jan. 6, 2015

4 Leadership Competencies You Must Know
(Forbes, 06.01.15)

Year after year the tireless realization is made that every person and organization must find better ways to collaborate and compete if they want to stay competitive and thrive amidst constant change.

Millennials Put Premium on Digital Relationships
(MediaPost, 05.01.15)

For better or worse, younger consumers are more able to form meaningful relationships through digital channels.

5 New Consumer Behaviors that Scare Marketers—but Shouldn’t
(iMedia Connection, 03.12.14)

If I had to posit a theme for the last eight years, it would be the stunned period. Marketers were dazed by the advent of technology, confused by reactions to climate change and green practices, paralyzed by the steep and sudden change in our economic climate, and dizzy from spinning in circles trying to understand those elusive Millennials. (OK, we’re still a little stunned by the Millennials.)

Why a Good Story Is the Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Sell
(Fast Company, 24.10.14)

From the cave paintings of Neanderthal Man to the hieroglyphics of the Egyptians to the Greek epics that were handed down the centuries, stories have recorded history, passed on wisdom, and set rules for moral behavior.

“Confidence … thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live.” —Franklin D. Roosevelt

Corporate Branding Digest, Jan. 5, 2015

Does Your Brand Engender Word-of-Mouth That’s Complimentary or Cutting?
(Direct Marketing News, 02.01.15)

Customers can be a powerful source of marketing for a brand—if they’re inspired to use that power for good.

3 Things All Leaders Must Do Before the New Year
(Forbes, 19.12.14)

Are you ready to make 2015 your best year yet? Do you have a solid plan for 2015? Learn the three things to make 2015 your best year ever. Move the Needle. Increase Accountability. Delegate Effectively.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Digital Marketers
(The Drum, 05.12.14)

Recently I presented at DA University 2014, a digital marketing conference organized by Digital Annexe, which looked at what the next five years held for the digital marketing sector. During the day I offered some thoughts on what habits will ultimately make a “digital marketer” highly effective in the years ahead.

Improving Brand Meaning
(Branding Strategy Insider, 03.12.14)

The human mind is visual. Millennia before we posted images on each other’s Facebook walls, our ancestors posted illustrations on the walls of the Caves of Lascaux. As both consumers and brands increasingly shift from a vocabulary of words to a vocabulary of images — videos, emoji, and infographics (which we substitute for words), brands should understand how this new visual language creates meaning in the minds of consumers.

“In every object there is inexhaustible meaning; the eye sees in it what the eye brings means of seeing.” —Thomas Carlyle