Corporate Branding Digest, April 18, 2016

‘Pure Michigan’ Campaign Under Fire as Water Crisis Worsens
(Ragan’s PR Daily, 11.04.16)

As scrutiny surrounding the lead contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan, increased this week, PR pros took to social media to express dismay at the state’s seemingly tone-deaf continuation of its “Pure Michigan” tourism campaign.

Communications Teams Must Plan for Crisis, Former American Airlines Executive Andrea Huguely Urges
(Tulsa World, 31.03.16)

Failing to plan is planning to fail, crisis communications consultant Andrea Huguely said during her presentation at the Tulsa Chapter of The Association for Women in Communications’ workshop Wednesday morning.

Crisis of the Week: Valeant Effort at Communication Under Microscope
(The Wall Street Journal, 28.03.16)

Valeant Pharmaceuticals is in the crisis spotlight this week, after announcing it was starting a search for a new chief executive, naming activist investor William Ackman to its board and blaming some of its problems on its former chief financial officer, Howard Schiller, who then responded to the company’s allegations against him. The company admitted “tone at the top of the organization” may have been a factor in its “improper revenue recognition.”

Engaging and Informing Employees During a Crisis
(Fei Daily, 23.03.16)

Most crisis communication plans depend at least somewhat on the ability and willingness of employees to come to work – but that assumption may not be valid.

“If it’s going to come out eventually, better have it come out immediately.” —Henry A. Kissinger

Corporate Branding Digest, Feb. 12, 2015

When Celeb Partnerships on Social Can Win
(The Wall, 10.02.15)

Celebrity endorsements get interesting on social media, because this is where celebrities converse directly with the world rather than through a publicist or agent. It has the potential to go very wrong, of course: think Oprah Winfrey tweeting about her love for her Microsoft Surface tablet—from an iPad.

4 Content Lessons from Jimmy Fallon
(, 09.02.15)

The popular host of “The Tonight Show” seems always to be trending. How does he do it—and what can brand managers emulate?

Are You and Operations-Driven or Market-Driven Leader?
(Forbes, 19.01.15)

The highly competitive and changing marketplace demands a new kind of workplace culture where leaders and employees alike embrace the six characteristics mentioned in the article, Create Your Corporate Values by Design, Not by Accident. If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to do so—and while you’re at it—take the assessment at the end of the article that measures your organization’s proficiency level of each of the six characteristics.

Capture, Engage and Convert Customers with Visual Branding
(Entrepreneur, 17.11.14)

In the time it will take you to read this article, there will be over 900,000 tweets on Twitter and 7.5 million posts on Facebook. With that much content generated, how does a business get noticed and stay relevant? The answer: visual elements.

“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” —Michael John Bobak

Corporate Branding Digest, Feb. 3, 2015

How to Lead in Ambiguous Times
(Strategy + Business, 02.02.15)

A glance at today’s headlines leaves little doubt that we have entered a new era of geopolitical turbulence. Acts of terror and violence, humanitarian crises, and public health emergencies are rarely localized events. Instead, these shocks transcend borders, presenting global challenges. Just as one crisis fades, another rises to take its place. Adding further complexity, today’s enemy (unlike in that previous period of great geopolitical uncertainty, the Cold War) is often unseen or unknown.

4 Stories Great Leaders Tell to Engage Their People
(Forbes, 22.01.15)

German novelist and playwright Gustav Freytag wanted to understand how storytelling impacted the human psyche. He wondered, “What makes a story so engaging that it changes a person’s behavior?” After studying William Shakespeare’s work, Freytag designed a map of storytelling—a key that explained why the man considered ‘the greatest writer in the English language,’ had achieved so much success. Today, Freytag’s graphic interpretation explains the structure of many of the most repeated stories—those told in today’s Hollywood blockbuster films, and those that may have first been told on cave walls.

12 Significant Ways that Great Leaders Are Different than the Rest of Us
(Inc., 19.01.15)

Set yourself apart as a great leader by emulating and cultivating the following traits of genuine leadership.

The 11 Must-Use Social Media Strategies to Expand Your Brand (Video)
(Entrepreneur, 20.12.14)

An integral part of your business success is reaching customers through inventive and comprehensive social-media marketing campaigns.

“We are really competing against ourselves; we have no control over how other people perform.” —Pete Cashmore

Corporate Branding Digest, Jan. 29, 2015

What Leaders Can Learn from America’s Storyteller-in-Chief
(Forbes, 21.01.15)

Cody Keenan knows how to tell a good story. He’s such a good storyteller, in fact, that his words were heard by millions of people Tuesday night during Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech.

Sensory Marketing Is the Next Frontier in Mobile Advertising
(Ad Age, 21.01.15)

As mobile usage accelerates, we’re seeing more marketers and more dollars flowing into this platform. But for all its promise, mobile ad technology still hasn’t realized its full potential. Aside from location-based targeting, which can only be done effectively in mobile, all other mobile ad offerings are just smaller, less-effective versions of desktop ad units. Mobile user interactions and mobile device hardware are unique; therefore, our approach to mobile advertising needs to be unique. In order for mobile advertising to fulfill the promise to create immersive user experiences and thereby engage people on an emotional level, sensory marketing is the next frontier.

How to Structure Teams to Improve Customer Relations
(, 21.01.15)

How teams are structured impacts reporting relationships and the way work is organised. It says a lot about the culture, function and leadership of a company, which are some of the primary reasons a customer will buy into the organisation. Understanding the implications of team structures early on can make you engage better with your customers.

The 5 Worst Twitter Marketing Fails of 2014
(Entrepreneur, 18.12.14)

Sometimes the best way to learn what to do is to learn what not to do. If your goal is to rock your company’s tweets next year, rubbernecking at brands that bombed big-time on Twitter this year can help you avoid trending for the wrong reasons. After all, tweeting smart means never having to say you’re sorry.

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have. ” —Abraham Lincoln

Corporate Branding Digest, Sept. 22, 2014

Master These 4 Dimensions of Communication to Shape Your Company Culture
(Entrepreneur, 02.09.14)

For the entrepreneur, the art of communication is a key to inform, inspire and engage investors, employees and customers. Communication is where change begins. Culture is where movements are born.

What the Leaders Who Get It Right Know About Marketing to Women
(Fast Company, 27.08.14)

So many brands get it so wrong. Does a company need women at the top to strike the right note with female consumers?

Time to Grow Your Team? Here’s Why You Should Hire Slowly
(Forbes, 20.08.14)

There’s a lot of advice out there about how startups and entrepreneurs should hire fast and fire fast. Fundamentally, I think this is backwards, but I am not surprised by this advice for a few different reasons.

Incompetent Managers Don’t Want to Hear Your Ideas
(Harvard Business Review, 18.08.14)

In an experimental role-playing scenario, “managers” who were primed to feel incompetent were more likely to denigrate the competence of an “employee” who spoke up and proposed a new operational plan, according to a team led by Nathanael J. Fast of the University of Southern California. The managers who felt unable to fulfill their job expectations rated the employee more negatively than did those who were primed to feel competent. Incompetent managers who are personally threatened by employee suggestions send signals that they are unreceptive, shutting off avenues of new ideas, the researchers say.

“What you do has far greater impact than what you say.” —Stephen Covey

Corporate Branding Digest, June 20, 2014

What’s the Secret to Truly Engaging Employees
(LinkedIn, 28.05.14)

Employee engagement has been quite the buzz phrase during the past several years, but what truly engages people? The secret is to involve your employees in something meaningful, inspiring and lasting.

One Simple Way to Get Your CEO to Embrace Risk Management
(, 28.05.14)

Why do most CEOs or other senior business executives cringe at the thought of having to meet with risk management professionals? By their very nature, CEOs are hard wired to seek out growth opportunities that will add value to their companies. However, risk management professionals are hard wired to find ways to minimize losses that will erode value. The goals are polar opposite to one another.

Look Like a Leader: Secrets of Executive Presence
(NBC News, 28.05.14)

What sets the winners of the world apart? That’s the question that author and economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett, the founder and CEO of the Center for Talent Innovation, sets about answering with her new book “Executive Presence,” a no-nonsense, eye-opening analysis which will have you rethinking your posture, ditching the PowerPoint, and heading to the nearest department store.

Why Feedback Is a Business Imperative
(Switch and Shift, 28.05.14)

True Story: I had been tasked to provide a briefing to a leader whose reputation had preceded him by a wide margin. This particular leader was extremely powerful in his area of performance, and was widely known for a brash personality. When my colleague and I had been appointed to share our briefing with this leader, the enmity he was rumored to feel toward our branch of the organization was at an all-time high. Contrary to what you might expect I looked forward to this brief like no other.

“Progress is always the product of fresh thinking, and much of it thinking which to practical men bears the semblance of dreaming.” —Robert Gordon Sproul

Corporate Branding Digest, June 19, 2014

Share Your Financials to Engage Employees
(Harvard Business Review, 03.06.14)

If you’re searching for ways to improve employee engagement, you’ll find lots of laundry lists. Fourteen tips. Seven steps. The “Ten C’s.” Most of these sources contain good-but-basic advice, like providing mentoring, encouraging two-way communication, and recognizing people when they do great work.

The Trouble with a ‘Jock Culture’ at the Office
(Bloomberg, 30.05.14)

A few years back, I took over a large research business that was dangerously close to free-falling. Sales had shrunk for 13 consecutive quarters. Many of the best people had left for greener pastures; the worst people had been laid off. One of the board members joked that the only employees left were politically adept mediocre players. That wasn’t completely true, but it wasn’t totally false, either.

Tough Mudder’s CEO on Depending on a Team
(Fast Company, 28.05.14)

The CEO of what might be the world’s dirtiest, most difficult endurance event knows you’re only as good as your team.

Four Ways to Avoid Employee Silence Quietly Killing Your Business
(Forbes, 29.04.14)

Many employees are reluctant to speak up to their managers, resulting in vital information, knowledge, creativity and innovation being withheld—which can have dire consequences for the business. So why the silence? IESE prof. Mireia Las Heras argues employees who clam up rather than open up about potential problems usually do so because they feel the costs outweigh the benefits. They fear they will be labeled as troublemakers or suffer some form of retaliation.

“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” —Sam Walton