Cause Branding Digest, January 12, 2016

The Public’s Trust in Nonprofit Organizations: The Role of Relationship Marketing and Management
(Nonprofit Quarterly, 11.01.16)

This article offers a conceptualization of the “public trust” that is applicable to nonprofit organizations, touches on what relationship marketing theory says about restoring that trust once corrective action has been taken, and identifies the managerial actions that might impair that trust. It also offers an operational guide in tabular form on the meaning, management, and marketing of the public trust in nonprofit organizations.

For Many Nonprofits and Causes, YouTube Stars Are the New Guides to Growth
(Forbes, 06.01.16)

YouTube stardom is not, and never has been, an easier road to fame than the Hollywood path. And like Hollywood stars who were plucked from the constellation of contenders, big-time YouTubers generally feel grateful for the good fortune that coalesced with their work. So it makes sense that they want to give back in the same ways.

Retail Karma: Pay It Forward by Marketing with a Cause
(Independent Retailer, 05.01.16)

A great quotation by Robert Ingersoll reads, “We rise by lifting others.” Nothing is more true in day-to-day activity, and this philosophy can certainly be applied to small businesses and marketing techniques. Cause-related marketing is a great way to show support and commitment for the community, build brand awareness, and create a positive impression on your consumer base. Not to mention, there’s also a wonderful inner satisfaction that accompanies helping others in need.

Cause Marketing by the Numbers—What’s in It for Me?
(Lexology, 29.12.15)

There is a common belief that corporations must do everything with an eye to producing profits for shareholders. But that is not so. In fact, in its opinion in the Hobby Lobby case, the U.S. Supreme Court stated: “Modern corporate law does not require for-profit corporations to pursue profit at the expense of everything else, and many do not.” Brands can (and should) include cause marketing in their promotional campaigns. (And you don’t need to tell anyone, but doing so will probably increase your product awareness and bottom line!)

“Where sustainability works best is where an organization’s leadership gets it and wants it to happen and enables it to happen—so everyone from the person who sweeps the floor to the finance director feels part of that conversation.” —Will Day

Consumer/Lifestyle Branding Digest, October 21, 2015

How New Balance Is Reinvigorating Its Brand to Move Away from Its Lifestyle Image
(Marketing Week, 13.10.15)

New Balance’s CEO Robert DeMartini admits the brand had unintentionally “become older” but says a renewed focus on its performance business will help it become more relevant to younger consumers and shake off its image as more of a lifestyle brand.

CMOs Don’t Have to Compromise Their Big Ideas
(Adweek, 05.10.15)

The last time we spoke with Kevin Akeroyd from Oracle Marketing Cloud the conversation turned to marketing myths. As Akeroyd pointed out, for all the hype we hear about the perfect journey, in reality consumer journeys aren’t linear and marketers can’t predict exactly what a consumer will do next.

The Worst Implementations of the 4 P’s of Marketing
(Business2Community, 05.10.15)

Anyone who’s been in the marketing business for a while will probably be familiar with the four “P’s” of marketing: Product, Place, Price and Promotion. Here are some of the most unfortunate examples of the four P’s gone wrong, and what you can learn from them.

Discover the Key Drivers of Growth in Today’s Marketing Landscape
(Marketing Week, 27.08.15)

A study has been launched that will seek to determine how successful marketers and brands drive growth in today’s constantly changing and customer-centric marketing world.

“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two—and only two—basic functions: marketing and innovation.” —Peter Drucker

Personal Branding Digest, October 9, 2015

Karlie Kloss’s Tips on How to Build a Personal Brand
(Daily Telegraph, 29.09.15)

“Obviously, as a model, being in the pages of Vogue is one of the pinnacles within your career, but it’s not always a reflection of me. But it’s actually me on my YouTube channel — you actually see me, you hear me.”

The One Thing You’re Doing Wrong on LinkedIn
(Entrepreneur, 29.09.15)

When I look at your LinkedIn profile, if I don’t get an instant picture of what you do for a living, I move on. And I’m certainly not alone in that respect.

Six Essentials to Build an Unbeatable Real Estate Brand
(The Huffington Post, 11.08.15)

Successful realtors understand the power of personal branding. Whether you’re a real estate broker, agent, Fortune 500 CEO or boutique agency owner, it’s more important than ever to present a compelling and consistent message that resonates with your target audience. Effectively communicating your personal brand and “why choose me?” is paramount to long-term growth. Here are six indispensable strategies for making that happen.

How to Power Up Your Personal Brand by Being Unique
(Forbes, 06.08.15)

Let me explain an amazing irony. Most people want to be themselves—to express their uniqueness and true identity. We admire people that are bold enough to stand out from the crowd and live with authenticity. But no matter how much we admire, aspire, and yearn for that kind of independence, we have so much trouble achieving it for ourselves.

“In a world where you can be anything, be yourself.” —Etta Turner

Lifestyle Branding Digest, June 18, 2015

How (and Why!) to Promote Your Employer Brand
(Business2Community, 12.06.15)

Brand is the bread and butter of any business. But branding extends beyond the messages you are transmitting to your target customer. This is where your employer brand comes into play.

Branding Offers Staff a Higher Purpose
(Financial Times, 28.05.15 )

As they cruise the travelators and walk the terminals, passengers at London’s Heathrow airport will notice that, along with the advertisements for duty-free drinks and perfumes, there are dozens of adverts for companies such as Accenture and HSBC. These stick out because they are not really meant for the companies’ customers even though they are hanging on the walls of what feels like a consumer space. In fact, they are there to speak as much to those who are employed by these companies as they do to others who might be thinking about using their services.

CEOs Need to Pay Attention to Employer Branding
(Harvard Business Review, 11.05.15)

As the global economy picks up, there is growing concern among CEOs about finding and keeping the best talent to achieve their growth ambitions. Different surveys show that in 2014, 36% of global employers reported talent shortages, the highest percentage since 2007, and in a more recent 2015 survey, 73% of CEOs reported being concerned about the availability of key skills. So how can companies compete effectively in this new war for talent? First and foremost, it’s time for leaders to focus on strengthening their organizations’ employer brands.

Why Branding Matters More to Employees than to Customers
(Forbes, 29.12.14)

A few years ago, I came up with the concept of underbranding, or the concept of focusing more attention on the elements that underlie your company’s brand. It was—and still is—little more than a loose concept, but perhaps you will turn it into something more.

“Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.” —Stephen R. Covey

Cause Branding Digest, May 12, 2015

Panera Creates a ‘No No List’ of Ingredients (and Coverage Ensues)
(MediaPost, 05.05.15)

Panera Bread yesterday announced that it is implementing a “No No List” of ingredients for its offerings that is based more on what consumers say they want—and don’t want—than on hard scientific proof that they are bad for you.

Unilever Claims Sustainability Drives Sales as It Readies New Brand Purpose Campaigns
(Marketing Week, 05.05.15)

The “sustainable living brands”, which contribute to the goals the company set out in 2010 as part of its 10 year Sustainable Living Plan, are seeing above average growth according to the company, with high single and double digit sales over the past three years.

Why a Corporate Culture of ‘Kindness’ Is Great for Your Brand
(Forbes, 27.04.15)

Last week I wrote about how you can make employees proud to represent your brand, and part of that has to do with your culture. Some companies create an authentic culture that works uniquely for them. When other companies try to replicate it they fail. Some successful companies have a je noi se qua culture. In French this means “I don’t know what.” Even if those high performing companies can’t define what makes their culture successful, usually they’ve taken steps at the beginning to purposefully integrate values and practices early on.

How Businesses Need to Recruit CSR-Competent Leaders
(GreenBiz, 12.01.15)

What if, at the onset of this century, the boards of America’s big banks had recruited CEOs for their CSR strengths?

“Brands must have a point of view on that purposeful engagement, whether it’s directed toward the environment, poverty, water as a resource or causes such as breast cancer or education. Merely declaring your commitment to a category or cause will not be enough to distinguish your brand sufficiently to see a return on these well-intended efforts.” —Simon Mainwaring

Corporate Branding Digest, Dec. 2, 2014

The Secrets to Successful Networking from the Most Connected Women
(Fast Company, 20.11.14)

Ten successful women share how they’ve mastered the art of meaningful networking.

Measuring the Impact of Your Pro Bono Program
(Forbes, 14.11.14)

Just because this year’s Pro Bono Week is behind us doesn’t mean that corporate volunteer leaders should shift their attention from pro bono service. Indeed, this form of employee volunteering has become so effective and popular that, for the first time, a study is underway to standardize reporting and document the value of pro bono service to communities and companies.

Leadership in Liminal Times
(Harvard Business Review, 10.10.14)

Leaders have always shown their mettle in times of liminality. The term comes from Arnold van Gennep, the Belgian anthropologist who first outlined the common patterns in how cultures mark transitions from one human state to another (for example, from adolescence to adulthood). In his 1909 book The Rites of Passage he described three stages of separation from one world and entry into another. The liminal (or threshold) stage is central.

The Secret to an Engaged Workforce and a Gossip-Free Office
(Entrepreneur, 05.08.14)

Disengagement has become an epidemic in the workplace. Caused by office politics, goal misalignment and managers who hobble employee growth rather than help, there’s no denying our people often struggle to stay engaged. In fact, a 2013 study by Gallup discovered 70 percent of the workforce is disengaged on the job.

“A lot of people are afraid to tell the truth, to say no. That’s where toughness comes into play. Toughness is not being a bully. It’s having backbone.” —Robert Kiyosaki

Corporate Branding Digest, Nov. 12, 2014

5 Questions You Must Be Able to Answer About Your Business
(Fast Company, 21.10.14)

One of the key opportunities for a business to grow is when leaders recognize the need to revisit, refresh, or redefine the key building blocks that drive their business. When the CEO or CMO realizes it’s time to reinvigorate and reposition their brand, it oftentimes highlights the need to refine or redefine their overall business strategy.

Work-Life Balance Is Having a Moment but for the Wrong Reasons
(Time, 11.10.14)

Work-life balance is having a moment, but for the wrong reasons. Although scholars have been researching work-life fit for more than 50 years, the 2008 recession changed the nature of the beast: Lacking job security, workers became afraid to take advantage of company flexible working options, instead seeking to show hardcore commitment to hang on to a job.

The Best Leaders Are Insatiable Learners
(Harvard Business Review, 05.09.14)

Nearly a quarter century ago, at a gathering in Phoenix, Arizona, John W. Gardner delivered a speech that may be one of the most quietly influential speeches in the history of American business — a text that has been photocopied, passed along, underlined, and linked to by senior executives in some of the most important companies and organizations in the world. I wonder, though, how many of these leaders (and the business world more broadly) have truly embraced the lessons he shared that day.

Bosses Who Pick on One Employee Ruin Everyone’s Productivity, Study Shows
(Entrepreneur, 04.09.14)

You shouldn’t call people names. You shouldn’t yell, or belittle others. These are lessons we’re supposed to learn as children, but unfortunately, such behaviors persist long after we’ve left the playground: Workplace bullying is sadly commonplace.

“The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.” —Kalu Ndukwe Kalu

Corporate Branding Digest, Sept. 16, 2014

Create the Best Environment for Creative Employees with These 6 Principles
(Entrepreneur, 09.09.14)

Business owners too commonly regard creative employees as a burden on the company’s financial performance. This focus overlooks the connection between properly managed creativity and the product inventions and innovations that drive sales and ultimately business success.

Would Steve Jobs or Ted Turner Succeed in These Big Data Obsessed Times?
(Forbes, 19.08.14)

Spurred by the data analytics revolution, corporations aim to collect and analyze reams of data. This data becomes the basis for modeling the future, which in turn can define growth strategies. This is what is meant by predictive and prescriptive analytics.

The Best Leaders ‘Talk the Walk’
(Harvard Business Review, 07.08.14)

One of the most ubiquitous aphorisms in business is that the best leaders understand the need to “walk the talk”—that is, their behavior and day-to-day actions have to match the aspirations they have for their colleagues and organization. But the more time I spend with game-changing innovators and high-performing companies, the more I appreciate the need for leaders to “talk the walk”—that is, to be able to explain, in language that is unique to their field and compelling to their colleagues and customers, why what they do matters and how they expect to win. The only sustainable form of business leadership is thought leadership. And leaders that think differently about their business invariably talk about it differently as well.

7 Traits Every Great Leader Has (But Doesn’t Talk About)
(The Muse, 07.07.14)

What does it take to be a great leader? Once upon a time, birth order and socioeconomic status were considered powerful determinants in who would successfully climb the ladder. Lately, though, the focus has shifted to personal qualities.

“I believe in innovation and that the way you get innovation is you fund research and you learn the facts.” —Bill Gates

Corporate Branding Digest, July 3, 2014

7 Ways to Make Big Change Quick and Permanent
(Inc., 01.07.14)

Big change can be disruptive yet beneficial and often necessary. Change expert Robert “Jake” Jacobs shares his tips on how to create real and lasting change.

Is Your Brand Being Nibbled to Death by Ducks?
(Forbes, 30.06.14)

Someone remarked recently that General Motors was not trounced by a single major competitor like Toyota or Ford. Instead, they were attacked on every front by Volkswagen, Hyundai, Honda, BMW, Mini Cooper, Chrysler, Subaru, Jeep, Volvo, Range Rover, Ford, and yes, Toyota. As someone else once said, they were nibbled to death by ducks. And if you think the automobile industry is alone in this, you’re all wrong.

Growth and Change Require Agile Leadership and Bedrock Values
(Entrepreneur, 23.05.14)

Every year we see a new best seller or startup sensation promoting the latest and greatest formula for success. We eagerly study these books and download every TED talk, even knowing there is no definitive guide to success. The path to success lies in continuously evolving and optimizing your leadership strategy, a process I call “agile leadership.’”

3 Questions Executives Should Ask Front-Line Workers
(Harvard Business Review, 09.05.14)

The higher up you go in an organization, the harder it is to stay in touch with what’s really happening on the front lines. And the bad news—if you hear it at all—is presented only in the best possible light. How do you get the real truth about what’s happening out in the field? How do you stay connected to all corners of your organization? I have found that three simple questions, asked with the intent to learn, can help you stay in touch with reality and be a better leader.

“The heart and soul of a company is creativity and innovation.” —Robert Iger

Corporate Branding Digest, April 17, 2014

Driving Growth Across Industries with the ‘What, How and Who’ Approach
(Forbes, 09.04.14)

Consider the “What, How and Who” approach to driving growth through high-performing teams. David Berg has used it successfully across several different industries in over sixty countries including expanding Best Buy Co., Inc. electronics into China, selling Outback steaks in Brazil and helping middle America adopt Verizon’s phone services. He was about halfway through his first 100-days onboarding as COO of travel and hospitality company Carlson when we talked.

Improve Decision-Making with Help from the Crowd
(Harvard Business Review, 08.04.14)

Most decisions in organizations are made by escalating them up the management hierarchy—and it’s usually the highest paid person in the room’s opinion (“HIPPO”) that prevails. The HIPPO model of decision-making will likely always be with us. But with the rise of digital technology, and with it the ability to get immediate feedback from customers and communities, crowdsourcing has become a powerful alternative for driving important decisions. The challenge is finding the right ways to introduce crowdsourcing into your management processes so that it opens up and democratizes decisions, harvesting the accumulated thoughts and perspectives from your customers and across your organization—but without bogging things down.

Stop Being So Nice. It’s Killing Your Company
(Inc., 07.04.14)

As much as you may want to be liked, when it comes to dealing with underperforming employees and other sticky business situations, you need to be firm and decisive.

Social Media and Brand Relationships: The Big Lie
(Spin Sucks, 07.04.14)

By now we’ve all heard that building relationships with consumers through social media is the future of brand marketing. The logic makes sense: The closer my brand is with its consumers, the more loyal they are, the more forgiving they are, and the more likely they are to become advocates marching in my word-of-mouth army.

“It’s not always necessary to be strong but to feel strong.” —Jon Krakauer

Corporate Branding Digest, Jan. 9, 2014

Don’t Abandon Innovation—Simplify It
(Harvard Business Review, 06.01.14)

My fellow HBR blogger Bill Taylor recently made a pitch for all of us to stop using the word “innovation” in 2014. Despite his plea, I suspect this word isn’t going anywhere. It’s too important as a driver of growth and renewal. What can be done, in the spirit of Bill’s admonishment, is to stop getting tangled up in all of the variations, nuances, tools, techniques, models, frameworks and paradigms of innovation. Somehow we’ve taken a simple concept—the idea of systematically finding, encouraging, and implementing new ideas for growth—and we’ve made it horribly complex. And of course, by complexifying innovation, we’ve probably started to kill it.

Why All-Hands Meetings Are Worth Every Penny
(Entrepreneur, 02.01.14)

Depending on the size of your company, an all-hands meeting can cost tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars. It is worth every penny.

Corporate Leadership: The Experts Pose Key Questions for Leading CEOs
(The Wall Street Journal, 27.11.13)

At The Wall Street Journal’s 2013 CEO Council Conference, leading corporate executives from a range of industries gathered to discuss some of today’s most pressing issues.

Chapter 12: The Art of Strategic Influence
(The Build Network, 02.08.13)

Your individual talents and abilities are a given. To perform at the highest level, you should also strengthen your ties to executive peers, coworkers, and external stakeholders. Nurture key relationships to the point where you have true strategic influence.

“Complacency is the enemy of progress.” —Dave Stutman

Corporate Branding Digest, Oct. 7, 2013

How to Apply PR Strategies to Improve Your Company’s SEO
(The Next Web, 06.10.13)

Public relations and SEO have always been destined to converge. PR is about building relationships with media professionals and key influencers to help increase a company or individual’s visibility and profile; SEO is an iteration of that relationship. The only difference is that we operate in the digital sphere, and we measure these relationships through links, social signals, and other trust indicators. In the past, many SEO strategists focused on building a high volume of low quality relationships to get their company’s names out to the Web. Times have changed.

The Millennial Male Is Not Who You Think He Is—Marketers Should Take Note
(Adweek, 06.10.13)

It’s the best time in the world to be a millennial man, to hear baby boomers tell it—let your parents or your girlfriend pay the rent, maybe start a useless tech company, watch marketers trip over themselves trying to reach you. But talk to guys in this highly desirable demo yourself and you might discover a disenfranchised group with little disposable income, a love of niche culture and an upbeat outlook that belies the economic hand they’ve been dealt (two-seven offsuit). They’re not opposed to advertising, but they also love being obscure—it’s the first generation that would starve trying to order a pizza (or deciding where to order a pizza from). Not your dream clientele? Well, get used to them—they’re the biggest generation in history, and if you can’t reach them, somebody else will.

5 Ways CMOs Can Expand Their Influence and Impact
(, 04.10.13)

The CMO’s average tenure has almost doubled during the past nine years. But it’s still much shorter than that of the CEO and CIO. Indeed, many CMOs come and go. Some decide to move on for greener pastures; others crash and burn. Don’t be the latter. Rather than fall prey to misplaced expectations and relentless change, break free by using your skills and talents to harness and direct the power of change. Let’s become change agents who drive profitable business growth, i.e., Chief Growth Officers.

There’s an App for That: How to Get the Most from Your Visual Content
(Social Media Today, 02.09.13)

Visual content for marketing isn’t new. Your first instinct for sharing a new video is probably to go to the gold standard, YouTube. Right? Founded in 2005, YouTube has since amassed more than 154 million monthly users in the United States alone. Marketers were quick to leverage the video sharing site to promote brands and businesses — in fact, 36 percent of U.S. businesses with more than 100 employees use YouTube for marketing. But YouTube isn’t the only channel available to content marketers for sharing visual content, and it’s not the only place to find your audience.

“Many things which cannot be overcome when they stand together yield themselves up when taken little by little.” —Plutarch

CEOs Who Fly Planes

[Originally posted on Havas Peaks.]

Given all the backlash against corporate executives who dared to get on a private aircraft in the past few years, it would seem as if anyone who doesn’t travel in seat 35E would keep quiet about it. But yet, even as the blowback against personal travel and private aviation has persisted, certain mavericks have been finding that aviation beyond the concourses at O’Hare can work to their advantage.

In this climate, being seen as a passive, coddled, catered-to passenger probably won’t get you too far. If you’re going to fly privately, you have to go all the way: Fly the plane yourself. It turns out that flying a plane is a solid way to burnish a personal brand.

A study undertaken by professors Matthew D. Cain of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business and Stephen B. McKeon of the University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business examined the links between CEOs’ personal risk taking and corporate politics. The high-fliers tended to like to take risks but to be wise about them.

An interview on Notre Dame’s Newswire quotes Cain explaining the findings of the study, “Cleared for Takeoff? CEO Personal Risk-Taking and Corporate Policies,” which included 179 CEOs who were pilots and 2,900 CEOs who were not. His topline was this:

“Firms led by CEOs who are pilots exhibit corporate policies that differ substantially from those led by non-pilots. For example, CEO pilot–led firms are more likely to engage in mergers and acquisitions, have more debt in their capital structure—meaning higher leverage and greater overall stock return volatility. Thus, thrill-seeking CEOs bring a certain element of this personality trait into the executive suite, as reflected by more aggressive corporate policies.”

He went on to note:

“Piloting small aircraft as a hobby is more risky than driving a motorcycle, flying a helicopter or even crop-dusting. Thus, the research shows, these CEOs exhibit a clear willingness to engage in risky activities for the sake of pleasure.”

This might sound like a negative, but CEO thrill seeking in the study didn’t lead to unfavorable business outcomes. Running a large company seems to be an outlet for creativity and to draw out cognitive abilities. As a result, says Cain, “These CEOs tend to complete acquisitions that are more successful than those completed by non-sensation-seeking CEOs. Their creativity- and novelty-seeking characteristics lead them into deals that improve the growth prospects of their firms.”

I’d add that for these CEOs’ personal brands, there’s a clear parallel between embracing the adrenaline rush and the risks of flying, and rising to the challenges of leading and growing a company in these tumultuous times. Playing it safe won’t suffice. Many of them—take Richard Branson and Oracle’s Larry Ellison as two blindingly obvious examples—have also used their unorthodox hobby to define their personal brand. They’re at the controls, in control, and steering an adventurous course.

The trend goes beyond those brand names to all-American corporate executives such as Steve Greenbaum, founder and CEO of PostNet, an international printing, shipping and design company that provides support to small businesses through more than 800 franchise locations worldwide. Greenbaum, the former chairman of the International Franchise Association, says flying his own Cessna 182 helps him clear his mind and sharpen his decision-making abilities.

He notes that flying is a mental escape from distractions, as well as the “ultimate challenge,” but that it also relates to his business in several meaningful ways: There are a lot of moving parts. The only thing that separates you from the ground is your ability to be constantly thinking ahead. And, just like in a business, if you make a mistake, you’re dead. (That dimension of it does pose a serious downside. There’s a serious debate about whether boards should let CEOs put their lives at stake, spurred by the death of Micron Technology CEO Steve Appleton when the plane he was piloting crashed.)

The way Greenbaum got into flying also enhances his brand story, making him an interesting, relatable, memorable guy: His wife is a pilot, and on their first date she flew them to lunch. He knew before they landed that he wanted to learn to fly, and by the time they were married, he had bought his first plane.

Likewise, Gary Green, CEO of Strategic Franchising Systems, says flying his own plane and helicopter helps him relax and focus. When he’s at the controls, he knows not to think about anything except flying. There’s little margin for error, so your mind can’t be elsewhere.

It’s not just about thrill seeking—the ability to focus is a strong brand attribute.

[photo: Jet]