The 10 Functions of Storytelling

June 12, 2018 by Carla Johnson Storytelling gets too much credit and not enough appreciation. And that’s because people don’t really understand it, much less how to use it. Storytelling comes down to two things – connection and engagement. And when we look at it from this perspective, we have many more opportunities to use storytelling to create influence, affect …

Why CEOs Are FINALLY Focusing on Talent & Culture

April 19, 2018 by Michelle M. Smith The shift has been palpable. I noticed it first during the Great Recession. After years (decades!) trying to convince senior executives their employees were invaluable assets – and often the most direct route to successfully achieving organizational goals – the lightbulbs began to go off over the heads of many leaders. Those leaders …

Hierarchy is Out – Authenticity is In!

February 27, 2018 by Michelle M. Smith The business world has had a long-standing love/hate relationship with hierarchy. Hierarchy determines who gets to decide what and where the information flows, which allows us to focus our attention on other aspects of running the business. It reduces complexity, helps us scale and get things done, but it frustrates us by making …

How Well Do You Trigger Anticipation?

January 4, 2018 by Carla Johnson When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait for Sunday nights. I grew up on a farm and work was never a 9-to-5 gig. With crops, hogs and cattle, we worked whenever work needed to be done. But Sunday nights were different. Sunday night was when we had milkshakes and grilled cheese sandwiches for …

The Need to Empower Employees for Customer Experience

October 5, 2017 by Carlos Hidalgo What does it mean to “empower employees” and why is it so important to delivering customer experience? Why should organizations go beyond enabling and equipping their employees, but also take the steps necessary to empower their employees to deliver on the promise of customer experience? It is because our employees are on the front …

Marketing’s Role in CEO Success – Do You Play a Part?

June 29, 2017 by Carla Johnson Successful CEOs understand that the ability to communicate and drive ideas forward is one of the most important skillsets of a modern-day executive. It’s not a nice-to-have, but a requirement of leadership. And even in a digitally driven world, the best know that offline and in-person communication matter equally. In their report, The CEO …

The (Fixable) $600 Billion Hit to Your Bottom Line

June 13, 2017 by Carla Johnson I’ve written many times before that no company can deliver remarkable customer experiences without an eye to employees and their level of engagement. Marketing and sales often make promises and write emotional checks on which employees never deliver. It’s not that they can’t deliver, but rather, they don’t want to because of how they’re …

CEOs Rank Culture as #1 Priority for Success

April 25, 2017 by Michelle Smith Culture is front and center for leaders who want to increase performance and strategic alignment in 2017. “Culture is the X-factor,” said Noah Rabinowitz, senior partner and global head of Hay Group’s Leadership Development Practice. “It’s the invisible glue that holds an organization together and ultimately makes the difference between whether an organization is …

The ROI of Improving Employee Engagement

October 18, 2016 by Michelle Smith Many leaders have spent countless hours hoping for business to return to pre-recession vitality levels. They’ve waited for something to rescue them from the seemingly endless challenges they’re facing on a daily basis, and wondered where the next big breakthrough is that will finally snap the economy out of the doldrums and set their …

Brand Your Company: How to Tell Your Organization’s Story

June 30, 2016 Once upon a time, storytelling was something business professionals did when they got home from work if they had children to lull to sleep. Today, however, it is being touted as a core skill that those at all corporate levels should master. And with good reason. Storytelling has earned such attention because, quite simply, it works. Stories …

Are You Missing the Most Important Audience for Your Content Marketing?

October  20, 2015 All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.– William Shakespeare A few years ago I worked with a telecom company that struggled to get traction with its audience. “We have a content marketing …

Can Content Marketing Create Corporate Culture?

August 25, 2015 Film and TV have shown us a host of nasty bosses that make our days at a desk look pretty tame. There’s a slew of horrible bosses from Don Draper, Michael Scott, Miranda Priestly and even cartoon bosses don’t fare much better. We cringe and enjoy them because we know they aren’t real. Or are they? Can …

The Rise of the Citizen Storyteller: Part 2

June 9, 2015 For a company to make the transition from telling stories to creating brand experiences, they have to focus on the power of their employees to amplify the purpose and essence of the brand story. Confining storytelling just to marketing or PR limits the value and impact that storytelling can make.  It’s what David Packard, one of the …

Want to Keep Your Marketing Job? Why You Must Embrace Change to Survive

November 11, 2014 How buyers buy has changed how we need to think and act as marketers. If you love uncertainty, then being a marketer today feels like being a kid on summer vacation – so many opportunities, ideas and inspiration. But apprehensive marketers are holding onto traditional practices. They think that if they ignore the disruption, they won’t have …

Ideation and Brainstorming: The art of team building through agreement

July 1, 2014 What’s better than sitting in a bland conference room, sun beating through the windows and fluorescent lights buzzing while your boss drones on about a brainstorming session? Probably everything. Brainstorming. It always begins with that cliché, “Remember, there are no bad ideas.” Which actually isn’t true. There are lots of bad ideas: The mullet. Parachute pants. New …

Think Inside the Box: Freeing Creativity with Constraints

March 31, 2014 There’s a belief that in order to be truly creative, marketers must unshackle themselves from anything that could hinder their process. Give them their creative freedom. Let them have no bounds. The sky’s the limit. FLY ICARUS, FLY! In other words, we want them to “think outside the box.” But marketers are like toddlers on Christmas morning; …

Teach Employees to Tell Your Brand Story

September 24, 2013 “Let me tell you a story…” is one of the most powerful phrases you hear. Yet while people relish this from Hollywood movies and best-selling authors, they often shun it in the board room. They shouldn’t. Some companies are slowly starting to understand the power of storytelling. Cisco uses it to strengthen its brand through The Network …