Objectives vs Assumptions: Understanding Audience Motives in Storytelling

November 29, 2016 by Carla Johnson In his book Lead with a Story, author Paul Smith shares a great anecdote about why we have to take time to dig into understanding what matters to our audience. Paul tells the story of a law school professor who assigned an unusual project for students working with a local district judge. The assignment was to …

Know Your Customers “Job to be Done”

November 15, 2016 by Carla Johnson I was talking to the CMO of a $7 billion technology company this week about his secret to success. In just two short years, he’s been able to build a highly innovative, highly accountable team that delivers customer value. And I don’t mean “value” as in people recognize the logo when they see it. …

22 Storytelling Rules Everyone Can Master

November 8, 2016 by Carla Johnson I’m often asked by business people how to tell better stories. I always tell them to learn from the masters, which is rarely other business people. The best places to go are often outside your industry. Those skilled in the art of storytelling but who work with different constraints. Because that’s how you begin …

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 …

What Marketers Need to Become C-Level Leaders

October 13,2016 by Carla Johnson You become like the people you surround yourself with. We’ve heard that since we were knee high from our parents. It’s the reason they wouldn’t let us hang out with the coolest of the cool kids. “If SHE jumped off a cliff, would you do the same?” I realize her point was that I shouldn’t …

A Strong Storytelling Strategy Will Expand B2B Reach

October 6, 2016 by Carla Johnson B2B marketers have tapped social media as a pillar approach to reaching audiences. In fact, 83% of respondents in the 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends from Content Marketing Institute named social media content and their number one go-to tactic. But social media for B2B usually means LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. A few brands that …

How to Tie ROI, KPIs and Other Metrics to Storytelling

October 4, 2016 by Carla Johnson We hear about storytelling a lot, but what does it mean? And does branded storytelling actually work? And can you measure it? That was the topic of last week’s Content Marketing Institute twitter chat with Jacob Warwick, marketing strategist at Blast Analytics. Here were the top takeaways from the chat… Question 1: What’s the …

From Stories to Experiences: Marketing’s Evolving Role in Creating Value

September 27, 2016 If ever there were a profession suffering from motion sickness, it’s marketing. Upheaval from a sea of constant change is truly the new norm. Sure footing is a thing of the past. As we look to deliver value within our organizations, we find that our arms need to span greater breadths and depths. First we thought alignment …

Humana Taps Socially Savvy Employees as Brand Advocates

September 13, 2016 by Carla Johnson Humana’s focus on health and wellness isn’t just something for its subscribers. It’s proving a tremendously beneficial approach for inspiring and empowering employees to serve as brand advocates for the Louisville, Kentucky-based insurance provider. Companies face a tug of war between wanting to empower employees to act as brand advocates and wanting to control …

The Difference Between Brand Purpose, Vision and Mission

September 6, 2016 by Carla Johnson The ability for a brand to separate itself from the rest of the market and rally employees to deliver distinguishing experiences for customers is a challenge for every company. Taking care of the daily details of running a business of any size is demanding. Add to that the fact that more customers want to …

How Marketing & HR Can Build a Much Better Brand Together

August 25, 2016 by Michelle Smith Enduring brands are built by people – not ads, clicks or views. Marketing has traditionally taken the lead in communicating the corporate brand promise, but when it comes to delivering on those promises, its people from all around the organization who have to do the meticulous work of successfully bringing the brand promise to …

B2B Brand Storytelling: Learning From Nike

August 23, 2016 by Carla Johnson When it comes to consistently telling a brand story, few brands have the sustainable track record that Nike does. From its inception in 1971 (previously known as Blue Ribbon Sports), founders Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman have been unwavering with Nike’s mission: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. What …

Where Do You Fall on the Customer Experience Maturity Scale?

August 16, 2016 by Carla Johnson Customer experience isn’t a new idea, but the growing attention to it is. Customers are more widely connected than they’ve ever been, easily hopping between a growing number of devices. They’re looking for a rich, consistent experience that delivers value – whether that’s information or entertainment – whenever they want it. Marketing’s ad hoc …

Sleepless in the C-Suite: What keeps CMOs up at night?

August 2, 2016 by Carla Johnson “What keeps you up at night?” For marketers, there’s plenty. The annual Tech Heads survey of marketing directors and business buyers points out exactly this. This year’s results reveal that B2B CMOs are six times more likely to lose sleep than gain it in 2016, compared with previous years. And while there are several …