Morphing From 'Selling' To 'Managing Corporate Character'


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CMOs are on top on marketing trends because they are listening and creating data feedback loops across all touch points, and understanding the inter-relationships. They are tracking this through purchase and past purchase. They are measuring brand health holistically with such hard business objectives as sales, share and revenue as the ultimate end goals.

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Morphing From 'Selling' To 'Managing Corporate Character'

  1. 1. By Tom Stein, President & Chief Creative Officer, Stein + Partners Brand ActivationMorphing From Selling To Managing Corporate CharacterTry this one on your Chief Revenue Officer, or whatever title your senior-most salesexecutive goes by:“What your organization stands for is as important as what it sells. It has a „corporatecharacter‟—the differentiating attributes that make it a distinct enterprise. And thatcorporate character is not simply a product of its mission statement, logo or advertising. Itis, rather, the sum of everything its management and employees say and do—the beliefsthey hold, values they profess and ways they behave, visible for all to see.”The above quote is from an insightful blog post on from Avi Dan, founder ofthe marketing consulting firm Avidan Strategies.No doubt, the post and its perspective would raise many a hairy eyebrow in salesorganizations. Corporate character—whatever that means—as important as what we sell?Clearly the POV of a consultant hawking today‟s flavor of marketing snake oil!Perhaps not.Dan was referencing the recently released IBM study of 1700 CMOs worldwide. Thestudy indicated that the traditional sales funnel has morphed into a series of interrelatedloops through which decision makers “loop in” many offline and online informationsources—social media, peers, friends, vendors, retailers, solution providers, traditionalmedia and independent experts. Decision makers‟ opinions are thus shaped by more inputsources by the time they get to what typically is called “the bottom” of the funnel. 1
  2. 2. A by-product is that, if the decision goes in your favor, the decision maker is far moreinclined to share broadly his or her experiences with your brand (note the conscious wordchoice, “brand”—not “product” or “solution”).As a marketer, what does this mean to you?You have a unique opportunity to build shared beliefs and relationships or, conversely, tofail to inspire customers to become brand advocates, says Dan.These are not exactly new thoughts. But the IBM study is revealing: it shows that CMOsfrom companies that are out-performing—or what we would call “activated brands”—aretotally on top of these trends.They are creating what we at SPBA call “digital brand ecosystems” to maintain aubiquitous, relevant and appropriate presence across the multitude of digital touch points(analog as well, for that matter). They are listening and creating data feedback loopsacross all these touch points, and understanding the inter-relationships. They are trackingthis through purchase and past purchase. They are measuring brand health holisticallywith such hard business objectives as sales, share and revenue as the ultimate end goals.Perhaps most important, they are starting with purpose—making it very clear what theirbrand stands for. And, only then, are they drilling down into the value propositions anddifferentiators that seal the deal.To some in sales, this thinking is going to feel awfully fuzzy, and not quite aligned withthe hard work of efficiently hitting targets. I get that. But if you ascribe to the view, as Ido and IBM data supports, that the world and the decision-making process have andcontinue to evolve, then marketers need to focus more on establishing corporate characteras a framework for customer relevance and relationships.In answer to the sales (and C-suite) skeptics, the analytics exist to measure this--and,pretty much, everything.Read more: 2