5 Things You Really Need to Know About Artificial Intelligence in Marketing

AI-driven marketing may be one of the most misunderstood technologies of our time. And with marketers of all stripes looking to outperform the competition and get results, many an exaggeration of MarTech capabilities has been uttered in the boardroom.

When it comes to artificial intelligence in this brave, new world, marketers have fallen victim to marketing themselves, and it pays to know where the hype about AI-driven marketing stops and the functionality kicks in.

So, before you go ahead and incorporate AI-lead platforms into your martech suite, here are five things you need to know.

1. AI-Driven Marketing is Different From Intelligent CRM

There are a lot of false claims out there when it comes to AI-driven marketing. So, you need to be sure that you can differentiate an intelligent CRM tool from one that is powered by AI. But, how can you tell? Essentially, any time the software makes an intelligent decision without human input, it’s driven by AI.

Jeremy Epstein, CEO of Never Stop Marketing and former VP of Marketing at Sprinklr, explains, “The key thing to look at when trying to determine CRM vs AI is how the relationship progresses. For example, when you call your cell phone provider, they might know who you are based on your phone number and say ‘Hi, Mr. Smith, let me look up your record.’ That’s CRM. Alternatively, when you go to Amazon, they say (basically) “we saw you bought these five items and based on that, how often you come here, we suggest these books.”

AI-driven marketing uses machine learning to uncover customer preferences and make smart suggestions and targeted offers; CRM tools do not.

2. AI-Driven Marketing Depends on Good Data

If you’ve ever heard the expression “garbage in, garbage out” (GIGO), perhaps never was it so pertinent than when it comes to AI-driven marketing. While marketers have relied on data for a long time now, making patterns and targeting offers, there is always room for human error and interpretation. However, thanks to AI, data driven marketing in its purest form is now a reality. But there’s a caveat; the quality of the data is crucial. After all, what use is it generating smart responses and triggering machine learning patterns over time if the data being fed is inaccurate?

3. AI-Driven Marketing Won’t Steal Your Job

If you’ve been following the headlines with trepidation, relax and take a deep breath. AI-driven marketing won’t steal your job, not yet, anyway. Actually, marketers are not the only ones scared of being made redundant: two thirds of Americans believe that robots will take over their jobs in the next 50 years.

But while there isn’t cause for alarm just now, AI might not steal your job, but it will certainly change it, and you’ll need to learn new skills to stay in the game. Instead of analyzing data and sifting through reports, you’ll be free to focus on more creative tasks, (such as figuring out how to keep your job when those 50 years are up!).

4. It Will Change The Way Consumers Purchase

While AI-driven marketing isn’t going to make marketers redundant, it is going to impact how things are done. But more interestingly, it will change the way that consumers purchase and interact with your brand. Consumers can make use AI to take the hassle out of shopping, by using bots to run virtual errands, carry out product research, and even purchase products.

And that’s going to have an interesting affect on your content. You’re probably tired of hearing about writing for readers first and search engines second. But in the not-too-distant future, the content you put out there is going to be consumed by bots, and not humans. So, your fabulous prose will need to appeal to the algorithms of bots who have been trained to look for certain characteristics. Talk about SEO on steroids.

5. Not Everything Needs to Be Automated

While much of the focus of AI-driven marketing is that it will automate the mundane tasks and leave the creative stuff up to us, it’s important to remember that not everything needs to be automated. According to Andrew Stephens of Forbes, “automation works best when the software has an advantage over humans.”

That might mean where it can purchase ad space in a matter of milliseconds or personalize direct marketing campaigns at scale. But just because AI could theoretically be used to automate even creative processes, that doesn’t mean that it should. We still need real people on our marketing teams to better relate to customers and make strategic decisions.

For the meantime, anyway.

The Takeaway

You might assume that all of the cool kids are nailing this whole artificial intelligence thing, but the truth is, we’re all still working it out. That being said, now is the best time to educate yourself about AI, so that you are well prepared when smart technology assistants are taking over your marketing department. And if current trends are any indication, they will.

5 Things You Really Need to Know About Artificial Intelligence in Marketing

AI-driven marketing may be one of the most misunderstood technologies of our time. And with marketers of all stripes looking to outperform the competition and get results, many an exaggeration of MarTech capabilities has been uttered in the boardroom.

When it comes to artificial intelligence in this brave, new world, marketers have fallen victim to marketing themselves, and it pays to know where the hype about AI-driven marketing stops and the functionality kicks in.

So, before you go ahead and incorporate AI-lead platforms into your martech suite, here are five things you need to know.

1. AI-Driven Marketing is Different From Intelligent CRM

There are a lot of false claims out there when it comes to AI-driven marketing. So, you need to be sure that you can differentiate an intelligent CRM tool from one that is powered by AI. But, how can you tell? Essentially, any time the software makes an intelligent decision without human input, it’s driven by AI.

Jeremy Epstein, CEO of Never Stop Marketing and former VP of Marketing at Sprinklr, explains, “The key thing to look at when trying to determine CRM vs AI is how the relationship progresses. For example, when you call your cell phone provider, they might know who you are based on your phone number and say ‘Hi, Mr. Smith, let me look up your record.’ That’s CRM. Alternatively, when you go to Amazon, they say (basically) “we saw you bought these five items and based on that, how often you come here, we suggest these books.”

AI-driven marketing uses machine learning to uncover customer preferences and make smart suggestions and targeted offers; CRM tools do not.

2. AI-Driven Marketing Depends on Good Data

If you’ve ever heard the expression “garbage in, garbage out” (GIGO), perhaps never was it so pertinent than when it comes to AI-driven marketing. While marketers have relied on data for a long time now, making patterns and targeting offers, there is always room for human error and interpretation. However, thanks to AI, data driven marketing in its purest form is now a reality. But there’s a caveat; the quality of the data is crucial. After all, what use is it generating smart responses and triggering machine learning patterns over time if the data being fed is inaccurate?

3. AI-Driven Marketing Won’t Steal Your Job

If you’ve been following the headlines with trepidation, relax and take a deep breath. AI-driven marketing won’t steal your job, not yet, anyway. Actually, marketers are not the only ones scared of being made redundant: two thirds of Americans believe that robots will take over their jobs in the next 50 years.

But while there isn’t cause for alarm just now, AI might not steal your job, but it will certainly change it, and you’ll need to learn new skills to stay in the game. Instead of analyzing data and sifting through reports, you’ll be free to focus on more creative tasks, (such as figuring out how to keep your job when those 50 years are up!).

4. It Will Change The Way Consumers Purchase

While AI-driven marketing isn’t going to make marketers redundant, it is going to impact how things are done. But more interestingly, it will change the way that consumers purchase and interact with your brand. Consumers can make use AI to take the hassle out of shopping, by using bots to run virtual errands, carry out product research, and even purchase products.

And that’s going to have an interesting affect on your content. You’re probably tired of hearing about writing for readers first and search engines second. But in the not-too-distant future, the content you put out there is going to be consumed by bots, and not humans. So, your fabulous prose will need to appeal to the algorithms of bots who have been trained to look for certain characteristics. Talk about SEO on steroids.

5. Not Everything Needs to Be Automated

While much of the focus of AI-driven marketing is that it will automate the mundane tasks and leave the creative stuff up to us, it’s important to remember that not everything needs to be automated. According to Andrew Stephens of Forbes, “automation works best when the software has an advantage over humans.”

That might mean where it can purchase ad space in a matter of milliseconds or personalize direct marketing campaigns at scale. But just because AI could theoretically be used to automate even creative processes, that doesn’t mean that it should. We still need real people on our marketing teams to better relate to customers and make strategic decisions.

For the meantime, anyway.

The Takeaway

You might assume that all of the cool kids are nailing this whole artificial intelligence thing, but the truth is, we’re all still working it out. That being said, now is the best time to educate yourself about AI, so that you are well prepared when smart technology assistants are taking over your marketing department. And if current trends are any indication, they will.

5 Things You Really Need to Know About Artificial Intelligence in Marketing

AI-driven marketing may be one of the most misunderstood technologies of our time. And with marketers of all stripes looking to outperform the competition and get results, many an exaggeration of MarTech capabilities has been uttered in the boardroom.

When it comes to artificial intelligence in this brave, new world, marketers have fallen victim to marketing themselves, and it pays to know where the hype about AI-driven marketing stops and the functionality kicks in.

So, before you go ahead and incorporate AI-lead platforms into your martech suite, here are five things you need to know.

1. AI-Driven Marketing is Different From Intelligent CRM

There are a lot of false claims out there when it comes to AI-driven marketing. So, you need to be sure that you can differentiate an intelligent CRM tool from one that is powered by AI. But, how can you tell? Essentially, any time the software makes an intelligent decision without human input, it’s driven by AI.

Jeremy Epstein, CEO of Never Stop Marketing and former VP of Marketing at Sprinklr, explains, “The key thing to look at when trying to determine CRM vs AI is how the relationship progresses. For example, when you call your cell phone provider, they might know who you are based on your phone number and say ‘Hi, Mr. Smith, let me look up your record.’ That’s CRM. Alternatively, when you go to Amazon, they say (basically) “we saw you bought these five items and based on that, how often you come here, we suggest these books.”

AI-driven marketing uses machine learning to uncover customer preferences and make smart suggestions and targeted offers; CRM tools do not.

2. AI-Driven Marketing Depends on Good Data

If you’ve ever heard the expression “garbage in, garbage out” (GIGO), perhaps never was it so pertinent than when it comes to AI-driven marketing. While marketers have relied on data for a long time now, making patterns and targeting offers, there is always room for human error and interpretation. However, thanks to AI, data driven marketing in its purest form is now a reality. But there’s a caveat; the quality of the data is crucial. After all, what use is it generating smart responses and triggering machine learning patterns over time if the data being fed is inaccurate?

3. AI-Driven Marketing Won’t Steal Your Job

If you’ve been following the headlines with trepidation, relax and take a deep breath. AI-driven marketing won’t steal your job, not yet, anyway. Actually, marketers are not the only ones scared of being made redundant: two thirds of Americans believe that robots will take over their jobs in the next 50 years.

But while there isn’t cause for alarm just now, AI might not steal your job, but it will certainly change it, and you’ll need to learn new skills to stay in the game. Instead of analyzing data and sifting through reports, you’ll be free to focus on more creative tasks, (such as figuring out how to keep your job when those 50 years are up!).

4. It Will Change The Way Consumers Purchase

While AI-driven marketing isn’t going to make marketers redundant, it is going to impact how things are done. But more interestingly, it will change the way that consumers purchase and interact with your brand. Consumers can make use AI to take the hassle out of shopping, by using bots to run virtual errands, carry out product research, and even purchase products.

And that’s going to have an interesting affect on your content. You’re probably tired of hearing about writing for readers first and search engines second. But in the not-too-distant future, the content you put out there is going to be consumed by bots, and not humans. So, your fabulous prose will need to appeal to the algorithms of bots who have been trained to look for certain characteristics. Talk about SEO on steroids.

5. Not Everything Needs to Be Automated

While much of the focus of AI-driven marketing is that it will automate the mundane tasks and leave the creative stuff up to us, it’s important to remember that not everything needs to be automated. According to Andrew Stephens of Forbes, “automation works best when the software has an advantage over humans.”

That might mean where it can purchase ad space in a matter of milliseconds or personalize direct marketing campaigns at scale. But just because AI could theoretically be used to automate even creative processes, that doesn’t mean that it should. We still need real people on our marketing teams to better relate to customers and make strategic decisions.

For the meantime, anyway.

The Takeaway

You might assume that all of the cool kids are nailing this whole artificial intelligence thing, but the truth is, we’re all still working it out. That being said, now is the best time to educate yourself about AI, so that you are well prepared when smart technology assistants are taking over your marketing department. And if current trends are any indication, they will.

Why Brands Are Skipping Traditional Media and Speaking Directly to Consumers by Becoming Media Companies

Fake news has become a major problem for everyone, brands included. The same technology that enabled individuals to become influencers has enabled brands to skip traditional media channels, speak directly to their target audiences, and in turn take control of their narrative.

Brands who invest in creating content that aligns with their customers values and beliefs, and empowers them to achieve their goals will ultimately win the most valuable prize there is today in marketing — brand loyalty. A new study from Sprout Social, found that “Two-thirds of consumers (66 percent) say it’s important for brands to take public stands on social and political issues and that brands are most credible when an issue directly impacts their customers (47 percent), employees (40 percent) and business operations (31%).” Done right, brands can become a trusted source of news for their audience.

Finance News is Covered by a Bank

Jyske’s Bank understands the changing media landscape. They asked themselves how they could lead the conversation in the finance world without being dependent on traditional media channels. They ultimately launched Jyske Bank TV — a live TV news channel. According to an article about Jyske Bank TV in Content Marketing Institute, Jyske Bank covers breaking financial news. The bank’s content is so good, it’s licensed to other distributors, streamed on Apple TV, and elsewhere.

Spiritual Enlightenment is Explored by a Religious Organization

Scientology, a storied brand, has been creating content marketing forever, from books to Freedom, their magazine, which has been published since 1968. This week, they took it to a whole new level and launched Scientology TV, which is airing live programming and six original shows, all streaming on DirecTV, Apple TV, Roku, Google Chromecast and on an app. “The only thing more interesting than what you’ve heard is what you haven’t,” is the tagline being used on billboards and on social media.

Action Sports is Presented by an Energy Drink

Red Bull publishes magazines, films, documentaries, and other content that “give you wings.” Red Bull TV features an extensive selection of sports, music and lifestyle content. Their strategy works because the content is produced with a consumer first mindset — which is the complete opposite of traditional marketing. In a rare interview with Fast Company Red Bull CEO Dietrich Mateschitz explained how they balance marketing the product and producing content:

“This is not either or, it is as well as. Both communicate ‘The World of Red Bull.’ Since the beginning it has been a brand philosophy and how to look upon the world, rather than pure marketing for consumer goods. So it is both ways, the brand is supporting the sports and culture community, as well as the other way round.​”

Exploring the World is Presented by a Hotel Company

As the first ever VP, Global Creative & Content Marketing at Marriott International, I led a team that transformed Marriott into a media company, producing magazines, original series, brand films, documentaries, and other story driven projects that not only changed perception of the brands, but also put heads in beds, and transformed marketing from a cost center to a revenue center with premium story driven content, including the Two Bellmen series, French Kiss, and Business Unusual. Not every brand needs to invest in scripted films or big budget productions to make a difference. Marriott Traveler, a digital publication, reaches a global audience, without any of the content being about the hotels.

A Constitutional Right is Represented by a Gun Rights Association

Regardless of where you stand on the issue, it’s hard to ignore that the NRA has been focused on owning their message and the narrative around the Second Amendment. Unlike some other brands who are targeting large audiences, they seem to be focused on delivering continuous communication to their membership and supporters. The NRA, is another storied brand that people have strong opinions about, but just like any other brand, they have an audience that cares about what they have to say.

According to an NRA media kit, they publish seven print and online magazines, with a combined circulation of more than 11 million. Last year, they also launched NRA TV, an online channel and streaming service with over 12 hours of live programming, news, and original series. The production value of the content looks and feels just like any other cable news channel.

There are many more examples of how brands are becoming media companies, publishers, and becoming go to sources for content. Adobe covers digital marketing on CMO.com, American Express’s OpenForum covers small business, Global Responsibility is covered editorially by WalmartToday.com and thru audio wit their podcast Outside The Box, and motivation is presented by Nike.

At the end of the day, all of these brands understand that the key to retaining influence is to control the narrative by thinking like media companies. The first step is to find the topic that you can authentically create content around, build a community, and then drive commerce.

3 Totally Unexpected Places Your Company Needs Better Content

Most businesses have finally come around to viewing content as a mandatory part of their brand’s marketing strategy, as opposed to an under-resourced afterthought.

While this is certainly a step in the right direction, I see content evolving to be an umbrella sitting over marketing–not the other way around. Content can also be extremely valuable to other areas of the company. In fact, some businesses have appointed a Chief Content Officer for that very reason. 

Any messaging that goes out on behalf of or within a company should have a consistent voice, which is why a content department or officer should oversee every department’s communications–both internal and external.  As your company develops its next content strategy, these three departments should absolutely be included.

Customer Service

Whether reactively addressing clients’ problems and concerns or proactively reaching out to make them feel positive about their purchases on an ongoing basis, the customer service department represents your brand daily, including countless direct interactions with your audience.  

While unified messaging has always been important, in this day and age it’s imperative, especially now that so much customer service is done–and scrutinized–on social media.

To start, proactive communications should be planned and included on the brand’s overall content calendar. While not every interaction can be a direct script (although, yes: a content professional should be scripting customer service chatbots), voice and tone guidelines should be provided to the customer service department in the same way they are provided to every writer or social media strategist on your team.

Human Resources

Human resources covers both talent acquisition and maintaining a positive company culture–and content can support both of these functions. For example, does your company’s website, social media, and recruiting materials all present your company culture in the best possible light?

Say what you will about millennials (although the complaints about them are becoming a little passe!), but you know you need them. And you also know that they’re doing plenty of online research on your company and what it’s like to work there before they accept a job. Creating engaging recruitment content (like these very un-corporate recruiting videos) can only help attract top talent to grow your business.

While internal company communications used to be a comic sans flier sort of world, savvy companies have evolved their internal communications to include a first look at company news and initiatives, and to keep employees informed and excited about what is going on at the company (after all, your employees should be your best brand ambassadors).

If you need internal communications inspiration, just look to GE. And then look to content experts to create and execute an internal communications strategy for your brand.

Sales

Why content marketing and sales don’t automatically go hand in hand has always baffled me. A key function of content is addressing (and remedying) customer pain points at different points during the sales funnel, yet rarely are content marketers interacting directly with sales to identify those pain points in real time.

A key function of sales is ongoing client outreach–including engagement between purchases–yet rarely are they tapping the content that has been created for just this purpose. Both departments have so much intel and resources that could benefit the other, it’s worth (at the very, very least) regular meetings to sync up.

By the way–it should be a two way street with all of these departments. Just as the marketing can benefit customer service, customer service can provide tons of audience insight based on their regular intimate interactions with them. And think of all the company culture content or fascinating employee profiles that could be generated from human resources.

No matter what department you’re in, much of the content, resources, and information you need may already exist right within your company.

Fusing These Two Key Facets of Business Will Supercharge Your Success

Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) recently spoke with Denise Lee Yohn, an expert brand-building and company culture strategist who has worked for global brands including Burger King, Target and Land Rover. Yohn shared insights about the importance of integrating company brand and culture from her new book, Fusion: How Integrating Brand and Culture Powers the World’s Greatest Companies, available from booksellers on March 13.

As entrepreneurs striving to both define and achieve success on our own terms, many of us look to iconic brands―the ones we grew up with, introduced our families to and that are still part of our daily routines. Their success and staying power make us think, “How can I replicate that with my own brand?” Rarely, if ever, is that thought followed by, “I wonder what their company culture is like?” That’s because few of us instinctively link a company’s brand to its culture―how they are interconnected, inform a company’s relationship with customers, and create a foundation for growth via staff development and overall morale.

Denise Lee Yohn is a leading strategist who has studied the connection between brand and culture and how the two work together to garner business success. Here’s what she shared:

Many companies treat brand and culture as two very different concepts; you say that’s a mistake. What are they missing by not taking an integrated approach?

DLY/ Your brand and culture should be inextricably linked and mutually reinforcing so the way your organization operates supports your brand aspiration. If your brand and culture aren’t aligned and integrated, at best, your culture-building efforts go to waste. You might end up with happy, productive employees, but they won’t necessarily produce the results you’re looking for. At worst, a lack of brand-culture fusion damages customer relationships. Some of the most public failures in recent years―Wells Fargo, Uber, Volkswagen―were so damaging in part because the brand images of these companies had been so wildly different from what they were actually like. 

In the first few pages of Fusion, you use the example of Amazon to dispel the notion that company culture has to be “warm and fuzzy.” Why was it important to make that point?

DLY/ One of the key takeaways from the book is that there is no single “right” culture that all organizations must have. Most of the rhetoric on culture these days suggests that you must have a benevolent, supportive culture and managers must be nurturing and inclusive―and that’s just wrong. The Amazon example shows how a challenging, demanding culture has produced tremendous success at that company. Highlighting that fact demonstrates that each organization should have a unique culture―one that is aligned and integrated with its brand. I wanted to get that point across from the very beginning so readers would keep that in mind as they progressed through the book.

Fusion lays out an extensive approach to understanding and developing an integrated brand culture. Every chapter begins with an outline of what to expect. Is the intention that leaders will use it as a manual?

DLY/ Yes, my intent is for the book to be inspiring and instructive, so it lays out a blueprint for culture-building. Most leaders don’t know how to develop a healthy, sustainable, valuable culture. The book provides specific strategies, tools and even an online assessment to help them.

Throughout Fusion, you tout communication as a key to brand-culture fusion. Why is it so important?

DLY/ Effective communication is the key to successful leadership and brand-culture fusion requires strong leadership, but most leaders don’t communicate well. According to talent management firm Aon Hewitt, only 46 percent of employees feel management communicates effectively. Human resources firm Towers Perrin has found that only 51 percent of employees believe that their leaders generally tell them the truth. To cultivate your desired culture, you need to be able to tell compelling stories and convey a clear, convincing case for it.

In the book, you write, “One reason it’s critical to empower leaders at all levels to cultivate your desired culture is that leaders are responsible for the most important tasks in any organization: hiring, firing and promoting employees.” How do hiring and firing impact brand-culture fusion?

DLY/ You need to ensure that everyone in your organization shares a common purpose and values so everyone’s attitudes and behaviors are unified and aligned with your desired brand identity. Moreover, by using your values in people decisions, you show everyone how committed you are to the culture. Hanging on to a high-performer who doesn’t embrace your organization’s culture sends a strong message that your values really don’t matter.

Having worked in brand-culture integration for more than 25 years, why did you choose this moment to write and release this book?

DLY/ A culture crisis threatens to disrupt corporations the way the financial crisis disrupted the marketplace a decade ago. Between the incidences of sexual harassment and discrimination, the widespread lack of engagement among employees, and the difficulties with diversity and inclusion that many companies are experiencing, a leader’s approach to organizational culture is under tremendous scrutiny and pressure. I wanted to crack the code on culture-building. My experiences working with clients and research on many other companies clearly taught me that great brands are built from the inside out.

If a reader took away just one thing from your book, what would you want it to be?

DLY/ I’d return to where we started this conversation: Beyond a certain baseline, there is no universal definition of a “good” culture for all organizations. There is a unique culture that is right for your organization.

Fusing These Two Key Facets of Business Will Supercharge Your Success

Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) recently spoke with Denise Lee Yohn, an expert brand-building and company culture strategist who has worked for global brands including Burger King, Target and Land Rover. Yohn shared insights about the importance of integrating company brand and culture from her new book, Fusion: How Integrating Brand and Culture Powers the World’s Greatest Companies, available from booksellers on March 13.

As entrepreneurs striving to both define and achieve success on our own terms, many of us look to iconic brands―the ones we grew up with, introduced our families to and that are still part of our daily routines. Their success and staying power make us think, “How can I replicate that with my own brand?” Rarely, if ever, is that thought followed by, “I wonder what their company culture is like?” That’s because few of us instinctively link a company’s brand to its culture―how they are interconnected, inform a company’s relationship with customers, and create a foundation for growth via staff development and overall morale.

Denise Lee Yohn is a leading strategist who has studied the connection between brand and culture and how the two work together to garner business success. Here’s what she shared:

Many companies treat brand and culture as two very different concepts; you say that’s a mistake. What are they missing by not taking an integrated approach?

DLY/ Your brand and culture should be inextricably linked and mutually reinforcing so the way your organization operates supports your brand aspiration. If your brand and culture aren’t aligned and integrated, at best, your culture-building efforts go to waste. You might end up with happy, productive employees, but they won’t necessarily produce the results you’re looking for. At worst, a lack of brand-culture fusion damages customer relationships. Some of the most public failures in recent years―Wells Fargo, Uber, Volkswagen―were so damaging in part because the brand images of these companies had been so wildly different from what they were actually like. 

In the first few pages of Fusion, you use the example of Amazon to dispel the notion that company culture has to be “warm and fuzzy.” Why was it important to make that point?

DLY/ One of the key takeaways from the book is that there is no single “right” culture that all organizations must have. Most of the rhetoric on culture these days suggests that you must have a benevolent, supportive culture and managers must be nurturing and inclusive―and that’s just wrong. The Amazon example shows how a challenging, demanding culture has produced tremendous success at that company. Highlighting that fact demonstrates that each organization should have a unique culture―one that is aligned and integrated with its brand. I wanted to get that point across from the very beginning so readers would keep that in mind as they progressed through the book.

Fusion lays out an extensive approach to understanding and developing an integrated brand culture. Every chapter begins with an outline of what to expect. Is the intention that leaders will use it as a manual?

DLY/ Yes, my intent is for the book to be inspiring and instructive, so it lays out a blueprint for culture-building. Most leaders don’t know how to develop a healthy, sustainable, valuable culture. The book provides specific strategies, tools and even an online assessment to help them.

Throughout Fusion, you tout communication as a key to brand-culture fusion. Why is it so important?

DLY/ Effective communication is the key to successful leadership and brand-culture fusion requires strong leadership, but most leaders don’t communicate well. According to talent management firm Aon Hewitt, only 46 percent of employees feel management communicates effectively. Human resources firm Towers Perrin has found that only 51 percent of employees believe that their leaders generally tell them the truth. To cultivate your desired culture, you need to be able to tell compelling stories and convey a clear, convincing case for it.

In the book, you write, “One reason it’s critical to empower leaders at all levels to cultivate your desired culture is that leaders are responsible for the most important tasks in any organization: hiring, firing and promoting employees.” How do hiring and firing impact brand-culture fusion?

DLY/ You need to ensure that everyone in your organization shares a common purpose and values so everyone’s attitudes and behaviors are unified and aligned with your desired brand identity. Moreover, by using your values in people decisions, you show everyone how committed you are to the culture. Hanging on to a high-performer who doesn’t embrace your organization’s culture sends a strong message that your values really don’t matter.

Having worked in brand-culture integration for more than 25 years, why did you choose this moment to write and release this book?

DLY/ A culture crisis threatens to disrupt corporations the way the financial crisis disrupted the marketplace a decade ago. Between the incidences of sexual harassment and discrimination, the widespread lack of engagement among employees, and the difficulties with diversity and inclusion that many companies are experiencing, a leader’s approach to organizational culture is under tremendous scrutiny and pressure. I wanted to crack the code on culture-building. My experiences working with clients and research on many other companies clearly taught me that great brands are built from the inside out.

If a reader took away just one thing from your book, what would you want it to be?

DLY/ I’d return to where we started this conversation: Beyond a certain baseline, there is no universal definition of a “good” culture for all organizations. There is a unique culture that is right for your organization.