Digital Transformation Calls For A New Kind Of Communications Leader

Shutterstock Image.

Article originally appeared on Forbes Communication Council.

Digital transformation has changed how we communicate with our customers, colleagues, and friends. The digital age demands a new kind of communications leader.

In my career, I have been truly fortunate to meet some of the world’s best leaders. Although unique in how they leverage digital in business, they share common traits as great leaders.

There’s science in the art of communication.

Communicating effectively is both a science and an art.

The science of communication has led to an explosion of data. We’ve been able to experiment with this data, learning what to do and what not to do, and ultimately create new formulas. We now have templates for copywriting, best practices for Facebook ads and rules for great web design, to name a few.

The artistry is the innovation that comes when we offer up something new and unique. Great communications leaders live and breathe data — it’s the fuel behind every decision. Their scientific approach means that they are armed with knowledge. They rely on more than just digital tactics; they see the artistry behind an omnichannel approach that balances all appropriate marketing tactics.

Increasingly, colleagues and consumers alike are seeking authenticity from leaders and brands. In our digital world, it’s easier than ever to communicate. The art comes from learning how to leverage new tools to deliver an authentic, unique experience. Automation is a science; authenticity is an art.

This blend of artist and scientist can also be seen in how great leaders build and manage their teams. They understand the formula for building a great team, balancing its strengths and weaknesses. They also use data to experiment with different training and motivation techniques. At the same time, they manage a group of individuals with different needs to create a team that functions effectively and efficiently as one unit, while still promoting the needs of each individual. That is an art.

They know what they stand for.

As the expression goes, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.”

Out of all my encounters with great leaders, one key characteristic has always stood out to me: integrity. Every leader has stood for something, mirroring the traits of the brand they represent.

Integrity is even seen in how these leaders talk to their colleagues and industry peers. Having conviction in your message is key. Leaders create and maintain the characteristics of their brand, which builds confidence among customers and colleagues.

Great leaders also have the integrity to back new ideas and innovations, through the highs and lows, through praise and criticism. It’s easy to give up when something fails. It’s harder to push through the hurdles.

They see failure as a stepping stone.

Great leaders don’t fear failure. Thomas Edison did not fail to make a light bulb the first 10,000 times; he found 10,000 ways not to make a light bulb.

We have all failed, be it an epic public embarrassment or your social media competition getting a grand total of six entries. A great leader learns from failure. Most importantly, they encourage their team to do the same. Extract every ounce of data, experiment with it and learn what not to do next time.

A bad leader only sees the negatives and casts blame. Whether they’re sending an angry email or holding a team meeting where everyone comes out deflated, they cannot look past mistakes or failure. In fact, they cannot distinguish between the two.

They are both mentor and mentee.

Leaders constantly learn and seek learning opportunities. The best leaders have the integrity, to be honest about their own weaknesses and are not afraid to be taught by others, even those in junior positions.

In the world of digital transformation, simply hiring digitally native millennials or Gen Zers to leverage new technology is not enough.

In an interview with my company, Sarah Robb O’Hagan of Flywheel Sports said, “If you can’t understand the fundamentals of how these new technologies enable your business to grow, how can you make the right decisions?”

The best communications leaders are not afraid to step out of their comfort zones. They relish opportunities to learn from others, not just to teach — to mentor and to be mentored.

They are human.

Great leaders remember that they are human and so are their staff. They create working environments that enable open and honest communication, making their employees feel valued and respected.

A recent viral example of this: Madalyn Parker, a web developer, sent an email to her colleagues to explain that she was taking a couple of days off to focus on her mental health. Her CEO Ben Congleton replied, “You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work.”

Being human in business is often forgotten. The new digital leader is human and communicates like a human.

They are followed.

Ultimately, the new digitally savvy communications leader is someone you want to follow.


Key Takeaways From Advertising Week New York #AWNewYork

Last week, I spent some time at Advertising Week New York.

A fantastic annual event, sessions included content on Data, Storytelling, Leadership, Creativity, AI & Cognitive Computing, Evolution of Video, and more.

Here is a quick rundown of the takeaways from a few of the sessions I attended.

Video: Connecting People, Reshaping Marketing moderated by Carolyn Everson, VP, Global Marketing Solutions, Facebook

2017 is the year for the “reintroduction” of video. There are so many options for video.

Video should be used to Communicate, Inform and Help. For example, video has changed the way disasters are reported and enabled people to help communities affected. Take, for example, the recent Hurricanes – Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

Collectively, they have left entire countries devastated.

The Cajun Navy used Facebook Live to inform people of where they are heading, to let them know help is on the way.

The Dodo channel used video to report on animal rescues.

Consumers have already shifted to mobile. Now, they are shifting to mobile video. In 3 years, 75% of all mobile data traffic will be video.

Video is so popular because it shows real people running the show, helps build communities, and proves that one size does not fit all.

Sight, sound and motion are an essential part of how people connect. Instagram proves this. It’s platform allows the formation of communities around a passion. Now a platform that boasts 800 million user – video being the key driver of this growth.

Marketers need to jump on this trend. Content starts with the consumer at the center – if they favor video, so should you.

Winning with Sir Martin Sorrel & Ken Auletta 

With great power comes great responsibility. Google and Facebook are media companies with great burdens.

The world is changing. Digital has empowered the everyday individual to take ownership. Brand has never been more important.

Wired CMOs with Maya Draisin, CMO, Wired, Melissa Barnes, Head of Global Brands, Twitter, Pamela Drucker Mann, CMO, Conde Nast, David Fischer, VP, Business & Marketing Partnerships, Allie Kline, CMO, Oath and Dan Levi, CMO , Clear Channel.

This fantastic panel bought together key advertising and marketing leaders to discuss how technology is impacting our world.

For some, success is fortifying what you have. What’s worked. But, with the speed in which consumer behavior is changing, companies need to move from a transactional, “now” mindset to one of innovation.

A key trend in the discussion was the need to embrace failure. Not everything works. Creating an environment for change, means creating an environment where failure is ok. Leading the change means tolerating the risk.

It’s also important to assess who will need help balancing the changes, and where, if necessary you need new people. Stepping back and taking a step to ensure the teams and individuals are behind it. Making them feel safe. Comfortable with the uncomfortable. Unity of the team is critically important.

Briefly, the need for experiential marketing was also discussed. Really good storytelling happens, but its important to remember that you can’t skip experiences.

In another session, The Experience Economy moderated by PWC. Here a collection of CMOs came together to discuss how to create fans for your business.

I loved the example of Tough Mudder whose Legionnaires act almost like business owners. They have an emotional connection to the brand, and are not afraid to voice their opinions.

Creating an emotional connection, a lasting memory, both in real life and on digital, is vital to the creation of fans. Thought Mudder does this by creating community content for across the customer journey, be it at the training stage, during the race itself, or after the race has concluded.

Unified stories across all channels is also key to success.

The Future of Commerce with Marc Lore, President & CEO, Walmart ECommerce, Sridhar Ramaswamy, SVP Ads & Commerce, Google, moderated by Adam Lashinsky, Executive Editor, Fortune. 

Personalized shopping is the future of commerce.

Be it in store, online, in your car – the connected consumer looks for convenience and trust.

Consumer trust is hugely important. Privacy is extremely important to the consumer. They require the ability to opt-in, or out.

Keeping data safe is a priority.

Walmart is innovating, catching up with and now outpacing Amazon in a lot of ways.

Voice is coming. Voice enabled by artificial intelligence. Voice is retail of the future.

We went from store to unlimited online options. Voice requires one best answer. Filters are not readily available. Recommendations have to be spot on. Precise personalization is a necessity.

Google’s vision for personalization  is not limited to just commerce. The mobile world and the assistant world – logged with experiences.

We are learning how to use machine learning and AI.

The future is about helping the consumer with their own preferences. Advertisers are looking for ways to influence/ change preferences.

After voice – Virtual Reality comes next.

Artificial Intelligence is Finding its Feet in Retail

Ikea, the major furniture retailer, has been dabbling in augmented and virtual reality.

Recently the company launched a survey to gauge how their consumers really feel about artificial intelligence. This indicated that Ikea is looking to AI and virtual assistant capabilities, to improve customer experience. The survey, called “Do You Speak Human?,” was created by Ikea’s Space10 innovation and design lab. Questions included asking respondents whether consumers want AI to be human-like, male, female or gender-neutral, and even if it should be religious, among other questions.

An Ikea official stressed that the retailer remains at an information-gathering stage, New Atlas reports. The company recognizes that AI presents a “tremendous opportunity,” but for now it is simply curious how people feel about AI. Consumers, who took part in the survey, could see how their answers stack up to others immediately.

The results of the survey showed that 44% preferred a gender-neutral AI. 77% said they saw that AI could prevent them from making mistakes. 46% of respondents said they wanted an AI to be obedient and assisting.

Ikea has started edging its way into smart home products with the recent rollout of a smart lighting system, the Trådfri system, which leverages common ZigBee Light Link technology standards for connected light bulbs. As the smart home market matures, the ability of Ikea and other retailers to continue innovating on smart home concepts will be tested by competition. At some point, with everyone offering a gateway or hub and connected lighting systems, players will have to work harder to distinguish themselves.

Ikea is one of many retailers looking to experiment with technology to achieve digital transformation. From smart products to virtual reality, it is not a huge leap to see the retailer leverage artificial intelligence.

How To Use Technology To Automate Authenticity

Originally published on Forbes via the Forbes Communications Council. 

Marketing has never been more complex. Staying ahead of the latest trends and technology is a full-time commitment.

The next challenge to arise is how you balance two competing trends.

Authenticity and automation, according to their definitions, do not mix. In fact, they are opposing ideas. However, both hold equal importance in today’s marketing landscape.

The Science Of Automation

Automation in its very nature is inauthentic. Automation technology has allowed smart marketers to manage their communications and send out targeted, personalized communications en masse. What’s more, this technology is enabling faster decision making by recognizing patterns in data that could be missed by the human eye.

Take artificial intelligence, for example, a technology that more than half of marketers plan on adopting within the next two years. The potential applications of this technology are endless. From AI-generated content to voice recognition, from programmatic media buying to chatbots, chances are by the end of 2017, your business will be leveraging this technology in some way.

While examining the marketing tactics we use, I looked closely at chatbots. The usage of messaging apps and chatbots is outpacing that of social media networks. The number of messaging app users is predicted to be around 2.1 billion by year’s end, making it a very attractive marketing platform.

Chatbots are the 24/7 answer to the consumer need for on demand services. As a marketer, you can leverage this all-inclusive one-on-one ecosystem by gathering data based on the questions asked. From there, send automated push messages offering recommendations to users to purchase additional products or services from you.

Consumers Crave Authenticity

Consumers demand authentic experiences with brands. Chatbots, in some respects, enable a level of authenticity — or inauthentic-authenticity, if you like.

By leveraging the one-on-one private ecosystem, communications experts can better target and personalize messages. By thinking smartly about the questions, responses can be automated, offering the consumer the immediate resolution they demand.

Looking past this example, there are numerous instances where the trends of automation and authenticity overlap. It’s up to us to balance the need for both and deliver the experience our customer craves. 

The Art Of Authentic Automation: How To Automate Authenticity

    1. Define your brand personality: As with any new initiative, it starts with planning. In the case of automating authenticity, it starts with a clear definition of who you are as a company. Defining the human characteristics of your brand helps you to frame your messaging and build an identity in your consumer’s mind.
    2. Smart targeting: Next step is to consider your target consumer. An authentic engagement is a two-way street. You need to choose the automation that best leverages the channels your consumer uses. Not everyone (yet) uses messaging apps. If your consumer does not favor this channel, you can’t target them using it. Targeting is also an ongoing task. Simply choosing the channel is not enough; you need to continually adapt communications based on demographics, psychographics and behavior.
    3. Personalization: Authenticity requires a level of personalization. Again, this comes from adapting your communication to the consumer. The digital transformation of business is enabling agile decision making. The ability to personalize based on changing behavior will increase engagement. Consumers will be able to engage in real-time increasing authenticity.
    4. Admit automation: Don’t be afraid to admit where you are implementing automation. It’s authentic and honest.
    5. The human touch: Technology is great until it doesn’t work, or it doesn’t meet your need. Offer the human touch with an automaton. With chatbots, know when to offer the option to talk to a real customer service rep and send communications from a real person.

Consumers love the chance to bypass queues or get answers quickly. But, at some point, they will want to talk to you. So, make it an easy option. How many times have you been on the phone with a robot and asked 10 times for “Operator please”? Enough said.

Why Social Media Shouldn’t Be a Component of your Marketing Strategy

You can’t have a conversation with a marketer these days without them mentioning social media at least three times.

United Airlines

The airline company underestimated the power of social media recently when United forcibly removed 69-year-old passenger David Dao against his will from United Flight 3411. The flight scheduled to leave Chicago for Louisville on Sunday evening, April 9 became an overnight brand crisis for United. The airline needed 4 passengers to give up seats to fly crew to Louisville. 3 volunteered, but United still needed a fourth.

At random, they selected the seat of David Dao. He refused and was then forcibly removed. Other passengers filmed Dao being dragged off the plane by security personnel and getting injured.

From there social media took over! Within a matter of hours, the video has gone viral and outrage ensued.

Apologies from CEO Oscar Munoz were ineffective, and many called for his resignation.


The beverage company released a TV commercial with reality star and supermodel Kendall Jenner earlier this month, which featured a protest. The star approaches the police and defuses tensions by handing one a can of soda.

Pepsi misread their audience.

Instead of inspiring of a message of unity, it provoked a huge, negative reaction on social media. Many accused the brand of blatantly appropriating the spirit and imagery of the anti-Trump resistance, Black Lives Matter, and other movements in order to sell soda.


Adidas is the latest to feel the power of social media. The reaction to its extremely insensitive email sent after the Boston Marathon, with the subject line “Congrats, you’ve survived the Boston Marathon”.

Naturally, the reaction has been swift with many screenshotting the email or commenting online.

The sports apparel company quickly apologized, saying it was “incredibly sorry” for the “insensitive” subject line.

It’s fair to say that enough has been said about these three companies and their social media game in recent weeks.

What it highlights is the power of social media cannot be underestimated. Does this mean that unless you have the knowledge and resources to effectively manage social channels, social media shouldn’t be a component of your marketing strategy?

Why Social Media shouldn’t be a component of your Marketing Strategy?

Marketing is complex. It involves the juggling of multiple channels, an in-depth understanding of the customer, the ability to read data, and more recently, precognition (the ability to see into the future)!

The complex nature of this field is largely why new technology that automates cross-channel marketing and allows for enhanced analytics are so popular.

It’s easy to run from fear. Fear of brand crises for example. So instead of fearing social backlash, the question you need to ask yourself is…

How should we use Social Media?

A common mistake amongst marketers is that social media is just a tool for mass distribution. It’s actually a lot more.

Firstly, it’s a listening tool. Social media’s greatest power is that it enables brands to listen, by monitoring their target customers and learning about what they are talking about.

Due to this listening aspect, social media also offers marketers the opportunity to collect in-depth data on their customers. This analysis can impact the direction of a company, ignite future growth, and help stay ahead of competitors.

Social media is a tool of engagement. It really is the first example of conversation marketing, which with chatbots and messaging apps, is becoming more important.


Who is the Innovative Technology Leader?

Digital Transformation has been one of the loudest calls to action for CIOs this year. When successfully achieved, digital innovation has the ability to achieve both revenue growth and cost reduction.

Businesses are facing unprecedented complexity, as more and more technology enters the market. While the evolution of technology continues to shake our foundations and change our view of the future of IT, the role of the CIO is more important than ever.

Who Is The Innovative Technology Leader?

Transformation is a constant across all lines of business. The CIO is tasked with taking the lead in a way that requires a new business mindset.

Increase efficiency, reduce costs, and stay abreast of new technologies and capabilities. These are normal demands for CIOs today. But now, talking digital transformation in light of the push-pull paradox of technology and cost is raising a lot of questions.

The Innovative Technology Leader of tomorrow will be kept up at night by questions like:

  • How to create a culture of innovation to drive growth and performance?
  • How design thinking adds value to leading edge information technology?
  • What strategies and tactics are needed to move your organization forward?

With rising expectations for the capabilities that IT can provide, and higher demand for efficiencies, CIOs must think strategically about creating structured approaches to identifying, measuring, reducing, and understanding technology needs and costs.

Roughly one in three IT leaders anticipates an increase of more than 20 percent of cloud security spending next year. The biggest cloud security challenges of 2017 will be controlling downloads, evaluating cloud provider security, external sharing and shadow IT. Cloud in particular as cloud infrastructure and mobile devices are the next biggest challenges for IT security. Another risk factor for organizations is the understanding of security issues among board members. The growing acceptance of the mobile cloud has led to several notable trends in IT.

The CIO of tomorrow will be a change agent, “a role that can feel exciting but lonely. This role requires a lot of stamina and persistence, and especially high EQ and communication skills. More attention needs to be paid to the importance of communication.” Lisa Shalett, Former Partner and Head of Brand Marketing & Digital Strategy at Goldman Sachs

Fixing The Disconnect Between The Innovative Technology Leader And Their Board

Consumerization of IT has meant that staff are more demanding and will work around the technology department if their IT needs are not satisfied. Following numerous failed large IT projects confidence in Boards is waning. With many Boards ill-equipped to understand both the potential and risks of ICT, some CIOs feel they would be better suited to govern high-risk technology initiatives. The self-governance of IT management could lead to an exercise in self-interest, however, without the Board to hold them to account and look at the bigger picture. Some therefore still feel the need for Boards to maintain governance of all large projects, with technology no exception.

Welcome To Conversation Marketing

Noticed how your marketing gurus are all talking chatbots and messenger apps?

Well, that’s because in recent years there has been a drastic increase in the uptake of messaging apps. In fact, the usage of these apps and chatbots is actually outpacing that of social media networks. It is predicted that in 2017, the number of messaging app users will be around 2.10 billion. This is indicative of a new trend, as pointed out by Mark Schafer, the rise of the private network. Consumers are changing how they feel about public scrutiny. They’re becoming increasingly afraid of public record and are favoring privacy through apps like Facebook Messenger or Kik.

This is no longer a trend that digitally savvy marketers can ignore!

In 2016, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said,

“Chatbots are the new apps.” 

Chatbots are not new, or at least, the technology is not new. The Guardian, a UK-based newspaper, took a look at the history of Chatbots in September last year. The technology behind the bots dates back to mid-1960s. AI psychotherapist ELIZA was an early computer program created by scientists at MIT that processes natural language cues to simulate conversations. ELIZA was the first Chatbot! In the 1970s, ELIZA was joined by Parry who mimicked paranoid schizophrenia. Scientists did actually attempt a bot-to-bot conversation in 1972, between this two early chatbots. Parry quickly got lost down a rabbit hole of corrupt horse racing gambling.

1991 saw the birth of the chatbot Olympics with the annual Loebner price. The format of the competition is that of the Turing Test, where a human judge holds two conversations simultaneously, one with the computer program and another with a human via a computer. The judge must then attempt to distinguish between the two.

But marketers are not (yet) concerned with computers passing as humans. Instead, they are interested in the fake! Facebook Messenger, Kik, WeChat (to name but a few), are simulating human interaction, in an unashamedly false way.

Chatbots create real-time conversation, that mirrors chatting with a friend. Expectations are, from both consumers and businesses, extremely high. Consumers are favoring the instantaneous nature of these platforms. They can now get information about products, or questions answered immediately. Chris Messina, the Twitter hashtag inventor, wrote in his blog last year,

“2016 will be the year of conversational commerce … you and I will be talking to brands and companies over Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, Slack, and elsewhere before year’s end, and will find it…2016 will be the year of conversational commerce … you and I will be talking to brands and companies over Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, Slack, and elsewhere before year’s end, and will find it normal….I’m less interested in whether a conversational service is provided by a human, bot, or some combination thereof…”

Businesses are witnessing consumers engage more and more with chatbots. It enables companies to engage in real-time with their customers or potential customers. New technology like Cloud Computing has made it possible for chatbot integration. Artificial Intelligence has enabled companies to develop a better understanding of their consumers’ behaviors. With future improvements imminent, businesses will be able to use these apps to have an even deeper understanding, which will lead to smarter business decisions. In fact, one such technological development expected is speech recognition. These will further enhance these pivotal customer service tools. Kia used a chatbot for the release of its Super Bowl commercial this year. In fact, they won the coveted Super Bowl Ad Game with “Hero’s Journey” featuring comedienne Melissa McCarthy.

The huge uptake in messaging apps and chatbots has heralded a new era.

Welcome to the ‘Conversation Marketing’ era!

It’s now impossible to ignore this trend. Chatbots and messenger apps are changing the digital marketing field.

As a CMO, why should you invest in this technology?

Its 24/7

In this time of Amazon Prime 2-hour delivery, consumers want everything now, literally. Your consumer will get frustrated if they don’t get timely responses from you and your business. The banking industry suffered from failing to adapt to the consumer desire for service at the time they want it. Don’t make the same mistake.

You’re also way more likely to get engagement within Messenger apps or chatbots than say from your Facebook page. That’s because the communication is 1:1 and 24/7. You aren’t in competition with the hundreds of other marketers who are flooding your target’s newsfeed.

Unique data to create personalized campaigns

Possibly my favorite element of this new technology is the data you can extract. Can you tell I’m a marketer by trade? You can monitor your consumer, gather data and ultimately adapt your marketing to be highly personalized. Marketing has to be personal. The customer should be at the heart of all your content.

What’s also great is that as soon as you engage with someone, you then have the ability to push messages out to them. You can even set automation workflows, just as you would on email.


Chatbots can provide an all-inclusive ecosystem for shoppers. Users can ask questions, receive answers, and based on data you’ve collected, gather recommendations increasing their likelihood to buy additional products.

Self-perpetuating marketing

This technology markets itself. Leads to more word-of-mouth, social sharing, better customer experiences…need I say more?

You can actually create a chatbot in minutes with companies like ManyChat or ChatFuel so why not try it?

No Laptops…Just Our Brains And A Whiteboard

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 8.54.06 AM
Photos by Nick Peacock-Smith

Yesterday, we ventured out of the office to the local WeWork space for a brainstorming day.

The combine forces of the Marketing and Client Services teams sat down and tackled some of the challenges that have come up over the first half of this year. Not only that, but we looked at ways that we could add a little extra to our conferences for our attendees.

Focusing on three key areas, Content, Technology, and Luxury, with the space to think and no laptop distraction, we came up with some fantastic ideas to take our events to the next level.


  • Working with our sales team to help them feel more confident selling from the agenda. We’re planning several content deep-dives, where we explore the latest technology and digital business strategies.
  • We’re also going to trial some new content formats, that we believe will offer unique opportunities for our attendees to get to actually test out new technology.


  • Ideas to get the most out of our onsite technology, including our event app.


  • We asked ourselves how we can better work with our hotel partners to deliver a more luxurious experience for our delegates. Morning Yoga? Spa treatments? Champagne After Hours Party?

We also spent the time walking in our customer’s shoes, which is the only way to identify their needs.

Taking the time to get out of the office gave us the space we needed to work on how to take our events to the next level.

We’re so excited to put the ideas into practice!

[INTERVIEW] How to Break Yourself to Make Yourself with Sarah Robb O’Hagan, CEO, Flywheel Sports

And it’s finally here! My interview with Sarah Robb O’Hagan, CEO, Flywheel Sports is finally edited and ready to share.

It was truly a pleasure to sit down with Sarah at our event Digital Retail Transformation Assembly.

What was really poignant about our discussion (as a twenty-something), was the advise she would give herself if she was 27 now…

“Chill out a Bit!”

There’s intense pressure to be perfect. Perfection is not actually possible.

Taking each opportunity as it comes your way is the answer.

Hope you enjoy!


An Evening at the Marketing Hall of Fame

Last night I headed out to the Marketing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, organized by the New York American Marketing Association.

Was a great night. The 2017 inductees were

  • Gary Briggs, vice president, chief marketing officer, Facebook
  • Jon Iwata, senior vice president, marketing and communications, IBM
  • Jim Stengel, former global marketing officer, Procter & Gamble and president/CEO, The Jim Stengel Company
  • Jerry Wind, PhD, Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School

Full bios at the end of the post.

All the four inductees offered the audience interesting insight into their careers, where they see marketing heading, and their leadership styles.

Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 10.43.50 AM
Jim Stengel – Marketing Hall of Fame inductee

Several themes stood out to me during their acceptance speeches.

  1. Technology and Leadership – Marketing has evolved faster than any other industry or business function out there. Being able to keep on top of the latest technology is an imperative for all marketing leaders. It’s no longer enough to hire Millennials with technology skills, leaders need to understand how these new tools could impact growth, thus making smarter decisions. Jim Stengel actually touches upon this in his new book Unleashing the Innovators: How Mature Companies find New Life with Startups. In it he discusses how legacy companies have partnered or acquired startups to infuse technology and innovation into their businesses. WalMart’s acquisition of and subsequent hiring of Marc Lore as CTO is a key example.
  2. Authenticity – Marketing has to be personalized. Brands need to tell an authentic story that engages with consumers. It’s too easy to spot bullshitters in this digital age.
  3. Fostering environments for Growth – it was humbling to see that all 4 inductees see their greatest achievements as having been encouraging others in the field to reach their potential. Each noted that by fostering an environment at work that opened up conversations around new ideas, offered a safe space to experiment and fail, had the greatest impact to the team’s overall successes.

2017 Marketing Hall of Fame inductee bios:

Gary Briggs, vice president, chief marketing officer, Facebook
Gary Briggs joined Facebook in 2013 and is responsible for the company’s consumer, product and platform marketing. Prior to joining Facebook, he served in various roles at Google, Inc, including CMO of Motorola upon its acquisition by Google, and VP, Consumer Marketing.

During his tenure at Google, he led marketing efforts for search, commerce, Chrome, Google+,, and the Google brand overall. Prior to joining Google in 2010, Gary was CEO at Plastic Jungle, a gift card startup, where he joined their board of directors. Before that, Gary worked at eBay for six years in roles as vice president of Consumer Marketing, general manager of eBay Canada, global marketing head of PayPal, and CMO of eBay North America.

Earlier in his career, Gary worked for six years at Pepsi, where he launched Aquafina, Pepsi’s joint venture with Starbucks and was director of Brand Pepsi. He also spent two years at IBM running worldwide brand strategy and was an engagement manager at McKinsey & Company.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1984 from Brown University and a Masters in Management in 1989 from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University.

Jon Iwata, senior vice president, marketing and communications, IBM
Jon Iwata leads IBM’s marketing, communications and citizenship organization. His global team is responsible for the marketing of IBM’s product and services portfolio in more than 170 countries, market intelligence, communications, and stewardship of the IBM brand, recognized as one of the most valuable in the world.

Jon is the architect of IBM’s strategic brand platforms, including e-business, Smarter Planet, and Watson. He is recognized for innovation – from creating Think Academy, a mobile and cloud-delivered online university serving more than 375,000 IBMers, to the application of cognitive technologies in marketing and communications. He reports to IBM Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty, serves as chairman of the IBM Values and Policy Advisory Board and is vice chairman of the IBM International Foundation.

Jon joined IBM in 1984 at the company’s Almaden Research Center in Silicon Valley. He was appointed vice president, corporate communications, in 1995 and senior vice president, communications, in 2002. He assumed his current role on July 1, 2008.

He is a trustee of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, a director of the Japan Society, director of the Association of National Advertisers and an advisory board member for the Yale Center for Customer Insights. He is past chairman of the Arthur W. Page Society, a professional group of Chief Communications Officers.

In 2015, Jon was inducted into the CMO Club Hall of Fame. That same year, he received the Distinguished Service Award from The Seminar, an organization consisting of Chief Communications Officers. He holds a B.A. from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at San Jose State University. He is co-inventor of a U.S. patent for advanced semiconductor lithography technology.

Jim Stengel, president/CEO, The Jim Stengel Company, LLC
In October 2008, Jim Stengel shocked the marketing world by leaving his prestigious role as global marketing officer at Procter & Gamble, one of the world’s most admired brand-building companies. This bold move was Jim’s first step on a new mission to share his passion for growing business through a focus on higher ideals. To continue on his mission, Jim has embraced a variety of exciting roles: president/CEO of The Jim Stengel Company, LLC, a think tank and consultancy, author of Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies and Unleashing the Innovators: How Mature Companies Find New Life with Startups, speaker with the Washington Speakers Bureau®, and advisor to several companies.

As the former global marketing officer of $76 billion Procter & Gamble, Jim oversaw an $8 billion advertising budget and had organizational responsibility for nearly 7,000 people. Highly regarded, his leadership was recognized in 2008 when P&G was honored as the 2008 Cannes International Advertising Festival Advertiser of the Year for the first time in company history. He is best known for reinvigorating the company’s marketing culture, personally leading the transformation that firmly established P&G as one of the most admired brand-building companies in the world. During his seven years in the role, P&G’s sales doubled.

Prior to his promotion to P&G’s top advertising and marketing position in 2001, Jim had P&L responsibility for the company’s European baby care business. Previously, Jim held positions of increasing responsibility in P&G’s developing markets, Cosmetic, and Food businesses. He joined the company in 1983, and before that spent four years at Time Incorporated in the Time Life Books division.

Jim is widely known for leading innovation and for his commitment to building leading-edge marketing capabilities. He was recognized four times by Advertising Age as the number one “Power Player” in marketing. In 2005, he was recognized as Grand Marketer of the Year by Brandweek magazine, the same year P&G was named Marketer of the Year by Advertising Age. Jim was named to the first-ever Fortune Executive Dream Team in 2011. He has also served as Dean of the Young Marketers Academy at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity since 2011, where he pioneered the CMO Accelerator program in 2013 and continues to serve as Dean.

Jerry Wind, Ph.D., Lauder Professor, Academic Director, The Wharton Fellows Program Director, SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management, Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School
Jerry Wind, Ph.D. is internationally known for pioneering research on organizational buying behavior, market segmentation, conjoint analysis and marketing-driven business strategy. He consults with major firms around the world, provides expert testimony in intellectual property and antitrust cases, and has lectured in over 50 universities worldwide.

He is the founding Director of the Wharton SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management ( and the Wharton Future of Advertising Program ( He is the founder of the Wharton Fellows program ( – a global network of CEOs and senior executives who are committed to lifelong learning focused on transformational leadership – and the co-founder of the Wharton-QS Reimagine Education program (

Joining Wharton in 1967, Professor Wind led the creation of the Wharton Executive MBA Program, the reinvention of the Wharton MBA curriculum and development of the Wharton globalization strategy. He was founding director of the Joseph H. Lauder Institute, the Wharton International Forum, founding editor of the Wharton School Publishing, cofounded the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya and is the Chair of its Academic Council.

Professor Wind has edited top marketing journals and published over 300 articles, chapters and papers, and 25 books. He received the four major marketing awards: Buck Weaver, Charles Parlin, Converse, and AMA/Irwin Distinguished Educator Award, and was one of the nine original Legends in Marketing. He is the former Chancellor of the International Academy of Management (IAM), former academic trustee of the Marketing Science Institute and former chairman of the College of Marketing of the Institute of Management Science. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Marketing Accountability Standards Board and a member of the boards of a number of Wharton’s centers, including the Lauder Institute and Knowledge@Wharton.

He is a trustee of The Philadelphia Museum of Art and chairman of its marketing committee and an active advisor to a number of arts and culture organizations. He is a member of the executive committee of SEI and sits on the advisory boards of a number of companies including the Fung Retailing Group, DreamTime Vision and other start-ups.