I had the pleasure of seeing my former colleague and CMO of Emerson speak at a Business Marketing Association luncheon in Chicago this month.
Kathy Button Bell told the fascinating story about the 125th anniversary of Emerson, and how this occasion was used to tell a range of company stories that energized a comprehensive array of Emerson stakeholders – employees, job candidates, company veterans or hall of famers, aspiring famers, future scientists and investors.
The anniversary program was a fully integrated program driven by marketing and shows the value of a key company milestone for reinvention and drawing and growing attention among important core and new audiences.
One of my favorite parts of the celebration was Kathy’s hiring of internet star Hank Green and I Love STEM an online resource about science, technology, engineering and math. This campaign succeeded in creating a cooler image of Emerson.
Kathy made it clear that this initiative was about celebrating “What’s Next.” and not just a walk down memory lane.
At the heart of the 125th anniversary was authentic storytelling, and Kathy believes that she learned these 6 values:
- Never waste an opportunity to tell your story.
- Remember, even an older brand can constantly evolve.
- Utilize a one-year story arc to accelerate change and imagine a different future.
- Choose partners with authentically linked values and shared objectives.
- Recognize the importance of focusing on future talent, customers and investors.
- Millennial’s care about shared values and companies need to express their corporate character and a higher purpose.
She also feels that PR was invaluable asset in this entire effort.
Kathy, congratulations on some awesome work and a fabulous presentation. I learned a lot. I know the audience did too. Best of all it was great to see you and our Wilson colleague Gretchen Baker now in marketing with Northwestern’s business school.
What do you find are the most important values of your authentic storytelling?
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