Career Advice from 5 of the World’s Best Marketers – The Best of Brand Fast-Trackers (eBook)

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Our First eBook

Let’s face it: marketing is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Here corporately at Brand Connections, we specialize in Making Marketing Easier for Marketers™. Technology and tools are changing by the millisecond and every time a SnapChat or Vine appears, the job of the brand manager only gets harder. Doing it well is a tall task that is an ever-evolving practice. This echoes what we heard recently from Seventh Generation CMO Joey Bergstein and many others.


In thinking about all of the amazing marketers we have had an opportunity to speak with over the last six years, we’ve heard a lot of great advice on how best to handle managing and growing brands. So we went back and mined those podcasts and have come up with some gems from some of the industry’s greatest minds for a series of eBooks.


Brand Fast-Trackers: Career Advice for Marketers

The first of our eBooks takes a big picture look at the career of marketing. The eBook includes advice from industry giants like Jim Stengel and Jeffrey Hayzlett speaking about the paths they took to their current successes. Want to know how Jim ascended to be one of the world’s top Global CMO’s?

To download Career Advice from 5 of the World’s Best Marketers - The Best of Brand Fast-Trackers click below. Happy Reading!

This blog appeared in its original form on our BC CONNECT blog here.

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Brand Fast-Trackers #206 – Mitch Joel’s Ctrl+Alt+Delete (Podcast)

Tom Fishbourne
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Mitch Joel’s Ctrl+Alt+Delete

On Friday, I posted my book review of Mitch Joel‘s new book, Ctrl+Alt+Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends on ItToday, I’m pleased to share the podcast discussion we had with Mitch about the book. As I discussed in the book review, for me, the greatest part of the book is that Mitch takes it further than a lot of other business books I have read. Part 1 discusses NOT the trends to look out for, but the 5 fundamental movements that have ALREADY happened and what your brand needs to do to survive.

So much of the book and the discussion really hit me, but for as much as we talk about the fragmented media world, it is amazing what a truly relevant ad can do.

“If you put something truly relevant in front of me, it will make an impression and I will act on it.” –Mitch Joel

Want your mind-blowing fact of the day? Mitch shared that Google advertising revenue is greater than all print media advertising globally. 

Surviving and Thriving as a Modern Employee or Entrepreneur

For part 2 of the book, Mitch shares lessons for individuals. The 5 movements he discussed have irrovacably changed business, but they’ve also changed how we as individuals need to operate. What do you need to do to survive as a modern employee? Mitch recommends operating with a digital first posture, making a concerted effort to build you own (personal) brand by investing in yourself and operating as if you were in a start-up.So what does operating in a digital first posture really mean? Here are Mitch’s Key Lessons

  1. Be Human – People by from people, not companies.
  2. Be a Digital Native – Don’t be afraid of new technologies. Embrace them. Be the first to try them.
  3. Take care to remember social ranking. Sites like Klout, Kred and PeerIndex are here to stay.
  4. Be Humble. Concede with grace when something you are trying online is not working.
  5. Embrace the simple. Don’t over complicate.

Tune into the full episode below and hey, buy Mitch’s book. It will become your new business bible. Oh, and if you don’t already read Mitch’s blog or listen to his podcast, do that too. You will be smarter for it. :-)

[Lead image by the fantastic Tom Fishbourne]

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Brand Fast-Trackers Book Review: Ctrl+Alt+Delete

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As I write this, I am listening to Mitch Joel talk about his new book on one of my favorite podcasts: Christopher Penn and John J. Wall’s Marketing Over CoffeeIf you have never tuned in, please do. They also broadcast the show live each week over Google Hangouts.

We haven’t traditionally done book reviews here at Brand Fast-Trackers, but have instead included the book review piece in the podcast write ups that I do. This time around, Mitch Joel was able to send me a preview copy of his new book Ctrl+Alt+Delete, so blogging a separate review seemed appropriate. I also love the idea of providing you with additional relevant content.

When we last spoke with Mitch around this time last year, we spoke a lot about his concept of the One Screen World: meaning it is not about all of the multiple screens that a consumer is using, it is about THE screen they are using in ANY given moment and how you as a marketer or brand can make that moment the most relevant for them on that device.

This concept is included in Ctrl+Alt+Delete. The book is divided into two main parts. The first section is directed towards business and addresses Five Key Fundamental Shifts that have happened in this digital first world. These are massive movements that have forever changed how business must be done (for continued profits and prosperity).

The Reboot: Business Keys are:

  1. Direct Relationships: Brands must build true and sustainable lifelong relationships and value with consumers. Think as a consumer, not as a businessman. Businesses can’t broadcast or blast their messaging anymore (at least not solely). It just doesn’t work anymore.
  2. Consumers Want Utility: Consumers want to connect with brands because these businesses are giving them a true utility that is adding value to their lives. If a brand can help me fulfill a need, I will return time and time again. I think this especially true if it doesn’t always directly correlate to sales. Customer service going out of its way to help me with an order. Providing me a branded, and yet non salesy app. Mitch uses the great example of the Charmin branded Sit or Squat app. What could make more sense than a TP brand telling me where I can find a clean toilet? Smart.
  3. Passive and active media: Brands must figure out the balance of active media and passive media. This ties into broadcast messaging no longer being as effective. Sure, go ahead, create the same passive broadcast content you have always made, BUT think about what kind of active content you can also create where the consumers will WANT to engage with you.
  4. Data is telling us much, much more: People are constantly oversharing in online social networks and yet begging for more privacy. The paradox will continue to get more complex as brands have the ability to connect and share more with consumers through direct relationships.
  5. One Screen World: As we discussed above, the only screen that matters going forward is the screen that is in front of the consumer at any given time. 

In my mind, the first section alone would have made a fantastic business book. In reality, it really is a new business bible for brands, but what are brands composed of? PEOPLE! So Mitch brilliantly continues on with the latter half of the book. Reboot: You. How can you be one of the people who can embrace the times and move both you forward and your respective businesses forward? Mitch shares 8 keys.

  1. Digital First Posture: It’s time to shift your attitude. The internet has fundamentally shifted how business operate, especially given the on set of social media channels. The first place your consumers go when making a business decision is to their computers, smartphones, etc. If you are not there to meet them and provide relevant content, you will become obsolete.
  2. Embrace the Squiggle: The most successful and interesting entrepreneurs and business people don’t have a very linear career path – it’s very squiggly. Embrace it. I can think of countless entrepreneurs some of whom we have spoken with on this very show that had all sorts of careers or failed businesses for the one that fit. Jimmy Wales had a failed encyclopedia project before Wikipedia. And now look how even the concepts of a wiki has changed the nature of finding information on the web.
  3. The New Way We Work: Working in Silos is no longer an option. Marketing not knowing what sales is doing or let’s face it, email marketers not knowing what social is doing or what ecommerce is doing or promotions not knowing what shopper marketing is doing. The ability for success while operating in a silo no longer works. For a great book on marketing without a silo, see Gini Dietrich’s Marketing in the Round.
  4. Be a Perpetual Entrepreneur: When you stumble upon a great or inventive idea, don’t stop there. Keep inventing!
  5. The Marketing of You: Rapid, regular and powerful content is the new advertising. We’ve covered why broadcast no longer works. This is the new medium, for brands and for you as a brand. For Mitch, if you are able to be real and tell sincere fascinating stories, people will share and people will buy.
  6. Anywhere is your Workspace: I think this ties into a trend we have been seeing for awhile. Flexible work spaces and configurations are becoming the norm. Having a dedicated office or work space is no longer going to be the ways offices are laid out. In fact, traditionally offices are no longer the norm. As Mitch puts it, it “is increasingly less about where we are physically are and much more about the people we are collaborating with and our access to the information or tools we need to create.” 
  7. Your Life in Start-up Mode: Companies are no longer looking for the same talent they used to hire. They are looking for smarts, but also extremely adaptive people who can reinvent themselves and their job roles on a regular basis. Keep contributing in a new and meaningful way or there won’t be a job there for you. This section in particular contains some key steps everyone should be taking. Go read it. Act on it. Trust me. 
  8. Embrace the Next: Mitch wraps up the book by looking at six forward-facing trends to watch. 

This is a pretty long post for me, but I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed and needed this book. Buy it. Read it. Read it again. Use it as a guide. I really do predict it will become a new business bible for the times. And if you haven’t heard of Mitch, please do subscribe to his blog. Listen to his weekly podcast. You will be smarter for it. We speak with Mitch on the podcast today and I’ll post the interview early next week. 

As a treat, here is the first interview we did with Mitch last year. Enjoy!

[Lead image via Doug Savage | Savage Chicken]


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Brand Fast-Trackers #205 – Big Data & Beyond

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(A quick note – in delving into Brand Fast-Trackers archives, we actually have about 30 more episodes that were done before I joined the show as producer in 2010. To reflect this, I am slowing updating the show numbering. So today’s episode is actually #205. Please be patient as we get his all updated. Thanks! – Kat)

So What Is Big Data Exactly?

How BIG is Big Data?


Today we were lucky to speak with SiliconANGLE’s Senior Managing Editor Kristen Nicole. When it comes to technology trends for marketers, Kristen has her finger on the pulse of what is happening. We’ve been hearing about talking about big data for the last year or so, but what does it really mean and is it being leveraged appropriately? This ties into the show we did with Webtrend’s Martin Doettling, but really delves into how and where big data is unfolding for brands.

For Kristen, a lot of big data started in the IT Sector and now we are seeing that transition to marketing. This makes sense considering the marketing/technology mashup with the ‘marketers spending more on IT than IT’ trend that is happening. All hail the CMTO!

3 Biggest ‘Big Data’ Trends

  1. Use of data for brands will become a competitive advantage
  2. Predictive Analytics. There will be a big shift towards services and P.A. is a huge piece of that.
  3. Privacy concerns will continue to be at the forefront and brands need to be aware and accommodate for those concerns.

To hear more from Kristen tune into the full interview below. I think you will feel smarter for it. I know I did! :-)

[Lead image via; big data infographic via AIS]

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Brand Fast-Trackers #204 – The Zestful Brand Refresh

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There are certain iconic brands from my 80′s childhood that just stick in my mind. If I asked you to sing the jingle for DoubleMint or Big Red gum, could you? What about Zest? Do you still remember the packaging of V05 Hot Oil?

Zestfully Clean . . . A Brand Refresh

Today, we are privileged to speak with a classically trained marketer (General Mills, Unilever) who brings iconic brands back to popularity. Nina Riley is the Vice President of Marketing for High Ridge Brands, including Zest, Coast, White Rain, V05 and Rave. Here on Brand Fast-Trackers, we’ve spoken with big brand marketers and niche brand marketers, we’ve spoken with venture capitalists/lawyers/developers, but I can’t think of a show where we’ve talked about how to refresh a brand. 

High Ridge is owned by private equity firm Brynwood Partners. They specialize in buying iconic brands that have been neglected under bigger brand portfolios for years and flipping them. They’ve done this with Balance Bar, Sun Country Food and others.

As a marketer, what prepares you to thrive in a lean, private-equity owned brand? For Nina, her experience founding her own company is key to this lean culture, but more than that, successful brand refreshes requires three core principles:

  1. You must have an inherent curiousity
  2. You have to know where a brand comes from and what its heritage is
  3. You have to know to whom that heritage/brand stance will appeal

For High Ridge, their brands appeal mostly to the value consumers, so that goes into all of their initiatives. Nina recommends to not be afraid of really delving into the brand heritage. With V05, she was able to discover that the “5″ actually stood for five essential oils in the formula. Turns out that v05 was using most of these before they became key ingredients in other popular hair products.

Overall, this was a really insightful discussion and one I think you will enjoy:

[Lead Image via High Ridge Brands]

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