RENEGADE THINKING from the CEO of Renegade, the social media & marketing agency that helps clients make more out of less by transforming communications into "Marketing as Service."

CMO Personal Branding Worksheet


Personal-Branding-Naming-AlternativesI recently had the pleasure of leading a session on Personal Branding at The CMO Club Summit with Evan Greene, the CMO of Grammys.  The session was really well attended and it was clear by all accounts that this was an area of great interest to senior marketers. The following is a document I prepared for the attendees that is a compilation of guidance team Renegade found from a number of sources (see credits at the bottom).

Why CMOs Need to Care About Their Personal Brand

  • Enhances your value to your current employer.
  • No job is forever.
  • If you don’t control your reputation, someone else will (i.e. Google)

 Personal Brand Statement Overview

  • A short and sweet statement that describes who you are and what you bring to the table. It answers the questions, “what makes you great?” and “what makes you compelling?” but should not be confused with a mission statement (which tend to be more lofty and less job specific).
  • You could be a “reliable, strategic planner” or “a innovative professional connector.” Or, your statement might be something like, “inspiring others to excel.” Are you amazingly well organized? Do people enjoy working with you for your fantastic sense of humor?
  • Your brand statement should be consistent with how others perceive you. Don’t describe yourself as a team builder if your team thinks otherwise.  However, if you have hit some professional brick walls, it may be time for reinvention and it is okay therefore to make your brand statement aspirational.

 Three Components to Consider

  1. Figure out your emotional appeal
    1. How do people benefit from working with me?
    2. How do CEOs benefit from working with me?
    3. How do I make people feel?
    4. What words do others use to describe me?
  2. Determine your description
    1. What field or industry am I in (or do I want to be in)?
    2. What are the words I would use to describe my work?
    3. Who is my target audience?
  3. Describe your role
    1. What service do I have to offer people / companies?
    2. What do I do that makes me stand out from everyone else?


Draft Your Personal Brand Statement (here are a few statement starters)

All modesty aside, I am great because_________________________________________________

Yes! I am compelling because______________________________________________________

But seriously, I am special because___________________________________________________

I am different from your average CMO because…________________________________________

Making it Real: Getting Started

If you say you’re an innovative leader you better innovate on the job and lead a productive team.  If you claim to be a results-driven marketer then you should have the case histories with hard data to back it up. Now we can consider all the things you can do to build your personal brand beyond simply doing your job:

  • Basic Appearance: Are you dressing the part?  Does your business card reflect your personal brand statement?  Your resume should express & support your personal statement.
  • Social Basics: Do your social profiles back up your statement?  Are they consistent?  If you claim to be digitally savvy or cutting edge, are you on the latest social channels?
  • Social Channels: How many you choose to be active on is up to you but the key word here is active.  The only way to understand and claim social savvy is to be active.
  • Content Creation: If being a thought-leader is an important part of your brand, then you need to demonstrate that by creating content for your personal blog/website and/or for other legitimate publications. If you don’t like writing, find a ghostwriter or better yet, learn to like it. Or make a video.  Whatever you do, your content should be authentically you and focused on what you want to be known for.
  • Content Upgrade: Does the content you post support your personal statement?  If you claim creativity as part of your personal statement, make sure your content is creative.  (Hint: post better content even if that means posting less!)

Making it Real: Additional Tactics

  • Rekindle Old Ties: Contact and meet with old friends.  Make new ones by going to networking events.  Use these encounters to sharpen the elevator version of your personal statement.  No more “same old, same old” responses.
  • Learn A New Skill: This skill should support your brand statement and give you a new area to write about and discuss with peers.

Good Sources on Personal Branding

The above merely scratches the surface on this topic. I have an article in the works that I will share shortly spelling out FLAIC (Focus, Lead, Adapt, Invest, Cultivate), an acronym I whipped up just for the unique challenges of marketing execs.  As always, let me know if you have thoughts to add.

Social Media Innovation + GRAMMYs CMO, Evan Greene


evan greene

As CMO of the Grammys (officially titled National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences),  it would seem that Evan Greene doesn’t have to go out on a limb to create engaging content. Most fans are already engaged, eagerly awaiting the next photo or tweet about their favorite music artist. But he and his team maintain that the biggest contributor to their success is their dedication to listening to those fans and joining them in dialogue, which is not quite as easy as it sounds.

To dig into this more, I had the pleasure of moderating a breakout discussion with Evan at The CMO Club Inspiration &  Innovation Summit in New York City last month.  It was a lively conversation with about 40 other CMOs covering a wide range of social media challenges, many of which Evan and I addressed on the spot (and rather pithily I might add!).  Since I am not a great notetaker, I recorded Evan’s responses, which are transcribed below for your reading pleasure. Given the GRAMMYs extraordinary success overall (ratings were 2nd highest in 21 years) and on social (13.8 million tweets during the show generated 862 million impressions), you’ll want to read on…

Could you talk a little bit about your planning process?
Our campaigns need to engage people and if they don’t, then social media is not going to help and we usually abandon it. It’s really for us about having a very respectful, two-way dialog that we think is engaging on a daily basis. We don’t come from the standpoint that we’re the authority, that we’re the expert, that you should listen to what we say, that we want to tell you what to listen to, who to follow, how to dress, what to do. We simply want to be where music is happening. We want to be a credible voice in music.

And the thing that we’ve discovered, the sort of the universal truth that we’ve hit upon over the last couple of years, is that people generally are looking for two things. They’re looking for discovery and they’re looking for community. And if we can enable the idea of discovery and empower the concept of sharability, then we are, by default, going to be leading to a greater, more robust community.

Can you share some of the innovative things that you’ve done in the last couple of years?
Innovation really is simply how do you add more to the conversation to make it more interesting on a daily basis? So some of the things that we did this year were simple, but engaging. For example, we’ve now live gif-ed our nominations show and the Grammy awards telecast. So we’re now creating gifs in real-time.

We also expanded the size, the scale, and the scope of what we call our social media command center onsite at the Staples Center during the show where we have more bloggers from more diverse areas from more diverse music genres and we try to get more people to tell our story for us. Because it’s one thing if the GRAMMYs talk to you about it and tell you about it. It’s another thing if people that you know and like and respect and trust are telling you about it.

How does content marketing fit into this discussion?
For The GRAMMYs, it’s all about content. Granted, we’re a non-for-profit trade organization, so we don’t have the budgets that you probably think we do. But we’ve made a pretty sizable investment in our content infrastructure because we want and need to be creating a lot of content. For example, we want to be creating engaging, short, episodic video pieces that are easily digestible and easily shareable.

In a lot of ways we’re fortunate because music overlaps and enhances so many different areas. A good example is the intersection between music and sports. So six years ago, at the Beijing Olympics, the biggest story was what’s on Michael Phelps’ iPod as he’s going in to compete for 8 Gold medals.

So we thought, since there’s always been that overlap between music and sports, we created a content program called Champion’s Playlist where we talk to professional athletes and say, “What’s on your iPod? What do you listen to to train, to get motivated before the big game, before the championship?” And this starts to become a shareable experience where you can now overlay what your playlist is with your friends’, you can see how some of these famous athletes, how their playlists overlap with your own. This gives us the opportunity to create a leaderboard, et cetera.

So you’ve done all this stuff. How do you measure it and do you try to differentiate social metrics from your broader metrics?
The easy answer is what are your ratings and how much money are you generating. Well, I look at it another way.  I see all of that as a consequence of everything else that we’re doing right on the front end. If we spend a whole lot of time on the front end, being really true to and respectful of our brand, and really making sure that we do the work to fill the pipeline, and if we create that conversation, if we create that relationship with music fans everywhere, then we’re going to be rewarded by people watching the show, we’re going to be rewarded by 99 percent positive sentiment. We’re going to be rewarded by the fact that our marketing partners are more engaged and happier than they’ve ever been before. Our revenue is going to increase. I think if we focus on the revenue and we focus on the ratings as the objective, it skews the narrative and it skews the story.

It used to be how many Facebook friends you had, right? And then it was, what’s the sentiment? But now the questions are getting a lot more detailed and a lot more sophisticated. And so that’s why listening is changing all the time. That’s why you need people who have access to the full Twitter fire hose. You need people who are doing more than just sort of skimming the surface with Google analytics.

We spent a lot of time talking about listening as a customer service channel and I think everybody recognizes that as a doable thing in social. I’m curious if any of you are listening for customer acquisition opportunities and if you’ve been able to systematize that and talk about that.
It is about credibility, and gaining the trust of your customers. You need to be where your customers are, and not necessarily only your own Web-site, and seek to create evangelists. So if your business is photography sales, you go to a photography forum where people are talking about a new camera. So, from a social media standpoint, don’t try to sell people with a link to your website and a price. Rather than talk about this new camera, utilize the buzz that is already happening organically, and re-tweet or re-post other credible voices in your community. Trust and credibility are powerful tools toward acquisition.

Well, you also brought up an interesting point which is sort of empowering employees to be social voices for the company as opposed to trying to control the conversation centrally.  Can you explain the advantages of this decentralized approach?
The key is, I think there’s so many divergent conversations happening all the time about all our respective businesses and the key is how do you channel those conversations. How do you channel all those disparate conversations into a cohesive dialogue? And I don’t know that there’s one answer to do that but one of the things that we did is we created what we call our Social Media Bible which has all of our correct URLs. It has all of our proper hashtags, all of our handles.

We distribute that to all media, and all of our friends, fans, and followers. We distribute it to artists and managers, labels, anybody that can possibly be having a music conversation. Now whether or not they’ll follow it is another story. But when everybody’s got the same consistent inputs and the same data, the results are usually stronger than they would have been otherwise.

Do you have any ideas as to how one can track word-of-mouth marketing and be able to then put some type of ROI to it?
I think one of the biggest fallacies and one of the biggest misnomers about social media is that it’s free and easy. And I think right now, the next big step is figuring out how you can track word-of-mouth marketing and be able to put an ROI on it.

How do you measure measurement analytics? What’s the value of having a bunch of Facebook friends? Is it the aggregation of tonnage? Is it who’s passing it along? All of that is being parsed right now and I don’t think anybody’s got the answer but there are some companies that are getting a lot smarter about it.

How do you approach social media innovation?
We try a lot of different things and the down side of trying a lot of things is that you fail sometimes. But every once in a while, you get it really right. And if nothing else, we’re always learning. Sometimes we make the right move, sometimes we don’t but we’re always in there. And frankly, the deeper you are into social media, the more you hear about trends first. So you can sort of pivot down the river and play around over here and see if it works and if it does, great! If it doesn’t, you just come back to where you were.

Star CMO Interview: Terri Funk Graham


If you’ve been in this business awhile, you have seen many an ad campaign launch strong and then fizzle out in just a year or two. Perhaps this is why I was so bowled over when I heard Terri Funk Graham (at last year’s CMO Club Summit) tell the story of the  “Jack” campaign that is now in its 18th year of productive service for Jack in the Box.  As a student of marketing, I couldn’t help but wonder, how does such a campaign come into being? How do those in charge keep it fresh?  What role does the agency play?  What’s the secret sauce here?

I got the chance to ask Ms. Graham these questions and many more earlier this year and it was then that I realized she is truly a rock star in our industry. During Graham’s long tenure as CMO at Jack in the Box which ended at the end of 2012, the Jack campaign consistently drove product sales, introduced new menu items, helped overcome recessions and bonded with a new generation of fast food consumers.  Graham, as you will soon see, has the courage to take risks not just once but year after year, has the wisdom to stick with one “genius” creative partner and has the curiosity to explore emerging communication channels.  Here is part one of our interview:

Neisser: So tell me how initially the Jack campaign came into beginning back in ’95?
Graham: Well, it came out of the E. coli crisis. So the reality was the company needed to do something to revitalize the brand and make the brand relevant again in the marketplace.  And so it came from a crisis.

Neisser: Which must have been a scary and interesting place to start, right?
Graham: I think that when you’re in a situation like this, you’re willing to put a lot more on line.  And I so I think it actually it drove the ability to take more risks.

Neisser: Really interesting.  So you decided to bring Jack back? 
Graham: Yes, but let’s bring him back in a way that’s relevant and different and will catch attention.  So it was 1995 when we launched Bringing Jack Back.

Neisser: So tell me about those initial ads?
Graham: Well, the very first spot had some controversy around it because it showed Jack coming back.  He had had plastic surgery and he blew up the boardroom because the folks from the boardroom are the ones who blew him up in the ’80s.

Neisser:  I see. A little revenge.
Graham: So he blew up the boardroom and basically reintroduced himself in the marketplace as coming back, better than before with plastic surgery and that he was going to be a big advocate for the consumers. The message was Jack was back and he was going to give fast food customers what they wanted.

Neisser:  So did that seem like an idea that could endure 18 years?   
Graham:  Well, that’s where Dick Sittig, the creative mastermind behind the Jack’s Back campaign, comes in. We constantly challenged Dick to keep Jack relevant, and because he used this sense of humor that was a bit unconventional, described often as irreverent, he kept rising to the occasion and the campaign endures to this day.

Neisser:  So why do you think the ads worked so well?
Graham:  I think what drove the campaign to continue to last is that we tapped into the emotional branding side. I think that often that is not given enough emphasis. We tapped into the emotional side that really gave it a personality that people could connect to.

Neisser:  So how did Jack end up having Dick Sittig’s voice?
Graham: That was actually by accident. That wasn’t planned. When he did the initial pitch, it was in his voice and then when we finally went to casting, we had the actor and we’re putting everything together that we’re looking at all kinds of different voices and the problem was everyone liked Dick Sittig’s voice more than anything that was put in front.  So we decided to go with his voice.

Neisser:  What does it take to keep a campaign like this together for so long?
Graham:  I think there are a couple of things to consider. One is I was always willing to take a risk. So we were unapologetic about who we were. Dick Sittig would present things that would make us feel uncomfortable.  But we knew that it was going to grab attention that it wasn’t going to hurt the brand as long as we were true to who we were. And so it was a combination of being unapologetic about who we were. It was about allowing great creative work to be done. I am not a believer in dealing any sort of pretesting of advertising. We never did anything of that nature. I also think that approval by committee is the death of a campaign, you end up with mediocre work. And, I think that, we truly trusted each other in our work and I think that’s also what helped build that campaign. And so we would constantly challenge each other to keep it relevant.

Neisser:  Very few CMO’s are given permission to take risks.  You must have had a lot of management support?
Graham:  Yes, I had full support and I had permission. Linda Lang absolutely let me run with it and she always backed it. And, there would be situations where I would come up and say, “okay, I have got one that’s going to rile up some folks, prompting phone calls, e-mails and potentially, this all will need to be discussed in the board.” And she would say, “okay, is it worth the risk? And I’d say, “yes.” And she’d say, “I’ll back you, but you need to stand tall.”  So I would have to do all the explaining in the boardroom anytime something went a little astray.

Neisser: What do you think were some of your most risky efforts?
Graham:  Running Jack over  — that was a trying moment. We were essentially putting the most — the biggest brand equity that the company had, Jack, and putting him on the line to see if people cared because if they didn’t care that he got hit by a bus, we were going to be in trouble. So that’s when we had Jack Get Hit By a Bus and of course it proved out to be quite a success and that was in 2009.

Neisser: So how did this part of the campaign unfold?
Graham: We only showed the ad one time and it was on the Super Bowl. And then everything went basically digital and social from there. That was our way of stepping into the whole social media area. So all of a sudden it got millions of views on YoutTube and it was talked about all over the place. We had amazing press and impressions on that. And, we had people sending cards and teddy bears and everything that — flowers, everything that you could imagine for Jack’s recovery. And then we created a storyline. We created multiple ads that followed up afterwards that talked about how he was doing and it became a campaign within a campaign.

Neisser:  So what about the hallucinating kid who sees Jack on his dashboard?  That must of stirred things up.
Graham:  Yes it did. We really wanted to focus on selling our 99-cent tacos. And there is a real following to those tacos. And young people, after they’ve gone to the clubs tend to head to Jack’s for their tacos. And so we played off of that, if you will. And so we had, you know, a young guy in a van come up and he wanted to order as many as 30 tacos. And needless to say, that got quite a bit of attention.

Neisser: Did you end up selling a lot of tacos?
Graham: Everything that we did we also did with the premise of generating sales and driving traffic. I mean we didn’t do funny ads just for the sake of doing funny ads. Our goal was always to drive traffic to the brand. And that’s exactly what we start out to do and that’s what we accomplished each and every time. So in that case, we certainly sold a lot of tacos and we got a lot of buzz about tacos.

Neisser:  You know, I think you told the story of how on that one, some protestors were showing up at your corporate headquarters?
Graham: Yeah, and I turned on the sprinklers. Yes, then the true story — we were going to have protestors and media show up and at the time we had grass all around our corporate headquarters. And it was in the afternoon. And so my way of stalling that was we became a water park in the afternoon and we turned on the sprinklers and we didn’t have any protests that showed up at all the rest of the week!

FYI, After a 22-year run at Jack in the Box, Terri Funk Graham recently joined the Board of Directors at Hot Topic Inc., is working with The CMO Club as the Chairman of its President’s Circle and is consulting for HOM Sotheby’s Realty.  Fellow CMOs can meet Terri in person at the upcoming CMO Club Summit in NYC. 


Marketing Metrics: Q&A w Dan Marks, CMO, First Tennessee Bank


Dan Marks, CMO of First Tennessee Bank, is a big believer in learning from his peers. Having seen him speak at The CMO Club Summit in NYC last year, I would say Dan gives as much as he gets, if not more. As such, I was delighted to be able to catch up with Dan a couple of weeks for a conversation about marketing metrics. Dan is also responsible for orchestrating one of the most effective marketing metrics program I’ve heard about, a program that can not only look backwards at the impact of 84% of his marketing spend but also has the ability to predict with “reasonable” accuracy what will happen when budgets get cut.  If you are a marketer and don’t have a metrics program in place, you’ll read this and weep.

DN: Please speak to the advantages, to you as the CMO, of having a strong metrics program in place.
The advantage of having strong metrics in place is it helps you understand how good the creativity is and helps in conversations with the rest of the business.  So for instance, when you’re talking about changing resourcing between business lines or overall budgets you’re able to quantify the impact of your actions, maybe not to an ultimate level of precision but good enough that it lets you have a comparable type conversation to other investments the company makes.  At the end of the day, marketing is a huge line item at any company.  And so having the same level of accountability and quantification that you might have in other areas puts you at equal conversation and helps raise the credibility of the conversation.

DN:  Have you been able to move the conversation from where marketing is no longer just a cost center but is rather a revenue driver as a result of having the metrics in place?
We’re on that journey.  I’m not sure we’re completely there yet, but we’re definitely on that journey to more precisely quantify the linkage to revenue and to be able to quantify the revenue impact of different marketing approaches. Marketing is a matter of talking the customer’s language, right?  So when you are talking to sales and you can show a stack ranking of your marketing programs and their benefit, all of a sudden you’re talking their language because they stack rank their salespeople.

DN: One of the terms that you used that I really liked is the notion that creating a metrics program is a journey. Talk to me a little bit about the journey.
The revolution really is in saying, let’s not have a separate set of metrics or let’s, at the very least, connect the marketing metrics to the core bottom line revenue and costs and profit objectives.  And so that’s the journey. The measurement approach varies by type of marketing activity and channel. So the stages of the journey start with direct marketing, where the linkages and the science are the most developed. Even in B2B, if I can quantify that I’m helping create opportunities from introduction or helping move things along the pipeline, all of a sudden now you are speaking the same language that sales is.  One of the most elusive goals and one that’s still not there yet is the overall full media mix impact–what’s the cumulative impact of everything working together?

DN:  If you could measure the impact of the full media mix, what would be the benefit of that?
Other places that spend cash have ability to quantify the impact of that cash.  So in operation, it might be a cost per output or what my cost is to deliver a dollar of revenue.  And so it allows that same sort of conversation around marketing, what is the revenue impact of a dollar spent with me as I make decisions and look to optimize it–is that getting better or worse? And so it’s several layers of precision, of getting to be more precise and being able to forecast the impact of different decisions.  And then track what happens and continue to optimize– that just adds that much more credibility and confidence in making marketing decisions and the organization.

And related to that is giving you the confidence to be able to pursue it scientifically.  So we can creatively think of a few different ideas and then decide based on the risk tolerance or the level of uncertainty we’re willing to approach.  We may try a very uncertain idea at a lower spending level knowing that, okay, we’re going to take a chance on that huge one, but we’re not going to bet the farm on something that’s very unknown.  Yet we’re going to take more incremental experiments around more proven ideas.

DN: I want to make sure that we clarify language.  What’s the difference between an outcome measure and a diagnostic measure and then can you put them in a priority order relative to job security and doing your job well?
Sure.  So when I think of outcome measures, [these have] impact on revenue profits and margins.  These are the key results that the CEO and board ultimately care about.  And so those are the cardinal metrics.  Diagnostic measures are important to understand outcomes.  So for example, we look at awareness.  But my team still cringes when I say, ‘You can’t eat awareness.’   But it’s important to understand that customers do go through this buying process of awareness, consideration, purchase, all this kind of stuff.  But our goal is not to create awareness.  Our goal is to get people to buy stuff and generate revenue.  We have to understand the buying process.  We have to understand if we’re having trouble getting people to buy stuff, is it because the awareness low, do they not know about the product, or are they are trying it but not repeating it therefore the likelihood to recommend the product to others is low or the experience is bad?  When I said diagnostic metrics, these are things that help us understand what the potential actions we should take are, and the prioritization of those actions based on understanding the customer, the customer and the marketplace, and the buying process and the competition.

DN:  Do you use Net Promoter Score?
We look at likelihood to recommend, we look at it in the total likelihood and in net time basis.  But we don’t just rely on that.

DN: Do you look at the various points of contact in the customer experience and measure each of those?
We look at it both overall and after a key experience point.  So after you’ve had an interaction at a branch, after you’ve had an interaction with a business banker, after you’ve interacted with some of our online technology.  So we do — we definitely understand how they are all different.  And we’ve studied it.  So we also know that our experience scores and our recommend scores strongly correlate/predict future changes in retention and revenue.

DN:  So when you see your experience core decline, you can go to the CEO and say, ‘sales are going to be down next quarter?’
Well, maybe not quite that quickly!  We know over time if scores are trending down or scores are trending up, that will translate into a strong probability of having lower or higher revenue in the future.

DN: Give me a sense of how often you’re looking at numbers.
Well, we do have an alert mechanism.  So if poor scores are spiking, we know that pretty fast.  But generally speaking, we look at our customer experience and customer buying metrics on a monthly basis– and that’s where you see trends.

DN:  Is a commitment to a metrics space approach sort of a guarantee incrementalism
Well, that’s something that we talk about a great deal.  And I think misunderstood, it could. But I would say it’s better to spend a little bit of time on testing than to take a huge leap of faith and fail.  And usually your level of urgency is not so great that it doesn’t make sense to spend a little bit of time testing it.  It’s a lot easier to scale something up that is successful than to pull back when it’s not.

DN:  So at some point is it possible to spend too much on analytics?
At the end of the day, it’s some expensive people and some expensive technology but in the grand scheme of things that’s still, in the neighborhood of one or two percent of your budget.  And I have not talked to anybody yet who didn’t say after they started getting better analytics, they weren’t able to reallocate at least 10 percent of budget.  You spend one percent to find out that 10 percent of your budget is not working or not working as well as it could be.  And, that’s a 10 to 1 return.

DN: I’m assuming that there was a budget cut at some point in the last three years?
That’s right because everybody had one.

DN:  So were you able to predict how the marketing budget cut would impact your business?
Oh, yes.  And the level of prediction was pretty close.  I mean, not a hundred percent.  No model is completely perfect, but it’s definitely useful.

DN: What three pieces of advice do you have for CMOs about to start the metrics journey?
First, definitely have the conversation with your key partners, whether it’s your CEO, CFO or sales leaders. Figure out who is going to judge your performance and collaborate with you because most of the time CMOs can’t actually sell stuff themselves. They’re influencing sales activities. Have that conversation early on, and ask what metrics are important to them and what are the outcomes that you should focus on. And number two, I would definitely commit to a program of optimization and continuous improvement of marketing results.

And then thirdly, I would say for sure, connect to and focus on giving back to the community. And there are a number of different ways to do that– The CMO Club is one example. There are also several great CMO type organizations that exist to help CMOs share information. And you’ve got to do that, carefully. You don’t want to give away trade secrets, but there are great resources out there to help talk about common challenges, common best practices. And every CMO has got something to add to the conversation, and what you give, you get back in spades.

You can follow Dan on Twitter @wdanmarks

How to Bring CSR and Social Media Together for Good


I had the pleasure of meeting Elisabeth Charles at The CMO Club Summit in LA this October.  As CMO of Petco she has orchestrated a number of innovative marketing programs to actively engage pet owners.  Learning that Elisabeth was on the board of HABRI, the Human-Animal Bond Research Initiative, I thought she would be a great person to discuss how companies can do well be doing good and extended these activities through social media.  Turns out, this time, I was barking up the right tree.

DN: Do you think being recognized as a good corporate citizen is increasingly important to a brand like yours? Why?
Good corporate citizenship is very important to Petco – it’s built into the fabric of our entire business. Everything we do is guided by our vision for Healthier Pets.  Happier People.  Better World.

We established our non-profit organization, the Petco Foundation, in 1999 and have since raised more than $80 million in support of some 7,500 local animal welfare partners across the country. Each year, we also help save the lives of more than 250,000 animals through adoption events in our stores.  Through the Petco Foundation, we also support spay and neuter efforts, animal-assisted therapy programs and humane education. Working hand-in-hand with the Foundation, our Petco and Unleashed by Petco stores serve as the first and largest national pet food bank in the country. Designated collection bins located in each of our stores allow customers to donate pet food that directly benefits pet parents in need in their local community.

As a company, we’re also increasingly adopting more sustainable business practices. We strongly believe that if it’s good for the planet, it’s good for pets and people, too.  Earlier this year, Petco became one of the only non-grocery store retailers to be recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an Energy Star Leader for reducing our energy consumption by more than 10 percent across our entire business. Additionally, our Planet Petco line of products offers pet parents the ability to choose high-quality, more sustainable products that utilize recycled and reclaimed materials and renewable resources. These are just a few examples of what we do as a company today. It’s an ongoing process and we’re always striving to do more in this important area of corporate social responsibility.

DN: Is there a fine line between “doing good” as a company and talking about it so much that is seems insincere?
You absolutely have to be sincere and authentic in what you are doing and saying, and you must also be fully committed, rather than doing something only half way. A company’s goodwill efforts should be far more than just a marketing campaign. For Petco, all of our “do-gooding” is centered around what we believe is the right thing to do. The programs we create and support reflect our company’s values and the passion our associates have for people and pets.

DN: Is there a particular Petco goodwill/charitable program that you are particularly proud of?
There are many charitable programs that we get involved in, so it is hard to name just one.  A newer program that really took off this year was our National Pet Food Bank program and our National Pet Food Drive. Just in the program’s second year, this year’s drive ran for two weeks (late October-mid November) in all of our Petco and Unleashed by Petco stores. During the national drive, we encourage customers to pick up an extra bag or can of pet food during their shopping trip, or bring unopened food from home, and donate it via the collection bins in our stores. Also for the second year, Hill’s Science Diet supported our efforts by matching 100,000 pounds of donated food during the drive. In just two weeks, we collected nearly 350,000 pounds of pet food – a more than 60 percent increase over last year – to help financially strapped pet parents feed their pets during the holiday season. The Petco Foundation Pet Food Bank is a year-round program, but it’s very exciting to see how generous our customers are during the national drive leading into the holiday season.

DN: I noticed you personally are working with an organization called HABRI.  Can you talk what and why you are doing this?
Petco is excited and proud to be a founding sponsor of HABRI, the Human-Animal Bond Research Initiative. Other founding sponsors are the American Pet Products Association and Pfizer Animal Health.  We got involved because we passionately believe that pets enrich our lives and we want to help generate formal, widespread scientific recognition of the positive role pets play in our lives.  HABRI’s mission is to support research, education and other charitable activities that validate the positive impact the human-animal bond can have on the integrated health of families and communities, by consolidating, organizing and sharing existing scientific research into the human-animal bond in partnership with Purdue University.

DN: Goodwill activities seem to translate well into social media.  Have you found this to be case and/or how do you see good will programs evolving next year?
Absolutely.  We actively use social media (especially Facebook) to engage our fan base, which is now nearing 600,000 likes, to support our charitable causes.  In general, we find that goodwill posts and campaigns featuring authentic stories perform very well in social media.  Positive campaigns with an altruistic call to action perform remarkably better (up to 100 percent more feedback) in user interaction on social properties than promotional campaigns or transactional posts. Human interest stories and, of course, anything to do with pets, are the second most shared and clicked upon posts/tweets/videos.

In October, we hosted our first ever National Adoption Reunion Weekend. Fans online were asked to submit stories about how their adopted pets had changed their lives and were given the opportunity to raise funds for the Petco Foundation through Foursquare check-ins. The social portion of the campaign performed very well, driving the most organic Twitter growth and retweets for a campaign we  have seen to date, the most views on a non-commercial video on YouTube, more than 57,000 photos uploaded on Flickr and more than 3,000 likes across three blog posts. Needless to say, we were very pleased with the results.

DN: I’m a big fan of Pedigree’s “dogs rule” campaign and their pet adoption program.  Have you partnered on “good will” programs with any of the brands that you carry and if so, what are the advantages of this approach?
Every month, we host a National Adoption Weekend when adoption events are held in all of our stores across the country. Each monthly weekend event is sponsored by one of our vendor partners.  We’ve also joined forces with several of our vendor partners for in-store fundraisers to support mutual charitable interests, including Blue Buffalo for Pet Cancer Awareness and Natural Balance for National Guide Dog Month.   I think programs like this are a huge win-win when we are able to work together to help improve the lives of pets and pet parents, and when we all know the funds raised are going to important work that we mutually care about.

Webtrends CMO Weighs in on Social Media


After The CMO Club Summit, I caught up with Hope Frank, Chief Marketing Officer of WebTrends to get her take on social media.  As “the global leader in mobile and social analytics,” Hope’s company not only uses social media to market themselves but also  monitors social as a revenue stream making her uniquely qualified to weigh in on this hot topic.

DN: What are Webtrends primary objectives for social media?
We use social media to distribute and facilitate conversations pertaining to WT digital marketing thought leadership, primary research and analysis of buzz and trends online.We also use social media to extend the reach and impact of traditional marketing efforts to grow awareness among key influencers and prospects.

DN: Do you use social media for customer service?
Yes. For monitoring and problem solving as well as for gathering consumer insights.

DN: How important is social media in your overall marketing mix for Webtrends?
It is essential and deeply integrated. Growing our communities, developing and curating compelling content,  experimenting and innovating on social media platforms is part of every effort we execute.

DN: Since the tracking of social media is part of Webtrends’ product/service offering, how important is it that Webtrends be on the forefront of social media practitioners?
Our Digital Marketing team is empowered to lead by example, to solve big marketing challenges, to iterate and to loudly share our stories. We have direct access to the world’s best global tools and experts, it is amazing! We are fortunate indeed to be in this position.

DN: What has worked for you in social and what hasn’t?
We see the largest impact of social media when we execute integrated ideas that launch with compelling content/experiences then leverage our media engine,  then mix social to amplify the message and increase the value. We have also seen great success running self-contained programs in Facebook where we purchase ads that drive to FB apps. We’ve been able to then take FB campaign learnings and apply them to broad based marketing efforts.

It’s cliché, we all know using social media as another “channel” to push out messaging and brand/product news fails. In the early days when we could only support pushing basic messages out and not integrating or engaging deeper, we experienced limited success.

DN: As evidence of WebTrends ability to monitor social media and turn this into social currency (in this case, PR), Hope provided the following links to all the “brand elevation and buzz analysis” Webtrends achieved during the #RoyalWedding.  The Mashable infographic is quite cool.


Older Posts »

Copyright © 2011 - Drew Neisser