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Brilliance@Work: Kellogg’s Brand Design Leader Lisa Day

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar people and their best practices at work. We’re kicking off 2017 by featuring brand, design and marketing strategy experts to help you “thrive in the new brand reality.”

Lisa Day

Lisa Day

FUSE 2017 presenter, Lisa Day, Design Leader at Kellogg’s Masterbrands and Innovation, combines Consumer Research, Marketing and Design to successfully lead redesigns on brands such CHEEZ-IT, Morning Star Farms, Town House and Keebler. Lisa has spent the last 15 years showing that good design can also mean good business, resulting in growth on multiple brands globally for Kellogg’s, Procter and Gamble, International Paper and Shiseido.

As a preview to her presentation, Lisa shares her insights on how to bring an iconic brand into today’s world.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: What inspires your product development innovations?
Lisa Day: Understanding the world around us that influences the decisions that my consumers make.

Politics: With today’s access to information, we need to be more informed than ever about what’s happening in our own country as well as around the world. We are all connected now, whereas before we were not. What we do here (especially on iconic brands) can influence and inspire what we can do in countries all around the world.

Trends: Understanding where things are heading from a trends perspective helps get ahead of consumer anticipation. Understanding what has been done and done well, coupled with creating or moving a brand to a space where there is a real need can create great brand shifts and new products.

The Stock Market: This is not sexy for most design folks, but the benefits of understanding the market – from charts to theory – not only helps with creating trends, but understanding our current limitations as well as where we can push our boundaries.

Understanding our consumers as people: Many people believe that digital road mapping is the most powerful tool we have. Although it’s extremely valuable, we also have to give ourselves the time to sit with our consumers and have a conversation with them; go their homes, understand them as emotional beings, and see what brands they choose and how they use them in their actual spaces that we want to become a part of.

PB: What role does collaboration play in the design-production relationship?
LD: It’s the lifeline; every success in the marketplace is contingent on collaborating with the people who can turn your ideas into reality. If you can have upfront conversations with your production teams, this will allow you to understand what you can and can’t do to bring your visions to life.

PB: What are some notable products you’ve helped to create?
LD: Cheez-It Line Design Restage (including Kellogg’s largest grossing Innovation CI Grooves): This is a brand that nobody wanted to touch for many years because it’s always been such a successful brand for Kellogg’s. Knowing when and how to approach the company about making the right changes was critical. The key to this success was to understand what is working so well and how to keep the essence of that alive along with the brand heritage, all the while bringing the brand into today’s marketplace, both in terms of feel and product innovation. We not only kept the success of the brand alive, but we were able to bring it to a level that Kellogg’s never even imagined.

Keebler Cookies Line Design Restage: A very iconic brand that people know and love. Here, we needed to make sure that the brand worked together as a family while consumers were able to find their favorite cookies. This was a great brand to help recreate because it’s all about keeping the Keebler Elf Magic alive!

Global Re-Branding and Design Strategy for Shiseido: Shiseido is one of the most prestigious and high quality brands in the world, and the number two cosmetic brand in Japan. I was honored to help bring them more into the forefront in the U.S. market while helping to unify them as a global brand. This included Global Branding, Product Development, Global Brand Architecture and Strategic Design Implementation.

PB: What do you see as the next phase of consumer product development at Kellogg’s?
LD: Creating new and innovative products that meet market needs while staying true to what the Kellogg’s brands stand for. There are many different facets to consider (some of which I mentioned above). Overall, we need to understand the world around us, we need to inspire our internal teams (which in turn will inspire the work that will inspire our consumers) and most importantly, we need to be open to change.

Want to hear more from Lisa? Join us at FUSE 2017. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.

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Brilliance@Work: Dolby’s Collaborative Brand Builder Vince Voron

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar people and their best practices at work. We’re kicking off 2017 by featuring brand, design and marketing strategy experts to help you “thrive in the new brand reality.”

Vince Voron. Photo: Paul Sakuma Photography,

Vince Voron. Photo: Paul Sakuma Photography,

FUSE 2017 presenter Vince Voron, VP, Executive Creative Director of the Brand Content Experience team at Dolby, oversees design, brand, experiential marketing, the Dolby Theatre®, and the Dolby® Institute. He came to Dolby after leading marketing design teams at Apple and Coca-Cola.

As a preview to his presentation “Making Others Successful with Your Design Agenda: Leveraging In-House ‘Creatives’ to Evolve Brands and Inspire Innovation,” Vince shares his insights on how a global mindset can help you thrive personally and professionally.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did living and working in multiple countries shape your character and career?
Vince Voron:
 Living abroad was a humbling experience that provided activities and experiences that I had never imagined. I am so fortunate and grateful to have been exposed to so many diverse cultures, both personally and professionally, during such a moldable portion of my life.

Spending the first 10 years of my professional career working in Singapore, France and Ireland had a dramatic impact on how I communicated with and inspired my colleagues and external partners. The diverse cultural experiences of those three countries alone helped me to construct the values I have today. Living within that diversity provided introspection and outlined the cultural and business values most important to me.

My experiences abroad were also profoundly enriching from a visual standpoint – in very different ways – from food to architecture to landscape to fashion. I learned to speak French, I became fascinated with cultural differences, and I gained a solid appreciation for navigating new locales that were so very different than from where I grew up in Pennsylvania. In addition to those first 10 years solidifying my career foundation, they also had a profound impact on me personally, as I met my wife while I was working in France.

PB: How did your work at Coca-Cola and Apple influence your work at Dolby?
 I like to say I earned my design chops at Apple and learned my brand knowledge at Coca-Cola. The fusion of working for so many years at these great companies has been one of the greatest assets to enable me to build teams that create thoughtfully-designed experiences that can be scaled and appreciated on a local level, globally.

My global mindset definitely helped me to thrive and survive in two such different corporate cultures as Apple and Coca-Cola, where the work and leadership styles vary vastly.

One of the parallels of working at Coca-Cola that has also helped me at Dolby is the importance of partnerships with other corporations. Both Coca-Cola and Dolby have very integrated co-branded partnerships around the world, and that ability to integrate and synthesize two great brands together, while preserving the authenticity of each, takes time, persistence and patience to do well.

PB: How do your leadership values support your creative work?
 Trust and transparency are two leadership values that I seek to strive for in my own work and in that of the teams I lead. It is so very important for a leader to earn trust with their teams, and that takes time and significant engagement on a day-to-day basis. It also requires taking the time to understand how different personalities and subject matter experts are inspired, how they work and how they think.

Delivering trust and transparency is a principal element as a leader, but at the same time it’s really important that my team members reciprocate that as well, and for them to be transparent with me, they have to trust me. It’s that two-way street. It’s paramount in all relationships, but especially with a leader who has to work harder to develop and maintain that trust and transparent communication highways.

PB: What role does a collaborative culture play in building a strong brand?
 Accountability and expectation-setting are at the core of successful collaboration partnerships that are effective. At the beginning of a project, I spend a lot of time assessing and determining roles and accountability amongst team members. I find that by taking this time at the onset, it opens up these channels for my team to challenge me, or me to challenge them, in a non-emotional way.

One of my primary philosophies is how can I make others successful. And collaboration is closer to diplomacy than business negotiations – it’s really important for everybody to experience something positive throughout the process.

PB: What do you see as the next phase of design at Dolby?
 We continue to work on creating holistic Dolby experiences as well as inspiring our partners with our technologies to help them create and enable amazing experiences. The globalization of the Dolby Cinema® platform is one of our key initiatives that I’m really excited about because we have curated and designed every moment of that movie-going experience from the moment you walk in until the time that you leave. All that attention to detail that we’ve put into this platform – including architecture, design, imaging and audio technologies – is truly compelling. We also strive to look for new opportunities where our technology can improve audio and visual experiences at home, at work and on the go.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?
VV: I’ll be sharing insightful stories from my experience working in the design teams at Apple, Coca-Cola and Dolby, as well as methodologies and anecdotes that have helped these great global brands become even greater. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from all my years in design, it’s that if a brand can learn how to tell a great story and deliver a great experience, they will capture the hearts and minds of their consumers, and in turn, strengthen the bottom line of the company. I’ll be sharing practical insights on how great brands have developed and leveraged entertaining storytelling to engage consumers and build brand love.

Want to hear more from Vince? Join us at FUSE 2017. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.

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Brilliance@Work: Brian Robinson Tells a Great Story at Universal Pictures

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar people and their best practices at work. We’re kicking off 2017 by featuring brand, design and marketing strategy experts to help you “thrive in the new brand reality.”

Brian Robinson

Brian Robinson

FUSE 2017 presenter, Brian Robinson, Executive Vice President of Creative, Design and Development at Universal Pictures, spent 10 years in retail, leading brand strategy and new partnership ventures. Over the last four years, he’s been a brand leader in the entertainment world, building and cultivating brand and creative teams at DreamWorks Animation and now Universal Pictures.

As a preview to his presentation “DO NOT OPEN: A Tale of Resiliency, Imagination, and the Power of Curiosity,” Brian shares his insights on how unbridled imagination is at the heart of innovation.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your previous work in retail and brand strategy translate into success in the entertainment world?
Brian Robinson:
Have a seat and let me tell you a story, a great, grand story. But first, tell me yours.

Listen to the rhythm of culture, hear the dreams, ideas and aspirations of your fans and build an undeniable empathy for those that love what you do. This understanding, this empathy, will allow you to tell great stories, and great stories are the great connector. Whether campaigns, design, product development or innovation, the combination of empathy and great storytelling will always deliver success.

PB: How do your leadership values support your creative work and the work of your team?
The culmination of my leadership values – courage, authenticity, resiliency, respect –are intended to unlock the most exciting and purest forms of creativity, while encouraging individuality.

PB: What is the creative process you follow to bring your ideas to life?
The most unadulterated form of my personal creativity is free-form writing and is always the beginning of my creative process. Followed by editing, challenging, story-arching, and ultimately, pitching the idea.

PB: How do resiliency, courage and imagination drive your quest for innovation?
Life is a quest and trying to innovate within my own life journey means I’m living. I’m failing, I’m learning, I’m living, I’m failing, and in this cycle, it is my own personal resiliency, courage and imagination that continually drive me forward.

PB: What do you see as the next phase in the movie entertainment industry?
Phases no longer exist. The speed at which change takes hold is breathtaking. In the great renaissance of storytelling, one’s relevancy is the single most important idea in the entertainment industry and dare I say all industries. You must have compelling, empathetic stories that connect to culture, but unless you can make your stories relevant, they don’t exist.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?
They’ll experience the amazing, courageous art of getting knocked out and the resiliency and determination to get back up and keep on fighting.

Want to hear more from Brian? Join us at FUSE 2017. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.

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Brilliance@Work: Hallmark’s Pop Culturist Christine Taylor

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar people and their best practices at work. We’re kicking off 2017 by featuring brand, design and marketing strategy experts to help you “thrive in the new brand reality.”

What is a pop culturist? A life-long pop culture fan with 11 years of experience in licensing entertainment products.

Christine Taylor

Christine Taylor

Creative strategist, designer and fan franchise expert Christine Taylor is Licensing Creative Account Manager at Hallmark Cards, Inc. She works with iconic brands like Star Wars, Star Trek and DC Comics for product development, merchandising and promotion. Her licensing experience and “passion for geekdom” led her to create something unique for Hallmark, which she’ll share more about as a presenter at the FUSE 2017 Conference, April 4-6 in Miami, Florida.

As a preview to her presentation “Pop Goes the Brand,” Christine shares her insights on how Hallmark is connecting and marketing to a passionate group of fans through a new branded experience called PopMindedTM.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How has Hallmark evolved into the iconic brand it is today?
Christine Taylor:
Since we’ve been around for 107 years now, I would attribute our success to our founder J.C. Hall. He was a visionary of his time. He brought greeting cards to the U.S., invented modern gift wrap, created an omni-media presence with entertainment—before the word “omni-media” existed—and he and his son who followed him, actively looked for partnerships, like Disney, and acquisitions, like Crayola, that synergized with our company’s mission. J.C. also established relationships with public figures that had an eye for art, like Winston Churchill and Jackie Onassis, as well as with some of the biggest artists, celebrities and designers of the 20th century.

I think Hallmark really became a household name through broadcasts of Hallmark Hall of Fame and our legendary commercials that made people cry, thus coining the term, “Hallmark moment.”

Hallmark was, and still is, one of the largest employers of creative talent worldwide. J.C. was an entrepreneur who loved and had a passion for creativity and how creative products transcend into how we connect with those around us. His belief in quality and creativity are still the foundation of the company and what we continue to strive for in all we do today.

PB: What are the creative processes involved in collaborating with companies with which you have licensing agreements?
We have some long, established relationships with some of our licensors that date back over 20, 50 and even over 80 years. We are one of the very few licensees that are allowed to create original content and illustrations of licensed characters. We have illustrators that can perfectly replicate the characters to create new poses to match specific concepts, and we also have artists that interpret the characters to create unique looks for our products.

Another difference is we have creative managers who are experts of these licensing entertainment brands and are responsible for the creative relationship and brand integrity. We ensure the licensor’s franchise strategies and character attributes are translated across all our products from end-to-end of the design process, and in turn, those strategies align with each Hallmark product development team’s intent. We meet with our licensing partners regularly to stay up with the most current franchise information and often have collaborative brainstorms. Having these strong relationships allows for a smoother creative approval process, and that close collaboration makes for better end products.

We share a common goal – the consumer/fan is key – so finding a co-branded product approach that meets consumer needs and expectations is a big focus for us. It’s not always easy, but we often align people who have affinity for, or are fans of, certain brands and products, keeping the passion for getting it right for them, a high priority.

PB: How does Hallmark find new audiences for their products?
Much like any larger company would: Diversification of products, omni-media channels of branding and distribution and continually seeking out new partnerships, sponsorships and acquisition opportunities. We recognize it’s all about building up your digital content and engaging with consumers in social spaces, not just relying on traditional media and brick-and-mortar stores.

Currently, we are looking at how we can target various consumer segments by tailoring product design, retail merchandising, online engagement, sponsorships and event opportunities in a very specific, niche way that speaks directly and more authentically to that consumer. This may be through identifying a cultural trend, or revisiting an existing brand, capability or product offering that we just have changed the conversation around to be more relevant to a specific sub-set of consumers.

Christine Taylor (next to Darth Vader) creates a fun PopMinded experience for Star Wars fans.

Christine Taylor (next to Darth Vader) creates a fun PopMinded experience for Star Wars fans.

PB: How did PopMindedTM get started?
We’ve been attending Comic & Fan Conventions for about a decade now. We had done some great co-branded booths with a Star Wars overlay featuring all original artwork by our in-house illustrators and designers, but what we came to realize is we did not have our own clear point of view for Hallmark to this consumer. We already had all the co-branded licensed product that we had curated for the shows, and exclusives we had created to sell, but no branded voice that was relevant to them to gravitate to beyond the conventions.

We took a step back last year and decided to approach these conventions more like a branded, perennial pop-up shop experience. I gathered a small band of “rebels” at Hallmark, which included cross-functional fans of geeky pop culture franchises. We ultimately came up with what now is a pop culture sub-brand intended to serve this very loyal segment of consumers. It has evolved into a full consumer acquisition and retention strategy, where we have the opportunity to connect with these fans of fandom in a very authentic way because the ones behind PopMindedTM and the products are pop culture fans themselves.

PB: What do you see as the next phase of the PopMindedTM experience?
We have already started some social media on Instagram and a weekly YouTube video series. This year, Hallmark Gold Crown stores plan to have a PopMindedTM section dedicated to the front of store in late summer with exclusives like we would sell at conventions. We want to bring a little bit of that excitement in-store for consumers already shopping Hallmark.

We are also scouting other conventions and events, as well as looking at potential partnerships and sponsorships that will help us grow and spread the word. We plan to launch an online community forum that fans can discuss, chat and link with us as well as buy, sell and trade past collectibles.

Dream Plans? We would love to partner on other store-within-a-store concepts with other pop culture purveyors that align with our sensibilities and have our own online shopping experience.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?
In all honesty, I can’t say I will leave anyone with any profound wisdom, but what I hope people will take away is that innovation doesn’t always have to be about some novel product or what the next big thing is.

There are new opportunities and innovative ideas for us and/or our companies hiding right under our noses. Too often we can get so caught up in our day-to-day roles and responsibilities that those things become too hard to recognize. But we must stop for a second and remember the many insights, instincts, experiences already living inside us that we need to let out!

We must continually remind ourselves that we are consumers too—and most likely even fans (of something). We create content, use social media and are people seeking to connect with others. And these days, that empathic and authentic understanding can go a long way, but it may take stopping the presses for a moment to find it…and when you do, you must let it out.

Want to hear more from Christine? Join us at FUSE 2017. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.

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Brilliance@Work: Dr. Mark Freeman Shows How to Wake Your Sleeping Genius

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar people and their best practices at work. We’re kicking off 2017 by featuring brand, design and marketing strategy experts to help you “thrive in the new brand reality.”

Dr. Mark Freeman

Dr. Mark Freeman

Dr. Mark Freeman, Doctor of Philosophy, Counseling & Organizational Behavior, is a senior organizational development and behavioral consultant, primarily working in the academic, hospitality and healthcare industries. Mark’s research interests are in the areas of organizational excellence, change management, personal and professional development for leaders, executive coaching and team building. He’s also a presenter at the FUSE 2017 Conference, April 4-6, in Miami, Florida.

As a preview to his presentation “Wake Your Sleeping Genius: Interpreting the Meaning and Power Behind Your Dreams,” Mark shares his insights on how dreams are windows into the mysteries of life that can help you find solutions to your personal and professional challenges.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: What inspired you to pursue studies and work in counseling and organizational behavior?
Dr. Mark Freeman: Since early adulthood it has been my calling and passion to help people achieve their highest potential in work and life. I am a fortunate person to work in something I love with purpose.

I think the most important aspect of being human is finding out who you are; where you are going; and who shall accompany you on your journey (It is important to answer these questions in the right order). These life goals drive my work as an organizational behavior professional and a counselor. It is very gratifying to see people find their way in life and work.

PB: How did that lead to studying dreams and their meaning?
Dreams have always been a fascination of mine. As a young professional I participated in several dream sharing groups and have studied the most on that subject. Dreams are a window into the mysteries of human life, clarifying confusion, enhancing creativity and finding meaningful direction. Working with the dreams of others has been very rewarding. Nothing is more fulfilling than witnessing someone find truth, innovation and direction through understanding their dreams.

PB: How can people make connections with what they dream and what they do in their daily lives?
It is extraordinary to see the awareness people gain from reflecting on their daily lives from a day or so before a dream appears to them, then making meaningful connections with often very clear next steps for growth and solutions to life’s challenges. Learning how to interpret dreams is the key skill I teach participants in my workshops.

PB: What role do dreams play in the creative process?
Wow, so much! I teach participants how to incubate solutions for design, branding and business problems by developing partnerships with their dreams at night. You see, we have this sleeping, creative, genius inside that works at night in Technicolor to create stories and images for remarkable solutions unbeknownst to our poor, distracted and muddled brains which cannot possibly experience creativity well in the overstimulated daytime.

Dream incubation is asking that critical open-ended question you desire the answer to for clarity when you are stuck, then asking the dream to answer it for you the next day. For instance, “Where is this relationship going?” or “How can I achieve the greatest leverage with this new brand idea?” Your dream self often provides literal answers to your business and life questions in a creative way.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?
If people come prepared with a well-formed, open-ended question to a design, branding or business challenge, they will get the most from the workshop. In addition, participants ought to begin to record their dreams and notes of events from the previous day before each dream is recorded for a week before the presentation.

Recording dreams is easy. Keep a pencil and paper by your bed and tell yourself to remember your dream before you go to sleep. When you wake up, immediately ask yourself, “What did I dream last night?” and write down your answer before you get out of bed.

Want to hear more from Mark? Join us at FUSE 2017. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.


How to Survive and Thrive in the New Brand Reality

Happily Ever AfterPhoto: StockSnap

“The strength of brand loyalty begins with how your product makes people feel.” – Jay Samit, digital media innovator

How does your brand make people feel?

Successful brands make people feel good about themselves and about the world. Achieving and maintaining this level of success requires constant and equal amounts of care and innovation.

Be ready to meet and exceed these standards of the “new brand reality” by joining me April 4-6, 2017 in Miami, Florida for FUSE 2017, “at the intersection of design, brand and strategy.”

Here’s a peek at a few of the speakers and presentations on the agenda:

  • Featured Keynote: From Domestic Diva to Brand Icon, Martha Stewart, Founder, Emmy Award-Winning Television Show Host, Entrepreneur and Best-Selling Author, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
  • “Atomic Design: The Next Gen Digital and Brand Experiences,” Stephen Gates, Global Head of Design, Citi
  • “DO NOT OPEN: A Tale of Resiliency, Imagination and the Power of Curiosity,” Brian Robinson, Global Head of Creative, Design & Development, DreamWorks Animation
  • “Designing Calm Technology,” Amber Case, Cyborg Anthropologist and Author
  • “Pop Goes the Brand,” Christine Taylor, Licensing Creative Account Manager, Hallmark Cards Inc.

Register today for FUSE 2017 to learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.

In the meantime, watch for my Fuse in Focus presenter profiles and conference posts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Starry Blue Brilliance.

Looking forward to attending this event with you!

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Collaboration is its Own Reward

Purple SkyPhoto: Pixabay

“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” – Calvin Coolidge

It all began with “It’s About Sharing Success.” Three years year, I’m still driven by this purpose. And for being committed to helping people succeed, I continue to be rewarded for my collaboration efforts.

I’m honored to be invited as a guest blogger for relevant resources that support global communicators. Recently, I collaborated with these two internal communication experts:

I’m also proud to support these highly interactive collaboration and learning events:

If these resources helped you, please pay it forward by sharing what you’ve learned with others. The rewards are greater than you may realize.

“Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.” – Dalai Lama XIV



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Successfully Transforming Your Organization Depends on How Well You Do This

black and blue butterflyPhoto: Pixabay

“For when ideas flutter in haze, we collaborate without notice and collect them as butterflies only to set them free into the world.” – Shawn Lukas,

How well does your organization promote an environment of collaboration?

How important is sustainable business success to your organization?

When considering the answers to these questions, you’ll soon realize that collaboration matters more than you realize.

In “Transforming Internal Collaboration for the Digital Economy” by Phase 2 Technologywe learn that “Forrester Research highlights the need to harness big data, transform customer experience, leverage cloud-based innovation, and embrace the mobile mind-shift. Unfortunately, many organizations that have successfully adopted Forrester’s principles still fail to follow through on an indispensable aspect of digital transformation: internal reorganization paired with technology modernization.”

So, how does an organization successfully achieve this “indispensable aspect of digital transformation?” Through collaboration.

But this can only happen when an organization has a culture that promotes respect, trust and care. I talk more about this in “How Thought Leaders Can Thoughtfully Lead Collaborative Company Cultures.”

Organizations with collaborative cultures are also more receptive to innovation and transformation, which are necessary for sustainable business success.

Now, aren’t you glad I asked?

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What’s Missing from Your Marketing Technology Blueprint?

Aerial city at nightPhoto: Pixabay

You can build the most elaborate marketing technology blueprint, but it won’t serve you well without one key ingredient: collaboration.

But before we tackle that challenge, what is a marketing technology blueprint, and why is it important to your organization’s innovation success?

In “How to Create a Marketing Technology Blueprint,” Scott Vaughan, CMO of Integrate, describes it as “a simple visual diagram – captured from a white board photo, organized in PowerPoint or a good old-fashion schematic – that outlines current tech, systems, processes and data flows utilized or needed by marketing. By documenting and visualizing systems and processes, marketers can quickly capture the current state of their marketing technology, identify gaps, overlaps, and chokepoints, and, most importantly, have a single view of their technology investments.”

The most successful marketing technology blueprint is one in which the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and Chief Information Officer (CIO) collaborate together to create it.

In “Getting the CMO and the CIO to Work Together as Partners,” Matt Ariker, Martin Harrysson and Jesko Perrey point out that “the CIO is becoming a strategic partner who is crucial to developing and executing marketing strategy. To do this successfully, “CIOs, obliged to turn new technology into revenue, need the CMOs to help them with better functional and technical requirements for big data initiatives.”

I’ve worked in marketing AND IT roles, so I understand the needs of both of these valued departments in an organization. If you want to improve communication and collaboration in YOUR organization, please contact me at Together we’ll collaborate to design your continued business success.


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Collaboration@Work: IC Kollectif Links Global Communicators with Key Resources and with Each Other


IMG957630Welcome to Collaboration@Work, a series of features dedicated to share collaboration best practices that inspire highly engaged, productive environments.

Lise Michaud is Founder of IC Kollectif, a collaborative effort with IABC/Montreal that brings together the most comprehensive internal communication (IC) resources and content under one roof.

Lise Michaud

Lise Michaud

Read on to learn how IC Kollectif helps communication professionals find and share highly relevant IC information to support organizational communication success.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did IC Kollectif get started?
Lise Michaud: 
IC Kollectif’s venture started five months ago. We kicked it off on Twitter  and with IABC/Montreal’s February newsletter, an issue entirely dedicated to internal communication. Our initial partnership with IABC/Montreal provided us with high visibility and credibility from the start, and we are grateful for that.

We reached 1,000 followers on Twitter within 100 days and over 1,500 followers within 125 days. More significantly, we have grown organically and globally, bringing together in-house communication practitioners, IC thought leaders, consultants, professional associations and other participants from across five continents.

We held our first joint event with IABC/Montreal in April 2016, a two-hour workshop with Stephen Welch on how to become a strategic communication advisor. We reached a new milestone with the launch of our website on July 18.

PB: What inspired IC Kollectif to support internal communication professionals?
IC Kollectif was born from a desire to simplify and accelerate the process of connecting communication professionals with knowledge, resources and our global community. It is intended for professionals in internal communication and other business communication disciplines.

As communication professionals, we are called on to be creative, innovative and keenly aware of the constant evolution of our practice. I have more than 25 years of experience in senior communication roles across the public and private sectors in Canada including internal, external and change communication, media relations and social media. Like any other communication professional, my job kept me very busy, and I had little time to search online for the latest study findings and best practices related to organizational communication.

There is a huge amount of information on corporate communication online, but these sources are not all equal in terms of quality and reliability. Yet there are many indispensable sources of information that can help us in addressing our day-to-day professional challenges. Knowing where to find them and having easy access is a great help.

Connecting IC Kollectif

PB: How does IC Kollectif’s efforts promote collaboration?
LM: IC Kollectif is a connector. It is the only global initiative dedicated to bring together, under one roof, numerous sources about IC and organizational communication. We are not an additional communication business competing with existing communication organizations, agencies or consultants. Quite the contrary.

Our role is to identify great resources, make them known and facilitate access to them for global communication practitioners. We constantly receive notifications and messages from Twitter and LinkedIn followers with relevant information and sources to share.

We’ve also received many endorsements from global communication professionals. US-based Paul Barton wrote that “we bring the brightest people and the best ideas together in a unique way that is inspiring and enlightening to the profession.” Mike Klein, in his Netherlands-based blog, Changing The Terms, called IC Kollectif “a potent example of an effort that accelerates connection between communication professionals and expands their access to resources and networks.”

IC Kollectif brings together not only resources and information, but it also promotes the people who produce this relevant content, and hence, creates connections among communication practitioners. Our Top IC thought leaders list created by IC Kollectif’s followers is a tangible example of this.

PB: How was the top IC Thought Leaders list created?
In April, we asked our Twitter followers to tell us which IC thought leaders they read and listen to. Within a few days, we received more than 50 names of IC experts that we published in a blog post. The list was viewed and shared thousands of times on social media. We also created a public Twitter list to follow the IC thought leaders on Twitter. Since we keep receiving requests for additions to the list, we update it frequently.

PB: What are the key features and benefits of your new website?
In this first phase, the website includes four main sections: SourcesIC Thought Leaders listCalendar of global communication conferences and events, and our new Blog.

Under Sources, we list organizations, agencies, publications, professionals associations, research and reports, blogs for communication professionals, a list of relevant Twitter Chats and hashtags to follow, a compilation of Communication LinkedIn groups, books, resources as well as glossaries.

Each element listed under the different sections has a link. With one click, you have a direct and immediate access to the information. We will update current sections on a regular basis and new sections will be added.

IC Kollectif focuses on a wide range of topics including change communication, digital communication, employee communication, social media, and much more. Although tactics remain an important aspect of the communication profession, we put a high focus on the value of managing communication strategically.

PB: How does your site tell the story of your business?
LM: The IC Kollectif website celebrates the people and the organizations around the world who offer relevant content in organizational communication. We do this by taking a valuable role in bringing these sources and resources under one roof and in pointing communication professionals in the direction of useful information and connections to empower them in addressing their day-to-day professional challenges.

PB: What’s next in the collaboration journey for IC Kollectif?
LM: Recently, we forged alliances with Australia’s Cropley Communication and US-based ALI Conferences. We are currently speaking with other organizations for possible partnerships.

We have a special interest in Communication and Public Relations research.  We already have a section called Research and Reports on our website. Eventually, we’d like to expand this section by adding academic communication research to help bridge communication and PR research with global communication professionals.

Over the next weeks, we will introduce guests posts on our new blog by inviting communication professionals and experts to participate. Our aim over the next 6-18 months is to become a must-visit resource for communication professionals eager to stay on the cutting edge of practice and who value a strategic approach to communication management and leadership.

Special thanks to Lise for creating this unique collaboration effort to support global communicators in their quest to lead collaborative company cultures for their organizations!