As an English major at Stanford, Rich Kylberg challenged himself to read the sacred scriptures of over 90% of the world's population—including the Bhagavad Gita, the Torah, the Quran, Dhammapada, Tao and the Gospels. In addition to gaining an "empathy and understanding for others," he believes these foundational texts are a prerequisite for becoming a good brand storyteller.
Before you can enter DocuSign's San Francisco-based headquarters, you have to sign in, but not with the traditional pen and paper. Instead there's an iPad with a customized app to confirm with whom you are meeting, captures your email address and extracts a promise of non-disclosure via your electronic signature. Many Silicon Valley companies use a similar a tech-forward system; few do so as an unavoidable yet compelling demonstration of their actual business.
Eponym. Feel free to Google it. Though not an everyday term, it is the ultimate acknowledgement of cultural acceptance. Eponyms like FedEx, Kleenex, Jacuzzi, Band-Aid, Scotch Tape and Chapstick all continue to lead their respective categories. But others like Formica, Bubble Wrap, Plexiglas, Popsicle, Realtor, Windbreaker, Novocain, Dumpster, Stetson and even Ping Pong have long lost their original corporate association and distinctiveness as a brand.
When I was a student at Duke I wasn't much of a student—at least when it came to academics. Vastly preferring the lessons offered via extra-curricular activities, I gained a practical introduction to advertising by promoting various film series but in truth. Also, taking an actual marketing class was not an option. Well, that was a long time ago and the interest in and importance of understanding marketing has increased dramatically since then. There are now substantial curriculums at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, at Duke and across the country.
In the mid '90s, Penny Wilson and the developers at Alias Wavefront took notice when consumers complained about the fake hair on characters in their video games. By listening to their customers and creating realistic "digital hair," Wilson recalls that "it really leapfrogged us above any of the other competition" and within three years the upstart Canadian company sold to Silicon Graphics for $450 million. That's the kind of profitable lesson one doesn't soon forget.
Her marching orders, like those of just about any new b-to-b CMO especially those with tech-oriented products, were to drive demand. "Just fill the pipeline, keep sales happy and you'll do fine," advised her peers. Yet for Juliette Rizkallah, recalling her first few days at SailPoint back in March of 2015, this tactical approach felt insufficient. Her past experience pointed her to the critical need for both brand building and demand generation if she and her organization were truly going to cut through.
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