KBB BMA 2The Emerson brand story is 125 years in the making, and is being shared in unique new ways thanks to Kathy Button Bell, Emerson’s chief marketing officer. Kathy spent time with the BMA Chicago audience on Thursday, November 12, sharing the details of the award-winning initiative that leveraged the company’s anniversary celebration to acknowledge alumni, inspire employees, attract talent, and engage prospects and customers.

The power of storytelling as a brand engagement platform is undeniable, and more and more marketers are utilizing it as a means of both differentiating their brand and bringing its values and character to life. Even as marketing becomes more digital and more automated, Kathy reminded us all that the fundamental way to connect humans still occurs through the communication of a good story. Kathy shared some important guidance on how to best integrate this communication platform into your content:

  • If it’s not authentic, it won’t engage.
  • Pay attention to what you’re leaving behind — remember the importance of legacy.
  • Use content to communicate your higher purpose.
  • Never waste an opportunity to tell your story.
  • Selling your company’s character rather than your product is most important and impactful, and will inspire brand evangelism.

Everyone enjoys stories, and the good ones captivate us. This is more important than ever as the content we are exposed to every day increases at an exponential rate … great stories will always stand out, be remembered and — most importantly — shared.

Kathy also provided some great advice to marketers on the timeless fundamentals of managing great marketing, distilled from her amazing experience and background:

  • Be interesting and curious.
  • Never ask a company to stretch more than it can bear.
  • Take on a job no one has done before, so you can tailor it to match your strengths.
  • PR should always be your first weapon.
  • Short-form video has an enormous impact, and using cameras like GoPros can be good enough.
  • Transparency is your friend — don’t cover up anything.
  • Take risk out of your work by having double backup plans.
  • Save or squirrel away money for the fourth quarter … you never know what you’ll need.
  • How do you find the strength and courage to drive change? Be sure you’re right. Research should be your sword and shield.
  • You can inspire employees by intentionally accelerating change.

As we get ready for another exciting year of marketing’s continuing transformation, Kathy’s focus on the timeless power of storytelling and her approach to leading marketing are a great lens for all of us to look through as we plan our programs for 2016.