This Week in Business and Brands: First-Class Culture, Captains of Industry, and More

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Find everything you need to keep up with what’s going down in the world of marketing in this week’s edition of the Vivaldi roundup. Subscribe today to receive it in your inbox every Friday

Marketing Power: The C-Suite Shuffle

Over the last year, we’ve heard a lot of talk about the shift of marketers’ roles today, the integration with technology, strategy, and finance as well as with the customer-facing branches of their businesses. This week, marketing takes the upper hand: Dick’s Sporting Goods put CMO Lauren Hobart in the President’s chair, leveraging her marketing and digital experience for the benefit of the whole company. The move shows once again the importance of keeping “customers, and not costs, the focus of the business,” while highlighting a burgeoning management trajectory in all industries (now including retail, no less). So, marketers: what are you doing to prepare yourself to one day take the reins?

Culture Takes Flight: At 50, Southwest Still Soars

Southwest, Airline, Transportation, Aircraft, Flight

It’s not always easy to chart the course of a brand’s success – even when looking back, there can be a variety of factors that contribute to a company’s celebrity and triumph. But for Southwest Airlines, there’s one clear leg up on the competition: “our people.” That’s been the MO for the now 50-year-old flight service since the very beginning, emphasizing a culture that’s run on love first, jet fuel second. So what happens when culture is “more than the pizza parties and big events…it’s about how we treat each other, each and every day”? Well, besides “positively outrageous customer service,” how about 44 consecutive years of profits without a single layoff? That power of supportive culture can (and should) be applied to every industry. After all, even Southwest’s former president claims they “really are in the customer-service business. We just happen to fly airplanes.” So, regardless of your firm’s apparent business – is your culture ready for take-off?

Talking Tactics, Tête-à-Tête: Ford and the Future

Want to hear what it’s like behind the wheel of the tech team driving one of America’s biggest auto companies? Take a listen to TechCrunch’s interview with Ford CTO Raj Nair, giving insights and strategies that aim to leave competitors in the digital dust:

  • On the ownership/sharing economy dynamic: “The pace at which the technology is advancing is faster than it’s ever been…I think on the usership side – the popularity of ride hailing, the ride sharing model, is increasing – yet, the aspect of personal ownership is still really, really high. We’re at a record industry of sales right now.”
  • On offering city-wide fleets for the share-friendly drivers: “We’re open to different models and discussions as to where ownership of that fleet would reside...we’re interested in managing those vehicles as a service, manufacturing those vehicles, and the profit opportunity for transportation services.”
  • On human nature vying for control in a driverless world: “Taking yourself to the limit, taking the machine to the limit; there’s something in our brain wired to enjoy that, so hopefully that’s always part of it.”

Leadership Lessons: Varsity Values

Looking to rally your team to give it their all and beat out the competition? Turns out there’s much to apply from sports scoring strategies to your sales science, as the Wall Street Journal and former pro captains can attest. So what can we learn from Hall of Famers like Yogi Berra and Bill Russell? Here’s one: lead with practice, not with theory. In other words, don’t just speechify to your colleagues about the way things should be done – show them how you’re already doing it. Another lesson from the greats: be relentless, as one person’s doggedness and extreme effort can spread through the rest of the organization from contagious commitment. Finally, leave your emotions at the door, not allowing your personal life to affect your performance on the court (or in the office). By showcasing these and other (championship-)winning traits, leaders can promote a selflessness and fortitude that not only command respect, but encourage the rest of the team to live up to that high standard.

Video Victory: Questions and Manswers
That’s all for this week! Here at Vivaldi, we use the Axe brand as a case study in many of our workshops because of their relentless customer-centricity – so it’s no wonder we’re excited to leave you with this look at their latest campaign that gives insight to the real thoughts of young men everywhere…