The corporate view of personal branding is very different than from an individuals point of view, which I’ve previously discussed. Companies need to understand the importance of personal branding within the corporate culture. If only the executives have a grasp on the corporate message, then the company will fail. I believe that you have to market more to your employees than to customers because employees are the ones who are facing customers. The more they understand your purpose, values and can replay your message, the more effective you will be at customer acquisition and loyalty. I discussed this and more concepts with Noel Capon recently.

Personal Brand Statement: Professor Capon is the world leader in key/strategic and global account management.

Bio: Professor Capon is the R.C. Kopf Professor of International Marketing and former Chair of the Marketing Division at Columbia Business School in New York, where he has been on the faculty since 1979. Professor Capon is widely published. His articles have appeared in many reviewed journals and trade magazines. He has also written many books on marketing and sales management. He is the author of Marketing Mavens.


Why does every employee need to have basic marketing skills, not just the marketing department? How does a company create a company-wide-marketing culture?

Big-end marketing involves everyone in an organization. No one gets a paycheck unless the customer is happy, therefore customers are the lifeblood of the organization. That being said, they are the concern of everyone. It’s not easy to create a company-wide marketing culture but it has to come from the top of the organization (executives). If you get that message throughout the organization, it goes a long way. You need to put in place a mechanism and processes to ensure everyone gets it. For example, with Bloomberg; whenever they sell a terminal, there is a financial impact on everyone because they all get commission.

What do you mean by making consumers “core assets”? What role does the end user play in the marketing of a product or service these days and do you feel that social media has impacted that relationship?

The only way a company gets cash is through revenues from products or services from customers. It needs cash to pay people, therefore customers are critical. If you look at a corporate balance sheet, you will notice that “customers” don’t appear at all. If you take a traditional way of looking at assets, they don’t show up. We need to move away from that strict financial view because customers are the source of cashflow, which means that they should be treated as assets.

Communication is now much greater both between companies and customers and between customers themselves. Traditionally the company has a message and they send it to a customer (web 1.0). Now with interactive media, there are more customers talking back to companies (web 2.0). That feedback enables them to modify their products and services and attracting and retaining customers. Customers are playing a role in the innovation process. The value that people get from customers is very important. Social media increases closeness between customers and companies. We always know that word-of-mouth is an important aspect of the mix. The media explosion today has made this much greater, so companies are trying to figure out how to use these different devices (facebook, etc). They are looking to get information back from the market. Today, companies don’t have full control over what their customers say.

What are your five imperatives for companies, as discussed in your book?

There are strong cases about marketing just being communications. I view marketing as much bigger than that.

  • Pick markets that matter – figure out what markets are attractive to your company, giving the competencies you have.
  • Any market has a number of segments – It’s a matter of creativity and analytics to figure out what those are.
  • In the segments that you choose, you need to figure out how to deliver value and create competitive advantage.
  • Making sure that the organization can deliver on the promises that you just defined. The marketing department is the architect and the rest of the organization acts as the builder.
  • You need to measure what matters because you are making an investment and you need to see if you are achieving the results you are looking to achieve.