Archive for Life Philosophy Category

4 Lessons for Brands from the Super Bowl LII Ads

Super Bowl LII did not disappoint in terms of providing us with celebrity-filled, big spend productions ranging from the weird and wacky to the hilarious. However, it did disappoint in more cases than it should. In this expensive media venue, brands should be pulling these aspects together in a way that both engages and sells a brand, or at least connects us to the brand more deeply.

Click here to read about the four lessons from Jim, Samantha Avivi, and Suzanne Tosolini.

Categories: Business, CMO Habits, Life Philosophy, Marketing

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Facebook Live with Beth Comstock

Yesterday, I joined Beth Comstock, vice chair of GE, for a fireside chat about my new book, Unleashing the Innovators. Check out the video below.

Fireside Chat with Beth Comstock & Jim Stengel

Thanks for joining my Facebook Live with Jim Stengel to discuss his recently released book, “Unleashing the Innovators: How Mature Companies Find New Life with Startups.”

Posted by Beth Comstock on Tuesday, September 26, 2017




Categories: Business, CMO Habits, Life Philosophy, Marketing, Speaking Events

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The Xperiel Story

I spent three years visiting VCs, startups, and big companies for my new book, Unleashing the Innovators: How Mature Companies Find New Life With Startups. The startup that intrigued me the most was Xperiel and its Co-Founder/CEO Alex Hertel. Here’s why:

Categories: Business, CMO Habits, Life Philosophy, Marketing

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The Playbook For Big Companies

Categories: Business, CMO Habits, Life Philosophy, Marketing, Speaking Events

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Seven Lessons Happened on the Way to the Hall of Fame

I was so thrilled to be inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame on May 11 alongside my colleagues and friends Jon Iwata of IBM,  Gary Briggs of Facebook, and Professor Jerry Wynd from The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania.

Each of us gave a short TED-style talk on what we had learned in our career,  and how we see the future of marketing evolving.


I shared seven lessons that I happened to learn on my way to the Hall of Fame.


1. Spend your life with a person/people you love and trust.  I met Warren Buffet a few years ago,  and he said the most important decision in your life is who you spend it with.  Nothing is even close.  I could not agree more.

2. Run your life and business with purpose. I believe in this so much I wrote a book on it.  I have found it is the best way to grow a lasting business and organization.  I have also learned it is very helpful to develop a behavioral framework with your team on what it means to lead with purpose;  that makes it sustainable.

3. Get out more. I wish I had done this even more in my career.  Leaders need to be focusing more on the future,  what is around the corner.  One of the best things I did at P&G was to get out and visit Google when they were a startup—it resulted in an employee exchange that the Wall Street Journal found so significant they put it on their front page.

4. Move fast, be decisive.  Have you ever said that you made a decision too quickly?  Or too slowly?  I bet more the latter.  I have just completed a 2.5 year project researching how startups can help legacy companies renew themselves—making faster decisions is at the top of the list.

5. Live with health, joy and resilience.  These three things are the key to a happy life.  And they are all in our control.  One thing I like to do is yoga on the beach—what is your favorite healthy,  joyful activity?

6. Have great bosses. I have been fortunate to have many.  One of my best was Herbert Schmitz at P&G.  He gave me big goals and then encouraged me to move fast and not be afraid to fail.

7. Be a great boss. This is also within our control,  and there is nothing higher leverage than this.

My favorite memento from my long career at P&G was a book my team made for me when I was Global Marketing Officer.  They did it for my 50th birthday,  and it was a collection of meaningful—and humorous—memories, pictures,  and principles.  If your team made you a book,  what would be in it?  What would you like in it?

Thank you to the AMA New York for this incredible honor. Congratulations to Jon, Gary, and Jerry.

A special thank you to my P&G colleagues who surprised me at the event. And thank you to Tim Armstrong and Aol for sponsoring the dinner and being there to support me.


Categories: Business, CMO Habits, Life Philosophy, Marketing, Speaking Events, Uncategorized

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Deloitte Next Generation CMO Academy

It has been an inspiring few days at the Deloitte Next Generation CMO Academy. The CMO Academy was hosted on the beautiful campus of Deloitte University in Westlake, Texas.

deloitte cmo

It was a perfect setting for learning (check out the picture of the campus) with an incredible agenda. The academy was quite an experience – designed to help these bright next generation CMOs become better leaders. The Deloitte team is filled with smart, fun people who are very generous with their time and expertise. But, I must say, the 5:30 a.m. kick-boxing class was a bit challenging!

The title of my talk was Got Courage?  The Essential Ingredient for an Evolved CMO.  I spoke to the CMOs about why courage is so important now, and had them take a leadership self-assessment. Here are three elements we focused on during the session:

  • Do you actively learn from outside influencers, other companies, startups to challenge your culture, how you work?
  • Do you recruit leaders who challenge convention, have a track record of courageous behavior?
  • Are you genuinely interested/passionate about the end user/consumer?  Do you think of her when you make decisions?

At the end of the session, six teams had to summarize their learning in a song – with help from a professional musician. I was asked to help judge – it was great and hilarious! We picked the “Grey is the new Black” as the winners – they did a hip-hop song about how we live in a world of ambiguity and we need courage!

I also had the opportunity to sit in on a few sessions. I loved the thought leadership session on How Brands Can Catalyze Movements.

Thank you Deloitte for another wonderful experience!

Check out some tweets from the event below:







Categories: Business, CMO Habits, Life Philosophy, Marketing, Speaking Events, Uncategorized

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Running a Business on Purpose

We teamed up with Epipheo, a fellow Cincinnati company, to explain in a creative way the often perplexing relationship between business and purpose and how it affects companies experiencing remarkable growth.

Categories: Business, CMO Habits, Life Philosophy, Marketing, Speaking Events

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Simon Business School University of Rochester

I sat down with Simon Business School Dean Andrew Ainslie to talk about my career choices, leading the transformed marketing strategy for Pampers, and other key brand insights.

Categories: Business, CMO Habits, Life Philosophy, Marketing, Speaking Events

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Our Favorite Brands During The Holiday Season

Although it’s been unseasonably warm at the Jim Stengel Co. headquarters this December, we can still feel that the holidays are right around the corner. That’s because our holiday experiences are shaped by the brands in our lives – for good or for bad.  Great brands elicit positive emotions from people. And the best brands bring out the fondest memories, the warmest feelings, and the happiest moments – particularly during the holidays. It’s these brands that make the holiday season special for my team and me. We each listed the brands that bring us joy during the holidays. Here is what we came up with:


AMAZON: I love Amazon’s wonderful cart system so I can store all of my possible gift ideas before I make my final choice.

AMAZON PRIME: The free, two day delivery has saved Christmas many a time – when I realize the toy needs batteries or the camera needs a memory card.

APPLE: I love to download movies, podcasts, and books so I can entertain myself during Christmas travel.

BUTTERBALL: No explanation needed here.

FITBIT: I love my Fitbit to keep track of my exercise in between eating all of those wonderful treats.

GOOGLE: I search for everything that I need to make the holidays complete: gifts, travel, recipes, and more.

HERSHEY’S: The red and green kisses are always in my candy dish and the happy holidays commercial will never get old.

HONEYBAKED HAM:  I don’t know what would happen in my house if a Honeybaked Ham was not among the menu items at Christmas.

NESTLÉ: I use Nestlé Toll House Morsels for my holiday baking.  They bring joy to my kitchen and delicious treats to my friends and family. They are great for chocolate dipped strawberries and chocolate dipped dried apricots.

PANDORA: I listen to the Classical Christmas Channel to relax and wrap presents… and to listen to as I write speeches because business is not slowing down!

STARBUCKS: I do not need words on the red cups to tell me it’s Christmas — the holiday tunes, the gingerbread scent, and seasonal décor let me know it’s the most wonderful time of year.

WSJ: The best-kept secret for wrapping presents when you’re finished reading.

ZAPPOS: The quick free shipping and free returns enables me to have a stress-free holiday season.



Categories: Business, Life Philosophy, Marketing

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3 Things a Founder Should Prioritize When Founding A Startup


Earlier this week, I spent an evening with about 20 young entrepreneurs who are aspiring to build great companies.  They are members of the current class of The Brandery, a top 15 ranked tech accelerator in Cincinnati. The Brandery is located in the heart of Over-the-Rhine, an urban community going through a major rejuvenation. If that isn’t inspiring enough, the class can step outside and see the tall office buildings that are the result of great entrepreneurs of yesteryear: William Procter and James Gamble, Barney Kroger, and Rowland Hussey Macy.

After a 25-year career building the great brands of Procter & Gamble. I left the coveted position of P&G’s Global Marketing Officer to found my own startup. I learned a lot as a founder, and learned even more over the last seven years working with startups.  Many of those challenges and learnings came up in our discussion at The Brandery. Here are the three most important lessons I’ve learned and that I shared with the group:

  1. Startups tend to think about marketing later than they should. Founders spend so much time fine-tuning business plans for investors and often forget about the fundamentals of a brand – What is your purpose? What is your promise to consumers? What are your key points of difference? What is your communication strategy? What is your visual identity?  Every brand — b-to-b and b-to-c — should aspire to elicit an emotion from its customers.  Emotion motivates purchase. That is well documented in multiple research studies.  Think about… the warm feeling you have when you see a Starbucks cup filled with pumpkin spice, the energy and drive you experience when you put on a new pair of Nike shoes, the delight you feel when sending a witty snap on Snapchat.  Those are all feelings that drive affinity and sales.  Key lesson:  Your brand is as important as your product. Take the time to build a brand with a fabulous customer experience.
  2. Culture is your ultimate competitive advantage.   Your job as a founder is to create —and act upon— the North Star of your company. You do that through the team you build and the culture you create. A single employee can make or break you. Spend time on recruiting, take part in interviews, do your due diligence as you scale and build your teams. A bad hire is like a cancer. You should have no tolerance for employees who aren’t fully on board with your values.  As Silicon Valley venture capitalist Ron Conway says, “culture is the greatest legacy a founder can leave.” Ask yourself: What kind of legacy do I want to leave?
  3. Have a relentless focus on your product or service. Never be complacent; always be pushing for a better product. Until we sold the company to Verizon, I was on the Board of Directors of Aol with Rick Dalzell, the former CIO of Amazon. Rick had the highest of standards for the company’s products and services.  His version of success was traffic and experimentation —  he was always concerned about the number of hits to the website and the quality of the engineers building the products. Bottom line: Every situation is an opportunity to improve your product or service.

As you put together your to-do list each day, think about how those tasks fit into the big picture. Are you spending time on the fundamentals of building a great brand? Are you creating a vision and culture that will guide your company in years to come? Do you have a relentless focus on your product or service?

Categories: Business, CMO Habits, Life Philosophy, Marketing, Speaking Events

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