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A Day With The Chicago Bulls

I had an awesome morning in Chicago with the Bulls organization in their Advocate Training Center. We talked brand purpose, marveled at the championship trophies, and got in a few dunks. All around great day. Thanks for having me, Chicago Bulls!

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Categories: Business, CMO Habits, 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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Our Favorite Super Bowl Ads: Suzanne Tosolini


Our team took a look back at the best Super Bowl ads in history. Here are Suzanne Tosolini‘s two favorite spots:


The Super Bowl is a brand’s opportunity to do what TV does best – tell a story. TV allows brands to tell that story using the dramatic devices of film to make it engaging, distinctive, and memorable. Great film means great production. These two brand stories are my Super Bowl favorites:


VW “Darth Vader”


Old Spice “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”

Every time I watch these ads, I notice something new.  They each touch me emotionally in very different ways. The two spots use very different dramatic devices, but both are among the very best Super Bowl ads of all time.

Do you agree with Suzanne’s picks? Are there other Super Bowl ads you love? Join the conversation on Twitter.

Check out Matt Carcieri’s picks here. And Selina Yoon’s favorites here.

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Our Favorite Super Bowl Ads: Selina Yoon


Our team took a look back at the best Super Bowl ads in history. Here are Selina Yoon‘s top picks:




Coca Cola’s “Hey Kid, Catch!” – After a tough game, Mean Joe Greene is given a Coke by a child who looks up to him. It communicated so much: have a Coke and everything will be okay. Mean Joe was portrayed as a nice, relatable guy. This was so effective for the Coke brand. It moved people’s hearts and their love of brand got bigger.

Snicker’s “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry – Betty White”  – This ad communicates how Snicker’s delivers on satisfying your hunger in a humorous, relevant way to the Super Bowl audience. I loved it.

Budweiser is a perennial favorite of mine. I think we are conditioned to look for what Budweiser will do each year for the Big Game. So many popular phrases have come out of Budweiser Superbowl spots and that is powerful. (“Wassup!”) Budweiser = football culture = American culture

Apple’s “1984” – It was such a memorable 60 seconds that told a powerful story of revolution in technology. Apple history cannot be told without this iconic ad that led to a break-through for the brand. And the ad worked — I bought a Macintosh shortly after it was launched!

Do you agree with Selina’s picks? Are there other Super Bowl ads you love? Join the conversation on Twitter.

Check out Suzanne Tosolini’s picks here. And Matt Carcieri’s favorites here.

Categories: Business, CMO Habits, Marketing, Uncategorized

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Fortune’s Breakthrough Brands 2017

Fortune Magazine just released its list of Breakthrough Brands for 2017. Topping the list were Airbnb, Instagram, and Slack. Check out the feature here.


As part of the Breakthrough Brands cover story, I sat down with Fortune to talk about How To Build a Breakthrough Brand. Check out that Q&A here.


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Brands We Are Thankful For

The Jim Stengel Team has an attitude of gratitude this week. And before we sit down with friends and family to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal, we decided to take a moment to list the brands we are thankful for, the brands that make our lives better.

And now, we present to you, the first annual Team Stengel’s Brands We Are Thankful For:


I am thankful for…

Amazon which enables me to be a smart shopper by offering extensive crowd-sourced reviews.

Amazon Prime which helps me easily get the things I need when I need them without fail.

Apple which has seamlessly connected my life at home, at work, and on-the-go.

Bonobos which has made shopping faster, easier, and more customized for me.

Graeter’s which stands for family tradition and connection, and is a weekly tradition that connects our family.

Houzz which is a great resource while I am designing my new home.

Kroger which enables me to get healthy, natural foods delivered by smiling faces every single time.

Lipton Tea which enables me to tackle life each and every day.

Nespresso which has made my morning coffee routine at home a fine art.

Petfinder which enabled me to find the best dog on the planet.

Sephora which offers me a unique shopping experience and opportunity to test products before I buy them.

Snapchat which keeps me laughing with my kids no matter where I am in the world.

TripAdvisor which exposes me to honest feedback when I am travel planning.

Twitter which enables me to keep a pulse on the world.


Which brands would YOU add to this list?

Categories: Business, Marketing, Uncategorized

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Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity

Cannes Lions Logo
We’re back in Cannes this year for another invigorating, inspiring, and exciting week at Lions Health and Cannes Lions. I’ll be sharing the biggest learnings throughout the week on my site. You can follow along here.

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Brand Building with a Purpose: LLS Fundraiser Recap


Last night, I had the opportunity to talk about the future of brand building and leadership with an intimate group of people. The event was hosted at Venue 222, a hip, urban space nestled in OTR, one of Cincinnati’s oldest neighborhoods currently experiencing a major revitalization. It was the perfect setting for engaging discussion about purpose and community.

Cindy Tripp hosted the event as a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Cindy is part of the LLS Woman of the Year Campaign as a way to give back to an organization that made a big impact on her life. In 2011, her mother was diagnosed with Leukemia. A few months later, her daughter was diagnosed with the same disease. The comfort and resources that LLS provided Cindy made an impact on her and gave her a reason to give back to the next generation of families who will have to experience the same nightmare. The research LLS will fund will benefit the future.

Those who attended were there to support Cindy and LLS while learning about leadership and brand building. At the beginning, we went around the room with introductions and we learned most had a personal connection to the ugliness of cancer. It created a strong sense of community that brought an energy into the room. It was a great reminder of how companies can create strong organizational energy by building a sense of community through a common purpose.

My wife Kathleen and I were proud to support Cindy and LLS in honor of my hero, my inspiration, my brother Bob.












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A Soapbox for Purpose

Method_South view

I’ve always been a big believer in higher ideals, guiding behavior in business and in life. I was a strong advocate for building purpose in brands during my time as Global Marketing Officer at Procter & Gamble. I wrote a book about it, backed up by a major study with Millward Brown Optimor. And now I spend my life helping clients find and live up to their ideals. But I’ve never been more inspired than I was last week to see a purpose truly come to life. The team at Method has lived and breathed purpose since Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan started the company in Northern California. They truly exemplify what it means to live up to their higher ideals.

I first came across the Method team during my days at P&G during meetings with Target.  I, along with many others, thought Method was Target’s private label. But once I got to know the team and what they stood for, I was immediately hooked. These are people against dirty (Method’s shortcut version of its purpose) in every sense of the word. Adam and Eric were roommates who wanted to find a cleaner, healthier way to clean their dirty apartment. That meant cleaner ingredients, environmentally friendly products that truly cleaned the dirt and grime that guys build up. And from there, Method was founded on a beautiful purpose: to be a catalyst in the happy, healthy home revolution.

Method’s purpose has been the center of their business model since the beginning. These are green products that you can use without gloves or a mask as you clean your home. Adam even once drank a bottle of soap to prove it. Recycled materials are used to create chic bottles that look beautiful on the sink of a modern-designed home. And now they’ve taken that higher ideal a step further. Actually, much bigger than just a step: they’ve set a standard for all businesses, across all industries.

Last week the collaboration between the Method team, Gotham Greens, Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and many others, came to life. They cut the ribbon and officially opened a factory in Chicago, the “South Side Soapbox,” and I was honored to be a part of the momentous occasion. This is the first new factory in the South Side of Chicago in more than 30 years. The large empty tract at the intersection of East 111th and I-94 is now illuminated with a colorful wind turbine. The 225-foot-tall turbine overlooks the Dan Ryan Expressway, welcoming drivers to Chicago. The awnings over the parking lot are solar panels, so half of the power needed to run the manufacturing plant is self-generated.

The Soapbox is the only factory in its category that is LEED Platinum certified. And the Method team didn’t just stop there, in an effort to “build a cleaner clean,” they built an urban garden on top of the manufacturing plant. The two-acre greenspace will have the productivity of 40 acres. It is the largest hydroponic factory roof garden in the world and will grow 500 tons of fresh produce every year. Talk about going green.

This project was an unreal spirit of collaboration with the community and other likeminded businesses. The factory is a true demonstration on how to do business a different way – a good way. And it’s a win-win-win for Method, the community, and our environment. And it was very special for me to see a higher ideal come to life.

As you go about your workday, think about your company’s purpose in this world. Are you making a difference? Does your purpose drive every business decision you make? Purpose isn’t just a feel good story to keep you and your team motivated, it truly is good for business: Method has been the fastest growing company in its category for the past four years. That shows the power of a higher ideal activated.

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Talented, Energetic, Young Leaders Wanted


In 2010, Terry Savage, Phil Thomas and Steve Latham of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity called me to discuss what more we could do for clients at the Festival.   Since 2003, when I brought the first large client contingent to the Festival as P&G’s Global Marketing Officer, the Festival has attracted a huge number of clients. They come with their agencies seeking to raise their game in creativity, and to accelerate their business growth.

We decided in 2011 to pioneer a new offering at the Festival — a Young Marketers Academy. The core idea was to begin to prepare the next generation of brand leaders to embrace creativity and learn how to lead breakthrough ideas in the creative process.  Over the past four years, we have filled the class with top talents from the best brands like Unilever, P&G, Heineken, Kraft, Adidas, Pepsico, VISA, IBM, and more.

We’re now entering our fifth year of the Cannes Young Marketers Academy, which is considered the most intensive development program in the marketing industry. The course runs during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, which begins June 21. I serve as Dean of the Academy, alongside Academy tutors Suzanne Tosolini and Serfi Altun. Suzanne spent 18 years at Procter & Gamble where she worked across multiple categories. She held a variety of roles ranging from Regional P&L to Global Brand Franchise leadership while based in various countries in Western and Eastern Europe as well as the US. She is currently a senior consultant at The Jim Stengel Company. Serfi spent 16 years at Procter & Gamble, working in Europe, Middle East, Africa and USA as Brand Building Integrated Communications Associate Director and Training Head. She is currently the Founder & Idea Master Chef at Idea Bakery where she passionately bakes ideas on cutting edge communications.

We’re looking for really talented, energetic, young leaders of the great brands of the world to join us this JuneOur goal is to populate the room with 50 people from all over the world who are in their first or second job of their career at a client company. We’ll bring this top talent together in Cannes and rock their world. We’ll spend time getting to know each other, we’ll do exercises to break down walls and boost creativity to get beyond the veneer. We’ll have special, interactive sessions in a small classroom to enhance learning. The Festival is where the best global creative talent comes together to meet and find inspiration, and we curate the week to send these young marketing leaders to the seminars that are most important for them to experience. We’ll do walk-arounds, put learning to practice, and encourage knowledge sharing during the week.

This intensive week is a personal discovery journey shared with other young leaders in their profession. The themes of the week are based on what is most important for them to become better suited to lead. The academy is highly interactive, highly engaging, and highly practical. Each young marketer will leave with a specific personal plan for leadership, what areas they want to master, and specific ways to stay inspired. They will go home with a commitment to hold themselves and their company to a high standard in leadership and creativity.

We only have a few spots left in this year’s academy.

If you have an interest, please email Steve Latham:

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