Ask The CMO: A Conversation With Alan Gellman On Marketing As A Lever of Innovation And Growth

Marketing is rapidly moving from a siloed communications activity to a powerful driver of business strategy, innovation, growth and experience. We are in a period of significant business change, catalyzed by the digital transformation that is upon us. This is requiring leading brands to reimagine the marketing function in ways that embrace an emphasis on both brand and performance. No longer is an either-or option viable.  With this in mind, I have launched an “Ask the CMO” series where I talk to some of the top marketers in the world to uncover the leading issues and trends driving change in the marketplace.

For my second piece in this series, I had the privilege of speaking with Alan Gellman, digital trailblazer, marketing visionary, former CMO of Esurance and current Future of Money Fellow at the Center for the Digital Future at USC Annenberg. We discussed his thoughts on harnessing marketing as a lever to drive innovation, and growth through a lens of brand purpose and winning experiences. Below is a recap of our conversation:

Billee: Digital transformation is new to some, but it’s something you have been doing for years at brands like Kraft, Wells Fargo and Esurance. With that said, what are the key things that people should be aware of as digital goes from a siloed function to more of a critical driver of day-to-day business?

Alan:  I have a pretty strong view around what marketing needs to be in terms of driving growth inside organizations. It’s not just about generating traffic or building a brand, and yet those things are classically critical and always will be. Today, it also has to be about why are you in business. What’s your purpose as a company? Guiding companies to achieve that purpose and to create value for consumers is critical to marketing today and an important part of achieving that is through digitally driven transformation. That means helping to guide, if not owning directly, what the value exchange with the customer is. Marketing isn’t strictly the communication side; I am equally focused on the product and the experiences that we create. So, the starting point on framing for me is building the type of business that will create value for customers. And, then how do you tell them about it and reach the right ones in innovative and compelling ways and make sure they know the value proposition, understand what you’re bringing to them, including through targeting and compellingly creative.

Billee: I couldn’t agree more. But, I find that in speaking to many clients and executives in general, a lot of people seem generally confused about what purpose is and how a company should find it. Do you have any thoughts on top things marketers should consider as they try to pivot their organizations to the bigger picture to provide a grander value than just a product or service?

Alan: So, there are a few things. First, as customer champions, marketers need to lead the organization in clarifying why it exists and how it adds value. In addition, marketers are often quite siloed in their training and in their thinking and in what they choose to tackle. And so, the starting point has to be you’ve got to get out of your own box. And nearly all of us are in our own box. So, start by organizing marketers and teams so that they know their accountability and realize it isn’t just “oh I’m a performance marketer who does search engine marketing work.”  Rather it needs to be about working daily, in an integrative fashion to be impacting positively on the brand as well as performance. We have to change how we develop people so that they have the skills and toolkit and even more important the mental models that say this is about a holistic way of understanding our customers and reaching them and delivering for them.

Billee: Based off of that insight, my instinct is that a variety of things that I am seeing and hearing about are not truly done through an integrative lens. Most notably, as highlighted at Cannes, content experiences don’t seem to have a creative through line that ladders up to a bigger or more purposeful brand voice. So how can marketers have a more holistic view to connect the creative in ways that generate purposeful and authentic experiences?

Alan: I think the first thing is really determining how do you have an overarching storyline and creative approach that works its way through all of the marketing regardless of what type it is. What we developed at Esurance for example, was a very clear purpose. But it was really heavy lifting where we debated every word, as we should have. We did this because without debating it and changing it, it’s not a living and breathing organism. As we engaged with it, we realized it couldn’t be a marketing tagline, but rather what the company was working toward. At Esurance we said it can’t just be about insurance. “Insurance for the modern world” is a great tagline and very much about the DNA of the company. But, what we did instead was say how do you turn that into an aspiration or a why? Where we netted out with our purpose was the direction we wanted to push the company toward: “modernize protection and help people thrive in the modern world.”

Billee: There are many changes taking place like the ones you have just touched upon making it a very difficult time to be a marketer. Can you address the disconnect between the ability for corporate infrastructures to pivot in lockstep with the evolution of the marketing function and how marketing leadership should address these chasms?

Alan: Yes of course. I look at it as integrative marketing as we have been discussing. I have seen in my experience that people have to be developed to be truly integrated marketers. Few offline people deeply know digital and vice versa frankly. Performance and brand need to be approached through an integrative lens to truly drive performance and build the right infrastructure. The key to success is to develop an integrated perspective connecting product, marketing and experience with full and deep C-suite engagement. Understanding and developing that purpose together. And it requires thought leadership coming from marketing as it relates first to purpose and ultimately to how you drive growth.

Billee: So, I think what you are saying is that people need to take charge of their own destiny in the top marketing role. Many people are failing to do this as CMO turnover has never been higher. Any tips on best practices for achieving success in today’s environment?

Alan: I think there are ways where marketers need to evolve. First of all, every marketer needs to be thinking of themselves as a general manager. Many marketers out there just say they’re trying to get budget. Their objective should first be to ask themselves am I efficiently driving growth and innovation for my organization. Think of yourself as owning the P&L. Think of yourself as being accountable for both the top line and the bottom line ; it should never just be about the budget.

Billee: Do you have any thoughts on the best ways that marketers should look at artificial intelligence strategically through a more holistic lens, meaning both creatively and data technology wise. Less shiny new object, more driver of business strategy, growth and experience? 

Alan: There’s not one way, but there’s definitely a way not to, which is it’s not a new toy. And I think that’s part of your point. Artificial intelligence has actually been around a long time and it’s really about ways of being smarter. How can machine learning help you understand how you’re optimizing your creative for a given delivery?  How do you deliver the right message at the right time in the right sequence? It’s about learning and using that speed and use of modeling. All marketers should be experimenting with that now.  These are critical capabilities that are evolving but it’s not one magic bullet and it’s not a panacea at all.

Billee: In conclusion, what’s next for you?

Alan: First, as noted earlier, I’ve agreed to become a Future of Money Fellow at the Center for the Digital Future at USC Annenberg. I’m excited to work with the team to explore all the many ways money and financial services will evolve to help consumers and society.  In addition, I am exploring how I can help companies in the fintech and healthtech spaces scale their growth, possibly as an advisor. Between the rapid and inevitable move to mobile, the increased expectations of consumers who have experienced disruption in most other categories, and the potential to create value, Fintech is an exciting place to be right now.

Note: This article was first published on Billee’s Forbes blog.

brand purpose

Optimize Customer Experiences Using Brand Purpose + Data Driven Storytelling

The old rules of business were ruled by what GE dubbed TQM or Total Quality Management. Winning companies would win or lose based on their ability to deliver a quality product, seamlessly and consistently.  In their view, TQM would sustain customer loyalty and assure a category or market leadership position.  For the past decade, we have rapidly left that notion behind in lieu of the age of TEM – Total Experience Management.

As mass commodification has impacted all industries, it’s become harder and harder for a brand to stand out. Consequently, storytelling and the authentic content experiences it creates, has become one of the leading ways brands can engage with customers to drive distinction and competitive advantage.

The big news out of 64th International Festival of Creativity in Cannes, was that the current approach to content development, where storytelling is still pushed to the end of the supply chain, is missing authenticity – a brand voice.  This explains why many customers are moving from big brands to smaller ones as they tell better stories, infused with purpose and authenticity, to create winning experiences.  Simply put, if you want to compete in today’s marketplace you need to embrace TEM through a lens of purpose.

The bright and shiny objects no longer win, unless they are married with insights that make experiences go from good to great through personalized, emotionally engaging moments that set you apart from the pack.  Emotional engagement is based upon the stimulation of the heart.    In today’s experience economy, emotional engagement is proving to be a critical factor in achieving winning results throughout every customer journey, and effective, data-driven storytelling is at the heart of this movement.

With all this in mind, thinking about how to gain competitive advantage in the marketing realm today – inside and outside of the organization – marketers must capture key insights and then apply the principles of needs-based, experience design, combined with an understanding of the levers that impact each experience differently, in order to bring the brand to life for each customer.  No longer can a CMO do this from pure instinct, or in a silo.  They must listen, analyze and interpret data across all customer touchpoints, online and offline, and then use these insights to inform experience development.

brand purpose and storytelling

The formula for success in today’s CMO is simple:

Brand Purpose + Data Driven Storytelling = Optimized Customer Experiences

Note: Take this short survey for a free audit of your brand’s approach to purpose driven storytelling: Free Brand Purpose Storytelling Audit

Organizations that use artful storytelling to create winning experiences are the ones who are leading our new era of collaborative commerce forward – and moving product, improving engagement and retaining employees.  What follows are optimized experience frameworks that help bring this equation to life for each customer – B2B, B2C and B2E – and real-world examples of how purpose-driven thought leaders are bringing such experiences to life today.

1) B2B Experience

Pivoting from a product centric approach to one that is experience-based, B2B companies are harnessing creativity and technology to tell winning stories that will help educate, inform and activate necessary change in this period of business transformation. The following are the spheres of influence shaping an optimized B2B experiences that can be sharpened through an informed purpose-driven thought leadership platform:

Sphere 1:  Economic

Develop products and services stories that demonstrate contribution to positive earnings and to long-term value to shareholders.

Sphere 2:  Innovation 

Deliver innovative content solutions that capitalize on the strategic marriage of creativity + technology.

Sphere 3:  Agility/Transformative Ability 

Demonstrate necessary pivots that deliver competitive advantage and change.

Sphere 4:  Aspirational Motivation

Enable contribution to the world (and business) as much as the bottom-line and create moments that are aspirational and give people a reason to believe + engage.

Sphere 5:  Brand/Engagement

Develop engagement across all key constituencies to optimize the customer journey and improve financial performance.

A B2B Experience:  GE

GE focuses on telling engaging stories that make sense for businesses.  They invite customers in to see ‘Imagination at Work’, and give customers a reason to believe and engage with their innovation that builds, powers, moves & cures the world.  By harnessing storytelling, creativity and technology via content on digital platforms, including Instagram, Tumblr and YouTube, GE is delivering on their desired business outcomes:

  1. Increase audience awareness of the scope of what GE does and highlight positive experiences with the brand.
  2. Support pipeline for young engineering and business talent.
  3. Drive interest among the next generation of potential shareholders. The company needs to attract the next generation of shareholders.

2) B2C Experience

Consumers today want to be a part of a brand that does more than give them immediate gratification from a product or service. They want to become a part of a brand that they believe in – a brand voice –  one that can enrich their daily lives in ways that create meaningful and impactful engagement.  Conveying the cornerstone of your company’s purpose-driven thought leadership in ways that bridge to the world at large, beyond the bottom-line, is critical to success in today’s environment. Today’s best B2C experiences are defined by telling informed stories that impact the following spheres of influence and create emotional engagement:

Sphere 1:  Aspirational Motivation

Offer people the opportunity to believe in the brand through meaningful interactions.

Sphere 2:  Trust

Work to build a connection between the customer and the brand by showing that you care about what your consumers care about.

Sphere 3:  Personalization/ Loyalty 

Capitalize on real-time, predictive data, analytics and insights to create the experiences consumers want, before they know they want them, which will enhance consumer loyalty and advocacy.

Sphere:  Empathy

Fortify trust and a reason to believe by humanizing the brand and bringing a purpose-driven Living Brand to life.

Sphere 5:  Education

Build meaningful differentiation from competitors through empathic and
purpose-driven stories that inform, entertain and delight and heighten impact and effectiveness.

A B2C Experience:  Casper

Casper’s founders believed if you’re going to convince consumers to trust you that sleep is a pursuit as worthy of obsession as exercise or eating, you have to approach (the story arcs of empathy and education) differently.  Casper is combining science, design thinking, branding, and a winking sense of humor to redefine the humble mattress into lifestyle stories with a new cohort of evangelists proselytizing that the key to productivity and overall health stems from maximizing the quality of our slumber. Casper also upended some fundamental assumptions about consumer behavior that word-of-mouth sales would be impossible to generate because nobody talks about their mattress, a notion that was shattered by an immediate boom in viral unboxing videos that captured the exciting experience.

3) B2E Experience

According to HBR, 89% of executives surveyed said a strong sense of collective purpose drives employee satisfaction; 84% said it can affect an organization’s ability to transform; and 80% said it helps increase customer and employee loyalty.  To operationalize your purpose-driven narrative into mantras that bring your brand purpose to life inside your organization, consider how the following spheres of influence can help you create an authentic B2E experience that delights, informs and engages:

Sphere 1: Aspirational Motivation

Work to inculcate storytelling directly into culture through training and a process of

Sphere 2: Leadership + Core Values:  Trust

Develop mantras through a lens of inclusion to be truly authentic and representative of

both brand and employee values.

Sphere 3: Reward + Recognition

Create appropriate reward & recognition strategies to reaffirm purpose-driven behavior.

Sphere 4: Education 

Facilitate workshops and build a Living Brand content hub where all physical content is made digital and showcase employees bringing the mantras to life.

Sphere: Immersion

Create distinct opportunities to “live the brand” for all of your employees such as
hyper-localized community giving programs or branded internal events that celebrate your employees.

A B2E Experience: W.L. Gore

The executive team began to see trends that employees were anxious that slow decision-making and a lack of risk taking might be weighing on Gore’s entrepreneurial endeavors.  At Gore, the risk of an innovation slowdown was particularly serious. Strong leadership, rooted in the company’s core values, worked quickly to streamline decision-making, encouraged the formation of small startup teams that were motivated to explore new ventures and also created an in-house team called the Innovation Center of Expertise to shepherd (and reward) promising employee ideas.

Todd A. Myers is the Chief Strategy Officer at BRANDthropologie Media. He will lead client engagements to directly connect purpose positioning to value creation and content solutions. You can follow him on Twitter at @ToddMyers123 

Note: Take this short survey for a free audit of your brand’s approach to purpose driven storytelling: Free Brand Purpose Storytelling Audit

Brand Purpose

Find Your Organization’s Purpose: How To Use Brand Voice To Achieve Desired Outcomes

A thought leader can refer to an individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded. Thought leadership is often used as a way of increasing or creating demand for a product or service. While thought leadership is not new, in our experience driven economy, where decisions about a brand are based off of who an organization is as much as what it does or sells, it has become an increasingly important vehicle to engage with both internal and external audiences. This notion is particularly true and can have exponential impact, when an organization frames its thought leadership platform around an aspirational purpose; one which aims to give back to the world as much as the bottom-line, and does so in ways that give people a reason to believe and engage.

In the era of experience, everyone, be they employee or customer, is a consumer who must be informed, entertained and delighted throughout every step of the consumer journey. Smart organizations are approaching creating these types of experiences by finding their purpose and then using it as a creative and aspirational theme with which to engage.  Consequently, an approach to building + operationalizing purpose-driven thought leadership can be increasingly valuable in achieving desired business outcomes.

By using thought leadership as the touchstone of any brand, with a through line of data-driven storytelling as not just a lever of awareness, but rather a powerful business competency, leading organizations can drive competitive differentiation and increased value with both employees and customers.


With internal audiences, the idea of an aspirational purpose or thought leadership platform, can be married with internal culture to deliver best-in-class storytelling and content experiences to employees with an eye on retaining them and turning them into brand advocates. Similarly, when applying this notion to customers and consumers, a brand’s aspirational platform must be connected to the themes driving external culture to achieve the same type of optimal experience throughout the consumer funnel. Both of these scenarios only happen when thought leadership is built around aspirational purpose and then operationalized by storytelling that is data-driven and harnessed as a powerful business competency. A key to success here is by moving storytelling from the end of the supply chain, to the inception of the invention process.

Note: Take this short survey for a free audit of your brand’s approach to purpose driven storytelling: Free Brand Purpose Storytelling Audit

Once a brand’s aspirational purpose is identified and built into a thought leadership platform, it can be operationalized through an inside-out approach designed to place a brand’s narrative of aspirational purpose directly into engagement efforts with consumers and employees alike. This can be achieved by:

  1. Crafting a Living Brand for employees instills a sense of aspiration and purpose at the heart of the culture , and highlights the increasing correlation between brand and culture. The goal is to work to transform employees into brand ambassadors through winning experiences, with the goal of transforming storytelling into an empowering business competency.
  1. Designing a strategic overlay for day-to-day business strategy which harnesses real-time data, analytics and insights to infuse purpose-driven storytelling into direct-to-consumer/customer efforts will optimize performance. Such thinking works to make any organization as much a content brand as a leader in a given industry and creates sustainable winning experiences.

Such an approach delivers value across an organization and enables it to drive engagement inside and out to deliver desired business outcomes such as:

  • Improved employee retention, productivity and engagement
  • Increased employee and consumer loyalty
  • Enhanced employee and consumer experiences
  • Optimized performance inside and out (i.e. productivity to profits)

To build and operationalize purpose-driven thought leadership platforms to achieve these types of results it is important to be able to deconstruct what the optimal experience of each target looks like and then work backward to build your strategy to achieve desired outcomes.

By transforming purpose and storytelling from overused buzzwords into critical tools that can help shape and define business strategy, any brand can operationalize thought leadership to achieve desired outcomes. By building thought leadership that is aspirational, and placing it as a touchstone driving the organization, audiences both inside and out have reasons to believe and engage, and do so in ways that define distinction and competitive advantage.

Billee Howard helps brands use storytelling as a competency that informs business strategy, culture development and growth. She also wrote WeCommerce, a book on collaboration in the new economy.

Note: This article was first published on Billee’s Forbes blog.

agency partner

5 Tips On Hiring An Agency Partner In 2017

As 2017 unfolds with a high degree of uncertainty on the horizon, timing couldn’t be better for top leaders to evaluate their marketing and communication strategies with an eye on building trust with, and demonstrating purpose to, key constituencies.

In a world where bigger is no longer better, and one-size fits all models no longer work, leading brands are looking to collaborate with a group of smaller agencies to meet a list of growing niche communication needs. This is a significant reversal from the singular relationships with big communication conglomerates that dictated the market in the past.

Consequently, following is a list of key things to consider today when choosing an agency partner:

1) Remember small is the new big.

Whether you are going with a large traditional firm or a smaller insurgent, it is important to understand whether the partner you choose has the ability to turn with the alacrity of a speedboat as opposed to the lethargy of an ocean liner.

Innovative creative firms function with an entrepreneurial and agile mindset no matter what their actual size.

Today strength is not determined by magnitude or heft, it is determined by an ability to constantly evolve, change, disrupt and create in real time, and ahead of competitors. There are no rules to follow to succeed, only ones to shatter to find better paths forward toward profitability and meaningful engagement.

The right agency partner will be driven by this maverick thinking, have scale and a breadth of offerings, but be small enough to be able to help you move in lockstep with both your industry and the cultural landscape you are seeking to communicate and engage with.

Note: Take this short survey for a free audit of your brand’s approach to purpose driven storytelling: Free Brand Purpose Storytelling Audit

2) Look for a singular focus and vision.

Effective marketing and communications today happens through niche offerings and expertise. No one partner can or should be good at all things. The broader business environment no longer functions that way. Just look at the renewed singular focus of market giants like GE and P&G who have recently shed bloated conglomerate structures to return to their historical industry cores of industrial vision and consumer packaged goods innovation.

The right agency partner will present a strategic vision that offers end to end solutions comprised of niche offerings and expertise that can deliver meaningful and measurable results.

Be reminded of the acclaimed Steve Jobs adage of doing one thing and one thing better than anyone else when building your creative partnership teams.

3) Be as mindful of outcomes as creative thought.

Today marketing and communications are as responsible for driving business strategy and innovation as they are awareness, so being sure your agency partner is as riveted on results as they are on creative is critical.

The right creative or agency team will lead as much with a focus on measurable outcomes as they do with creative ideation.

Big ideas today are a dime a dozen. What’s more rare is seamless delivery of creative services that reach the people you want to connect with where they already live, work and play.

In today’s environment, no one should still be talking about quantity reach in the way of general impressions, views or likes. All of those are a given if a campaign is to be successful. What is more important is to look out for partners who can deliver reach to target groups in ways that elicit specific calls to action, the attainment of agreed upon overall business outcomes and real engagement that can be converted into positive business results.

4) Recognize that if you don’t have a great content strategy, social media and other distribution ideas are irrelevant.

Too often marketers make the mistake of having the goal of increasing their brand’s social media presence as opposed to first thinking through the right approach to content creation and management.

Think of it this way. You can have the most beautiful Maserati, but if you don’t maintain it and fill it with the right fuel, you still won’t win the race.

The very same thing is true with social and digital media. You can have the greatest presence on Facebook, with tons of followers and likes, but if you don’t consistently push out a stream of content that is designed to instigate action with the right people or drive toward specific business outcomes, what real value is there in your bright and shiny social media platform?

The right agency partner will work with you to uncover the most meaningful and resonant data and stories that your brand already possesses and push you to transform these assets into vibrant and engage-able content that can and will deliver the type of results your senior leadership team is seeking.

5) Connect with and hire great talent that can and will execute for you daily.

Too often the bait and switch move that has been defining agency reputations for decades still rears its ugly head. You know when you are pitched by a team of senior talent who bring out all the bells and whistles that you never see again after signing on the dotted line?

When selecting an agency or creative partner today remember it is you who is in the driver’s seat, with a more important and visible role to the CEO than ever before.

Your agency team should be as accountable to you as you must be to your senior leadership for any partnership to work, and the foundation of such success begins and ends with great talent, at all levels.

There has never been a time with more choices for marketers in the creative realm. Rarely does the one big agency model still work, so competition for business is keen and affords you the opportunity to push for the very best resources and talent and receive it.

When selecting your agency partner, make sure that the talent in the room is the talent you will be working with day in and day out. Check for creative chemistry, a senior leadership anchor who will drive the business for creativity and consistency, and ask for examples of work executed in an end to end fashion. Great ideas are not that rare. What is however is an ability to execute with consistency, scale, fluidity and an unrelenting commitment to excellence.

The year ahead is one where the role of the CMO will only continue to rise in importance. Step into the driver’s seat, find the correct partner to ride shotgun and don’t be afraid to floor it as there has never been a more exciting or opportune time to be a marketer. So start your engines and enjoy the ride!

Billee Howard helps brands use storytelling as a competency that informs business strategy, culture development and growth. She also wrote WeCommerce, a book on collaboration in the new economy.

Note: This article was originally published on Billee’s Forbes Blog

business Storytelling

6 Storytelling Lessons For Any Leader to Use Around Their First 100 Days

As we approach the Trump Presidency’s first 100 day mark, much discussion has ensued over whether the importance of great accomplishment in the days out of the gate is fact or folly. It is no surprise that leading Democrats are calling it fact, while top Republicans, including the President, are crying folly.

In my opinion, what’s most important about the first 100 day milestone of any new leader’s tenure, is establishing a clear and accessible vision for the future that people can trust in and rally around.

While it is impractical to imagine any type of true significant progress in under 100 days, it is reasonable to expect a respected and visionary leader to use the early days of his or her leadership to assess the state of affairs, harness insights from sources inside and out, and then align the go forward vision against those key learnings.

The early days of leadership, whether in the private or public sector, are as much about optics and narrative setting, as they are about charting progress. Consequently, harnessing storytelling as a vital business competency in the early days of any new senior role, with an eye toward creating a steady cadence of interaction with key publics, is vital.

Here are a 6 easy things to keep in mind when framing the communications or storytelling architecture around any first 100 day leadership scenario whether you are an entity on K Street, Wall Street or Main Street:

1) Work with senior leadership to craft a compelling overarching narrative that articulates the new leader’s vision while also being inclusive of a representative sampling of key constituents, inside and out of an organization. The narrative should aim to bridge the best of the past with the best of the future, setting an aspirational, yet authentic tone that people find accessible, purposeful and can believe in. Harness narrative as the through line in all communications to create consistency and singularity of vision around all strategic initiatives.

2) While framing vision, be extremely mindful of landscape you are currently operating in. A strong leadership vision is acutely attuned to the culture both inside and out of an organization if it is to be resonant and effective. Too often leaders take a tone deaf approach created in a vacuum. This establishes a negative spirit from the start and immediately sets the table for dissention and dismay. To be effective, be immediately responsive to the current environment and use it to lay out a prescriptive approach that is measurable and responsive.

3) Clearly articulate what a new leader’s vision is in broad terms to drive aspiration and excitement, while tying to culture to be timely and responsive. However, be sure to be surgically precise in outlining a new leader’s step by step plan of attack. Outlining lofty goals is certainly vital to successful leadership and vision, but failure to put the appropriate roadmap and step by step process in place can derail progress and lead to distrust and dissention.

4) Create editorial sounding board comprised of senior leaders across the enterprise, inside and out, to test messaging and narrative articulation, while also getting feedback on how to structure strategic imperatives and game plans to be as effective as possible. Use editorial board to help keep the vision on course, while also being able to respond to emerging issues and potential hiccups in real time. The hallmark of any successful first 100-day push is to be authoritative and adaptive at the same time.Creating a through line of such an approach in all communications can drive significant momentum, enterprise wide buy in, while also setting a tone of collaboration and a team driven culture.

5) Demonstrate results and showcase value as soon as it is authentically possible to do so. Do not overpromise and under deliver as a result of succumbing to the pressures of progress in the first 100 days, but do build a list of wins to share that are demonstrative of momentum and a positive future. It is important to remember that to gain trust, support and favor, wins do not have to be grandiose to count, they have to be authentic and offer a window into how the CEOs vision will play out. Creating a steady drumbeat of these type of stories, including outside voices, wherever possible, to demonstration inclusion and collaboration is critical.

6) Remember above all else that communicating as much about WHO the leader is and WHY he or she is in charge is even more important than telling stories about what they will do. People, be they employees, consumers, customers or constituents, today are far more inclined to rally around someone who shares their values, inclusive spirit and sense of purpose, then they are to be lured by great promises of what’s to come. Tell stories that demonstrate empathy, elicit emotion and drive connection around your leader as much as a person as a professional.

Billee Howard helps brands use storytelling as a competency that informs business strategy, culture development and growth. She also wrote WeCommerce, a book on collaboration in the new economy.

Note: This article first appeared on Billee Howard’s Forbes blog.