Brand journalism and corporate media

The struggles of traditional media, combined with increasing recognition of how reporting and storytelling can benefit brands, have led to the creation of a new category of content: journalistic-style writing in corporate publications. 

I've dabbled in this sort of writing for 20 years—one of my first paying gigs was to create a magazine for the members (and prospective members) of an operating engineers' union in Des Moines, where I went to college. Since then, I've done work for corporate clients including Adobe, Motorola, Qualtrics, Sears, Staples, Symantec and Stryker, as well as several financial institutions (Northern Trust, SunTrust, Regions, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, to name a handful).

It turns out that one of my greatest strengths as a writer — translating complex, technical subject matter into a digestible, relatable narrative — is both a good fit for the demands of brand journalism and also something I enjoy. 

Lessons from direct-to-consumer marketing strategies

Upstart direct-to-consumer brands weren’t supposed to be able to do this. According to the traditional playbook, these brands, known as DTCs, should struggle to carve out anything more than a niche business with their limited budgets. A decade ago, the notion that there would soon be a tidal wave of DTCs grabbing meaningful marketshare, raising huge amounts of venture capital and even going public—well, it would have sounded not only unlikely, but absurd. It happened, though.

[E-Book] Get Real: Making the most of your customer's journey in real time (Adobe)

Your customers are on the loose. They’ve broken free from the customer relationship management (CRM) and clickstream-tracking systems you’ve used to keep tabs on them. Now they’re swerving unpredictably and often anonymously from device to device, channel to channel. What’s more, they’ve escaped from the sales funnel that once guided them gently but firmly from awareness to purchase.

[E-Book] The Young and the Restless: How to Engage Federal Millennial Workers (Qualtrics)

Ah, millennials. Those smartphone-obsessed, hyper-social, approval- craving, thrill-seeking do-gooders, moving from job to job almost as soon as the latest craft beer or prestige TV series arrives to capture their fancy. Employers have struggled with the idiosyncrasies of this generation, testing all manner of recruitment and retention strategies: mobile offices and flexible work schedules; continuous training and roadmaps for rapid advancement; and even cold-press coffee bars by the conference room. Vying for the loyalty of millennials is especially critical for the federal government. Federal agencies need millennials, who constitute an entire generation and are being counted on to replace the government’s rapidly aging workforce. ...

Private Museums: Serving the Public Good (Northern Trust)

Visitors to the Transformer Station in Cleveland, Ohio are treated to an exceptional collection of contemporary photography. The clean, modern gallery space, housed in a refurbished electrical station, is perfectly suited to showcase the emotion and provocation of the art on display. Yet the Transformer Station is neither a museum nor a commercial gallery — at least, not in the traditional sense. Though it is free and open ...

Translating Corporate Values into Social Impact—and Deeper Employee Relationships (From Day One)

We live in an era when trust is under strain. The prevalence of ideological polarization, economic instability and uncertainty over the reliability of news reporting has tested the bonds that underpin society. As people’s faith wanes in traditional societal institutions—not to mention social media—they are turning elsewhere for trustworthy guidance. And according to a global survey released in January, the Edelman Trust Barometer, a leading beneficiary of that reallocated trust is “My employer.” That shift has weighty implications for leaders ...

[Cover story] Carnival's Strategic Transformation (Insigniam)

For Brown, procurement isn’t as simple as finding reliable providers with the lowest-cost bid. There’s a balance to “bringing value by making the right kind of deals and arrangements that create an advantage for our company and also delight our guests,” she says. Named Carnival’s first-ever chief procurement officer (CPO) in March 2015, Brown now faces the challenge of streamlining Carnival’s purchasing across its 10 brands and better leveraging the $15.9 billion company’s bargaining power ...

Art Trends: A Digital Disruption (Northern Trust)

Technology promises to affect every aspect of the art world. A great work of art can appear timeless and unchanging, its insight and beauty set apart from the march of time. The art market paints a different picture. Traditionally hampered by opacity and inefficiency, it is primed for digital disruption — the same sort that has transformed industries ranging from transportation to publishing. A new wave of startups has the art world in its sights, bringing to market products like provenance ...