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GE: A Brand in Motion

Successful companies change, evolve and innovate; this was the message Beth Comstock, chief marketing officer and senior vice president of GE, shared with Thunderbird students during her campus visit on April 8, 2014. Her talk, entitled GE: A Brand in Motion, sums up her message of how important advancement and perpetual change are for a brand. “To stand still is to die,” states Comstock.

“Customers rely on brands to know what’s next,” she says. “Know thyself, know the customer and innovate.” 

The question brands must continually ask is: How can we make our brand matter? Comstock offers five mantras that help us answer that question:

1. Own the moments. Create moments that represent who or what you are as a brand. Know who you are as a company and embrace it. Don’t try to be something you are not. 

2. Develop stories produced by content factory.

3. Bring data to life with stories. Your brand is defined by the stories you tell.

3. Convene the conversation. Bring people together to make things happen. Be one cohesive brand with one message. Advertising isn’t always the most effective outreach; get creative in utilizing social media and thought leadership to create opportunities to bring stakeholders together.

4. Mindshare before market share. Spend time developing your offer before you push it to market. Sometimes great ideas take time to nurture and draw support, especially if they are outside the box.  

5. Invite others in. Form partnerships and engage in open collaboration. You can’t solve problems on your own. You must be willing to look to others for help.

Comstock also spoke about the use of technology in business and its ability to empower companies to stay current and adapt quickly. “We must blend the physical and digital worlds, using technology to help us determine what is going to happen before it happens. Then we must integrate those changes.”

In line with these mantras, GE is constantly adapting and changing to solve their customer’s problems. Additionally, the company understands the importance of partnerships and relationships with organizations that can help them reach their mission; they know they cannot do it alone. “Change will only happen if you bring everyone together and rally behind it,” she says. 

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