OnBrand

18
Jan

Developing Connections Through Brand Storytelling

“(Stories are) how we understand the world and our experience — and how we learn in a lot of ways — I think we can all agree that there’s vast opportunity to learn more, better, and in different ways.”  

– Melissa Grego, CEO of Hollywood Radio & Television Society 

 

Welcome to OnBrand! In this episode, host Sarah Grace McCandless speaks with Melissa Grego, the CEO of Hollywood Radio and Television Society (HRTS), on how the entertainment industry has led by example in creating impactful connections through storytelling. Through this insightful discussion, you’ll learn about how brands actively shape their stories, what it means to be responsive versus reactive in an ever-changing world, and much more! 

 

The story of how your company mobilizes, strategizes, or even communicates with customers influences and shapes the way consumers think about your brand. Are you doing everything in your power to develop, understand, and communicate your brand’s story effectively? Or are you letting others do it for youThere’s a big difference.  

 

An important step in the process of nurturing and communicating your own story as a brandaccording to Melissa, is learning to act quickly and decisively in the face of change. “Responsiveness is one of the hallmarks of television, in particular. … I think the sense of responsibility and the sense of responsiveness that you can see in television is something that anybody and every company can take a page from. I think people respond to that,Melissa explains.  

 

Melissa highlights the ability of the entertainment industry to quickly and actively pivot to the needs of their viewers, continuing to connect fans with new and exciting stories. “One of the recipes for success is being responsive and being relevant and timely. Sometimes when we’re reactiveand we’re just doing things because we think we’re supposed to, it becomes pandering and it’s not authentic — it doesn’t connect.” 

 

Formerly television business journalist, Melissa possesses a unique understanding of what it takes to connect through storytelling. Now, as the CEO of HRTS, she showcases her impressive narrative and leadership abilities through the incredible programming and networking initiatives her company continues to build. 

 

Join us and learn more about how further examining and developing the story of your brand can revolutionize the way you build relationships with customers in this episode of OnBrand!  

  

Episode Resources

SYKES 

Jobs.SYKES.com 

SYKES Quarterly 

HRTS.org (Hollywood Radio & TV Society) 

HRTS LinkedIn 

HRTS Twitter 

Melissa Grego (Linkedin) 

Melissa Grego (Twitter) 

Melissa Grego’s Website 

  

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11
Jan

How Behavioral Data Can Unlock Hidden Opportunities

"One day, I’m a purchaser — I just want to buy my thing — the next day, I could be looking at things, worried about, ‘should I be spending this money, because I might lose my job’ — I’m a different person every five minutes. Behavioral data allows you to acknowledge that fact in your marketing.”  
– Reggie Wideman, Director of Strategy & Execution for Lytics 

 

Welcome to OnBrand! In this episode, join host Sarah Grace McCandless as she sits down with Reggie Wideman, director of strategy and execution for Lytics, for a fascinating conversation about how brands can leverage listening and data to revolutionize customer relationships. They also discuss why you can’t depend on demographic data alone to model customer behavior, the value of considering the changing needs of your customers over time, and many of the new, innovative ways brands like Netflix, Uber, and Peloton are already putting their data to work. Don’t miss it! 

 

Customer data can be a great tool to help you understand them better, but you should be sure to never judge a book by its cover. For example, it’s easy to put your customers in boxes — or buckets — based on what you think you might know from demographic data, but if you aren’t digging deep into behavioral patterns, you could be missing out on a lot. 

 

“From a behavioral perspective, I would say that there aren’t really buckets of consumers, more like buckets of opportunity,” Reggie says. “If we’re thinking about what we’re going to do with behavioral data, we’re using the signals from their behavior to define the real-time opportunity we should be exposing to them.”  

 

Formerly senior principal business architect for Salesforce, Reggie Wideman is an expert when it comes to crafting, planning, and studying the types of customer experiences that truly delight customers. In his current role, he manages a unique customer data platform (CDP) with a focus on crafting actionable strategies for next-level customer experiences (CX). 

 

Join us and learn more about all the unique ways companies can leverage data and listen to customers to get a full, 360-degree view in this episode of OnBrand!  

Episode Resources

SYKES 

Jobs.SYKES.com 

SYKES Quarterly 

Lytics 

Lytics (Linkedin) 

Lytics (Twitter) 

Reggie Wideman (LinkedIn) 

Reggie Wideman (Twitter) 

  

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4
Jan

Creating True Value Through Purpose-Driven Leadership

 You cannot resist what is authentic. You cannot resist what is purposeful. And as a customer, you want that — you want a piece of that in your life to give you a little bit of that feeling.  
And that is a new kind of marketing.”  

– Mory Fontanez, Founder & CEO of 822 Group 

 

Welcome to OnBrand! In this episode, host Sarah Grace McCandless speaks with Mory Fontanez, founder and CEO of 822 Group, about her method of guiding leaders toward a higher purpose, and how fostering strong, unified alignment leads to brands creating more meaningful connections with customers.  

 

What is your purpose as a leader? Have you ever stopped to think about it? Your purpose is your guiding light — a true north that will always show you the way home no matter how much the world changes. And when leaders act on their purpose, the results are always more meaningful — even at the customer-level — than any simple ad or sales pitch alone. 

 

But if you haven’t settled on a purpose yet, don’t worry! We have Mory here to help. She’s a purpose-driven professional who specializes in transforming leaders and organizations toward true alignment from the ground up. Following your purpose means much more than just changing up your marketing. 

 

“What I have become allergic to is seeing brands talk about purpose through marketing or PR. That’s not purpose. Purpose is not a marketing campaign. It’s about understanding, at a cellular level, leadership, workforce, and then customer — what is our purpose? — and then living that.” Mory explains. “People can feel it.”  

 

With her company, 822 Group, Mory has worked with a variety of clients in numerous industries, assisting leaders in their efforts to find their higher purpose and reconsider their companywide goals, values, and impact. In addition to leading the company, she also offers training courses on both LinkedIn Learning and on 822group.com.    

 

Join us and find out more about the power of purpose in this episode of OnBrand! 

Episode Resources

SYKES 

Jobs.SYKES.com 

SYKES Quarterly 

Mory Fontanez LinkedIn 

Mory Fontanez LinkedIn Learning Profile 

822 Group LinkedIn 

822 Group Website 

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28
Dec

The Origins of Brand Advocacy With Legendary Comics

“We want to have an authentic communication with these fans. We have been these fans. We are these fans. For me, it’s about growing up and not seeing my face represented in what media was and having this opportunity to help change that is so big and so important. We’re really excited about that.”  

– Jann Jones, Manager of Brand Development & Publishing Operations for Legendary Comics 

 

In this episode, host Sarah Grace McCandless speaks with Jann Jones, the manager of Brand Development and Publishing Operations at Legendary Comics. With Jann, we’re talking all things brand advocacy, the shift toward digital, and what’s likely ahead for brands looking to expand their reach in 2021.  

 

Customers and fans have a lot in common, but one thing that’s the same across the board is the desire for connection, and to be heard. Case in point: the comic book industry. Comics have moved beyond the newsstand, and readers today are consuming digital content in brand new ways. But by listening to consumers, and giving them stories they can really connect with, brands like Legendary Comics are turning their customers into true fans and building sustainable engagement through word of mouth. 

 

“I think it’s talking to your fans and the people who support you — seeing what they want, or if they’re unhappy, why they’re unhappy.” Jann explains. “We’re not going to be able to fix everything and make everyone happy, but also sometimes it’s just listening.” 

 

Prior to her work with Legendary, Jann worked with a variety of major companies, including Disney, DC Comics, Target, and 3M. Now, she works to usher in the next stage of graphic novels by highlighting and supporting previously marginalized voices and stories in comics. 

 

Join us and learn how you can supercharge your outreach efforts in this episode of OnBrand!  

Episode Resources

SYKES 

Jobs.SYKES.com  

SYKES Quarterly 

Legendary Comics Website 

Legendary Comics Twitter 

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21
Dec

Crafting Brand Communities & Fostering Meaningful Engagement

“Empty engagement is just engagement for engagement’s sake. And unfortunately, we have come to associate engagement with attention, and they are not the same thing. At least not when we’re building community. Just because you have someone’s eyeballs doesn’t mean you are meaningfully engaging them.”  

– Carrie Melissa Jones, Author and Community Strategist 

 

Welcome to OnBrand! In this episode, host Sarah Grace McCandless explores what it means to create communities around brands through meaningful customer engagement with Carrie Melissa Jones, a community strategist and co-author of the book Building Brand Communities: How Organizations Succeed by Creating Belonging

 

Creating vibrant brand communities starts with engagement, but it’s not just about attracting eyeballs or meeting your marketing metrics — that’s “empty engagement” according to Carrie. To her, the key is making your engagement meaningful. 

 

Carrie explains many of the ways that companies fall flat in their efforts to build community due to shallow gestures or empty promises. “So, what is meaningful engagement?” Carrie ponders briefly before answering. “Any way that we can bring people together to (1), knit relationships between members, and then (2), connect more deeply to the purpose of the entire organization or the entire community,” she says. “So, if it doesn’t serve one of those two purposes — people, or purpose — then what we’re doing is most likely creating this empty engagement, which, again, steals people’s attention but doesn’t necessarily add value to their lives.” 

 

In addition to studying consumers and the complex online communities they create, Carrie founded the Gather Community Consulting firm and formerly served as a founding partner and chief operating officer for CMX Media. A graduate of UCLA, Carrie was named one of the three experts to follow in community management in 2016 by Salesforce. 

 

Join us and learn what it takes begin promoting meaningful engagement and building communities around your brand in this episode of OnBrand! 

Episode Resources

SYKES 

Jobs.SYKES.com 

SYKES Quarterly 

Carrie Melissa Jones (LinkedIn) 

Carrie Melissa Jones (Twitter) 

Carrie Melissa Jones (Instagram) 

Carrie Melissa Jones (Website) 

Carrie Melissa Jones (Book Website) 

 

 

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9
Dec

The Power of Listening for World Class CX at JBL

“Customers are engaging with us — it would be a huge missed opportunity not to be listening actively, looking for trends, mining the data, and proactively getting that information back to the respective teams so that we can improve across the board.”  

 Brian Wolfe, Vice President of Global Customer Service, JBL 

In this episode, host Sarah Grace McCandless talks with Brian Wolfe, vice president of Global Customer Service for JBL, about why listening to consumers is critical for delivering their brand promise of world-class audio – and customer – experiences 

Learn more about what informs and inspires the JBL customer experience (CX) strategy, including how the pandemic fast-tracked the need to evolve from a business-to-business focus to inclusive of a more business-to-consumer lens, particularly with the massive spike in direct ecommerce.   
 
An expert in all things CX, Brian has also been particularly focused in the past several years on further growing JBL digital brand engagementincluding through the launch of a new support center as well as increasing social engagement for customer service support. As he notes, “I think it’s more about options and letting folks choose what channel is their preferred channel, how they want to interact with you, when they want to interact with you.” 
 
Join us as Brian shares key considerations for providing JBL customers with CX on the same world-class level as the audio products they buy.  

Episode Resources

SYKES 

Jobs.SYKES.com 
 
SYKES Quarterly 

JBL Website 

JBL Support Section 

Harman 

Harman Twitter 

JBL Audio Twitter 

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25
Nov

“Wise Friend & Fierce Defender”: The Heart of CX for AARP

“That’s what all brands really should strive for – just heart.    
Heart, heart, heart. I think people know when you’re there just to sell them something versus really offering them something that makes a difference in their lives.”    
– Viviana Pagán-Muñiz, Senior Advisor, Help Network, AARP

 

Welcome to a special #GivingTuesday edition of OnBrand! Tied to the spirit behind this movement, host Sarah Grace McCandless speaks with Viviana Pagán-Muñiz, senior advisor at AARP, on how the organization creates meaningful, connected experiences. Viviana shares how the AARP consumer commitment of “wise friend and fierce defender” is at the heart of everything they do. This includes informing her strategic approach and leadership behind the launch of a revolutionary new digital help center, a resource that has also helped to dispel some myths about the organization — yes, the 50+ community and members are online! 

With mounting pandemic pressure on businesses to mobilize and digitize, many brands that may have previously relied on in-person customer relationships are now scrambling to bring their CX online.  Find out why listening to your customers and understanding their needs is a critical first step to create an authentic, successful strategy that can help your organization excel — even at a distance. 

Join us and learn more about in this episode of OnBrand!  

 

Episode Resources

SYKES 

Jobs.SYKES.com 
Viviana Pagán-Muñiz LinkedIn 

AARP LinkedIn 

AARP Website 

AARP Twitter 

AARP Facebook 

AARP Instagram 

GivingTuesday 

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19
Nov

Taking a Customer-First Approach to Holiday 2020

“We don’t know what the first half — or much less, the second half — of 2021 is going to look like, but focusing on, ‘how can I create an experience for the consumer that might not be walking in my store’ and really investing in that and committing to what your brand represents there is going to pay dividends whether COVID continues to have us quarantined in Q3–Q4 of 2021 or not.” 
 – Sean Ryan, vice president of Digital Strategy, The Informed Engagement Network, and former digital lead for Target and JCPenney 
 
The holiday shopping season is here, but what that means in 2020 is certainly a different story. In this episode of OnBrand, host Sarah Grace McCandless discusses the current retail landscape leading into the holiday season with Sean Ryan, an award-winning brand strategist whose expertise leading social and digital teams includes Fortune 500 retailers Target and JCPenney.  

With the massive surge toward e-commerce further fueled by the pandemic, retail is under pressure to reinvent rapidly. Learn more about how this is affecting the criteria for delivering superior customer experience (CX), why listening to customer brand perceptions is now more critical than ever, and how a holistic digital approach can benefit retailers of all sizes during COVID and beyond.   

Episode Resources

SYKES 

Jobs.SYKES.com 

Sean Ryan’s LinkedIn 

The IE Network 

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12
Nov

Driving Engagement & Improving CX with Hertz

“Showing up for our customers in a way that makes a difference is really what Hertz is about. We think now more than ever customers are really looking for brands they can trust.” – Laura Smith 

 

Welcome to the premiere of OnBrand! In this episode, host Sarah Grace McCandless speaks with Laura Smith, executive vice president of Global Marketing and Customer Experience at Hertz. Learn more about how the brand continues to innovate and connect, including how they’ve responded during the pandemic, why it’s important to consider the wants and needs of your customers now more than ever, and much more. 

 

Join us to find out how taking the time to consider your customers can help create outstanding experiences and drive real value in this episode of OnBrand!  

 

Episode Resources

SYKES 

Jobs.SYKES.com 

Laura Smith’s LinkedIn  

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30
Oct

Introducing OnBrand with Sarah Grace McCandless

OnBrand features a closer look at brands through the lens of the consumer, focusing on their desire for true connection with companies across all stages of the journey. Join host Sarah Grace McCandless for interviews and insights on which brands are getting it right and how other organizations can learn from these examples to strengthen, grow, and rise with authenticity.  

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