Advisor: Bryan Kimbell
Expertise: Marketing and brand strategy
Areas of Expertise: Bringing the organizational brand to life through brand architecture, strategies, messaging, brand guidelines, and customer journey mapping. Has helped build and grow companies in a variety of categories including: B-Corp, public benefit corporations, digital tokens, SaaS, CPG, consumer electronics, creative agencies, professional & amateur sports, and outdoor recreation.
We recently had a chance to chat with marketing expert Bryan Kimbell who is based out of Fort Collins, Colorado. Below is a recap of our conversation, with responses edited for clarity.
InquireOf: Describe your expertise in 60 seconds or less.
Bryan: Within marketing, my particular expertise is triple bottom line [a theory that recommends companies focus on social and environmental concerns along with profit]. Many companies are looking to differentiate themselves not just by product, but by way of doing business. The concept revolves around the idea that “doing good is good business.” I ensure companies are looking at ways that they can contribute back and support the people who are supporting them by purchasing their products. I help create the brand platform so it comes across authentically through all business lines (e.g., accounting and product development are on the same page when it comes to what the business is about).
InquireOf: What are the most interesting trends you see in marketing today?
Bryan: In the social impact space, an interaction that happened between Burger King and McDonald’s is a really interesting example of a trend wherein companies are recognizing that negative advertising isn’t paying off, but positive ads and helping people is paying off.
Every year McDonald’s in Argentina celebrates McHappy Day by donating all Big Mac sales to a foundation helping children with cancer. In Argentina this September, Burger King didn’t sell any Whoppers for a day and instead encouraged their customers to buy a Big Mac. Burger King called a truce on their perennial burger battle in order to support a good cause and ended up getting an enormous amount of press coverage for it.
Becoming a more sustainable company that gives back is paying off more than being a capitalist/consumer-centric company. It’s no longer shareholder value that is the primary focus, but rather the impact the company is having in the world. Changing impact from shareholder value to company impact is a massive trend as noted in the latest Business Roundtable announcement in August. It’s happening everywhere from banks to consulting companies. You’ll run out of customers if you don’t support those customers and what is important to them.
InquireOf: What shifts have you seen over the last five years in your industry?
Bryan: I have seen a notable trend of companies incorporating the triple bottom line into their messaging, even from companies that have had CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) on their radar for a while. Instead of simply an employee engagement program it’s becoming a little larger and more of a marketing focus.
There is also a much larger trend to go digital, but traditional media still has an important role to play. It’s not going to go anywhere; it will just be reduced. Within the trend to go digital, there is a larger focus on AI than is appropriate in marketing (i.e., AI chat bots). There’s the desire to analyze what people are thinking with AI, but it will be biased towards the data set coming in and doesn’t take into account the human factor. There’s a human element missing with AI and it won’t help companies in the end. Companies still need to be consumer-focused with a human touch.
Machines might work for manufacturing, but when it comes to customer service you need a human touch. 80% of purchases are made from an emotional level, not rational level. You need to address the customer’s emotional need wanting the product. Then when a consumer is decision-making between two products or competitors there will be a rational comparison if it checks all the boxes. Do I like the company? Do I think it represents me?
InquireOf: What trends should people look to see in the next 18-24 months?
Bryan: There will be a trend towards more transparency in marketing, operations, and finance. Look for a huge swing towards companies being more transparent and honest because if a company is not, they will be heavily penalized by society (and potentially by the government as well, legally).
There will also be a shift towards validation of the benefits companies are claiming for their products.
Why Connect with Bryan?
Bryan is an experienced customer advocate helping companies improve the customer journey. He has a wide background in a number of different industries and is able to weave a company’s story together into a cohesive brand narrative. Bryan is interested in anything from hourly calls to longer-term projects and board placement.
Fun fact: Outside of work, Bryan loves to play with his boys, whether Legos or sledding. He also enjoys snowboarding, stand up paddle boarding, and generally spends as much time outside as he possibly can.