Author: Carla Johnson

Carla is a world-renowned storyteller, an entertaining speaker, and a prolific author. Having lived, worked, and studied on five continents, she's partnered with top brands and conferences to train thousands of people on how to rethink the work that they do and the impact they can have. Her visionary expertise has inspired and equipped leaders at all levels to embrace change, welcome new ideas, and transform their business. Her new book, RE:Think Innovation, will be available on June 29, 2021. Follow Carla on Twitter at @CarlaJohnson.

By carla-johnson published August 10, 2018

How Content Marketing Became One Brand’s Trusted, Unified Source


Editor’s note: Glenn LaFollette is a finalist for 2018 Content Marketer of the Year. We’ll share insights from CMY finalists in the blog before the winner is announced at Content Marketing World this September.

“Nobody just buys the art … They want the stories behind the art.”

This callout from the second issue of JLL’s Ambitions magazine comes from an interview with Adam Voss, who the magazine calls “the Anthony Bourdain of brand storytelling.” The quote comes as Adam describes his award-winning online documentary series 12 for 12.

Swap the word “art” for “commercial real estate services,” and you get a good summation of the philosophy underpinning the content marketing efforts at JLL.

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By carla-johnson published August 3, 2018

Aon Shares Why Its Content Scorecard Is a Must


Editor’s note: Venetta Linas Paris won 2018 Content Marketer of the Year. We shared insights from other CMY finalists in the blog before the winner was announced at Content Marketing World that year.

We talk a lot in content marketing about how stories can engage, educate, and win over audiences. Yet many of us struggle to measure the impact of the stories we tell.

At a data-driven company like global professional services firm Aon, one-dimensional views of a story’s effectiveness (such as traffic or social sharing) won’t cut it. Marketing-qualified leads (MQL) and conversion rates aren’t part of the mission of the company’s brand journalism platform, The One Brief, so they’re not even part of the discussion.

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By carla-johnson published July 27, 2018

Symantec Wins at Content by Responding to Its Audience


Editor’s note: Randi Bartelmie is a finalist for 2018 Content Marketer of the Year. We’re sharing insights from all CMY finalists in this blog before the winner is announced at Content Marketing World this September.

Know your audience. That mantra is repeated in nearly every content and marketing discipline.

What’s easy to overlook, though, is that the process of getting to know your audience can lead you to the unexpected. And that can take your strategies in new directions.

Of course, recognizing the discoveries is one thing. Capitalizing on them is a longer process.

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By carla-johnson published July 20, 2018

How NASCAR Drives Better Storytelling With a Unified Team


Editor’s note: Evan Parker is a finalist for 2018 Content Marketer of the Year. We’ll share insight from all the finalists in this blog before the winner is announced in September at Content Marketing World.

Enterprise content marketing is an exercise in collaboration. Planning, creating, distributing, and promoting content typically involves people on more than one team. It also leads to overlapping or conflicting priorities that can slow everything down.

That’s the challenge Evan Parker faced when he set out last year to lead NASCAR’s new content team.

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By carla-johnson published January 8, 2018

The One Thing Killing Your Most Creative Content Ideas (and How to Stop It)

one-thing-killing-ideasCreativity. We all want it. Unfortunately, we tend to give up on it over time.

When we’re just starting our careers, we’re excited. We’re going to take the world by storm. We approach our boss every morning with a new, brilliant idea. Getting a “yes” on something truly different seems like just a matter of statistics: The more we swing, the greater the chance we’ll get a hit. We have a high tolerance for risk and a high tolerance for rejection.

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By carla-johnson published November 3, 2015

How to Convert Customers’ Passions Into Inspiring Content

western union-cover

Western Union banks on its customers’ passions to inspire remarkable content. Laston Charriez, the company’s senior vice president of marketing for the Americas, explains how it innovates in a conservative industry.

Few brands have been household names as long as Western Union. Launched in 1851 as the New York & Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company (the company changed its name to Western Union in 1856), the brand boasts an impressive list of “firsts”: the first transcontinental telegraph, first trans-Atlantic cable, the historic telegram that confirmed the Wright brothers’ first flight, and the world’s first commercial beam radio system.Continue Reading

By carla-johnson published August 30, 2015

Are You Missing the Most Important Audience for Your Content Marketing?


All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.

– William ShakespeareContinue Reading

By carla-johnson published July 5, 2015

Aon Stops Shoveling Quicksand, Partners With Manchester United


Aon signed an eight-year, $240 million sponsorship of Manchester United in April 2013. The deal extended the relationship that Aon started in 2009 when it invested $130 million over four years to display its brand on Manchester United jerseys.

But Aon’s sponsorship of the famed British soccer club looks unlike any you’ve ever known. As part of the deal, Aon delivers solutions for Manchester United in 20-plus areas and played a key role in its initial public offering, providing advice on the best strategies and options for access to capital. Aon Benfield helped raise $233 million for Manchester United’s IPO and was a co-manager in syndicating the equity necessary to complete the transaction.Continue Reading

By carla-johnson published August 25, 2014

Build Strong Brand Storytelling From the Inside Out

body-with gears insideAs content marketers, we focus a lot of our time and attention on outside audiences, which makes sense. We’re trying to get people to buy what we sell. We want them to get to know us, like us, talk about us, and think what we sell is a good idea.

In fact, we are so concerned with communicating with our external audiences, that we leave little time to think about our own employees. Yet, employees are at the heart of what makes brand storytelling come to life and create meaningful experiences for customers. If we expect to be able to go “all-in” with successful content marketing, we have to think about the role our employees play in getting us there.Continue Reading

By carla-johnson published January 13, 2014

How Brand Storytelling Helps Enterprises Go “The Extra Mile”

emerson-extra mile featureEmerson’s chief marketing officer since 1999, Kathy Button Bell has overseen a massive rebranding effort that dropped the “electric” in the company’s name and brought 35 autonomous sub-brands under one overarching umbrella.

Consistently tapped as one of BtoB Magazine‘s top marketers, Button Bell has redesigned how the voice of the customer integrates with research and development, and cultivated a brand story that resonates with businesses around the world and infiltrates every niche within the company. I sat down with Button Bell to explore how she inspires change in a slow-moving organization. Continue Reading