Fred Cook presents at Zignal Summit

Heavy hitters from Fortune 100 companies attended Zignal Summit in San Francisco last week. Leaders came to share and learn about data-driven practices to build and protect a brand. With panels ranging from the convergence of communications and marketing to how to create purpose-driven brands and featuring speakers from the likes of Amtrak, Twitter and Boeing, Zignal Summit contained something for everyone. Here are some of the highlights from the event (including out highlights video):

CEOs play a significant role in shaping brand perception

The public reputation of a CEO goes a long way to shaping the overall perception of a brand. At a time where trust in politicians is at an all-time low, the public looks to business leaders for guidance on social issues like gun control, abortion, climate change and corporate responsibility. In fact, CEOs are now expected to take a stance on these issues. Staying silent could reduce an executive’s appeal.

Brands are looking for ways to measure brand health in real-time

Reputation accounts for 60 percent of a company’s market valuation, so enterprises are looking for solutions to measure this crucial asset. Social media acts as a free, large-scale focus group on the overall health of a brand, yet can also be the driver behind a crisis that can drive a reputation into the ground. Communications teams are looking to link media metrics to enterprise-wide goals and build brand equity so that if a crisis does occur, the company has enough goodwill built up with the public to ride out the storm.

The convergence of marketing and communications teams is only a matter of time

Brands realize that as paid, earned, shared and owned media channels merge, the functions of brand awareness and demand generation — two traditionally siloed functions — are becoming one in the same. Marketing and communications departments are merging and combining the roles into one overall position or working in more collaborative ways. There is no uniform name for this new department, but many companies have given the combined team the new title of “brand department.”

Agile Teams are looking for ways to break down silos

The fast-paced digital media environment means more and more departments within the enterprise rely on help from the communications department to carry out their day-to-day functions. Government relations use social media data to compare the public and private stances of politicians on key issues. Risk and security are working with marketing to gauge potential threats from outside actors. Executives want real-time reactions to the public positions they take. Organizations are adopting a central source of data to eliminate organizational silos and many have adopted a new model where a team of data analysts, all leveraging the same media dataset, serve multiple teams across the enterprise.

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