Content Marketing Conversations: GE CMO Linda Boff Talks Experiments, Passions and Regrets [VIDEO]

Christel van der Boom / September 14, 2017

GE’s CMO Linda Boff with Mia Quagliarello on the Flipboard Red Couch at Content Marketing World 2017

One of the most inspiring presentations at Content Marketing World was Linda Boff’s keynote address. In “Imagination At Work: Lessons In Storytelling From GE, the energetic chief marketing officer talked about her first principle in marketing (“know who you are”); her philosophy about storytelling (“it needs to be inspiring, meaningful and impactful”); and her team’s approach to content marketing (“experiment early, experiment often”).

She explained how she and her team look for stories that are inherently human, relatable and interesting. Various examples of visual storytelling flashed across the screen while Boff explained that each company has a different kind of “interestingness.” Cleverly, the keynote itself was another example of GE’s ‘interestingness’: Boff shared it with contagious enthusiasm and showcased her own storytelling skills while reminding the audience that GE, at 125 years old, is still a vital company with the DNA of inventors. (Thomas Edison founded the company in 1890.)

After her talk, Boff sat down with Flipboard Head of Curation Mia Quagliarello for an interview on our red couch. The two discussed content marketing, women in leadership, and Boff’s personal passions.

As a woman who works in marketing and communications myself, there were many aha-moments for me in this 12-minute conversation. Here are five things Boff said that resonated:

1) “I don’t believe in taglines. They have a lot of finality to them A tagline is a bit of a freeze frame and we live in a world that’s always moving. No company is just three or five words.”

2) “Be idea-led and consumer-informed. You can’t focus-group something to success.”

3) “Gut matters and you only ‘get’ gut if you have a north star. if you have a strategy, if you know your brand.”

4) “We’ve been a top-10-brand worth $43B. And why does that matter in real life? It’s a license to do business; it leads to preference, price and so many things. So brand matters in very significant ways.”

5) “Choosing a company that shares your values is advice I give to young women. It’s so tempting to say I’m going to change things—and bless you if you can—but I think that being someplace where people stand up for what is right is super important.”

You can watch the full interview with Boff in the video. This is the first in a series of Content Marketing Conversations we recorded at Content Marketing World in Cleveland, which took place last week. Stay tuned to Flipboard’s Business Blog for interviews with Jay Acunzo, Mark Schaefer, Gini Dietrich, Scott Monty, and others.

~Christel van der Boom is co-curating Content Marketing World 2017