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BtoB's Best Marketers: Kathy Button Bell, Emerson

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Earlier this year, Kathy Button Bell, VP-CMO of Emerson, approached her marketing team to see if they wanted to change “It's Never Been Done Before,” the campaign developed by DDB Chicago in 2009. The answer was no. “It's been so successful, I find it a little difficult to change,” Button Bell said. “It's right in the middle of our purpose.” The campaign, which showcases Emerson's innovative engineering, continues to run in print, on TV and online, and Button Bell plans to bolster its roster of long-format Web videos. A recent video that ran on sites such as BBC.com tells the story behind Emerson's InSinkErator brand, and how it helped Milwaukee transform waste into energy and save $1.9 million in annual energy costs. The ad “overwhelmingly beat industry standards” in terms of online viewers watching video commercials in their entirety, Button Bell said. Online video ads are a “very intimate moment with your customer,” she said. The success stories from Emerson's various divisions—from climate and appliance technologies to process management, storage solutions and industrial management—also get exposure through its arsenal of social media channels, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Some of those stories emanate from the Emerson Human Centered Design Institute, an internal initiative formally launched two years ago to create products that are more cost-effective and easier to use, such as process automation software and wireless products. Button Bell said the Institute has begun to reap benefits. “We're trying to use that at the heart of all our new industrial design,” she said. And while Emerson has never come out and proclaimed itself to be a “green” company in its advertising, Button Bell said she's pleased that the number of people who perceive the engineering company as environmentally friendly has doubled since 2007, according to brand-tracking research. “The lens we want to tell the [Emerson] story through is energy responsibility,” she said. —P.R.
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