Skip to content

355: Brand at its Best and Focusing on Fundamentals with Heather Stern, CMO at Lippincott

355: Brand at its Best and Focusing on Fundamentals with Heather Stern, CMO at Lippincott

In this episode, Alan and Heather discuss Brand, the role of the CMO, and why focusing on the fundamentals will never go out of style. As an 80-year-old company, Lippincott has a unique perspective on how to balance the cutting edge with longevity. They have seen trends come and go and even shaped some of them along the way. Heather talks in depth about the role Brand has played historically, the huge impact it can have when viewed holistically, and why a siloed CMO is not as effective as it can be if they are given a seat at the table. She also discusses the fundamental shifts happening in the industry as things move from an institutional era of branding to a human era of branding but also stresses that the underlying fundamentals of deeply understanding your consumer and your brand are just as important now as ever before.

Heather Stern is the CMO at Lippincott and host of the podcast Icons in the Making. She wears many hats at Lippincott by managing all aspects of marketing, PR, and digital for their brand, as well as business development and sales. She oversees the entire funnel, from best-in-class brand activations to industry partnerships in collaboration with companies such as eBay, Google, IBM, Samsung, and Southwest Airlines. She has been at Lippincott for 10 years and serves as a trusted advisor to top clients across industries.

 In this episode, you’ll learn: 

  • The ways Heather’s specific CMO role at Lippincott has evolved over the past 10 years.
  • How Lippincott stays relevant despite turning 80 this year.
  • What has changed in the industry and what has stayed the same.

 Key Highlights 

  • [01:40] It all started with Janet Jackson
  • [03:10] Heather’s career path
  • [06:30] Why Heather’s CMO role is unique and a little meta
  • [08:20] How Heather’s role has evolved over the past 10 years 
  • [11:55] What has changed and what has stayed the same for CMOs overall?
  • [16:00] The importance of being partnership oriented 
  • [18:10] How Lippencot is defining brand today
  • [21:20] How Lippincott is trying to take the “squishiness” out of branding
  • [21:55] How has building and managing a brand changed and stayed the same?
  • [25:00] It’s all about agility and experimentation 
  • [27:10] How gymnastics and a special Barbie inspired Heather’s career ambition and work ethic
  • [30:40] Find the joy in making mistakes and embrace the gray zone
  • [31:40] Experimenting with AI and how brands are focusing on sustainability 
  • [34:40] Brands to watch
  • [38:20] Icons in the Making Podcast 
  • [39:15] The risk of missing the forest for the trees 

Resources Mentioned: 

 Follow the podcast: 

 Connect with the Guest: 

 Connect with Marketing Today and Alan Hart: