Unlocking the Power of Effective Branding — Kristy LoRusso

Inspiration And Insights
4 min readMay 24, 2023


Photo by davisuko on Unsplash

In today’s fiercely competitive marketplace, where countless businesses vie for consumers’ attention, the power of effective branding has become an indispensable tool for success. Beyond mere logos and slogans, branding encompasses the art of crafting a distinct and memorable identity that resonates with customers on a deep, emotional level. It has the ability to shape perceptions, foster loyalty, and drive purchasing decisions. From global giants to small startups, businesses across industries are harnessing the transformative potential of branding to not only stand out from the crowd but also create lasting connections with their target audience.

As the Chief Marketing Officer of Kaiser Permanente, I have had the privilege of witnessing the transformative power of brand building in the dynamic world of healthcare. In an industry where trust, compassion, and reliability are paramount, establishing a strong brand is not just a marketing strategy; it becomes a lifeline connecting individuals and families to the care they need. Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a thought-provoking CMO List panel discussion with marketing leaders Thomas Ranese, Robin Zucker, and Julie Herendeen, moderated by Dariusz Paczuski. Below are a few highlights from our conversation.

“One of the biggest strategic mistakes we have made happened about a year or so ago when we neglected to embed the emotional component into our marketing plan. We had many functional messages, but our creative lacked emotion. We forgot to grab people’s hearts and went right to their head. This showed up in the data and our “willingness to consider” metric was less than a third of what it usually is. It was certainly a learning moment. As a result, as we prepared our next big campaign we started with the heart, then moved to the head, and finally focused on the cash register and the enrollments.”

“I’m trying to evangelize that we are all brand ambassadors. Even if you’re behind the scenes you still have a brand role.”

“I’ve been fortunate to have CFOs who bring in benchmark data that has enabled me to show that marketing is not a discretionary line item. I will tell you that this is a conversation I have every single day. We just changed our brand health tracker from twice a year to monthly and it has dramatically changed those conversations to be able to have the data flowing in. It’s extremely powerful to bridge the gap between science and art, and effectively showcase the value of the creative process.”

“My first year as CMO I kept explaining what we were doing and where we were going, to show others the full process. It worked and trust was built. Now, in year three, there are places I need to go in order to get the buy-in. As marketers we are used to input from many corners because, let’s face it, ‘everyone is a marketer’. I try to reframe the focus by saying, “You’re not all marketers but you are all consumers so put your consumer lens on and tell me how this feels.”

To watch the full CMO List panel discussion, please click here

Kristy LoRusso is a strong advocate for marketing integration and growth through innovation with more than 25 years of leadership experience. Well regarded for her ability to build, lead, and motivate teams, she is a senior marketing executive and an expert in digital and direct marketing, marketing technology, big data, analytics, and consumer insight. As an agent for positive change and advocate for collaboration, Kristy is a creator of sustainable growth and empowerment for those around her. Her degree in psychology aids her in understanding human behavior — as a marketer, a leader and a corporate spokesperson.

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