GE: Reinventing the Future of Industry

Linda Boff
Global CMO, GE

It has been an iconic 12 months for GE, as the 132-year-old business that invented the future of industry prepares its final separation into three public companies, beginning an evolution that will create three new category leaders, each with the agility and focus to get ever closer to their customers.  

“Each of our new brands are industrial powerhouses that have a huge opportunity to serve our customers, serve entire industries, and drive real change in the world. It has been incredibly exciting and humbling to help shape what the brands will be for these ‘triplets’ as GE evolves from one company to three,” says Linda Boff, the Global CMO of GE, who led the transformation.  

What makes the GE brand so powerful? Interbrand analysis shows that there are five critical dimensions that power great brands and GE is an exemplar of all five, demonstrating how each manifest and interact to game-changing effect. A brand’s codes, how it is managed, the experiences it creates, the degree to which it can create ecosystems of value and the ways in which it leads, are all key.  

“We are a purpose led company and have been from the start – it’s part of our DNA. Of course, we’re in business to deliver for our shareholders, but the Edisonian idea of inventing what the world needs next has been a red thread throughout our 132 years. 

“Each of our three businesses are purpose driven. In the case of GE HealthCare, this is about the right diagnosis for the right patient at the right time, what we call precision health. For GE Aerospace we’re focused on the future of flight. And for GE Vernova, it’s the power to change the world, to drive decarbonization at scale. 

“Without a clear sense of purpose, it is easy to move with the wind. We rarely have that debate. GE’s missions are embedded so deeply in our core.” 

At GE, brand purpose also drives the employee value proposition as brand is part of the company’s culture.  

“I can’t think of anything that is more part of the employee community than the pride GE people feel in the work that we do. It’s kept me there for 20 years. We have families who have worked for GE multi-generationally.” 

And looking to the future, AI will play a clear role in making GE’s marketing more effective, more personalized, and more efficient.  

“I hosted an internal event recently where I brought together folks from the public sector, academics, and business leaders. AI is no longer obscure in any way shape or form. It’s tangible, widely available, and everybody can use it. As a person who believes in being experimental, I personally find that very exciting because AI gives me new agency.  

“If you want to understand AI and the new opportunities it enables, the barrier to experimenting is so low, Boff said. “You can just go and do it, which is a great opportunity for marketers and brand builders. Data is as good as the insights it gives you; AI is going to help us understand data in new ways so that we can continue to get better and better at using data in our marketing and our insights.” 

Beyond AI and data, a seamless, frictionless experience is a consistent thread across GE enabled by Lean (an agile growth methodology) and, of course, the brand. Lean, with its philosophy of continuous improvement, is as Boff puts it, “common sense, rigorously applied.” 

“The goal of Lean is to make sure that what we are doing at GE, not just in manufacturing but across the company, is resulting in a better experience for our customers – whether that’s a better product, service, delivery time, or overall customer experience.” 

“Lean is helping us with four things: safety, quality, delivery, and cost; all of which have customer implications,” Boff said. “Stepping back, the GE brand stands for innovation, trust, and stability. That’s our DNA and promise to customers, employees, and investors that our brands will carry forward into the future.”

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