Don’t be a zombie: Identity-based communication strategies for Effective and Original Communication

Businesses that don’t have clear identities act like zombies, and zombies are dreadful communicators. This session introduces concepts and case studies from The Zombie Business Cure: How to Refocus Your Company’s Identity for More Authentic Communication to help business communicators avoid becoming zombies: reckless, haphazard, stiff, indistinguishable, and/or self-absorbed in communication.

Participants will learn the differences and connections between identity and brand, why identity problems commonly lead to communication failures, and how to adopt the five human traits businesses need most. The workshop offers case studies and stories straight from large businesses—such as Charles Schwab, Chevrolet, and Starbucks—as well as startups and mom-and-pop shops. Participants will engage in several specific reflective exercises to assess for any zombie-like behavior, clarify their organizations’ identities, and brainstorm new ways to be more human in communication efforts.

In this session, you’ll learn how to:

  • Discover identity problems that commonly lead to communication failures.
  • Prevent zombie-like behavior by tackling the five most common zombie traits.
  • Approach business communication efforts more mindful ways.

TrackMarketing and Brand
Format: Workshop
Career LevelStrategic adviser
Date and Time: Wednesday at 9 a.m.


lellisheadshot_dec2016Presenter / Julie Ellis / North Carolina, U.S.,
is an associate professor and associate department chair in the School of Communications at Elon University where she teaches in areas such as strategic writing and health communication. She writes about identity, advocacy, and strategic communications and co-authored The Zombie Business Cure: How to Refocus Your Company’s Identity for More Authentic Communication. Julie works with clients on identity development and communication strategy.


melissa1_hiresPresenter / Melissa Eggleston / North Carolina, U.S.,
is a content strategist and UX specialist, who helps organizations throughout the U.S. create user-friendly digital experiences. She has a master’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism and previously worked for Duke University and Bloomberg News. Eggleston teaches UX for Girl Develop It. She is also a member of the Best Practices Committee for the Content Strategy Alliance and writes for the Content Marketing Institute.