Talking with Trendsetters: Andy Goldberg, Chief Creative Officer, GE


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The CCO: Andy Goldberg, Chief Creative Officer, GE

We've been hearing a lot of new titles in and around the digital content space during the past few years: chief content officer, chief digital officer, and so on. We often hear these names associated with upstart brands, but in 2015, Andy Goldberg was named GE's first chief creative officer. "This position was created as the landscape of marketing continues to evolve," says Goldberg. "We, as a company, need to stay ahead and have new perspectives on how to lead our brand." So after serving as the creative director for GE-easily one of the most well-known brands in the country, if not the world-Goldberg made the leap to the C-level suite.

According to his bio, prior to joining GE in 2010, Goldberg worked at various advertising agencies, including Wieden+Kennedy, BBH New York, and Margetoes|Fertitta+Partners, supporting clients such as Nike's Jordan Brand, Levi's, and Godiva. Goldberg graduated from Lehigh University and now lives in Weston, Conn., with his wife and two children.

What does a chief creative officer do? What does Goldberg's day look like? "Busy! Thinking about where we can go with our messaging and how we execute it," he says. "Working with agencies, partners, and anything else that might be good for GE." In other words, he's doing a little bit of everything-which seems typical of today's marketing climate.

"As chief creative officer, I'm responsible for the development of the strategy, branding, media, and creative expression of the GE brand," says Goldberg. "Evolving from my prior position, I have a deeper connection with the different business units across GE to guide their storyline and narrative, delivering a single GE story."

Over the past few years, GE has had some memorable marketing moments. Think, for instance, about #6SecondScienceFair. Using social media and mostly user-generated content, GE encouraged people to come up with short videos depicting their science experiments and projects. The campaign made plenty of "best of" lists in the content marketing world. More recently, GE has reset its sights and is looking to help consumers understand what exactly it does as a "digital industrial company." Goldberg says, "I was only promoted in November, so I'm still developing a lot of the new work. Prior to being promoted, we launched What's the Matter With Owen? and GE Podcast Theater, The Message. Both are great pieces of work. That said, there is some great new work coming soon."

The Message was a hit in the podcast world and beyond. The creative thinking at GE led to one of the best examples of branded content in 2015. The Atlantic described it as Serial meets The War of the Worlds. In the article, David Sims writes, "Chronicling a scientific team's efforts to decode a toxic bit of alien communication, The Message is a genuinely unsettling listen, like a horror-film parody of Serial split into 15-minute chunks. ..."

Will more companies follow GE's lead and add chief creative officers to their rosters in the coming year? Who knows? But Goldberg says the title isn't important. He states, "Every company needs what is right for their organization. What is more important than a title is finding great marketers and allowing them the ability to push a brand to connect with their audiences and deliver results-however they are defined."

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