Multilingual, multi-cultural builder of international brands, Jorge Gotuzzo has digitally transformed Pace International—and offers his insights to avert the food crises in 2050.

A thought leader and innovator, our colleague, Jorge Gotuzzo embraces technology in an industry that’s been slow to digitize: produce. He’s traveled extensively, lived in multiple countries, and managed diverse food-related brands around the globe, always focused on sustainability and shared responsibility. Since 2014, he has been applying his skills as Global Marketing Director at Pace International, the world’s leader in post-harvest produce solutions, in order to do his part to help prevent a global food shortage.

Pace International is a subsidiary of Valent BioSciences Corporation (of Sumitomo Chemical Company) and the leading provider of postharvest solutions for produce, Pace International works to improve the quality of fruits and vegetables through innovative solutions and services.

I recently connected with Jorge to discuss food production in today’s world, and how we can avoid world hunger in 2050.

Mary Olson

You’ve said that the world is in danger of running out of food, and I believe you, since you understand today’s food production systems better than anyone I know. I wanted to dive into root causes.

For example, we Americans have been conditioned to select fruits and vegetables that appear cosmetically perfect. How might that impact us in the decades to come?

Jorge Gotuzzo

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), when you measure all produce from harvest to consumer usage, more than 45% of all fruits and vegetables go unused. That is almost half our global production!

7 billion people are alive today. By 2050, that number is expected to reach 9 billion. The question isn’t just how we produce more food to feed the growing population, but how we reduce overall waste. The looming crisis requires both food production innovations and changes in consumer behavior.

We must do much better. Imagine if the discarded product can get distributed to food programs in poor communities, rather than going straight to landfill? Imagine replacing processed snacks at schools with healthy and nutritious food, made from fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be thrown out. Just these things alone would be game changing.

Earthquake devastation in Haiti. Alltech 2010

Mary Olson

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. It was devastated by a 2010 earthquake, which killed more than 160,000 and displaced 1.6 million people.

At the time, you were with Alltech—and living in Port-au-Prince. For a decade, you managed marketing initiatives in dairy, beef, and aquaculture on behalf of this global biotech company working to boost the health of plants and animals using nature and science.

After the earthquake, you led the Sustainable Haiti Project, and Alltech adopted a small school. What can you tell us about your experience there? How did the widespread devastation affect your views on humanity, corporate philanthropy, and the need for sustainability?

Gotuzzo, speaking of his mission in founding the Sustainable Haiti Project.

Jorge Gotuzzo:

While at Alltech, I was able to spend three months working with Haitian children and helped develop a sustainable coffee project. After the earthquake, Alltech adopted a small school to resume education—in spite of the widespread devastation. All of these experiences were life altering for me.

At that time, the company was the title sponsor of the World Equestrian Games (WEG2010) and our dream was to put together a children’s choir and to bring it to the U.S. for the opening ceremony performance. We wanted to show Haiti to the world through these beautiful little voices—and raise awareness about the recovery efforts.

Three months later, in time for start of the games, I found myself in Lexington, Kentucky with 26 children, two teachers, and one Catholic nun. That experience changed my life forever and helped me understand how lucky we are and how grateful we should be every day we’re alive.

Mary Olson

That’s beautiful, and very inspiring.

Data allows us to listen, engage, communicate, and act faster—and with greater accuracy. But the food industry’s been slow to adopt it—and embrace the digital advances available today.

You recently led a holistic online rebranding effort—and introduced an innovative digital product catalog that stands out as a “first” among all Sumitomo Chemical companies. How did you help Pace International break the mold of slow adoption?

Jorge Gotuzzo

Culturally, Pace International is all about innovation and technology. We are always looking for new ways of supporting our customers, their consumers, and the industry overall.

But there was a disconnect between our digital efforts and the day-to-day business. The digital experience we offered the customer was falling behind—and causing the company as a whole to miss out on our best opportunity to engage. To stay current, we had to step up our game and create a digital face-lift. We committed to this—and elevated the entire brand experience.

I enjoy operating in an ever-increasing complex digital realm. I look forward to putting my energies toward innovations that sustain the world and meet people’s needs. It’s a win for me, a win for my company, and a win for society. I hope.

Feel free to connect with Mary Olson or Jorge Gotuzzo for further information.

Mary Olson
Phone: 917.656.1856

Jorge Gotuzzo

Pace International Website
Wikipedia – Haiti Earthquake
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


My interview series, REMARKABLE PEOPLE 2015 includes experts in technology, the arts, marketing, and social good. It is an exciting group of creative thought leaders and enlightened personalities. Some are extraordinary examples of social responsibility; others are creating game-changing paradigm shifts in their market segments.

I recently had a chance to speak with Liz Nightingale, the ultimate expert in relationship marketing.

You can trace Liz’s marketing mindset to every touch-point of a brand experience. I mean, personally and emotionally direct to people.

It doesn’t matter if the market segment is B2C or trade. In the end, it’s people who respond to her remarkable marketing touch. A quick look into her magical toolkit reveals strategic planning, PR, advertising, brand marketing, emotional branding and brand experience.

Philosophies, processes and creativity are the driving elements of Liz Nightingale’s world of marketing. Although she has been the ultimate leader in luxury marketing from legendary brands to global influences, everything is about building and valuing relationships.

I asked Liz recently, “You are at the top of your game. Every brand you touch increases by double digits. What’s next?” She replied, “I envision opportunities to collaborate at the C-suite level with business visionaries who understand the value of relationships. Marketing has never been as competitive as it is today. But it is not just about appreciating how to simplify complexity or creating and managing data, but about understanding and creating a relationship with your market on a personal basis.”

Liz is the ultimate example of a professional who integrates a love of relationships with digital technologies.

A deep look into Nightingale’s world and you find a master strategist who loves creating world-class brands and building lasting relationships with customers—With digital data.

I mentioned the widely held belief in the marketing world that what you knew two years ago is no longer true today. Nightingale dispelled that notion with a twist when I asked, “What do you think about the impact of technology on C-suite marketing careerists?”

She said, “It is likely that the CMO role shortly will transition to the Chief Marketing Technologist. But, remember, CMT’s need interpersonal skills and a deep and authentic respect for people. Process-wise, relating to people won’t change.”

Liz Nightingale Profile (PDF)

Liz Nightingale on LinkedIn


C-Suite executive roles are diminishing at a rapid pace while technology and social culture are generating new levels of complexities for leadership and governance.

The bias is toward short-term solutions. Materialization of rapid results is de rigueur these days.

Today, many C-Suite execs operate without an explicit contract(1) and face obvious decreased job security. The probability of turnover is the highest in today’s market mainly because of the shortened executive contractual time horizons.

Many C-Suite executives see the end of the runway as these forces cause them to transform into outside advisors.

Here are the primary attributes of today’s outside C-Suite advisors:

  • Appetite for the forces of change
  • Entrepreneurial mindsets
  • Focused on brand value, customer experience and technology

What’s next for you? How do you leverage your expertise? Most importantly, how do you frame your identity, create new opportunities and communicate your value?

It is useful to consider personal branding. A well-designed personal brand is a major driver for leveraging your value, identity and attracting new opportunities.

Those of us who perceive the value of personal branding already appreciate logo design, brand identity systems and the financial valuation of the brands we manage.

Your name is the anchor of your identity. Your core message and its relevance demonstrate the value you offer. Developing a meaningful relationship with your brand’s viewers is a vital part of the path to engagement.

Personal branding requires a commitment of time, budget and resources. Invest in yourself.

Consider the value of making yourself invaluable.

(1) Ref:


Yes, it’s official: KLOUT, one of my top ten brands listed in 2014 BRANDS TO WATCH has been acquired by Lithium Technologies.

According to FORTUNE, the social score startup and provider of social customer experience solutions for the enterprise, was acquired in a deal valued at nearly $200 million.

FORTUNE also stated that according to two sources familiar with the matter, the deal is a mix of cash and Lithium private stock. (Lithium is gearing up for an IPO, which could happen as early as later this year.)

Lithium software powers amazing social customer experiences for more than 400 iconic brands including AT&T, BT, Best Buy, Indosat, Sephora, Skype and Telstra.

Klout’s history has been an interesting one. The startup was co-founded by CEO Joe Fernandez and Binh Tran in 2008 as a way to measure influence on the growing social Web. Individuals who signed up would receive a “Klout Score,” a numerical value between 1 and 100. In theory, the higher the Klout Score, the more social pull the user has.

Klout has also expanded with Klout for Business, a portal intended offering deeper analytics to brands, as well as content creation aggregation, so users could share articles and posts with their audience.

Congratulations to Joe Fernandez, co-founder and CEO of KLOUT, one of the top ten recipients of 2014 Brands to Watch posted below.


My 2014 BRANDS TO WATCH campaign has concluded successfully in Q1 with attention in the business media and fostering not-so-surprising business-building deals.

These exceptional innovators represented the worlds of art, fashion, finance, research, technology and writing. These are companies I’ve watched; some are one’s I know well and have believed in them

The leaders demonstrated unparalleled management, vision, innovation, 2013 financial results, and/or exceptional customer experience.

Thank you to these remarkable brands for participating in the 2014 campaign and for setting the gold standard for 2015:


View the top ten 2014 BRANDS TO WATCH below.


I am very pleased to announce my 2014 BRANDS TO WATCH list of exceptional innovators representing art, fashion, finance, research, technology and writing.

The brands demonstrate outstanding management, vision, special innovations, 2013 financial results, and exceptional customer experience. These are companies I’ve watched; some are one’s I know well and believe in them.

This year’s distinguished brands include the following:


The first 9 awards will be rolled out in January, 2014. Reader’s Choice, the 10th recipient, will be recommended by my blog readers. The final awardee will be announced at the end of January.

A six-month progress report will be released in June 2014.

The 2014 BRANDS TO WATCH are reviewed here at and available at LinkedIn and other social media sites.

New Rules of Branding, Marketing and Financial Performance

Businesses succeed or fail on the connection between branding, customer engagement and financial performance. Here is the formula that I have been discussing with clients recently:

Follow this guideline by understanding the business thoroughly and prioritizing branding as the key component to your business growth. Branding is the foundation of marketing. Marketing fulfills the mission statement and creates the customer experience. The customer experience creates the brand engagement, thus building brand equity. Brand equity contributes to P&L metrics like profitability and stakeholder value.

Brand Contribution Analysis™ for B2B, The Profit Improvement Index

Leaders are in the business of creating shareholder value whether they manage consumer or manufacturing companies. Brand creators are in the business of creating valuable assets; and marketers are in the business of influencing the customer experience and capturing brand value.

If you are focused on valuing your brand, then you have your sights set on improving your P&L. However, as we speak with manufacturing executives about brand equity, few understand its full power and the profit improvement they could gain.

Various indices have been developed to help B2C companies understand the value of their brand. However, most of the measurements rely on soft (qualitative) data. We believe it is important to use a statistically valid method of quantifying brand value in dollars and cents. B2B companies are now just realizing the power of combining price optimization with branding strategies.

The key advantage includes product and value pricing. Enter author, Jerry Bernstein, President, Value Pricing Group, one of the top-tier pricing experts for manufacturing companies with engineered and technology based products. He has a superb understanding of branding and pioneered the now proven "black box" formula he developed, appropriately named, Brand Contribution Analysis™.

Bernstein's quantitative pricing analytics, combined with branding expertise is so powerful, that improvements in profitability are guaranteed. Here is how we overlaid our experience:

Brand Design > Pricing Analytics > Value Pricing(1) > Marketing > Customer Experience > Brand Equity

Result = The Brand Contribution Analysis™ and related services are enablers for quantifying the dollars that pricing and brand equity can bring to the P&L. Fortunately, for manufacturing executives, the knowledge and methodologies for brand value and profit improvement are demonstrable and attainable.

Ref: 1Value Pricing includes analytical tools and processes designed to capture the full value of products and services. The result is measurable improvements in revenue and profitability.

The Customer Experience Model

At Transition Networks, we believe that branding is the foundation of marketing. Marketing in turn creates the customer experience, and the customer experience creates brand equity. Brand equity contributes to metrics that the executive suite understands, like profitability and shareholder value.

Branding > Marketing > Customer Experience > Brand Equity

It's a very simple business model that took us several years to evolve and clarify.

NETFLIX is among the leading customer-centric organizations in the world. How does NETFLIX create and benefit from the customer experience?

The NETFLIX brand is the customer experience. NETFLIX fills the need for media anytime, anywhere in whatever display device you choose to watch your favorite shows. It personalizes the experience for 33 million members in 40 countries. Not only is NETFLIX a media preference, the brand name can be a verb, a noun, or a generic reference (like Kleenex). In other words, NETFLIX is synonymous with people's daily lifestyle.

John Mello of PC World writes about ForeSee's customer satisfaction rating, which scores e-tailers on a scale of 0-100. While NETFLIX's rating last year was 81, it is trending upwards. More important, it has crossed over the magic 80 point mark, which ForeSee calls the "Threshold of Excellence." Scoring at 80 or above is an indicator of superior customer satisfaction performance.

What is the value proposition? NETFLIX is adept in tracking and communicating customer preferences and experiences. This becomes a simple connection and engagement with each and every member. The ease and reward flows both ways.  NETFLIX becomes an emotional lifestyle commitment by the member, who is likely to recommend a film, concert or TV show to someone else.

By comparison, other media delivery models are currently zooming off the cliff (e.g., NBC). These brands don't understand today's customer experience. Network TV's delivery model is likely to die.

NETFLIX overcame its pricing bobble nearly two years ago and today is the on-demand market leader. However, streaming video challengers are encroaching.  According to, NETFLIX is being chased by three competitors: HBO GO, Amazon Prime and Vudu (the new Walmart Partner).  Other competitors include Hulu, Xfinity by Comcast and Verizon's Redbox.  However, NETFLIX currently has the lead with its superior service and brand recognition.

From NETFLIX'S solid foundation of branding and marketing, its interactive customer experience business model is leading to its competitive advantage and profitable brand equity valued in the C-suite and by shareholders. (Nasdaq: NFLX)