Top 25 MarCom Leaders to Watch in 2020: AMERICAN SYSTEMS’ Michael Dolton


Michael Dolton joined AMERICAN SYSTEMS in 2006 to oversee internal and external communications for the privately held, employee-owned company. The company, founded in 1975, had just completed a rebranding initiative, and Dolton was charged with developing a comprehensive communications plan to build awareness of the new brand within the company and with external customers.

“I knew right away that I had all the ingredients to be successful here,” he said. “We had a strong leadership team, a great reputation and a unique culture of employee ownership that made our messaging convincing and compelling.”

Leveraging the power of employee-ownership in their internal and external messaging has paid off, from successful ad campaigns featuring photos of employees responding to customer challenges with the statement, “I can do that. I own the company,” to current campaigns centered around the company’s tagline, “We know what’s at stake.”

The belief that internal and external communications are inextricably intertwined has always been a cornerstone of Dolton’s marketing philosophy.

“I am fortunate to be in a position where I can influence both sides of the equation,” he noted. “It’s difficult to be seen as a contractor of choice by our customers or an employer of choice by potential employees if you don’t have that same level of buy-in internally.”

According to Dolton, the pride of employee ownership pervades all aspects of the company’s culture and leads to an engaged and empowered workforce eager to step up and take joint accountability for the company’s success. That translates into honest, effective messaging.

“Our employee-owners are our best brand ambassadors, and not only are they viewed as credible and relatable in our external marketing communications, the campaigns resonate with their fellow employee-owners, keeping everyone’s level of engagement high,” Dolton explained. “Again, our internal and external messaging reinforce one another and strengthen the overall brand.

Why Watch

AMERICAN SYSTEMS has enjoyed four straight years of solid company growth and record share value in their Employee Stock Ownership Plan. The trajectory shows no signs of slowing down, even in the face of a pandemic.

“COVID-19 has altered the traditional marketing landscape, with fewer opportunities to reach customers and candidates through in-person networking events and industry conferences,” Dolton said. “But we’re going to keep the pedal to the metal with well-honed online messaging, including leveraging our growing social media presence.”

Read the rest of the Top 25 MarCom Leaders to Watch in 2020 list here.

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