As a marketing and advertising executive, Warren Kornblum has burnished the images of a number of brands, including Rooms To Go, Serta Simmons Bedding and Toys R Us.

On Oct. 8, Kornblum will share some of the vast knowledge gained during a keynote address at the &THEN marketing conference. In the meantime, enjoy these six bits of wisdom gleaned from Kornblum’s career.

1. “Be true to your brand.”

“You have to be true to your brand, and most of all being true to your brand means being true to your consumers,” Kornblum says.

Referring to Serta Simmons, he adds: “We’re certainly not going to chase doing experiential things for the sake of them, but we are open to things where we can bring our brand to life with people in a very real and very relevant and very fluid way.”

2. “It’s not about you.”

“As marketing people, it’s not about you, it’s not about me, it’s about understanding the customer,” Kornblum says. “What we need to do as marketers is we need to watch, listen and learn about habits.”

3. Align yourself with your target audience.

Referring to his tenure as chief marketing officer at Toys R Us, Kornblum says: “I remember when I first got there, walking into the first meeting with the executive committee thinking, ‘This is going to be interesting. Our target audience is moms with kids, and I just walked into a room of guys with ties.’”

4. Relish the moment.

Kornblum recalls the thrill of helping Toys R Us establish its flagship Times Square store in 2001.

“We were getting ready to open the doors, and I saw what seemed like hundreds of kids,” Kornblum says. “I saw the excitement in their eyes and I thought, ‘This is what Toys R Us is.’”

Until its closure in 2015, the store was one of the most popular tourist attractions in Manhattan.

5. Keep up with the competition — and with the times.

Amid intensified competition in the mattress business from upstarts like Casper and Leesa, Kornblum helped Serta Simmons develop mattress-in-a-box offerings for the company’s Serta and Beautyrest brands.

“These new products will be sold through our retail customers’ channels, providing them with products that are available across all of their distribution points for consumers who seek differentiated shopping experiences,” Kornblum says. “We recognize that consumers shop online and in-store, and these new products enable us to meet every shopping preference. They also allow us to provide our retail customers with the opportunity to provide our high-quality branded products to their consumers.”

Kornblum also was instrumental in Serta Simmons launching its own direct-to-consumer brand, Tomorrow Sleep.

“We believe that Tomorrow Sleep will be a significant competitor in the direct-to-consumer segment and that both Serta and Beautyrest will be even stronger, based on our commitment to consumer listening and incorporating these insights into our product development process,” he says.

6. Rely on data – but only to a point.

Too many brand marketers focus on the process or try to “force things” on consumers, Kornblum says.

“We live in a world where data is critically important, but data unto itself does not provide strong consumer communication and brand affinity,” he says. “Insightful analysis of the data combined with instinctive consumer-focused marketing does.”

This article is brought to you by &THEN, DMA’s annual event. Click here to join the leaders of the marketing community and advance your data and marketing mastery in Las Vegas, October 7-9.