2021 Predictions

October 6, 2020
“It’s tough to look at 2021 and not expect more change, not just in automotive but across all categories,” said Kimberley Gardiner, VP & Chief Marketing Officer at Mitsubishi Motors North America. “Flexibility has to be at the core of our planning and go-to-market strategies, with multiple playbooks both at the brand and dealer levels, meeting customers where they are, and simplifying the steps involved in vehicle shopping, buying and servicing.”

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Kimberley Gardiner
VP & Chief Marketing Officer, Mitsubishi Motors
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October 6, 2020
“The future of the automotive industry has never been so exciting,” says Angela Zepeda, CMO, Hyundai Motor America. “With fast advances in technology, autonomy and ride sharing, the way people use cars is changing rapidly and we are well prepared at Hyundai to take advantage of those transformations.”

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Angela Zepeda
Chief Marketing Officer, Hyundai Motor America
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October 6, 2020
“Looking ahead to 2021, one of the biggest opportunities lies in further accelerating online shopping in the automotive industry, and working closely with dealers to do so,” said Allyson Witherspoon, vice president marketing communications and media, Nissan North America. “We’re prioritizing our online retailing and e-commerce capabilities with programs such as Shop @Home, knowing that’s how consumers are primarily shopping at this point.”

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Allyson Witherspoon
Vice President, Marketing Communications and Media, Nissan
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August 28, 2020
You’re seeing a meteoric rise of influencers, and I attribute some of that to the fact we haven’t been able to go shopping with friends. We often say that friends and family are the biggest influencers on a purchase. If I can’t go shopping with my best friend in California, where is that influence coming from? It’s likely going to come from those content producers that are entertaining, engaging and really building a relationship with you. I think influencers carry a strong sense of authenticity to their followers. They’re really careful about who they partner with. They feel their personal brand is on the line. And it’s as much a compliment to be chosen by them as it is for you to have a partnership with them.

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Shenan Reed
SVP, Head of Media, L'Oreal
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Previous Quote's of the Day

Jennifer Kolstad
Global Design Director, Ford Motor Company
In the next ten years, the Ford Motor Company workforce will turn at a rate of 60%, which means we’ll have a younger, more nimble workforce and a new set of values to account for - to champion. We have five generations working together under one roof, so we come at this with a shared value proposition. We need to really think about what our shared values are. What we’re learning so far on the outside of our think tank is that things such as wellness, these are simple things we need to champion. In a post-COVID world, we’re learning new non-negotiables, like systemic resilience and we’re going to fight for that. We’re generating this list of new values that we believe will be present in any context - retail, community building, workforce - wherever for any generation.

In the next ten years, the Ford Motor Company workforce will turn at a rate of 60%, which means we’ll have a younger, more nimble workforce and a new set of values to account for - to champion. We have five generations working together under one roof, so we come at this with a shared value proposition. We need to really think about what our shared values are. What we’re learning so far on the outside of our think tank is that things such as wellness, these are simple things we need to champion. In a post-COVID world, we’re learning new non-negotiables, like systemic resilience and we’re going to fight for that. We’re generating this list of new values that we believe will be present in any context - retail, community building, workforce - wherever for any generation.

Yasmin Grant
Director of Multicultural Marketing, PepsiCo
I always wanted to do marketing in a category where consumers had more of an emotional connection to the brands, connected to the moments that matter and that led me to PepsiCo. I’ve had a lot of different roles at PepsiCo and for the past year, I have been director of marketing for the Hispanic business unit, which was a team that was formed solely to aggressively go after the Hispanic opportunity and the marketing space. I am also involved in a lot of things outside of my day job. I am co-chair of Mosaic, which is our black employee resource group. I am also on the advisory board for The League, which is an initiative that was started in marketing to uplift female marketers. And then obviously with the racial climate being what it is, we have formed a task force to really identify the right equality actions to undertake on behalf of the black community, and I am part of that. I have been with PepsiCo for seven years. What has kept me here is that I can do meaningful work. I feel like I am doing work that makes a difference and PepsiCo gives me a platform for my activism.

I always wanted to do marketing in a category where consumers had more of an emotional connection to the brands, connected to the moments that matter and that led me to PepsiCo. I’ve had a lot of different roles at PepsiCo and for the past year, I have been director of marketing for the Hispanic business unit, which was a team that was formed solely to aggressively go after the Hispanic opportunity and the marketing space. I am also involved in a lot of things outside of my day job. I am co-chair of Mosaic, which is our black employee resource group. I am also on the advisory board for The League, which is an initiative that was started in marketing to uplift female marketers. And then obviously with the racial climate being what it is, we have formed a task force to really identify the right equality actions to undertake on behalf of the black community, and I am part of that. I have been with PepsiCo for seven years. What has kept me here is that I can do meaningful work. I feel like I am doing work that makes a difference and PepsiCo gives me a platform for my activism.

Alia Kemet
Vice President, Creative & Digital Communications, McCormick & Company
I started working very early, when I was 14. I had a unique first job; I worked in a stock room at a retail store and learned how to dress the windows, which is really when I learned about targeting. You have to understand targeting in order to dress the window. I would tell the young people today to start your work ethic early. Working is like a muscle; you have to come to work and put all of yourself into it. I find that many young people who haven’t had to work, when the work is put on them, they’re like ‘Woah, wait a minute, we’re still in it?’ To anyone trying to break in, you need to be gritty, especially if you’re a person of color. I hate to bring up this mantra, but it’s true. If you're a person of color, a black person in particular, you have to work harder than the next person. So I come to the table with my goal being ‘Always win against myself.’ I have high standards. I want to be that person that comes in and does something that no one else has done before and completely transform business results.

I started working very early, when I was 14. I had a unique first job; I worked in a stock room at a retail store and learned how to dress the windows, which is really when I learned about targeting. You have to understand targeting in order to dress the window. I would tell the young people today to start your work ethic early. Working is like a muscle; you have to come to work and put all of yourself into it. I find that many young people who haven’t had to work, when the work is put on them, they’re like ‘Woah, wait a minute, we’re still in it?’ To anyone trying to break in, you need to be gritty, especially if you’re a person of color. I hate to bring up this mantra, but it’s true. If you're a person of color, a black person in particular, you have to work harder than the next person. So I come to the table with my goal being ‘Always win against myself.’ I have high standards. I want to be that person that comes in and does something that no one else has done before and completely transform business results.

Matthew Coleman
Marketing Director, State Farm
We’re founded on making sure we’re building relationships, helping customers in communities and just being a good neighbor. That’s further shaped by the mission, vision and values that we have. Every interaction we have with our customers is pivotal to that brand promise. When you’re thinking of the environment we’re in right now, whether that’s wildfires or hurricanes, we know those are crucial moments where we have an opportunity to show up and really help people. We call that the moment of truth. But it’s not just in those environments that people are looking for help. If you think about COVID, people are really concerned about their health, their loved ones, and leaving their legacy, and that’s where State Farm comes in. Being able to meet the needs of customers regardless of where they are in their life stage is really important to us.

We’re founded on making sure we’re building relationships, helping customers in communities and just being a good neighbor. That’s further shaped by the mission, vision and values that we have. Every interaction we have with our customers is pivotal to that brand promise. When you’re thinking of the environment we’re in right now, whether that’s wildfires or hurricanes, we know those are crucial moments where we have an opportunity to show up and really help people. We call that the moment of truth. But it’s not just in those environments that people are looking for help. If you think about COVID, people are really concerned about their health, their loved ones, and leaving their legacy, and that’s where State Farm comes in. Being able to meet the needs of customers regardless of where they are in their life stage is really important to us.

Brian Voynick
CRM Campaigns Manager, BMW of North America
First party behavioral data trumps psychographic which trumps demographic. As long as you can see the customer’s actions and intentions, that’s the best way to create any sort of experience. That makes you a better marketer and provides better content. This is the age of context. If you’re not delivering experiences that are contextually relevant to the consumer, they’re getting bombarded from all different cylinders and you won’t catch their attention. We need to make sure that when we present someone with an opportunity that it fits into what they actually need. Every once in a while, I get an ad and I’m so enamored by it, that I have to buy the product, because it was targeted too well. Maybe I needed it, maybe I didn’t, but I bought it. That’s the goal.

First party behavioral data trumps psychographic which trumps demographic. As long as you can see the customer’s actions and intentions, that’s the best way to create any sort of experience. That makes you a better marketer and provides better content. This is the age of context. If you’re not delivering experiences that are contextually relevant to the consumer, they’re getting bombarded from all different cylinders and you won’t catch their attention. We need to make sure that when we present someone with an opportunity that it fits into what they actually need. Every once in a while, I get an ad and I’m so enamored by it, that I have to buy the product, because it was targeted too well. Maybe I needed it, maybe I didn’t, but I bought it. That’s the goal.

Elle McCarthy
Head of Brand, Electronic Arts (EA)
EA hasn’t had someone looking after EA as a brand before. How do you reinvigorate a hero brand from scratch from the privacy of your own living room? We were founded to lift up gaming as the entertainment medium of the world and to hero our developers and make them be at the center of our business. All of these founding principles are so rich and steeped in history, so I had been thinking a little bit about that and looking at our player data, and created the simplest brief you could imagine. It had three rules. What can we do to help people connect during this time?. What can we do to help people connect to our developers and our talent? And what can we do to help people connect to things that we miss in the real world? Those first two things, any gaming company can do that, the third one, is actually leaning into the thing that really differentiates us through time.

EA hasn’t had someone looking after EA as a brand before. How do you reinvigorate a hero brand from scratch from the privacy of your own living room? We were founded to lift up gaming as the entertainment medium of the world and to hero our developers and make them be at the center of our business. All of these founding principles are so rich and steeped in history, so I had been thinking a little bit about that and looking at our player data, and created the simplest brief you could imagine. It had three rules. What can we do to help people connect during this time?. What can we do to help people connect to our developers and our talent? And what can we do to help people connect to things that we miss in the real world? Those first two things, any gaming company can do that, the third one, is actually leaning into the thing that really differentiates us through time.

Surbhi Martin
VP Marketing, Danone
I joined Danone for two reasons. One is that there's a real sense of purpose at Danone, A lot of companies talk about purpose but the fact that Danone is the world's largest public benefit corporation, brings a lot of credibility to what that means at Danone. It means that we are actively talking about purpose - about how we will use business as a force for social good. It's really quite unbelievable to me that on a daily basis, I'll join some sort of conversation about how we’ll walk the talk around purpose and being a certified benefit corporation. It's a lot of work, a lot of money, and a lot of heavy lifting to become a certified public benefit corporation so the credibility that Danone has, is one of the key reasons I joined the company. Working on a brand like Two Good is really just a dream.

I joined Danone for two reasons. One is that there's a real sense of purpose at Danone, A lot of companies talk about purpose but the fact that Danone is the world's largest public benefit corporation, brings a lot of credibility to what that means at Danone. It means that we are actively talking about purpose - about how we will use business as a force for social good. It's really quite unbelievable to me that on a daily basis, I'll join some sort of conversation about how we’ll walk the talk around purpose and being a certified benefit corporation. It's a lot of work, a lot of money, and a lot of heavy lifting to become a certified public benefit corporation so the credibility that Danone has, is one of the key reasons I joined the company. Working on a brand like Two Good is really just a dream.

Fernando Machado
Global Chief Marketing Officer, RBI
Kathleen Braine
Senior Director of Brand Marketing, BABE Wine, Anheuser-Busch InBev
It is really important, especially when you are a consumer good and a lot of your brand is based in these emotional moments that are relevant in the world today, to really be tapped into that culture and to be able to react to it. You can have the best social listening in the world but if you are not able to react to it immediately then why are you listening? We really think especially at BABE we have our finger on the pulse of what our consumers are talking about and then we try to look for what that human insight is and look for where our brand can authentically play. It is not enough to just comment on things. If you are trying to talk to everyone, you are talking to no one, so how do you join cultural moments and really think about what is happening in the world and still be a human and be authentic to that brand and to who your consumer is. It’s a delicate balance.

It is really important, especially when you are a consumer good and a lot of your brand is based in these emotional moments that are relevant in the world today, to really be tapped into that culture and to be able to react to it. You can have the best social listening in the world but if you are not able to react to it immediately then why are you listening? We really think especially at BABE we have our finger on the pulse of what our consumers are talking about and then we try to look for what that human insight is and look for where our brand can authentically play. It is not enough to just comment on things. If you are trying to talk to everyone, you are talking to no one, so how do you join cultural moments and really think about what is happening in the world and still be a human and be authentic to that brand and to who your consumer is. It’s a delicate balance.

Amanda Goetz
VP Marketing, The Knot Worldwide
Being open minded from a content perspective is a huge pillar for us. Our core focus is that we believe anyone should marry who they want, when they want, and if they want - the if is actually really important because we care a lot about the marriage more than just the wedding. We {as a society} have to remind ourselves that all of the time, it’s not about spending a lot of money on one given day. it’s about two humans coming together, and how we can use our product and platform to prepare people for that, and that’s talking about relationship health, how to love yourself, what it means to go to therapy - normalizing those aspects and talking through what it’s like to experience it. Also, celebrating second weddings - it’s important to show that there is no right or wrong way to live your life and we are here to support everyone. We are a brand that stands for acceptance, helping people feel good about living their life; however they choose to define it.

Being open minded from a content perspective is a huge pillar for us. Our core focus is that we believe anyone should marry who they want, when they want, and if they want - the if is actually really important because we care a lot about the marriage more than just the wedding. We {as a society} have to remind ourselves that all of the time, it’s not about spending a lot of money on one given day. it’s about two humans coming together, and how we can use our product and platform to prepare people for that, and that’s talking about relationship health, how to love yourself, what it means to go to therapy - normalizing those aspects and talking through what it’s like to experience it. Also, celebrating second weddings - it’s important to show that there is no right or wrong way to live your life and we are here to support everyone. We are a brand that stands for acceptance, helping people feel good about living their life; however they choose to define it.

Ishita Ahmed
Director of Loyalty, CRM, and Personalization, Taco Bell
I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of the launch of Taco Bell’s loyalty program - a program that has been in the works for a couple of years. It had to go through a lot of different levels of approvals to make this happen, and believe it or not, the pandemic actually delayed the launch. Something I noticed when I joined Taco Bell was the ability of speed to customers. With the pandemic, Taco Bell did a really great job of reacting to the customer and meeting them where they needed to be. With the safety precautions, ordering ahead in the app and all of the different technical pieces took priority to the loyalty program. We had to put the customer first and make sure the customer knows that we’re on the same road of concern with safety that they are.

I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of the launch of Taco Bell’s loyalty program - a program that has been in the works for a couple of years. It had to go through a lot of different levels of approvals to make this happen, and believe it or not, the pandemic actually delayed the launch. Something I noticed when I joined Taco Bell was the ability of speed to customers. With the pandemic, Taco Bell did a really great job of reacting to the customer and meeting them where they needed to be. With the safety precautions, ordering ahead in the app and all of the different technical pieces took priority to the loyalty program. We had to put the customer first and make sure the customer knows that we’re on the same road of concern with safety that they are.

Gilbertson Cuffy
Brand Marketing Director, PepsiCo
I think it's important to recognize that we do benefit from culture. It’s the reason why brands want to get involved in cultural conversations - especially today with impressions, likes, news recaps, essentially the roundups. If everyone is talking about the Grammys or the Super Bowl - and you’re taking part in those big moments, hopefully, you’re a part of the broad conversation that is attached to it, which could lead to brand affinity, then sales. Brands need to go beyond participating in culture - what are you adding in value? There is something called a culture vulture and consumers are really good at sussing that out. It’s up to us as brands to recognize that whatever audience we’re targeting at that moment, you are actually adding to the moment instead of taking from it.

I think it's important to recognize that we do benefit from culture. It’s the reason why brands want to get involved in cultural conversations - especially today with impressions, likes, news recaps, essentially the roundups. If everyone is talking about the Grammys or the Super Bowl - and you’re taking part in those big moments, hopefully, you’re a part of the broad conversation that is attached to it, which could lead to brand affinity, then sales. Brands need to go beyond participating in culture - what are you adding in value? There is something called a culture vulture and consumers are really good at sussing that out. It’s up to us as brands to recognize that whatever audience we’re targeting at that moment, you are actually adding to the moment instead of taking from it.

Scott Donaton
Head of Creative, Hulu
There are three primary things that my team does. We work on the Hulu brand, the Hulu content strategy and we work with Hulu’s advertising partners to help them do things beyond the traditional advertising units. In all of those cases, when it comes to my internal teammates, I don’t want them to think of us as an in-house agency because the danger is that your co-workers begin to treat you as a vendor. The people that we work with are not our clients - we are their partners and teammates. When we work with outside agencies, which we always will because we want to become navel-gazers and there are certain capabilities and resources that we don’t have in-house, we don’t want to be seen as a competitor to them - but instead as a collaborator. When we work with our advertising and brand partners, we don’t want their agencies to think of it as us trying to take their role. I think of us as an in-house creative studio, but I don’t think of us as an agency.

There are three primary things that my team does. We work on the Hulu brand, the Hulu content strategy and we work with Hulu’s advertising partners to help them do things beyond the traditional advertising units. In all of those cases, when it comes to my internal teammates, I don’t want them to think of us as an in-house agency because the danger is that your co-workers begin to treat you as a vendor. The people that we work with are not our clients - we are their partners and teammates. When we work with outside agencies, which we always will because we want to become navel-gazers and there are certain capabilities and resources that we don’t have in-house, we don’t want to be seen as a competitor to them - but instead as a collaborator. When we work with our advertising and brand partners, we don’t want their agencies to think of it as us trying to take their role. I think of us as an in-house creative studio, but I don’t think of us as an agency.

Shenan Reed
SVP, Head of Media, L'Oreal
Doug Palladini
Global Brand President, Vans
Vans is an inclusive brand by nature. Ubiquity is not our objective. We had to live up to our commitment in saying Black Lives Matter. A lot of people come on our site to criticize our Black Lives Matter stance, and they say “All lives matter. I'm throwing my vans in the trash.” And what we’re saying is, that’s ok. We think if you can’t get your head around Black Lives Matter, then maybe Vans isn’t the brand for you. It can be really hard for brands to have that fortitude to let people go. Again, in our mind, it’s quality over quantity of our fans....Posting about Black Lives Matter is easy. The harder thing to do is consistent and ongoing actions by our brand until anti-racist actions are done and we no longer have a system that breeds bigotry, hate and racism in this country.

Vans is an inclusive brand by nature. Ubiquity is not our objective. We had to live up to our commitment in saying Black Lives Matter. A lot of people come on our site to criticize our Black Lives Matter stance, and they say “All lives matter. I'm throwing my vans in the trash.” And what we’re saying is, that’s ok. We think if you can’t get your head around Black Lives Matter, then maybe Vans isn’t the brand for you. It can be really hard for brands to have that fortitude to let people go. Again, in our mind, it’s quality over quantity of our fans....Posting about Black Lives Matter is easy. The harder thing to do is consistent and ongoing actions by our brand until anti-racist actions are done and we no longer have a system that breeds bigotry, hate and racism in this country.

Heather Hinkel
Senior Director, Brand Strategy, Minnesota Twins
Natalie Bowman
Managing Director, Marketing and Advertising, Alaska Airlines
During Covid, our role was very focused on communicating to ease people’s minds. For people traveling, we wanted them to understand that the air on an aircraft is safer than in your office building. But we were not actively promoting travel, we were trying to be very cautious and not encourage people to do something that they’re not ready for. Now we’re hoping we’re getting closer to a place where we can start actively promoting travel. I have a revenue target that I know I have to hit with a combination of promos, performance media and driving storytelling on our owned channels. Four years ago, marketing looked like picking menu items and not contributing to revenue performance, so to be in this position I’m really excited and a little nervous.

During Covid, our role was very focused on communicating to ease people’s minds. For people traveling, we wanted them to understand that the air on an aircraft is safer than in your office building. But we were not actively promoting travel, we were trying to be very cautious and not encourage people to do something that they’re not ready for. Now we’re hoping we’re getting closer to a place where we can start actively promoting travel. I have a revenue target that I know I have to hit with a combination of promos, performance media and driving storytelling on our owned channels. Four years ago, marketing looked like picking menu items and not contributing to revenue performance, so to be in this position I’m really excited and a little nervous.

Gabriela McCoy
Director, Strategic Insights and Analytics, Bacardi
Chris Hollander
Chief Marketing Officer, Panera Bread
Elizabeth Rutledge
Chief Marketing Officer, American Express
This crisis certainly has reminded me how important shared experiences are and I truly believe they’re going to come back. Right now we have to reimagine them. We have to figure out where our customers are and what their needs are, whether it’s thinking about virtual conferences or live experiences that follow social distancing principles. We’re actually executing and testing on those ideas as we speak. Whether it's live streaming theater productions, holding virtual office hours or events for our business customers who need so much help, we've had to think differently. I think you'll see some of these shifts continuing even as the shelter in place restrictions are being lifted across the globe. You have to adapt, and that's what we're doing.

This crisis certainly has reminded me how important shared experiences are and I truly believe they’re going to come back. Right now we have to reimagine them. We have to figure out where our customers are and what their needs are, whether it’s thinking about virtual conferences or live experiences that follow social distancing principles. We’re actually executing and testing on those ideas as we speak. Whether it's live streaming theater productions, holding virtual office hours or events for our business customers who need so much help, we've had to think differently. I think you'll see some of these shifts continuing even as the shelter in place restrictions are being lifted across the globe. You have to adapt, and that's what we're doing.

Kimberly Evans Paige
EVP, Chief Marketing Officer, BET Networks & Live Events, ViacomCBS
What we’re seeing now is other networks generating black content or content geared towards African Americans, but they can’t do just that. They too have to show up differently. We like to say ‘You can’t have our rhythm without our blues.’. When things happen we know we have to stand up. We often feel like if BET doesn’t stand up, who will? Even when the pandemic first broke out, none of it was a surprise to us. Literally in a weekend, we knew the severity and impact it was gonna have on our community. It wasn’t like ‘Let’s go report on it.’ It was, ‘Let’s go do something’. And that is BET - it has such an understanding and connection to the community. It never pauses to stand back. It says, ‘We’ve now gotta be at the frontline and help change outcomes.

What we’re seeing now is other networks generating black content or content geared towards African Americans, but they can’t do just that. They too have to show up differently. We like to say ‘You can’t have our rhythm without our blues.’. When things happen we know we have to stand up. We often feel like if BET doesn’t stand up, who will? Even when the pandemic first broke out, none of it was a surprise to us. Literally in a weekend, we knew the severity and impact it was gonna have on our community. It wasn’t like ‘Let’s go report on it.’ It was, ‘Let’s go do something’. And that is BET - it has such an understanding and connection to the community. It never pauses to stand back. It says, ‘We’ve now gotta be at the frontline and help change outcomes.

Previous Quote's of the Week

In the next ten years, the Ford Motor Company workforce will turn at a rate of 60%, which means we’ll have a younger, more nimble workforce and a new set of values to account for - to champion. We have five generations working together under one roof, so we come at this with a shared value proposition. We need to really think about what our shared values are. What we’re learning so far on the outside of our think tank is that things such as wellness, these are simple things we need to champion. In a post-COVID world, we’re learning new non-negotiables, like systemic resilience and we’re going to fight for that. We’re generating this list of new values that we believe will be present in any context - retail, community building, workforce - wherever for any generation.

In the next ten years, the Ford Motor Company workforce will turn at a rate of 60%, which means we’ll have a younger, more nimble workforce and a new set of values to account for - to champion. We have five generations working together under one roof, so we come at this with a shared value proposition. We need to really think about what our shared values are. What we’re learning so far on the outside of our think tank is that things such as wellness, these are simple things we need to champion. In a post-COVID world, we’re learning new non-negotiables, like systemic resilience and we’re going to fight for that. We’re generating this list of new values that we believe will be present in any context - retail, community building, workforce - wherever for any generation.

Jennifer Kolstad
Global Design Director, Ford Motor Company
I always wanted to do marketing in a category where consumers had more of an emotional connection to the brands, connected to the moments that matter and that led me to PepsiCo. I’ve had a lot of different roles at PepsiCo and for the past year, I have been director of marketing for the Hispanic business unit, which was a team that was formed solely to aggressively go after the Hispanic opportunity and the marketing space. I am also involved in a lot of things outside of my day job. I am co-chair of Mosaic, which is our black employee resource group. I am also on the advisory board for The League, which is an initiative that was started in marketing to uplift female marketers. And then obviously with the racial climate being what it is, we have formed a task force to really identify the right equality actions to undertake on behalf of the black community, and I am part of that. I have been with PepsiCo for seven years. What has kept me here is that I can do meaningful work. I feel like I am doing work that makes a difference and PepsiCo gives me a platform for my activism.

I always wanted to do marketing in a category where consumers had more of an emotional connection to the brands, connected to the moments that matter and that led me to PepsiCo. I’ve had a lot of different roles at PepsiCo and for the past year, I have been director of marketing for the Hispanic business unit, which was a team that was formed solely to aggressively go after the Hispanic opportunity and the marketing space. I am also involved in a lot of things outside of my day job. I am co-chair of Mosaic, which is our black employee resource group. I am also on the advisory board for The League, which is an initiative that was started in marketing to uplift female marketers. And then obviously with the racial climate being what it is, we have formed a task force to really identify the right equality actions to undertake on behalf of the black community, and I am part of that. I have been with PepsiCo for seven years. What has kept me here is that I can do meaningful work. I feel like I am doing work that makes a difference and PepsiCo gives me a platform for my activism.

Yasmin Grant
Director of Multicultural Marketing, PepsiCo
I started working very early, when I was 14. I had a unique first job; I worked in a stock room at a retail store and learned how to dress the windows, which is really when I learned about targeting. You have to understand targeting in order to dress the window. I would tell the young people today to start your work ethic early. Working is like a muscle; you have to come to work and put all of yourself into it. I find that many young people who haven’t had to work, when the work is put on them, they’re like ‘Woah, wait a minute, we’re still in it?’ To anyone trying to break in, you need to be gritty, especially if you’re a person of color. I hate to bring up this mantra, but it’s true. If you're a person of color, a black person in particular, you have to work harder than the next person. So I come to the table with my goal being ‘Always win against myself.’ I have high standards. I want to be that person that comes in and does something that no one else has done before and completely transform business results.

I started working very early, when I was 14. I had a unique first job; I worked in a stock room at a retail store and learned how to dress the windows, which is really when I learned about targeting. You have to understand targeting in order to dress the window. I would tell the young people today to start your work ethic early. Working is like a muscle; you have to come to work and put all of yourself into it. I find that many young people who haven’t had to work, when the work is put on them, they’re like ‘Woah, wait a minute, we’re still in it?’ To anyone trying to break in, you need to be gritty, especially if you’re a person of color. I hate to bring up this mantra, but it’s true. If you're a person of color, a black person in particular, you have to work harder than the next person. So I come to the table with my goal being ‘Always win against myself.’ I have high standards. I want to be that person that comes in and does something that no one else has done before and completely transform business results.

Alia Kemet
Vice President, Creative & Digital Communications, McCormick & Company
We’re founded on making sure we’re building relationships, helping customers in communities and just being a good neighbor. That’s further shaped by the mission, vision and values that we have. Every interaction we have with our customers is pivotal to that brand promise. When you’re thinking of the environment we’re in right now, whether that’s wildfires or hurricanes, we know those are crucial moments where we have an opportunity to show up and really help people. We call that the moment of truth. But it’s not just in those environments that people are looking for help. If you think about COVID, people are really concerned about their health, their loved ones, and leaving their legacy, and that’s where State Farm comes in. Being able to meet the needs of customers regardless of where they are in their life stage is really important to us.

We’re founded on making sure we’re building relationships, helping customers in communities and just being a good neighbor. That’s further shaped by the mission, vision and values that we have. Every interaction we have with our customers is pivotal to that brand promise. When you’re thinking of the environment we’re in right now, whether that’s wildfires or hurricanes, we know those are crucial moments where we have an opportunity to show up and really help people. We call that the moment of truth. But it’s not just in those environments that people are looking for help. If you think about COVID, people are really concerned about their health, their loved ones, and leaving their legacy, and that’s where State Farm comes in. Being able to meet the needs of customers regardless of where they are in their life stage is really important to us.

Matthew Coleman
Marketing Director, State Farm
First party behavioral data trumps psychographic which trumps demographic. As long as you can see the customer’s actions and intentions, that’s the best way to create any sort of experience. That makes you a better marketer and provides better content. This is the age of context. If you’re not delivering experiences that are contextually relevant to the consumer, they’re getting bombarded from all different cylinders and you won’t catch their attention. We need to make sure that when we present someone with an opportunity that it fits into what they actually need. Every once in a while, I get an ad and I’m so enamored by it, that I have to buy the product, because it was targeted too well. Maybe I needed it, maybe I didn’t, but I bought it. That’s the goal.

First party behavioral data trumps psychographic which trumps demographic. As long as you can see the customer’s actions and intentions, that’s the best way to create any sort of experience. That makes you a better marketer and provides better content. This is the age of context. If you’re not delivering experiences that are contextually relevant to the consumer, they’re getting bombarded from all different cylinders and you won’t catch their attention. We need to make sure that when we present someone with an opportunity that it fits into what they actually need. Every once in a while, I get an ad and I’m so enamored by it, that I have to buy the product, because it was targeted too well. Maybe I needed it, maybe I didn’t, but I bought it. That’s the goal.

Brian Voynick
CRM Campaigns Manager, BMW of North America
EA hasn’t had someone looking after EA as a brand before. How do you reinvigorate a hero brand from scratch from the privacy of your own living room? We were founded to lift up gaming as the entertainment medium of the world and to hero our developers and make them be at the center of our business. All of these founding principles are so rich and steeped in history, so I had been thinking a little bit about that and looking at our player data, and created the simplest brief you could imagine. It had three rules. What can we do to help people connect during this time?. What can we do to help people connect to our developers and our talent? And what can we do to help people connect to things that we miss in the real world? Those first two things, any gaming company can do that, the third one, is actually leaning into the thing that really differentiates us through time.

EA hasn’t had someone looking after EA as a brand before. How do you reinvigorate a hero brand from scratch from the privacy of your own living room? We were founded to lift up gaming as the entertainment medium of the world and to hero our developers and make them be at the center of our business. All of these founding principles are so rich and steeped in history, so I had been thinking a little bit about that and looking at our player data, and created the simplest brief you could imagine. It had three rules. What can we do to help people connect during this time?. What can we do to help people connect to our developers and our talent? And what can we do to help people connect to things that we miss in the real world? Those first two things, any gaming company can do that, the third one, is actually leaning into the thing that really differentiates us through time.

Elle McCarthy
Head of Brand, Electronic Arts (EA)
I joined Danone for two reasons. One is that there's a real sense of purpose at Danone, A lot of companies talk about purpose but the fact that Danone is the world's largest public benefit corporation, brings a lot of credibility to what that means at Danone. It means that we are actively talking about purpose - about how we will use business as a force for social good. It's really quite unbelievable to me that on a daily basis, I'll join some sort of conversation about how we’ll walk the talk around purpose and being a certified benefit corporation. It's a lot of work, a lot of money, and a lot of heavy lifting to become a certified public benefit corporation so the credibility that Danone has, is one of the key reasons I joined the company. Working on a brand like Two Good is really just a dream.

I joined Danone for two reasons. One is that there's a real sense of purpose at Danone, A lot of companies talk about purpose but the fact that Danone is the world's largest public benefit corporation, brings a lot of credibility to what that means at Danone. It means that we are actively talking about purpose - about how we will use business as a force for social good. It's really quite unbelievable to me that on a daily basis, I'll join some sort of conversation about how we’ll walk the talk around purpose and being a certified benefit corporation. It's a lot of work, a lot of money, and a lot of heavy lifting to become a certified public benefit corporation so the credibility that Danone has, is one of the key reasons I joined the company. Working on a brand like Two Good is really just a dream.

Surbhi Martin
VP Marketing, Danone
Our vision is to have the most loved brands in the restaurant industry, and ultimately, to be the most loved brands out of any industry. If that is your big dream, you need to be doing things that make your brands relevant for the long run. In order to do that, you need to be doing good for the world. Coming here has been a journey in terms of creating the right projects and unlocking the right resources to evolve the brand and the company. I’m a firm believer that the future is already here. You need to look at what's happening on the edges and try, and learn. You're going to lose if you just lean back and wait to see what's going to happen. We need to write the future, and that requires some creativity and experimentation.

Our vision is to have the most loved brands in the restaurant industry, and ultimately, to be the most loved brands out of any industry. If that is your big dream, you need to be doing things that make your brands relevant for the long run. In order to do that, you need to be doing good for the world. Coming here has been a journey in terms of creating the right projects and unlocking the right resources to evolve the brand and the company. I’m a firm believer that the future is already here. You need to look at what's happening on the edges and try, and learn. You're going to lose if you just lean back and wait to see what's going to happen. We need to write the future, and that requires some creativity and experimentation.

Fernando Machado
Global Chief Marketing Officer, RBI
It is really important, especially when you are a consumer good and a lot of your brand is based in these emotional moments that are relevant in the world today, to really be tapped into that culture and to be able to react to it. You can have the best social listening in the world but if you are not able to react to it immediately then why are you listening? We really think especially at BABE we have our finger on the pulse of what our consumers are talking about and then we try to look for what that human insight is and look for where our brand can authentically play. It is not enough to just comment on things. If you are trying to talk to everyone, you are talking to no one, so how do you join cultural moments and really think about what is happening in the world and still be a human and be authentic to that brand and to who your consumer is. It’s a delicate balance.

It is really important, especially when you are a consumer good and a lot of your brand is based in these emotional moments that are relevant in the world today, to really be tapped into that culture and to be able to react to it. You can have the best social listening in the world but if you are not able to react to it immediately then why are you listening? We really think especially at BABE we have our finger on the pulse of what our consumers are talking about and then we try to look for what that human insight is and look for where our brand can authentically play. It is not enough to just comment on things. If you are trying to talk to everyone, you are talking to no one, so how do you join cultural moments and really think about what is happening in the world and still be a human and be authentic to that brand and to who your consumer is. It’s a delicate balance.

Kathleen Braine
Senior Director of Brand Marketing, BABE Wine, Anheuser-Busch InBev
Being open minded from a content perspective is a huge pillar for us. Our core focus is that we believe anyone should marry who they want, when they want, and if they want - the if is actually really important because we care a lot about the marriage more than just the wedding. We {as a society} have to remind ourselves that all of the time, it’s not about spending a lot of money on one given day. it’s about two humans coming together, and how we can use our product and platform to prepare people for that, and that’s talking about relationship health, how to love yourself, what it means to go to therapy - normalizing those aspects and talking through what it’s like to experience it. Also, celebrating second weddings - it’s important to show that there is no right or wrong way to live your life and we are here to support everyone. We are a brand that stands for acceptance, helping people feel good about living their life; however they choose to define it.

Being open minded from a content perspective is a huge pillar for us. Our core focus is that we believe anyone should marry who they want, when they want, and if they want - the if is actually really important because we care a lot about the marriage more than just the wedding. We {as a society} have to remind ourselves that all of the time, it’s not about spending a lot of money on one given day. it’s about two humans coming together, and how we can use our product and platform to prepare people for that, and that’s talking about relationship health, how to love yourself, what it means to go to therapy - normalizing those aspects and talking through what it’s like to experience it. Also, celebrating second weddings - it’s important to show that there is no right or wrong way to live your life and we are here to support everyone. We are a brand that stands for acceptance, helping people feel good about living their life; however they choose to define it.

Amanda Goetz
VP Marketing, The Knot Worldwide
I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of the launch of Taco Bell’s loyalty program - a program that has been in the works for a couple of years. It had to go through a lot of different levels of approvals to make this happen, and believe it or not, the pandemic actually delayed the launch. Something I noticed when I joined Taco Bell was the ability of speed to customers. With the pandemic, Taco Bell did a really great job of reacting to the customer and meeting them where they needed to be. With the safety precautions, ordering ahead in the app and all of the different technical pieces took priority to the loyalty program. We had to put the customer first and make sure the customer knows that we’re on the same road of concern with safety that they are.

I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of the launch of Taco Bell’s loyalty program - a program that has been in the works for a couple of years. It had to go through a lot of different levels of approvals to make this happen, and believe it or not, the pandemic actually delayed the launch. Something I noticed when I joined Taco Bell was the ability of speed to customers. With the pandemic, Taco Bell did a really great job of reacting to the customer and meeting them where they needed to be. With the safety precautions, ordering ahead in the app and all of the different technical pieces took priority to the loyalty program. We had to put the customer first and make sure the customer knows that we’re on the same road of concern with safety that they are.

Ishita Ahmed
Director of Loyalty, CRM, and Personalization, Taco Bell
I think it's important to recognize that we do benefit from culture. It’s the reason why brands want to get involved in cultural conversations - especially today with impressions, likes, news recaps, essentially the roundups. If everyone is talking about the Grammys or the Super Bowl - and you’re taking part in those big moments, hopefully, you’re a part of the broad conversation that is attached to it, which could lead to brand affinity, then sales. Brands need to go beyond participating in culture - what are you adding in value? There is something called a culture vulture and consumers are really good at sussing that out. It’s up to us as brands to recognize that whatever audience we’re targeting at that moment, you are actually adding to the moment instead of taking from it.

I think it's important to recognize that we do benefit from culture. It’s the reason why brands want to get involved in cultural conversations - especially today with impressions, likes, news recaps, essentially the roundups. If everyone is talking about the Grammys or the Super Bowl - and you’re taking part in those big moments, hopefully, you’re a part of the broad conversation that is attached to it, which could lead to brand affinity, then sales. Brands need to go beyond participating in culture - what are you adding in value? There is something called a culture vulture and consumers are really good at sussing that out. It’s up to us as brands to recognize that whatever audience we’re targeting at that moment, you are actually adding to the moment instead of taking from it.

Gilbertson Cuffy
Brand Marketing Director, PepsiCo
There are three primary things that my team does. We work on the Hulu brand, the Hulu content strategy and we work with Hulu’s advertising partners to help them do things beyond the traditional advertising units. In all of those cases, when it comes to my internal teammates, I don’t want them to think of us as an in-house agency because the danger is that your co-workers begin to treat you as a vendor. The people that we work with are not our clients - we are their partners and teammates. When we work with outside agencies, which we always will because we want to become navel-gazers and there are certain capabilities and resources that we don’t have in-house, we don’t want to be seen as a competitor to them - but instead as a collaborator. When we work with our advertising and brand partners, we don’t want their agencies to think of it as us trying to take their role. I think of us as an in-house creative studio, but I don’t think of us as an agency.

There are three primary things that my team does. We work on the Hulu brand, the Hulu content strategy and we work with Hulu’s advertising partners to help them do things beyond the traditional advertising units. In all of those cases, when it comes to my internal teammates, I don’t want them to think of us as an in-house agency because the danger is that your co-workers begin to treat you as a vendor. The people that we work with are not our clients - we are their partners and teammates. When we work with outside agencies, which we always will because we want to become navel-gazers and there are certain capabilities and resources that we don’t have in-house, we don’t want to be seen as a competitor to them - but instead as a collaborator. When we work with our advertising and brand partners, we don’t want their agencies to think of it as us trying to take their role. I think of us as an in-house creative studio, but I don’t think of us as an agency.

Scott Donaton
Head of Creative, Hulu
You’re seeing a meteoric rise of influencers, and I attribute some of that to the fact we haven’t been able to go shopping with friends. We often say that friends and family are the biggest influencers on a purchase. If I can’t go shopping with my best friend in California, where is that influence coming from? It’s likely going to come from those content producers that are entertaining, engaging and really building a relationship with you. I think influencers carry a strong sense of authenticity to their followers. They’re really careful about who they partner with. They feel their personal brand is on the line. And it’s as much a compliment to be chosen by them as it is for you to have a partnership with them.

You’re seeing a meteoric rise of influencers, and I attribute some of that to the fact we haven’t been able to go shopping with friends. We often say that friends and family are the biggest influencers on a purchase. If I can’t go shopping with my best friend in California, where is that influence coming from? It’s likely going to come from those content producers that are entertaining, engaging and really building a relationship with you. I think influencers carry a strong sense of authenticity to their followers. They’re really careful about who they partner with. They feel their personal brand is on the line. And it’s as much a compliment to be chosen by them as it is for you to have a partnership with them.

Shenan Reed
SVP, Head of Media, L'Oreal
Vans is an inclusive brand by nature. Ubiquity is not our objective. We had to live up to our commitment in saying Black Lives Matter. A lot of people come on our site to criticize our Black Lives Matter stance, and they say “All lives matter. I'm throwing my vans in the trash.” And what we’re saying is, that’s ok. We think if you can’t get your head around Black Lives Matter, then maybe Vans isn’t the brand for you. It can be really hard for brands to have that fortitude to let people go. Again, in our mind, it’s quality over quantity of our fans....Posting about Black Lives Matter is easy. The harder thing to do is consistent and ongoing actions by our brand until anti-racist actions are done and we no longer have a system that breeds bigotry, hate and racism in this country.

Vans is an inclusive brand by nature. Ubiquity is not our objective. We had to live up to our commitment in saying Black Lives Matter. A lot of people come on our site to criticize our Black Lives Matter stance, and they say “All lives matter. I'm throwing my vans in the trash.” And what we’re saying is, that’s ok. We think if you can’t get your head around Black Lives Matter, then maybe Vans isn’t the brand for you. It can be really hard for brands to have that fortitude to let people go. Again, in our mind, it’s quality over quantity of our fans....Posting about Black Lives Matter is easy. The harder thing to do is consistent and ongoing actions by our brand until anti-racist actions are done and we no longer have a system that breeds bigotry, hate and racism in this country.

Doug Palladini
Global Brand President, Vans
My first seven months at the Twins, I was focusing not so much on the sport but concentrating on the brand itself. The biggest learning curve for me is there's two different entities: there’s the brand and then there’s the sport. When it comes to the actual sport of baseball, there's nothing I can really change. I'm not on the field or on the coaching staff so I spent a lot of time learning the brand - learning how the organization works and where the opportunities were. The world is changing so fast in terms of entertainment and even though we are a sports team, we’re an entertainment brand as well. If we start to think of ourselves as an entertainment brand over a sports team, our runway is extremely strong.

My first seven months at the Twins, I was focusing not so much on the sport but concentrating on the brand itself. The biggest learning curve for me is there's two different entities: there’s the brand and then there’s the sport. When it comes to the actual sport of baseball, there's nothing I can really change. I'm not on the field or on the coaching staff so I spent a lot of time learning the brand - learning how the organization works and where the opportunities were. The world is changing so fast in terms of entertainment and even though we are a sports team, we’re an entertainment brand as well. If we start to think of ourselves as an entertainment brand over a sports team, our runway is extremely strong.

Heather Hinkel
Senior Director, Brand Strategy, Minnesota Twins
During Covid, our role was very focused on communicating to ease people’s minds. For people traveling, we wanted them to understand that the air on an aircraft is safer than in your office building. But we were not actively promoting travel, we were trying to be very cautious and not encourage people to do something that they’re not ready for. Now we’re hoping we’re getting closer to a place where we can start actively promoting travel. I have a revenue target that I know I have to hit with a combination of promos, performance media and driving storytelling on our owned channels. Four years ago, marketing looked like picking menu items and not contributing to revenue performance, so to be in this position I’m really excited and a little nervous.

During Covid, our role was very focused on communicating to ease people’s minds. For people traveling, we wanted them to understand that the air on an aircraft is safer than in your office building. But we were not actively promoting travel, we were trying to be very cautious and not encourage people to do something that they’re not ready for. Now we’re hoping we’re getting closer to a place where we can start actively promoting travel. I have a revenue target that I know I have to hit with a combination of promos, performance media and driving storytelling on our owned channels. Four years ago, marketing looked like picking menu items and not contributing to revenue performance, so to be in this position I’m really excited and a little nervous.

Natalie Bowman
Managing Director, Marketing and Advertising, Alaska Airlines
I like to say, it’s not the new normal, it’s now the normal. Thinking about the new now, the biggest change for us is how people are purchasing our brand. Spirits was one of the last products to join eCommerce, and Covid forced us to speed this up. What we were seeing in one week we are now seeing in one day. What we had planned to do in two years we are now doing in two weeks. Covid is pushing us. Within a week, we created a platform for bartenders to make money and share our brand. Our brand is built at the bar. Every day at 5pm we had a bartender make a new drink. Every dollar that went on this platform went straight to the bartender. To think the agility that it took to do this in a week of shutdown was amazing.

I like to say, it’s not the new normal, it’s now the normal. Thinking about the new now, the biggest change for us is how people are purchasing our brand. Spirits was one of the last products to join eCommerce, and Covid forced us to speed this up. What we were seeing in one week we are now seeing in one day. What we had planned to do in two years we are now doing in two weeks. Covid is pushing us. Within a week, we created a platform for bartenders to make money and share our brand. Our brand is built at the bar. Every day at 5pm we had a bartender make a new drink. Every dollar that went on this platform went straight to the bartender. To think the agility that it took to do this in a week of shutdown was amazing.

Gabriela McCoy
Director, Strategic Insights and Analytics, Bacardi
In challenging times, the most important thing for a company to do is go back to your mission and let that lead your North star. We want to make sure that everyone has access to good eating. We think good eating brings out the best in all of us, and it’s more than just the food you eat: It’s how you eat it, where you eat it, what you know about the food and where it comes from. In Panera’s case, we say ‘Leave feeling better than you came in,’ and that implies a dining-in experience. Now, if we want to make good eating available for all, it’s about making it available safely and stress free. We’re doubling down on what that means in a pandemic, and a lot of our actions have stemmed directly from that belief.

In challenging times, the most important thing for a company to do is go back to your mission and let that lead your North star. We want to make sure that everyone has access to good eating. We think good eating brings out the best in all of us, and it’s more than just the food you eat: It’s how you eat it, where you eat it, what you know about the food and where it comes from. In Panera’s case, we say ‘Leave feeling better than you came in,’ and that implies a dining-in experience. Now, if we want to make good eating available for all, it’s about making it available safely and stress free. We’re doubling down on what that means in a pandemic, and a lot of our actions have stemmed directly from that belief.

Chris Hollander
Chief Marketing Officer, Panera Bread
This crisis certainly has reminded me how important shared experiences are and I truly believe they’re going to come back. Right now we have to reimagine them. We have to figure out where our customers are and what their needs are, whether it’s thinking about virtual conferences or live experiences that follow social distancing principles. We’re actually executing and testing on those ideas as we speak. Whether it's live streaming theater productions, holding virtual office hours or events for our business customers who need so much help, we've had to think differently. I think you'll see some of these shifts continuing even as the shelter in place restrictions are being lifted across the globe. You have to adapt, and that's what we're doing.

This crisis certainly has reminded me how important shared experiences are and I truly believe they’re going to come back. Right now we have to reimagine them. We have to figure out where our customers are and what their needs are, whether it’s thinking about virtual conferences or live experiences that follow social distancing principles. We’re actually executing and testing on those ideas as we speak. Whether it's live streaming theater productions, holding virtual office hours or events for our business customers who need so much help, we've had to think differently. I think you'll see some of these shifts continuing even as the shelter in place restrictions are being lifted across the globe. You have to adapt, and that's what we're doing.

Elizabeth Rutledge
Chief Marketing Officer, American Express
What we’re seeing now is other networks generating black content or content geared towards African Americans, but they can’t do just that. They too have to show up differently. We like to say ‘You can’t have our rhythm without our blues.’. When things happen we know we have to stand up. We often feel like if BET doesn’t stand up, who will? Even when the pandemic first broke out, none of it was a surprise to us. Literally in a weekend, we knew the severity and impact it was gonna have on our community. It wasn’t like ‘Let’s go report on it.’ It was, ‘Let’s go do something’. And that is BET - it has such an understanding and connection to the community. It never pauses to stand back. It says, ‘We’ve now gotta be at the frontline and help change outcomes.

What we’re seeing now is other networks generating black content or content geared towards African Americans, but they can’t do just that. They too have to show up differently. We like to say ‘You can’t have our rhythm without our blues.’. When things happen we know we have to stand up. We often feel like if BET doesn’t stand up, who will? Even when the pandemic first broke out, none of it was a surprise to us. Literally in a weekend, we knew the severity and impact it was gonna have on our community. It wasn’t like ‘Let’s go report on it.’ It was, ‘Let’s go do something’. And that is BET - it has such an understanding and connection to the community. It never pauses to stand back. It says, ‘We’ve now gotta be at the frontline and help change outcomes.

Kimberly Evans Paige
EVP, Chief Marketing Officer, BET Networks & Live Events, ViacomCBS

Previous Quote's of the Week

Jennifer Kolstad
Global Design Director, Ford Motor Company
In the next ten years, the Ford Motor Company workforce will turn at a rate of 60%, which means we’ll have a younger, more nimble workforce and a new set of values to account for - to champion. We have five generations working together under one roof, so we come at this with a shared value proposition. We need to really think about what our shared values are. What we’re learning so far on the outside of our think tank is that things such as wellness, these are simple things we need to champion. In a post-COVID world, we’re learning new non-negotiables, like systemic resilience and we’re going to fight for that. We’re generating this list of new values that we believe will be present in any context - retail, community building, workforce - wherever for any generation.

In the next ten years, the Ford Motor Company workforce will turn at a rate of 60%, which means we’ll have a younger, more nimble workforce and a new set of values to account for - to champion. We have five generations working together under one roof, so we come at this with a shared value proposition. We need to really think about what our shared values are. What we’re learning so far on the outside of our think tank is that things such as wellness, these are simple things we need to champion. In a post-COVID world, we’re learning new non-negotiables, like systemic resilience and we’re going to fight for that. We’re generating this list of new values that we believe will be present in any context - retail, community building, workforce - wherever for any generation.

Yasmin Grant
Director of Multicultural Marketing, PepsiCo
I always wanted to do marketing in a category where consumers had more of an emotional connection to the brands, connected to the moments that matter and that led me to PepsiCo. I’ve had a lot of different roles at PepsiCo and for the past year, I have been director of marketing for the Hispanic business unit, which was a team that was formed solely to aggressively go after the Hispanic opportunity and the marketing space. I am also involved in a lot of things outside of my day job. I am co-chair of Mosaic, which is our black employee resource group. I am also on the advisory board for The League, which is an initiative that was started in marketing to uplift female marketers. And then obviously with the racial climate being what it is, we have formed a task force to really identify the right equality actions to undertake on behalf of the black community, and I am part of that. I have been with PepsiCo for seven years. What has kept me here is that I can do meaningful work. I feel like I am doing work that makes a difference and PepsiCo gives me a platform for my activism.

I always wanted to do marketing in a category where consumers had more of an emotional connection to the brands, connected to the moments that matter and that led me to PepsiCo. I’ve had a lot of different roles at PepsiCo and for the past year, I have been director of marketing for the Hispanic business unit, which was a team that was formed solely to aggressively go after the Hispanic opportunity and the marketing space. I am also involved in a lot of things outside of my day job. I am co-chair of Mosaic, which is our black employee resource group. I am also on the advisory board for The League, which is an initiative that was started in marketing to uplift female marketers. And then obviously with the racial climate being what it is, we have formed a task force to really identify the right equality actions to undertake on behalf of the black community, and I am part of that. I have been with PepsiCo for seven years. What has kept me here is that I can do meaningful work. I feel like I am doing work that makes a difference and PepsiCo gives me a platform for my activism.

Alia Kemet
Vice President, Creative & Digital Communications, McCormick & Company
I started working very early, when I was 14. I had a unique first job; I worked in a stock room at a retail store and learned how to dress the windows, which is really when I learned about targeting. You have to understand targeting in order to dress the window. I would tell the young people today to start your work ethic early. Working is like a muscle; you have to come to work and put all of yourself into it. I find that many young people who haven’t had to work, when the work is put on them, they’re like ‘Woah, wait a minute, we’re still in it?’ To anyone trying to break in, you need to be gritty, especially if you’re a person of color. I hate to bring up this mantra, but it’s true. If you're a person of color, a black person in particular, you have to work harder than the next person. So I come to the table with my goal being ‘Always win against myself.’ I have high standards. I want to be that person that comes in and does something that no one else has done before and completely transform business results.

I started working very early, when I was 14. I had a unique first job; I worked in a stock room at a retail store and learned how to dress the windows, which is really when I learned about targeting. You have to understand targeting in order to dress the window. I would tell the young people today to start your work ethic early. Working is like a muscle; you have to come to work and put all of yourself into it. I find that many young people who haven’t had to work, when the work is put on them, they’re like ‘Woah, wait a minute, we’re still in it?’ To anyone trying to break in, you need to be gritty, especially if you’re a person of color. I hate to bring up this mantra, but it’s true. If you're a person of color, a black person in particular, you have to work harder than the next person. So I come to the table with my goal being ‘Always win against myself.’ I have high standards. I want to be that person that comes in and does something that no one else has done before and completely transform business results.

Matthew Coleman
Marketing Director, State Farm
We’re founded on making sure we’re building relationships, helping customers in communities and just being a good neighbor. That’s further shaped by the mission, vision and values that we have. Every interaction we have with our customers is pivotal to that brand promise. When you’re thinking of the environment we’re in right now, whether that’s wildfires or hurricanes, we know those are crucial moments where we have an opportunity to show up and really help people. We call that the moment of truth. But it’s not just in those environments that people are looking for help. If you think about COVID, people are really concerned about their health, their loved ones, and leaving their legacy, and that’s where State Farm comes in. Being able to meet the needs of customers regardless of where they are in their life stage is really important to us.

We’re founded on making sure we’re building relationships, helping customers in communities and just being a good neighbor. That’s further shaped by the mission, vision and values that we have. Every interaction we have with our customers is pivotal to that brand promise. When you’re thinking of the environment we’re in right now, whether that’s wildfires or hurricanes, we know those are crucial moments where we have an opportunity to show up and really help people. We call that the moment of truth. But it’s not just in those environments that people are looking for help. If you think about COVID, people are really concerned about their health, their loved ones, and leaving their legacy, and that’s where State Farm comes in. Being able to meet the needs of customers regardless of where they are in their life stage is really important to us.

Brian Voynick
CRM Campaigns Manager, BMW of North America
First party behavioral data trumps psychographic which trumps demographic. As long as you can see the customer’s actions and intentions, that’s the best way to create any sort of experience. That makes you a better marketer and provides better content. This is the age of context. If you’re not delivering experiences that are contextually relevant to the consumer, they’re getting bombarded from all different cylinders and you won’t catch their attention. We need to make sure that when we present someone with an opportunity that it fits into what they actually need. Every once in a while, I get an ad and I’m so enamored by it, that I have to buy the product, because it was targeted too well. Maybe I needed it, maybe I didn’t, but I bought it. That’s the goal.

First party behavioral data trumps psychographic which trumps demographic. As long as you can see the customer’s actions and intentions, that’s the best way to create any sort of experience. That makes you a better marketer and provides better content. This is the age of context. If you’re not delivering experiences that are contextually relevant to the consumer, they’re getting bombarded from all different cylinders and you won’t catch their attention. We need to make sure that when we present someone with an opportunity that it fits into what they actually need. Every once in a while, I get an ad and I’m so enamored by it, that I have to buy the product, because it was targeted too well. Maybe I needed it, maybe I didn’t, but I bought it. That’s the goal.

Elle McCarthy
Head of Brand, Electronic Arts (EA)
EA hasn’t had someone looking after EA as a brand before. How do you reinvigorate a hero brand from scratch from the privacy of your own living room? We were founded to lift up gaming as the entertainment medium of the world and to hero our developers and make them be at the center of our business. All of these founding principles are so rich and steeped in history, so I had been thinking a little bit about that and looking at our player data, and created the simplest brief you could imagine. It had three rules. What can we do to help people connect during this time?. What can we do to help people connect to our developers and our talent? And what can we do to help people connect to things that we miss in the real world? Those first two things, any gaming company can do that, the third one, is actually leaning into the thing that really differentiates us through time.

EA hasn’t had someone looking after EA as a brand before. How do you reinvigorate a hero brand from scratch from the privacy of your own living room? We were founded to lift up gaming as the entertainment medium of the world and to hero our developers and make them be at the center of our business. All of these founding principles are so rich and steeped in history, so I had been thinking a little bit about that and looking at our player data, and created the simplest brief you could imagine. It had three rules. What can we do to help people connect during this time?. What can we do to help people connect to our developers and our talent? And what can we do to help people connect to things that we miss in the real world? Those first two things, any gaming company can do that, the third one, is actually leaning into the thing that really differentiates us through time.

Surbhi Martin
VP Marketing, Danone
I joined Danone for two reasons. One is that there's a real sense of purpose at Danone, A lot of companies talk about purpose but the fact that Danone is the world's largest public benefit corporation, brings a lot of credibility to what that means at Danone. It means that we are actively talking about purpose - about how we will use business as a force for social good. It's really quite unbelievable to me that on a daily basis, I'll join some sort of conversation about how we’ll walk the talk around purpose and being a certified benefit corporation. It's a lot of work, a lot of money, and a lot of heavy lifting to become a certified public benefit corporation so the credibility that Danone has, is one of the key reasons I joined the company. Working on a brand like Two Good is really just a dream.

I joined Danone for two reasons. One is that there's a real sense of purpose at Danone, A lot of companies talk about purpose but the fact that Danone is the world's largest public benefit corporation, brings a lot of credibility to what that means at Danone. It means that we are actively talking about purpose - about how we will use business as a force for social good. It's really quite unbelievable to me that on a daily basis, I'll join some sort of conversation about how we’ll walk the talk around purpose and being a certified benefit corporation. It's a lot of work, a lot of money, and a lot of heavy lifting to become a certified public benefit corporation so the credibility that Danone has, is one of the key reasons I joined the company. Working on a brand like Two Good is really just a dream.

Fernando Machado
Global Chief Marketing Officer, RBI
Kathleen Braine
Senior Director of Brand Marketing, BABE Wine, Anheuser-Busch InBev
It is really important, especially when you are a consumer good and a lot of your brand is based in these emotional moments that are relevant in the world today, to really be tapped into that culture and to be able to react to it. You can have the best social listening in the world but if you are not able to react to it immediately then why are you listening? We really think especially at BABE we have our finger on the pulse of what our consumers are talking about and then we try to look for what that human insight is and look for where our brand can authentically play. It is not enough to just comment on things. If you are trying to talk to everyone, you are talking to no one, so how do you join cultural moments and really think about what is happening in the world and still be a human and be authentic to that brand and to who your consumer is. It’s a delicate balance.

It is really important, especially when you are a consumer good and a lot of your brand is based in these emotional moments that are relevant in the world today, to really be tapped into that culture and to be able to react to it. You can have the best social listening in the world but if you are not able to react to it immediately then why are you listening? We really think especially at BABE we have our finger on the pulse of what our consumers are talking about and then we try to look for what that human insight is and look for where our brand can authentically play. It is not enough to just comment on things. If you are trying to talk to everyone, you are talking to no one, so how do you join cultural moments and really think about what is happening in the world and still be a human and be authentic to that brand and to who your consumer is. It’s a delicate balance.

Amanda Goetz
VP Marketing, The Knot Worldwide
Being open minded from a content perspective is a huge pillar for us. Our core focus is that we believe anyone should marry who they want, when they want, and if they want - the if is actually really important because we care a lot about the marriage more than just the wedding. We {as a society} have to remind ourselves that all of the time, it’s not about spending a lot of money on one given day. it’s about two humans coming together, and how we can use our product and platform to prepare people for that, and that’s talking about relationship health, how to love yourself, what it means to go to therapy - normalizing those aspects and talking through what it’s like to experience it. Also, celebrating second weddings - it’s important to show that there is no right or wrong way to live your life and we are here to support everyone. We are a brand that stands for acceptance, helping people feel good about living their life; however they choose to define it.

Being open minded from a content perspective is a huge pillar for us. Our core focus is that we believe anyone should marry who they want, when they want, and if they want - the if is actually really important because we care a lot about the marriage more than just the wedding. We {as a society} have to remind ourselves that all of the time, it’s not about spending a lot of money on one given day. it’s about two humans coming together, and how we can use our product and platform to prepare people for that, and that’s talking about relationship health, how to love yourself, what it means to go to therapy - normalizing those aspects and talking through what it’s like to experience it. Also, celebrating second weddings - it’s important to show that there is no right or wrong way to live your life and we are here to support everyone. We are a brand that stands for acceptance, helping people feel good about living their life; however they choose to define it.

Ishita Ahmed
Director of Loyalty, CRM, and Personalization, Taco Bell
I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of the launch of Taco Bell’s loyalty program - a program that has been in the works for a couple of years. It had to go through a lot of different levels of approvals to make this happen, and believe it or not, the pandemic actually delayed the launch. Something I noticed when I joined Taco Bell was the ability of speed to customers. With the pandemic, Taco Bell did a really great job of reacting to the customer and meeting them where they needed to be. With the safety precautions, ordering ahead in the app and all of the different technical pieces took priority to the loyalty program. We had to put the customer first and make sure the customer knows that we’re on the same road of concern with safety that they are.

I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of the launch of Taco Bell’s loyalty program - a program that has been in the works for a couple of years. It had to go through a lot of different levels of approvals to make this happen, and believe it or not, the pandemic actually delayed the launch. Something I noticed when I joined Taco Bell was the ability of speed to customers. With the pandemic, Taco Bell did a really great job of reacting to the customer and meeting them where they needed to be. With the safety precautions, ordering ahead in the app and all of the different technical pieces took priority to the loyalty program. We had to put the customer first and make sure the customer knows that we’re on the same road of concern with safety that they are.

Gilbertson Cuffy
Brand Marketing Director, PepsiCo
I think it's important to recognize that we do benefit from culture. It’s the reason why brands want to get involved in cultural conversations - especially today with impressions, likes, news recaps, essentially the roundups. If everyone is talking about the Grammys or the Super Bowl - and you’re taking part in those big moments, hopefully, you’re a part of the broad conversation that is attached to it, which could lead to brand affinity, then sales. Brands need to go beyond participating in culture - what are you adding in value? There is something called a culture vulture and consumers are really good at sussing that out. It’s up to us as brands to recognize that whatever audience we’re targeting at that moment, you are actually adding to the moment instead of taking from it.

I think it's important to recognize that we do benefit from culture. It’s the reason why brands want to get involved in cultural conversations - especially today with impressions, likes, news recaps, essentially the roundups. If everyone is talking about the Grammys or the Super Bowl - and you’re taking part in those big moments, hopefully, you’re a part of the broad conversation that is attached to it, which could lead to brand affinity, then sales. Brands need to go beyond participating in culture - what are you adding in value? There is something called a culture vulture and consumers are really good at sussing that out. It’s up to us as brands to recognize that whatever audience we’re targeting at that moment, you are actually adding to the moment instead of taking from it.

Scott Donaton
Head of Creative, Hulu
There are three primary things that my team does. We work on the Hulu brand, the Hulu content strategy and we work with Hulu’s advertising partners to help them do things beyond the traditional advertising units. In all of those cases, when it comes to my internal teammates, I don’t want them to think of us as an in-house agency because the danger is that your co-workers begin to treat you as a vendor. The people that we work with are not our clients - we are their partners and teammates. When we work with outside agencies, which we always will because we want to become navel-gazers and there are certain capabilities and resources that we don’t have in-house, we don’t want to be seen as a competitor to them - but instead as a collaborator. When we work with our advertising and brand partners, we don’t want their agencies to think of it as us trying to take their role. I think of us as an in-house creative studio, but I don’t think of us as an agency.

There are three primary things that my team does. We work on the Hulu brand, the Hulu content strategy and we work with Hulu’s advertising partners to help them do things beyond the traditional advertising units. In all of those cases, when it comes to my internal teammates, I don’t want them to think of us as an in-house agency because the danger is that your co-workers begin to treat you as a vendor. The people that we work with are not our clients - we are their partners and teammates. When we work with outside agencies, which we always will because we want to become navel-gazers and there are certain capabilities and resources that we don’t have in-house, we don’t want to be seen as a competitor to them - but instead as a collaborator. When we work with our advertising and brand partners, we don’t want their agencies to think of it as us trying to take their role. I think of us as an in-house creative studio, but I don’t think of us as an agency.

Shenan Reed
SVP, Head of Media, L'Oreal
Doug Palladini
Global Brand President, Vans
Vans is an inclusive brand by nature. Ubiquity is not our objective. We had to live up to our commitment in saying Black Lives Matter. A lot of people come on our site to criticize our Black Lives Matter stance, and they say “All lives matter. I'm throwing my vans in the trash.” And what we’re saying is, that’s ok. We think if you can’t get your head around Black Lives Matter, then maybe Vans isn’t the brand for you. It can be really hard for brands to have that fortitude to let people go. Again, in our mind, it’s quality over quantity of our fans....Posting about Black Lives Matter is easy. The harder thing to do is consistent and ongoing actions by our brand until anti-racist actions are done and we no longer have a system that breeds bigotry, hate and racism in this country.

Vans is an inclusive brand by nature. Ubiquity is not our objective. We had to live up to our commitment in saying Black Lives Matter. A lot of people come on our site to criticize our Black Lives Matter stance, and they say “All lives matter. I'm throwing my vans in the trash.” And what we’re saying is, that’s ok. We think if you can’t get your head around Black Lives Matter, then maybe Vans isn’t the brand for you. It can be really hard for brands to have that fortitude to let people go. Again, in our mind, it’s quality over quantity of our fans....Posting about Black Lives Matter is easy. The harder thing to do is consistent and ongoing actions by our brand until anti-racist actions are done and we no longer have a system that breeds bigotry, hate and racism in this country.

Heather Hinkel
Senior Director, Brand Strategy, Minnesota Twins
Natalie Bowman
Managing Director, Marketing and Advertising, Alaska Airlines
During Covid, our role was very focused on communicating to ease people’s minds. For people traveling, we wanted them to understand that the air on an aircraft is safer than in your office building. But we were not actively promoting travel, we were trying to be very cautious and not encourage people to do something that they’re not ready for. Now we’re hoping we’re getting closer to a place where we can start actively promoting travel. I have a revenue target that I know I have to hit with a combination of promos, performance media and driving storytelling on our owned channels. Four years ago, marketing looked like picking menu items and not contributing to revenue performance, so to be in this position I’m really excited and a little nervous.

During Covid, our role was very focused on communicating to ease people’s minds. For people traveling, we wanted them to understand that the air on an aircraft is safer than in your office building. But we were not actively promoting travel, we were trying to be very cautious and not encourage people to do something that they’re not ready for. Now we’re hoping we’re getting closer to a place where we can start actively promoting travel. I have a revenue target that I know I have to hit with a combination of promos, performance media and driving storytelling on our owned channels. Four years ago, marketing looked like picking menu items and not contributing to revenue performance, so to be in this position I’m really excited and a little nervous.

Gabriela McCoy
Director, Strategic Insights and Analytics, Bacardi
Chris Hollander
Chief Marketing Officer, Panera Bread
Elizabeth Rutledge
Chief Marketing Officer, American Express
This crisis certainly has reminded me how important shared experiences are and I truly believe they’re going to come back. Right now we have to reimagine them. We have to figure out where our customers are and what their needs are, whether it’s thinking about virtual conferences or live experiences that follow social distancing principles. We’re actually executing and testing on those ideas as we speak. Whether it's live streaming theater productions, holding virtual office hours or events for our business customers who need so much help, we've had to think differently. I think you'll see some of these shifts continuing even as the shelter in place restrictions are being lifted across the globe. You have to adapt, and that's what we're doing.

This crisis certainly has reminded me how important shared experiences are and I truly believe they’re going to come back. Right now we have to reimagine them. We have to figure out where our customers are and what their needs are, whether it’s thinking about virtual conferences or live experiences that follow social distancing principles. We’re actually executing and testing on those ideas as we speak. Whether it's live streaming theater productions, holding virtual office hours or events for our business customers who need so much help, we've had to think differently. I think you'll see some of these shifts continuing even as the shelter in place restrictions are being lifted across the globe. You have to adapt, and that's what we're doing.

Kimberly Evans Paige
EVP, Chief Marketing Officer, BET Networks & Live Events, ViacomCBS
What we’re seeing now is other networks generating black content or content geared towards African Americans, but they can’t do just that. They too have to show up differently. We like to say ‘You can’t have our rhythm without our blues.’. When things happen we know we have to stand up. We often feel like if BET doesn’t stand up, who will? Even when the pandemic first broke out, none of it was a surprise to us. Literally in a weekend, we knew the severity and impact it was gonna have on our community. It wasn’t like ‘Let’s go report on it.’ It was, ‘Let’s go do something’. And that is BET - it has such an understanding and connection to the community. It never pauses to stand back. It says, ‘We’ve now gotta be at the frontline and help change outcomes.

What we’re seeing now is other networks generating black content or content geared towards African Americans, but they can’t do just that. They too have to show up differently. We like to say ‘You can’t have our rhythm without our blues.’. When things happen we know we have to stand up. We often feel like if BET doesn’t stand up, who will? Even when the pandemic first broke out, none of it was a surprise to us. Literally in a weekend, we knew the severity and impact it was gonna have on our community. It wasn’t like ‘Let’s go report on it.’ It was, ‘Let’s go do something’. And that is BET - it has such an understanding and connection to the community. It never pauses to stand back. It says, ‘We’ve now gotta be at the frontline and help change outcomes.

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