What Brand Marketers Need to Know: From Mastercard, Frito-Lay, Kohl’s, Disney and More

By Media in the Age of Algorithms Archives
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Day 2 of the ANA Masters of Marketing conference continued the "Good/Growth" theme and at its best provided compelling examples of how business and marketing can be transformational by putting in the hard work to impact consumers' deepest needs.

Raja Rajamannar of Mastercard showcased a new program, "True Name by MasterCard", which addresses the deep conflict that occurs for LGBTQIA+ persons when their legal name is a disconnect with who they are. "True Name" allows the cardholder to use the name they identify with on their card. It was a hugely complex undertaking with Mastercard's partner banks but is now in 30 markets. It's their best performing card in history on many levels, from transactions to repayment behaviors. Yet another compelling example of how marketing is at its best when there is a meaningful product difference to shine a light on.

On a lighter note, Frito-Lay showcased their "best at" ability to raise involvement through creative celebrity partnerships and marquee events like the Super Bowl. CMO Rachel Ferdinando sums it up as simply "coming from a place of joy."

Shenan Reed, head of media for L'Oreal, drove home the complexity of today's landscape with two key observations: "We have never done away with a single ad format (just added new ones); and by her math there are more than 73,000 permutations on ways to buy media today. She revisited the classic "good-cheap-fast" dilemma, making a strong case that "good" is foundational -- leaving the choice between "fast" and "cheap." Final takeaway? Go for good and fast, but just not too expensive.

Amy Pascal, head of marketing and brand strategy for Weber, told the origin story of the company, noting that "all great innovation begins with 'what if?'" and that the most iconic brand stories are those where the consumer tells the story along with you.

2020 was a pivotal year for retail, and Kohl's CMO Greg Revelle reveals a multitude of pivots that the retailer made, from streamlining its rewards program to increasing investment in social through a number of diverse influencers, to fundamental product changes- eliminating multiple brands, reviving the Amazon return program and embarking on a huge new partnership with Sephora.

The first panel of the conference took on the herculean challenge of identifying whether diverse efforts were working. Disney's Rita Ferro emphasized the corporate and human challenges, noting that Disney wants to make it easy to work with them, and calling out that "If you can't measure it, it won't matter."

Tony Mokry of Cricket Wireless notes that Cricket has always had a multi-cultural core position, so it's total marketing program has diversity at its core and can be measured by total business results. Tony highlighted an HBCU campaign that was driven creatively by Ewurakua Dawson, Amoah, a young, black female director who herself attended an HBCU.

That theme of results continued into the "SeeHer" panel, where Julie Yufe of Anheuser-Busch/InBev shared this powerful nugget: they have seen that the accurate portrayal of women has led to a sales lift between two and five percent. In a business segment that posted -0.5% results in 2021, that's a big darn deal. The SeeHer member panelists concur that using SeeHer's GEM (Gender Equality Measurement) technique has delivered meaningful improvements and business results.

Quotable Quotes of the Day

"If your brand is not respectful of the consumer, it's not going to be relevant" -- Rita Ferro

"It's not just about who's in front of the camera but who's behind it" -- SeeHer panel

Photos courtesy of Pattie Glod.

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