The world of brand and agency marketing is constantly changing. The best way to keep up? Listen in as Paul Dyer, Nick Taylor and other members of Lippe Taylor sit down with marketers, makers, brand executives, agency veterans, technologists, friends and key voices of innovation in the marketing ecosystem. Each week brings relevant discussions and bite-sized insights on the topics driving shifts in marketing, advertising, social media, influencer marketing, technology and consumer buying behavior. Episodes also offer an insider view into the processes and best practices of entrepreneurs & marketing superstars.
LEVI’S Global Brand President, Jen Sey
Jen Sey is the global brand president at Levi Strauss & Co., where she is responsible for marketing, design, merchandising, and brand experience. Jen has been with Levi Strauss & Co. for more than 20 years, holding a variety of leadership positions within the Marketing, Strategy, and Ecommerce teams. In 2013, Jen became the global chief marketing officer for the Levi’s brand and in 2018 was appointed senior vice president and chief marketing officer, overseeing marketing for the company’s portfolio of brands.
Jen has been named one of AdAge’s "Top 40 Marketers Under 40" one of Brand Innovators' "Top 50 Women in Marketing," Billboard Magazine’s "Top 25 Most Powerful People in Music and Fashion," receiver of the CMO Social Responsibility Award and she was featured on Forbes CMO Next List: 50 Chief Marketers Who Are Redefining the CMO role.
As a child, Jen led an intense life of dedication, challenge, and competition. She won the U.S. National Gymnastics Championship title in 1986, less than one year after having suffered a devastating injury at the 1985 World Championships. As a result, the U.S. Olympic Committee named her Gymnastics’ Athlete of the Year. Jen retired after eight years on the national team and went on to study at Stanford University. In 2008, Jen released a memoir, “Chalked Up,” a New York Times E-Book Best Seller detailing her triumphs and struggles within the world of competitive gymnastics. Jen's book led to her producing a Netflix documentary on the investigation and ultimate conviction of Larry Nassar and the decades-long abusive culture of USA Gymnastics.
This was a pretty wide-ranging conversation and Jen really over delivered on the leadership advice here, focusing a lot on how climbing the corporate ladder is not always a recipe for success in corporate America, as well as details on how Levi's weathered the storm of COVID-19 and keys to establishing an authentic company culture.
Here are some key takeaways from this conversation with Jen.
Focus on expansion over upward progression. This is a great piece of career advice. In addition to her executive position at a Fortune 500 brand, Jen is a former elite athlete, published author, and successful documentary producer. She has had accomplishments in many disparate arenas, and each experience seems to have compounded to develop her professionally in ways that serve just about everything she does. This may run counter to the 'Jack of all trades' debate, but Jen makes it work beautifully. When Jen found herself overly focused on climbing the corporate ladder, she frequently felt stuck. What Jen found to be a much more effective and enjoyable strategy for her career progression was to focus on experiences and projects that would expand her skill sets and knowledge base. Doing so made her a much more well-rounded professional with the ability to pivot, adapt, and learn new skills, all of which served her tremendously as a leader.
Bring a unified version of yourself to everything you do. When publishing her first book, Jen's initial instinct was to be silent about it out of concern it could make her seem less dedicated to her corporate work. As her book's popularity blew up and she began doing a robust amount of media interviews, ultimately, she could no longer hide it. What ended up happening when people found out though, was the opposite of what she had feared; her new accomplishment was extremely impressive to many people and made her more synonymous with being outspoken, creative, and downright more interesting, all of which ultimately helped her career. So if you're accomplishing a lot with your side hustles, don't hide them because they may just help boost your corporate persona.
Creating an environment for true selves is the key to authenticity, and it starts at the top. Leaders who are forthright about their own fe
GODIVA CMO, John Galloway on Bringing Sweetness to 2020
John Galloway is chief marketing and innovation officer for Godiva Chocolatier, the 95-year-old Belgian maker of premium chocolate. He joined the company in 2018 after nearly 30 years in marketing, including substantial stints at Pepsi and Hard Rock.
John came to Godiva from a position as CEO of Beautiful Day, where he worked for three years to roll out the lifestyle brand startup. Before that he was with Hard Rock for eight years, handling advertising, public relations, loyalty, and social media for 208 hotels, casinos, cafés, and music venues in 75 countries.
At PepsiCo, he began with the Mountain Dew brand and worked in sports marketing, integration of new acquisitions, and other areas, concluding as vice president of marketing for Gatorade. Before that, he worked for agencies including TracyLocke and Burson Marsteller. John has a bachelor of arts in marketing from Manhattan College and attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Here are some key takeaways from this conversation with John Galloway.
Get your guard-rails in place to disaster-proof your brand. The past year was extremely challenging for most brands, but the brands who weathered the storm the best were the ones who had the strongest sense of who they are. The best way to respond to tragedy is with authenticity, which can only come from a brand that knows its identity, mission, purpose, and overall reason for being. Having a handle on this enables you to not only act fast in real-time, but it enables your team to do so as well. If your company has a universal understanding of your brand's identity, you can move faster and further in a crisis by giving more autonomy to your employees. This was a key to John’s ability to weather the storm of 2020 by hanging true to Godiva's north star of “opening people’s eyes to a more wonderful world.”
Stick to your cause. This is an interesting, albeit controversial topic. Godiva is a very cause-oriented organization, but John recommends picking a cause and sticking to it, investing in it, and focusing on it. In a world where there's a lot of bandwagon CSR, people can spot greenwashing, or any kind of washing, a mile away. Sticking to one cause not only prevents you from watering down your company's footprint in a specific charity or cause, but it's the kind of dedication that affects real change, all while showing your customers that you're the real deal.
Show your face! This is a simple one but potentially powerful. In our ZOOM-driven world, it's easy to turn the camera off and listen in on meetings, as ZOOM fatigue is a real thing. However, John claims that keeping the cameras on creates more energy, fosters community, and makes the meetings more productive. Today, a key element of retaining your staff is ensuring that they feel like they are part of a community, and having everyone see everyone else helps do that. Also, studies show that when people go through the motions of looking and dressing their best to prepare to be on camera, they're naturally more optimistic and productive, which we all could use more of.
Origin Stories: SWAG.com CEO Jeremy Parker on the Startup Hustle and Lessons Learned from Jessie Itzler & David Goggins
Jeremy Parker is the Co-founder and CEO of Swag.com, the eCommerce platform for purchasing promotional materials that people actually want to keep. When you think of the promotional products industry, you might think of cheaply made items you pickup conferences only to eventually throw away. Or, god forbid you've ever had to order promotional products yourself and are aware of the nightmare of dealing with shipping inquiries, quality issues, and all manner of inconvenience synonymous with that industry. Swag.com's mission is to take the pain out of ordering customized promotional material with a focus on high quality, frictionless ordering, and seamless distribution. Swag.com launched in 2016 and has since become the fastest-growing company in the promotional product space. Inc. magazine recently included the company on its list of fastest-growing companies in the country. Swag.com’s thousands of customers include corporate giants like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, and TikTok. In this conversation, Jeremy discusses the founding of Swag.com, what he learned from pivotal mentors, and how he was able to observe and utilize Uber's inventory-free model to great success.
Observe the Uber model of curation organization and obliterating friction.
The foundation of SWAG.com was born out of the constant frustration most people have when ordering branded items for their companies or clients. Something as simple as branded t-shirts or water bottles can be a nightmarish process consisting of hours of research, waiting around for samples to arrive, comparing price quotes, etc. And even then, quality is never guaranteed. Instead of starting their own custom branding company from scratch, Swag.com yielded the Uber model of brokering, whereby they found and vetted a series of high-quality and trusted custom merchandise providers and created a network of them that they would dispatch orders to through their e-commerce platform. This allowed them to move fast and operate on a large scale, all with a very lean company structure.
Pound the pavement. When he was just starting out with Swag.com, Jeremy landed an enormous client right out of the gate, Facebook. How did he get Facebook? It wasn't from months of cold calling and emailing and asking for a meeting; no, he showed up at their office. By inserting his own foot in the door, decision-makers met with him and ultimately signed on to be his client. This caused a social proof domino effect because once he announced that he had a titan like Facebook as a client, WeWork and Netflix jumped on board next and the snowball for Swag.com was very much set in motion. Clearly, showing up at someone's office without an appointment doesn't always work, and you're likely to be turned away but, if you do it enough times, who knows, you may be surprised at who will take an impromptu meeting with you and what it can lead to.
Surround yourself with greatness. In his earlier years, Jeremy worked very closely with Jessie Itzler, serial entrepreneur, social media personality,self-development guru, and husband to Spanx founder Sara Blakely. Jeremy's time with Jessie was incredibly formidable for his work ethic, entrepreneurial sensibility, intelligence, and overall hustle. If that wasn't enough, Jeremy got to spend a great deal of time with David Goggins; ex-Navy SEAL, motivational speaker, and downright badass in every sense of the word. The combination of these two mentors imbued Jeremy with innate entrepreneurial intelligence and a rock-solid discipline that he carried into Swag.com to the tune of great success. The saying goes that you become the sum total of the five people you spend the most amount of time with, so choose wisely. If you're around great, prosperous, and inspirational people, you're more than likely to turn out the same way.
Origin Stories: Jordan Silbert & Q Mixers
Jordan Silbert is the founder and CEO of Q Mixers, the premium brand of cocktail mixers. The idea for the company came to him while he was drinking top-shelf gin mixed with low-quality tonic with friends and asked himself, “Shouldn’t my tonic be as good as my gin?” Next came years of experimenting before he devised the perfect blend of high-quality ingredients and ample carbonation that became the brand’s first product. Today the Brooklyn-based company has 11 products and is distributed by all major retailers, in addition to being stocked by discerning bartenders everywhere.
Before founding Q Mixers in 2006, Jordan was director of rebuilding initiatives for the Alliance for Downtown New York, where he provided the creative spark to revitalize parts of Lower Manhattan devastated by 9/11. Prior to that, he was director of business development for a startup, EQuill, that was eventually acquired by Microsoft. At earlier stages in his career, as an account executive with iTraffic, he oversaw day-to-day online marketing for Disney.com and was an economic development fellow with the Sonoma County Economic Development Board.
Jordan has an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a bachelor of arts in public policy from Brown University.
In this conversation with Lippe Taylor CEO Paul Dyer, Jordan discusses his entrepreneurial journey behind the launching of Q Mixers and how the brand has faired during the age of Covid. Please enjoy this conversation with Jordan Silbert.
BAYER US VP of Corporate Affairs, Ray Kerins, on Crisis Comms and the Role of Communications in the Covid Economy
“Let's all work together to find a solution, as opposed to figuring out what this person did wrong, or that person did wrong. There's no time for that anymore. People are dying, and we have to find the solutions.”
Mentor by J&J President, Diane Gomez Thinnes
Diane Gomez-Thinnes is Worldwide President at Mentor, one of the world’s biggest makers of breast implants for aesthetic and post-surgical breast reconstruction. Diane has been with the Johnson & Johnson company since 2016 and held the title of vice president for U.S. marketing and global strategic marketing before ascending to the role of president in 2019.
Before Mentor, Diane was a marketing executive for medical device makers Ethicon and Cordis. She began her career as an engineer in the oil business and has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Princeton as well as an M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
In this conversation with Lippe Taylor CEO, Paul Dyer, Diane got into everything from COVID ERA communications to mentorship and championing women in communications. Please enjoy this conversation with Mentor President Diane Gomez Thinnes.
Produced by Simpler Media
I'm grateful there's no ads interrupting them, so I can just put it on autopilot and listen straight thru
I don't always get specific takeaways, but it's one of my favorite podcasts for just finding new ideas
Changed my Marketing Plan
One of the episodes of this show - and I'm not saying which one, totally changed my plan for 2021.