Equity, Inclusivity & Brand Responsibility with Reckitt

Episode · 1 year ago

Equity, Inclusivity & Brand Responsibility with Reckitt


Marketers are given millions of dollars to get their brand message out to millions of people. That’s a lot of power, and there’s a lot of social responsibility tied up in it.

According to today’s guest, Nobles Crawford, Senior Media Manager at Reckitt, that’s a big reason why this industry has incredible cultural importance. Brands have the potential to build a more equitable and inclusive society, and in this episode, Nobles shares what marketers should be doing with that opportunity.

What we talked about:

-Demanding accountability from social media platforms

-How privacy initiatives impact media strategy

-Conducting a risk assessment on creative ideas to drive innovation

Nobles Crawford’s LinkedIn Profile can be found here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/noblesc/

Find this interview and many more by subscribing to BRAND-SIDE on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or our website.
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Right now, in this history of America, in this history of the world, really, marketers are extremely important and at the forefront of driving a more equitable and inclusive culture. Welcome to brand side, a new podcast by Celtra where we interview marketing, creative operations and design leaders to find out what life is like in house, first agency side and how big creative ideas come to life at the world's best prance. This is brand side by Sultra. Welcome back on the brand side show, and today we have noble s Crawford, who is a senior media manager at record Ben Kisser, which is a multinational consumer goods company with brands like Lysol are, wake, finish and many, many more. Nobles, welcome on the show. Thanks so much, Christine. Really appreciate being here. I love everything that Soultra does and I'm just really glad to contribute to your team success. No, it's a we had a really great conversation with you when we first got introduced and but before we get into everything you're doing at our be today, how did you get your start in marketing? Sure, I kind of fell into it like a lot of other people. Do you know in this media area? I guess. I graduated from Hostra no five with a bachelor of science and video television business. So it was like a dual major and like business and communications basically, and after a year in market research and a small market research firm in Long Island, I really wanted to start, you know, to work in the city. So I just then, you know, spamming my resume out to everything with the title marketing in it or coming from marketing in this small company called Neo at Ogilvy that just split off from mine. Share had a position over for an assistant media planner and and as anyone probably on this podcast or listens podcast knows, assistant media planners like the entry level work you're going to be doing, you know, at the agency in a media planning capacity. And it was for digital specifically, because neo it Ogvie was a digital division of Ogilvy, which is more traditionally a creative shop at the time, and so I kind of fell into it. They they liked my market research backgrounds. Obviously I knew something about communications because I had a degree in it, and I didn't know what digital media planning was. I mean again, you have to you know, this is like two thousand and six at this point. I mean facebook, I think it just started around here. Youtube, I think maybe was a company, but it wasn't. It was basically it had certainly wasn't a Google Company. I think they had just started around this time. The digital market place was completely different than what we see. But I mean obviously, being a, you know, twenty four or twenty three year old actually, I knew that the future was in digital and I jumped in for all it was worth and then I kind of came up to the ranks. Of course. I went from digital planning to integrate a media buying and strategy to having my own start up for three years and technology to then communication strategy and then I landed over here wreckett fourteen years later, or the third teen years later at the time, and I've been here for about two and a half years. Actually, a twelve years later. So I've been...

...here about two and a half years now. But that's how I got my start. Yeah, and so what's what's your job like today? I know that you work a lot on Liesel, but you also oversee media planning across other hygiene brands. Is that correct? Yeah, so, so with my title, I spend all the brands and being the senior on the communications team, I managed to other calm strategists. So I do focus mainly on Lysol, but I do dive down to certain areas of business interest to make sure that they're going correctly across the other brands or if there's like something from an innovation standpoint, I kind of spearhead that with the other communication strategist to make sure that we can bring it to market in an effective manner. So, yeah, I'm across some my brands are Lysol, are with finish, resolve, will light DCON RIDEX and easy off, which are a lot of, you know, household brand names at this point. Yeah, and with the last eighteen months and everything we've seen with covid you guys must have had a crazy year. You know, Lysol. Yeah, it's still is crazy. Yes, it's crazy, even though the vaccines rolled out faster than we thought they would and look and that's a good thing. So, you know, like Lysol, last year we weren't even promoting our product groore more. We changed our colms to be more educational. So we're trying to educate people and how to stay safe from covid nineteen and other harmful germs in bacteria without if you don't have our product because it was, you know, the supply was so rough. But this year we have different challenges. You know, we have challenges of retention for people that just got hip to the disinfecting behavior last year, that weren't hip to it before, like how do we keep them in the mindset of protecting their families from harmful dreams in bacteria? So there's a lot of different challenges this year that are from covid and even though we're still dealing with the virus. But it's been quite a fun interesting time to be on these brands. Yeah, yeah, absolutely, it's so interesting to like I've been. I've been talking to a lot of brands that, in one way or another, we're kind of propelled by these massive societal changes that the pandemic had brought upon. And in addition to that, you know, we also you know, when we discussed how your year has been, you mentioned all this work that you did around decreasing facebook advertising due to one the supply concerns that you have, but then also brand safety reasons, and then you got the whole company on board and I know that a lot of other brands also did the same thing last year. So tell me about it. Why did you decide to take on and what happened after that? So it was by in March of last year when covid really started hitting the fan and we started really identifying what covid actually is here in our supply shot up and so you couldn't find it on the shelves. We started getting a lot of negative comments on our social media because people couldn't find it. And we already we don't we didn't have really an owned social media footprint before. We were experimenting with some things, but but we definitely didn't have the capacity, you know, be responding to this. I mean I think at a certain point...

...between like March and May of last year, forty five, thirty five or forty five percent of our comments were hateful comments on our social media. So we were like, okay, we just need to like stop doing paid social media. This is not just on our own too, this is people can comment on our paid ads to. So we just said, okay, we're just going to stop doing facebook specifically because most like I would say like ninety percent of our social budget was going to facebook. So we're like, we're gonna stop facebook, we're going to stop anything we're doing in twitter. We're just gonna like see where this covid thing goes. When it comes to supply, you know, fast forward we get to, you know, June, with the murder George Floyd. We're still off facebook. Obviously a lot of other brands are too, but it was around that time too we said, well, it's facebook really the place we want to be because, you know, if, even if, you know, supply were to go back up and you know, everything is Hunky Dory, do we really want to still be in a place where it harbors this much hate and and the answer that is clearly and know, because that doesn't look well for our brand and we just don't have the capacity to try to have a onetone engagement with these folks to make sure that, you know, they know that everything's cool. We're doing the best we can. So you know. So at that point, you know, supply and also facebook's, you know, responsibility as a corporation, you know, to the citizens of this country and, honestly, the world, were not aligned for us to continue activity on facebook, even if things were going to start to get better and so our and so it took a bit because we are very top down global type of a company. Our headquarters is not in the US, even though we're the most well resource of market. Our headquarters for hygiene are in Amsterdam and and Amsterdam in other global markets. Really don't have an acute sense of, I guess, the racism that we and and the hate that we experienced in this country. They have their own different issues, but ours is, you know, very intrinsic to America. And the thing about is that our global team, you know, not having this type of experience, didn't really understand the the depth of what was going on in our country from a cultural of evil perspective. Last year and I took it upon myself to write like how this felt to me that they weren't really coming out strong in terms of holding facebook and other social media platforms accountable to their responsibility to to the to the people of this world. And I wrote a note to them, you know, because I'm an African American male like in like through my eyes and in terms of what that meant to me, of them not taking a stand here. Yeah, and I sent it directly to the CEO and I see seed every single leader, basically that I could, and and they had a conversation about it and it was a very well, I mean I must have, you know, been struck by, you know, a little bit of Walt Whitman or something, because my pros were ridiculous and I ended up like convincing the the global leadership to do an entire global, basically black out on facebook. For that reason, as we start to think about, you know, what does the Social Media Company that we want to work with? What they each what should they be doing as a company, we got involved with Garm, which is basically the...

...the fortune five hundred, Fortune fifty conglomerate that was made to make certain principles by which, you know, certain social outlets need to conduct business by for us to bring their business back, and there were other things to that. Our global team and US locally were in constant communication with facebook on, during this time period, how they were changing their policies, who they're hiring and like, you know, and what Kype of other stances they are now frust forward now to the end of January, we felt that they have done a good enough job in addressing some of these concerns that we have from your social from like a corporate citizenship perspective, and we're back on their platform now, but but we were off of it for about six to eight months. On sixty seven months, you know, and of course, like what we're probably giving a facebooks, a drop in the bucket compared to, you know, every all the places that they're making money. But you know, every little bit helps and and I'm glad that record actually stepped up and did the right thing last year, because that's in our in our corporate purpose. Yeah, I think there's two lessons to take out of this. First is that one person really can make a difference, even if if it is a huge mole seen national companies, by just speaking up and taking that initiative. And then secondly, also having for I know that we have a lot of listeners that work at these multinational brands. We have a lot of big CPG community. So maybe sometimes also seeing things from another person's perspective. You know, being European myself and having immigrated here five years ago, I I couldn't even imagine the level of racism and and, you know, societal issues and inequalities that that we're part of sort of the you know, the American societal fabric and it kind of like really seeing, really open my eyes to how much progress still needs to be done on these social issues. Are really applaud you for for standing up for what you believe. Kind of shifting to sort of another topic that still touches social media privacy. So I know that we're moving to this world where multiple pushes towards having more consumer privacy and less advanced targeting options as a result. Obviously, how do you foresee that impacting your media strategy? Yeah, I mean, like I've always been a huge proponent of good content and when people really focus on like efficiency vehicles because they want to drive down CPN's not really engaging platforms like display, to be quite honest. I or usually when display is done, it's not engaging. There is a certain way you can do display sorts engaging, but most of the time they're very bad display assets. Those are the type of, I guess, placements that really require deep data to be effective and so, like you know, pro anything programmatic, you need data to be effective, but those aren't usually the...

...most engaging placements. Hmm, I think that there's going to be a shift in in some places at least the smart ones. If you have, you asked me, a shift in thinking about from what is the value the consumer can give to me in terms of buying my product and drive into short term sales, to what is the value I can give to to consumers? HMM. And, like broadcast or programmatic, you're not giving a value to the consumers from an experience perspective. You're telling them to buy your products. You're not having that engagement with them. I think there's going to be a shift in mindset to giving the consumer experience, of giving the consumers experiences. That means more PR activations, more, you know, robust digital activations, like you know rich media or you know different video integrations and places. I think that we're going to go more towards the the richer aspect of content and and swing a little bit less away from efficiency, efficiency platforms. And do you think this will propel a new era of storytelling in marketing? I don't really think so, because we've gone through so many cycles of storytelling and market yeah, that I think. You know, we're just going to bring back maybe certain principles that we've you know, has been on the shelf for a while. So I think that these things are already there. Now, does that mean that we might evolve into something new once we bring back our old storytelling, you know, practices here? You know, we certainly could be. I'm always on the search for different ways to get the message across and different mediums and stuff like that. But it's like, does the leadership in a lot of these companies have the stomach to do that? You know, because you know the reason why TV basically is still king right now. It's not only because it's still does a pretty decent job at tiving sales, but because it's like the safety blanket for a lot of leadership in these very big companies and you know it takes a lot to kind of bring them away from that. So you know, from a storytelling perspective, we're going to be bringing you back the old ways that we've been doing storytelling. Maybe we're fine them a little bit, but whatever whatever that next evolution step up is in storytelling, I'm not sure if we're going to see that in the in the near future as like the leadership in these companies remains static really and related to that and related to taking risks, you have this concept or idea of having a peeler for assessing creative ideas and if a brand should go for them or not. Can Can you talk me through it? Yeah, so like like a basically a risk analysis. It's I'd say it's a combination through different things. How much does it cost, how much reach can you can you confidently get from it, and do you have, you know, the will internally to do it? Like those are the three different things and depending on which one outweighs the other is going to allow you to do more innovative things and market. So like, for instance, let's say you have the money to do it. You know you you you have the the reach, or at least...

...enough reach that you can make a coaching argument for virality. But your internal folks, like again, your leadership, doesn't have the stomach to do it or you just don't have the bandwidth to do it, because a lot of times, like making custom content things like this, or integrations or the new way of storytelling, it does take a lot of a lot more time than to do like a banner review for it. Yes, and so you know, when you ask yourself, like are we operationally set up to do this, it's like bandwidth. It's the stomach to do it is a lot of other things. In more often than not, at least my experience, money and reach has never been the issue. It's does your company have the stomach to do it? That has always stopped innovation from what I've seen. So how do you drive that organizational change? Well, you don't give up. You don't give up. You don't give up, you know. I know I've probably rustled a lot of feathers, like, you know, being being like a champion for some like you know, like for Ticktock for instance. You know, that's a really good example where, you know, folks and leadership probably don't use to talk. They probably didn't think it would be a good medium because they know their kids are on it. But you know, when they actually looked into it and I was a squeaky wheel, it's like look our audiences there, we can activate differently to I know, and drive a different type of consumer engagement. You know, after six months that was a pretty potent, you know, argument of mine and we started doing work with Tick Tock, for instance. You just kind of, you know, fail fast, Redo it, you know, don't give up and and you when people know you as like that guy that pushes these crazy ideas. You know, one of these ideas going to hit and when it does it's probably going to be a hit. And then you've made a case and you can start doing more and more and more after yeah, it's so much easier to sell in that second idea. Yeah. And so, speaking of ideas, what's your favorite piece of work that you've made recently? Yaw, yeah, that's that's a really good question. I think it you know, it changes every day. So another we in our in our pre conversation. I know that I said one thing, you know, but now, like I'm really thinking it, like, I'd probably still have to say it was our tick tock healthy habit six step challenge last year for Licel. It was. It was a tick Tock dance challenge where we took the the six steps from the CDC of protecting yourself from covid social distancing, mask wearing, washing hands. There's like two others that I forget. It's been a while since I've done the dance. It's been a while since, like, I've warned a mask religiously, thank God. So, like, you know, there's that, but but it yeah, so the thing about it was it was our first for hygiene. It was our first tick Tock execution and I had put a lot of blood in the streets making sure that people knew that we're going to do this, we have to do it right and in that meant look, we have to have a good song first and foremost, and you know we can't really probably afford a really hot song licensing. So I don't make a custom song. We have to get a good artist, and we got twisted, who's like an amazing rapper. Yeah, and we need made a custom song for the healthy habits six step challenge, you know, for Lice.

All that was so cool. So Bam check. We got the good music. Now it's like, you know, no one. You know, there's no one that's a choreographer in our business, so we're gonna have to trust for one choreographer to make a dance and then have other influencer, you know, choreographers, replicated and so, you know, they were like it's the craziest thing. It's like you get the stupidest questions. We are doing innovative stuff. Like, you know, I had someone very senior organization be to say, is this dance, you know, like is this dance good enough. Like, I don't think this dance is good enough. It's like, how many years of choreography has you had? Man, zero. So is this like completely continued? Like? And I can tell you, like I like to dance and I'm in at myself on the back. I'm a damn good dancer. I could probably tell this guy does not dance that often. What do you mean? Is this, like this dance is a good enough for this? And so, you know, I did not, you know, politically, I put my velvet gloves on. I handled that, you know, different way than just saying that. We ended up going with the dance, the original dance, thank God, and it grew up. It got four million views and and for a first tick Tock execution, it was massive. We want to we want an fe for it and a couple other awards or something and ended up being very good. So it was a fun, challenging activation that ended up going off with that hitch. That's amazing. Side Note. So you're on the brand side. How important in our war shows for you guys, because I know that whenever speak to creative agency, fault, that's all they think about. How about you guys? Well, it's funny. It depends on who you ask and and and it depends on if they give you the honest to God answer. I'll be quite honest. Awards are very, very important for the senior folks, especially with the Global Company, because they always likes to do like a one up against their colleagues and other markets, like lookwards, fie, what have you guys Don Lately? or I want this con but you know what they'll tell you is words don't matter. Short term sales matter and honestly, at the end of the day, Short term sales is why I'm doing this right now. So I would say like it's a it's a secondary metric, but it's an important secondary metric, especially for priority products like La lies, a laundry sanitizer, for instance, is a priority, priority product for us. We want we want a couple of wars. I think it was a good webby or something that I could might have also been a fee for less for teddy repair, which was a lesson laundry sanitizer campaign that we had run where we stitch up and we sanitize kids this kids love e pets because they're dirty or you know, they're gross and they're missing an eye or whatever. So we was we went to a few different schools, we collected all these levees and then we did this like social campaign where we would send their parents pictures of their pet at a spa as we would fix it up in Santas. That was an awesome campaign. Our short term sales was I can't prove it made me short term sales, but everybody was talking about this campaign internally for a year. Because I want a ton of awards and again no one was talking about a short term sales. So you know, it depends on who you ask. At the end of the day, our main objective is short term sales, but awards are very important. Well, you know, you got to have that mix of both. At the end of the day, you're out there to make money, drive up that revenue, but as marketers, you know we...

...need that little something that's creative spark that makes us, you know, excited to go to work every day. Exactly and related to the marketing industry. So I know that. Let's ruffle some feathers a little more. You have an unpopular opinion on the marketing industry. Let's hear it. Yeah, I before I so this on a couple panels to over the past of my life, because my background is agency. Yeah, and and I think that like eighty percent of the people in this industry, like should not be in this industry. It's people that just see this as like a regular nine to five job, going through the motions, go to some lunches, maybe go to a couple baseball games and you're done. That is not why we are marketers. Like in I don't give a damn, like what section of marketing you touch, if it's if it's the tech side, if it's the creative side, if it's the media side, if it's analytics, you are all working in an industry that has the most cultural importance of our lifetime, like right now, like right now, in this history of America, in this history of the world, really marketers are extremely important and at the forefront of driving a more equitable and inclusive culture. And if we are not thinking about that every time we go to work every day, then we should not be in this industry at all. Because who else is going to give you millions of dollars or give you all the resources in the world to get your message out to millions upon millions of people? Nobody. I think the only other industry that can do this is probably television and movies, and that requires you to be an executive producer or something else like that. You're not some twenty three, twenty four year old planner, you know, planning this campaign like usually. But that's what I was doing when I was twenty three, like I was reaching tens of millions of people with the message and so like. It is extremely important that we, as marketers, carry that responsibility with US whenever we do our jobs, because, honestly, the world that we live in are counting on it. It's really easy to say, you know, be how you want to see the world like, or you know, you know, you know the I you want to see the world reflector or something like that. Like it's easy to say that, but it's different to live it. And we are literally living that. We can make this world a better place with our jobs today. So if you don't feel equally as passionate about your marketing job, maybe it's time to switch to accounting, Yo, like, which somewhere that, like you, do not have as much power as you do. That's all I could say. If you're not talking to millions, like go to a job you don't have to talk to millions of people. That is so well put. This has been such a fantastic and interesting conversation. Finally, if people want to connect with you, where can they find you? Yeah, well, I'm the only nobles on Linkedin and really, yeah, yeah, and I'm the old outside of my mom. So my first name as my mom's maiden name. She'll come up, but she never checks linkedin. But as so you just have my name in Linkedin or you know I'm also, I think I'm like the only nobles next to my mom on Google. If you're just putting like nobles New York or something like that, I think I'm like the only one. You can find me. If you want to find me, you can find me and just like shoot...

...me a note. Yeah, connect with you, connect with your mom. Ye, get the conversation. That'll get to me like through a dark added nobles somewhere and you'll get to me. Thank you so much for this conversation and thank you for listening to the brand side show. If you liked what you heard, give us a little five stars, maybe even in review, and will see you or you'll hear from US next time. You've been listening to brandtide. If you like what you heard, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you'd like to learn more about creative production automation, is IT SULTRACOM? Thanks for listening. Until next time,.

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