5 Takeaways from Breakfast with New Balance VP Global Marketing, Chris Davis

Mar 09, 2018 Heather Bliss

It was a full house and a who’s who of top Boston marketers at the Boston Ad Club’s CMO Breakfast this month. The Ad Club did a great job creating networking opportunities against the backdrop of Google’s state of the art Cambridge campus. At InkHouse we are always looking to expand our understanding of consumer marketing trends and stay ahead of the curve when it comes to how the media landscape is changing and this talk was on point.

Chris Davis, VP of Global Marketing, New Balance was the headline speaker and came ready to share the 112-year-old, private company’s latest product roadmap, distribution strategies and digital marketing campaigns. He opened the talk by setting the stage with a quote we should all take to heart as marketers, ”the death of all major brands lies in the notion of stagnation.” So how does New Balance continue to win in the highly competitive footwear and apparel market? Let’s take a look at five key takeaways from the brand’s top marketer:

  • Embrace a distribution first mentality. In order to be a consumer-first brand you have to fish where fish are and bring your product to the consumers. Look at brand personas, collect data on where they are digesting content and co-create content with those outlets/brand partners. Be authentic to the editorial voice of each partner you choose, but also to your brand and use a voice they understand. Chris shared two awesome examples. The first is of Emma Roberts, talking about her new passion project, wearing the New Balance 574, on Refinery 29 and the second with Baseball phenom, Francisco Lindor, taking his “fearless” nature to Japan in a video series created by New Balance and the Bleacher Report.
  • Create partnerships not paid endorsements. New Balance doesn’t ask athletes /celebrity endorsers to simply promote sponsorships, they want them to be partners and invest in the brand as much as the brand invests in them. When they come on board, they “join the family.” This creates a genuine and invested interest that helps convey the best of the New Balance brand out in the community.
  • The biggest isn’t always the best. New Balance never wants to be the biggest but they want to be the best. Meaning the best version of themselves they can be. Chris shared that while they can never outspend the competition, they can centralize and focus on outspending them for two weeks out of the year, for specific launches, to create cultural moments that will increase overall visibility and engagement in the long run.
  • Understand who you are and who your customer is. The New Balance brand represents a reflection of its values and the personality of its customers. Together they are “fearlessly independent” (since 1906) and believe in communicating this ultimate brand truth as the foundation of marketing efforts. Check out their latest campaign featuring Francisco Lindor, Paul Rabil, Rose Lavelle, Jurgen Klopp, Brenda Martinez, PJ Ladd, and NVDES.
  • Marketing - and PR -  is all about FOMO and disruption. Chris offered consumer marketing is all about FOMO and creating excitement-- and lines-- around a launch date. When I asked Chris if PR /earned media was as big a focus as paid digital content, he responded that disruption is the key to both earned and owned media “if your content disrupts, it will drive media interest”… Hear, Hear Chris!
For more on Chris Davis, and the Ad Club CMO Series click here
Topics: retail, media trends, Customer Experience, Influencers, consumer, digital media
Heather Bliss

Heather has worked with clients in nearly every market and of varying size -- from start-ups to Fortune’s top 10. Her industry experience includes; consumer and mobile tech, enterprise software, security, HR, Higher Ed and Oil & Gas and more. While having a new challenge every day is her favorite aspect of PR, she especially enjoys helping clients in times of crisis. She enjoys traveling, paddle boarding and snowboarding.

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