Ask The CMO: A Conversation With Keds CMO Emily Culp On Digital Transformation And Brand Purpose – Forbes
There are many forces driving seismic paradigm shifts inside the marketing departments at leading organizations across the world. We are in a period of significant business change, catalyzed by the digital transformation that is upon us, which is requiring leading brands to deliver winning cross-channel experiences to consumers, where they live, work and play. With this in mind, I have decided to launch an “Ask the CMO” series where I talk to some of the top marketers in the world to uncover the leading issues and trends driving change in the marketplace.
For my inaugural piece in the series, I had the privilege of speaking with Emily Culp, digital pioneer, change agent and current CMO of Keds, to get her thoughts on the key strategies that marketers, regardless of size or industry, should be aware of to effectively compete in our challenging and complex environment. Below is a recap of our conversation:
Billee: Right now I’m looking at two big things: one is the digital transformation of business and its impact on marketing and the other is the intersection of creativity + technology and the impact it is having on an organization’s go-forward strategy. So maybe we could start with what your thoughts are on digital transformation and its connection to marketing?
Emily: For me a core part of marketing is digital. In fact, over 21 years ago I started my career in digital/eCommerce and I did that because it appeared to be a unique way to engage with consumers. It was a completely new and unchartered revenue channel. Fast forward to today, I believe if you are a consumer centric company you have to embrace digital as part of your core business.
Billee: Wow. That’s amazing. A true digital native. Can you tell me a bit about your focus on using digital as a catalyst for change and meaningful transformation?
Emily: A key element of transformation for many companies is pivoting from a wholesale or manufacturing centric business approach to one that is fully focused on direct to the consumer. A critical component to rapidly achieve this pivot is to focus on where the consumer is – and that is the digital/mobile world. I also inherently believe that by having digital as the backbone of my career it has enabled me to be extremely receptive to the unprecedented rate consumers change behaviors because of the rapidly evolving omni-channel world they live in.
Billee: Can you give me an example of keeping digital as the backbone of a consumer centric approach?
Emily: You actually put your consumer at the center of everything you’re doing and see what untapped potential exists. You have to understand the whole ecosystem where your consumer lives, works and plays. Simply put, what I do is I come in and I unite all channels to then unlock revenue growth.