Marcom Execs Sound Off On Innovation

July 7, 2017

Oxford Communications attended a recent Philly Ad Club (@PhillyAdClub) event highlighting the challenges and innovations confronting Marco executives. The following are key takeaways from their remarks.

Bob Clark, VP of Marketing – Herr Foods
Current challenge: Targeting young customers
Staying true to a 70- year-old brand while simultaneously targeting new, younger consumers.
Solution: Fun

Herr Foods innovates and unveils between 10-12 new flavors each year. To catch the attention of millennial and Gen Z consumers, the company developed a series of brief, whimsical and targeted social media videos that include CEO Ed Herr in the call to action (CTA). Having the “boss” involved in the videos – a similar strategy used by Sam Adams – connects the legacy of the brand with the next-gen approach.

 Jen Denis, Chief Brand Officer – Honeygrow
Current challenge: Employee training
Fast-growing company needs to train employees to provide consistent service at all new locations.
Solution: VR

Honeygrow is using VR to train its new employees. The tech allows employees to look around the restaurant environment to see exactly how work is done:

Lauren Eni, VP Brand Strategy – Dietz & Watson
Current challenge: Reinvigorating the brand
Dietz & Watson had no marketing strategy for 70 years. The family-run company is now 75-years-old and is finding itself caught between the push and pull of innovation and tradition.
Solution: Listening

Eni told the Philly Ad Club audience that a company doesn’t have to disrupt to innovate. In her view, she feels the best approach for the traditional Dietz & Watson brand will be based on consumer research and listening. Thus far, as a result of this active listening strategy, Dietz & Watson has partnered with Amazon to deliver its products. The result has been a better-than-expected sales increase.

 Jaine Lucas, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, La Salle University
Current challenge: Getting students to apply to La Salle
Solution: Going big on video and digital

Lucas joked that typical academic marketing revolves around a paradigm she calls, “3 and a tree,” a tongue-in-cheek phrase to describe a photograph of three diverse students smiling while sitting under a campus tree. “In today’s competitive academic landscape,” said Lucas, “3 and a tree doesn’t cut it.”
Under her stewardship, La Salle increased applications by 16% with a heavy investment in targeted mobile ads, digital video ads and a two-tiered approach that combined pre-film movie theatre commercials with geo-fenced video ads.
This La Salle video picked up 140k views on the day it was released:

 Samuel Monnie, Marketing Capability Director – Campbell Soup Company
Current Challenge: Streamlining internal communication
Helping a large company to communicate more efficiently
Solution: Workforce by Facebook

Monnie discussed how Campbell’s now uses Workplace by Facebook to communicate internally. As a result, old school 3-page PDF memos that no one would have cared to open have been replaced by 60-second shareable videos.

Jose Velez-Silva, VP Multicultural Marketing Communications – Comcast
Current Challenge: Growth
Getting Hispanics to sign up for Comcast.
Solution: Eradicate fear

Velez-Silva didn’t want to work for Comcast. He confessed to the Philly Ad Club audience, “I was living the dream, running my own agency in New York, working with big brands.” When he was interviewed for his role with Comcast, Velez-Silva felt he had nothing to lose. In his words, “I proceeded to tell executives at Comcast everything they were doing wrong with multicultural marketing.” Velez-Silva not only got the job, but has also helped increase Comcast’s Hispanic audiences by 420%. Part of the secret was developing creative ad spots like this one that embraces the multicultural nature of the Hispanic market:
For additional case studies and insights into brilliant work, check out Oxford’s blog: You can also learn more about the Philly Ad Club and events like the recent innovation panel on the organization’s website: