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Marketers who have their fingers on the pulse of culture, whether it’s pop-culture, industry-culture, or team-culture, are those who will innovate solutions and build lasting connections.  

In May of 2022, the MTM Visionaries podcast was released on all platforms. Since then, 60+ of the world’s top marketing leaders across varying industries – who are pioneering the future of marketing, sharing real-time experiences, and solving current challenges – have joined us for insightful conversations.  

Woven into several of the conversations was the theme of (you guessed it!) culture; how to build it, keep up with it, and stay relevant. Below you can find some of their valuable observations from the forefront of culture today. 

 Find the MTM Visionaries Podcast On AppleSpotify, and Amazon, or check out the recaps in the following links.

#1 If You Want an Innovative Culture, Schedule Time for It

Nick Drake, VP Global Marketing of Google

“Innovation sits at the heart of Google’s company culture. Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful; we constantly seek new ways to do that. Employees are encouraged to do ‘20-Percent-Projects’, where 20% of their time is dedicated to new, innovative projects outside of their core responsibilities.  

We also encourage our team to extract learnings from failure. By quickly acknowledging where things haven’t worked out, it encourages our employees to learn so that they can go into the next iteration quickly.” 

Nick Drake, Vice President, Global Marketing, Google 

#2 Empathy Goes a Long Way in Building Team Culture

Jeff Curry, VP of Marketing and Communications Lucid Motors

“When it comes to developing our teams for the future of marketing, there’s no doubt it is tough finding the best talent, and it is a super competitive field. We are lucky to have a great product and unique company culture that attracts top talent to Lucid. My job as a leader is to help them succeed, develop their career path, and help them have a long career at Lucid. We’ve done a lot of team building within our organization to build a culture of marketing that binds us all together.  

Having empathy for your teams and consumers and being aware of what is going on in their lives will lead you to understand the consumer, brand, and team dynamics that matter the most.” 

 – Jeff Curry, VP of Marketing and Communications, Lucid Motors 

#3 Allow GenZ To Be Insiders of Your Brand

“Beyond thinking about who Gen Z is, we need to go deeper by discovering what it is they want. They don’t want to watch things from the outside but want you to invite them inside. This methodology is a bottom-up revolution with everyday people, and we have to make sure our consumer is part of the journey. 

The American Eagle and e.l.f. teams share the magic sauce that allows us to galvanize this generation in a way that sets us apart from other companies. Our organizations operate with speed and innovation; we move at the pace of culture.” 

Kory Marchisotto, CMO, e.l.f Beauty 

#4 Cultural Credibility Will Move the Metrics

Kimberly Paige, CMO of BET

“Cultural credibility drives commercial viability. When you get a driving culture and a community behind a brand, their support can create a trajectory no marketing investment can deliver.  

As a marketer, whether you sell wine or widgets, you want to be culturally connected and relevant. Understanding the culture and having ongoing curiosity allows you to do meaningful work in consumers’ lives. I like to talk about the power of marketing with a big M: if it’s meaningful, and if it matters, it’ll move the metrics.   

Cultural competency is how a brand can communicate to the marketplace that they are here with a deeper and more personal objective; this posture will produce what I call ROI, a return on influence and impact.” 

Kimberly Evans Paige, CMO, BET 

#5 Equitable Consumer Relationships Matter

Tariq Hassan

“Millions of customers walk through our restaurants every day. As you think about who you’re engaging with, finding ways to connect with them is crucial. You can’t create value for customers only through economic or transactional value; relationships don’t work that way. The value we get from those relationships comes from multiple dimensions. If you look at the work we’re doing to add value to our customers; it’s all fan-based insights.    

We called culture, culture leaned in, and they called us back. Now the bar is high, and we must consider how to stay in culture, so we’ve set an ambitious goal to become an iconic part of the culture by creating it, participating in it, and adding value to our fans.” 

Tariq Hassan, CMO, McDonalds 

#6 Let Your Fans Speak

Heidi Browning

“Early in my career at the NHL, I received a letter from an 11-year-old girl. She heard that we were wanting to attract more Gen Z fans and wanted to help.  We invited her into the office to see the organization and meet the team. She came with a PowerPoint presentation filled with ideas and presented them with poise and thoughtfulness. Having the chance to listen to her was enlightening because many of the ideas she presented affirmed what we were already doing; however, she was not aware of it, which told us we were either not connecting with people in the right places or in the right way.   

This one experience inspired the idea of our Youth Advisory Board, now called the NHL Power Players. We are on our fourth season of gathering a group of twenty-seven fans, ranging from 13-17 years old, out of an application pool of 1500 candidates. We meet with the participants twice a month to discuss everything from media and technology to content, sports, social responsibility, culture, music, and more.  

This initiative is a valuable time to deeply understand how the youth culture lives, how they spend their time, make decisions, and what they find interesting. Over time, you start to see patterns and trends emerge. We use our Power Players’ insights to validate or augment our strategies.” 

Heidi Browning, CMO, National Hockey League 

#7 Culture is Living-and-Breathing

“Shaping Culture is not a one-size-fits-all approach.  Brands shouldn’t take a position on a delicate topic without thinking about longevity and the impact they intend to have. Otherwise, you can fall victim to using an issue as an opportunity for commercialization.    

We are dealing with real people, and we can’t ignore that.  Data and insights can help us get it right.” 

Danielle Lee, President of Warner Music Artist and Fan Experiences 

#8 Pivot With Cultural Moments

 “The best brands stay relevant. They show up where their consumer is, where Gen Z is, and pivot with cultural moments. Using your gut, partnering with the right people, showing up where Gen Z is reacting, and having the agility to pivot in real-time is critically important.” 

Ashley Rosebrook, Chief Creative Officer, e.l.f. Beauty

More Insights You May Enjoy…

For more insights from our 2022 MTM Visionaries Replay, click here to see what other common themes surfaced. 

2022 Visionaries in Review: Everything We Learned about Marketing This Year

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Visionaries, hosted by Nadine Dietz, airs every week and is brought to you in partnership with The Wall Street Journal. Each week, two new visionaries share their game plan and how that impacts today’s teams, talent, and hybrid work environment.     

Marketers That Matter® Is A Community of Top Marketing Executives Coming Together to Pioneer the Future of Marketing, Sharing Real-Time Experiences, And Solving Current Challenges. 
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