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Scott Woodward talks Marketing and Branding on AYO NEWS Insights - Transcript

Scott Woodward talks Marketing and Branding on AYO NEWS Insights - Transcript

This week on AYO NEWS Insights our host Charli Fisher went behind the scenes of marketing and branding with the founder of SEW BRANDED, marketing and branding expert Scott Woodward. See the full transcript of the interview below and watch the full interview for FREE on ayozat.com at: https://www.ayozat.com/watch/ayo-news-insights/kQ3FbLxAnU8s 



Charli - I'm Charli Fisher, and welcome to AYO NEWS Insights. I'm joined today by marketing and branding expert Scott Woodward. Scott is best known for working with some of the world's most well-known brands, including Calvin Klein, Ray-Ban, Movado Group, and Arnell Group. Scott has recently founded SEW BRANDED, a New York based marketing consultancy. Welcome Scott. 


Scott Woodward - It's very nice to be here. Thanks for having me.


Charli - Scott, can you share how your experience in managing world class brands has shaped your approach to marketing strategies today? 


Scott Woodward - I've always been a 360 degree omnichannel integrated marketing executive. So I, you know, I think I place a lot of importance on having a consistent, unified image for our brand across the world, particularly since we've become so global and brands live around the world globally in different markets. So I think having the same experience for the consumer is important with all types of brands, accessible brands, luxury brands, fashion brands, because consumers travel all around the world now, in today's environment. So I think having a consistent brand image is really important in today's market.


Charli - Speaking of consumers, what are the key elements that you consider essential for creating a successful marketing campaign today?


Scott Woodward - I think today's marketing campaigns that are relevant and speak across generations and cohorts are the most successful. What would come to mind immediately, having worked at Calvin Klein, is the Jeremy Allen White underwear campaign for Calvin Klein. It's been one of the most successful campaigns in the last decade, and more eyeballs have been exposed to it on every level traditionally, in traditional mediums and social media mediums. So that's one that comes to mind that's really, truly broken the internet over the last several weeks.


Charli - What elements of that campaign have in it that made it so successful? 


Scott Woodward - You know, I think Calvin Klein's a brand that really understands and knows how to tap into the zeitgeist of what's happening. And, you know, if you read a lot of what's been written about it and its success and how everyone has joined in and commented, it's almost harken back to what Calvin did with underwear and Marky Mark years ago and Kate Moss in that, you know, Jeremy Allen White has such wide appeal, is - and is so universally loved. With the critically acclaimed Bear on Hulu and some of the other things that he's been doing in social media and, you know, starring in The Iron Claw with Zac Efron. The way it was shot, it was just very on brand with Calvin from years ago. So it's got a nostalgia to it as well that I think people responded to - the way it was shot on the roof, very minimally with a red velvet sofa and, you know, just such a, a, an incredible simple idea. And Jeremy's incredibly relevant, and it really resonated across consumer cohorts and, I-I think it's one of the most successful campaigns I've seen in the last decade. 


Charli - Obviously, this campaign was very, very successful. So do you feel that the media is actually going back to traditional media, or do you see that changing?


Scott Woodward - I do think there's a shift in going back to some of the traditional elements o-of media, I think we'll always be living in both worlds. People still consume magazines and like to flip through Vogue and, you know, do watch television and streaming. So you - there's always an opportunity for traditional television commercials as we just witnessed at the Super Bowl a few weeks ago, and that that always plays a role. You know, social media will not go away. TikTok and Instagram remain very large platforms to communicate brand messages. But I do feel a shift swinging back into traditional platforms and the importance of them. 


Charli - Do you still find that digital and social media is still important and it's still evolving in marketing?


Scott Woodward - Well, I do feel it's critically important, particularly with generation Z and, and the alpha generation coming on right after them, because these particular cohorts and even older ones live on the phone and on the computer so much more than we did in prior decades. So it will never go away. We live in that, in those venues and those spots. So I think, you know, those will always and continue to be important parts of the marketing mix. 


Charli - Do you find that TikTok marketing is very popular for luxury brands at the moment? 


Scott Woodward - I think TikTok is one of the most important social media platforms in-in in marketing, in luxury, in accessible, for accessible brands. So many youth are on it, and there are so many ways to integrate a brand with it. So, I-I I believe, you know, articles that have been written recently corroborate this. I think TikTok marketing is, you know, hugely, hugely important with, with every brand today, and I think it's even spanning across generations, not only Gen Z and Alpha, but, you know, lots of other older consumer cohorts are, navigating and becoming active on TikTok. So it's really a critical part of our brand strategy to be present on it and communicate its messaging and storytelling on TikTok as well, and of course, Instagram remains critical as well. 


Charli - Speaking of social media, in your opinion, how are changing beauty standards impacting brand messaging across the industries? 


Scott Woodward - That's a good question. I think particularly fashion and luxury beauty standards and casting changes, you know, fairly frequently and-and, visibly with each decade. If you go back to the 90s and the 2000s with male and female supermodels, it then shifted to be more waif-like. And, you know, the era of Kate Moss and eastern European models played a big part in, in the, in fashion and advertising. I think, also the notion of the paradigm change of inclusivity and body positivity changed imaging and advertising. And now I believe you see a shift back to where it used to be, particularly, you know, a month ago seeing the relaunch of Donna Karan. And, you know, the, the brand getting together, all of the supermodels, the former supermodels of that era, that, that Donna, was that was so integral to making Donna Karan and DKNY and they've returned to that. So I think that was also a very impactful campaign and statement by Donna Karan a month ago. 


Charli - Speaking of campaigns that are returning to the 90s trends, we're also seeing celebrities and public figures using drugs such as Ozempic to make themselves much skinnier. Why do you think these changes are happening, and do you think that we're going back in time?


Scott Woodward - That's interesting. I mean, that's such a hot button topic, that particular medication and what it was originally launched for, which was diabetes, and now being, a weight loss drug, and so many well known people are on it. I do think it is shifting perceptions and body types again, and having a massive impact on industries like fashion and luxury, and who we're casting, and the whole discussion and dialog of body positivity and what that means.


Charli - We've spoken about shifting perspectives on luxury and fashion. What role does sustainability play in your branding strategies? 


Scott Woodward - Sustainability is everything. I would say if I'm teaching a marketing and branding class and public relations class at Parsons, sustainability is one of the key drivers of Gen Z and the Alpha generation. It's just a must with brands, and I think one of the most famous examples that we've seen recently is Patagonia's chair-chairman, giving the company back to its stakeholders in an effort and a commitment to save the planet. So, sustainability is really key with all brands and Gen Z's so particularly insightful and smart, that they're very wise when it's not authentic and meaningful and real - greenwashing is very easily picked up on by this generation. So, I would say of course marketing and purpose driven marketing, which is also very important to younger cohorts, sustainability would me - for me would be the driving factor of brands today. So much so that my students do not want to take a syllabus on paper. That's how conscientious they are of sustainability today. 


Charli - That's very, very interesting that there's been obviously a massive shift in sustainability as well. Are you able to discuss a project where your team successfully leveraged insights to drive brand growth, whether that be with sustainability or maybe some insights on Gen Z?


Scott Woodward - Yeah. So one good example is when my client, Office Depot, the, the big box retailer that completes, competes with Staples and Amazon for office and school supplies. Over a decade ago, their consumer was ageing very dramatically, and they wanted to re-begin a dialog with youth and a younger consumer. So what we did was looked at what was important to them and what was happening in that space with that particular consumer cohort. And one of the things that we learned was bullying was happening in schools across the world, in America. So we developed an anti-bullying platform that spoke to students, teachers and youth to try to curb bullying in schools and to create kinder environments in schools across the country. And at the time, Lady Gaga's Bor-Born This Way Foundation was just launched at Harvard on Oprah, and we thought, what a unique opportunity that would be to work with them. And they liked the idea of partnering with us to speak to students, parents and teachers, and we created a program for kinder schools across the country, to make schools safer and kinder, where students wouldn't be bullied, on a daily basis. And then the next year, we repeated it with One Direction. So it was two very large voices that we were able to tap into at the time, Lady Gaga, which of course is culturally iconic and relevant, and so important to so many, young people across the world, and then One Direction at the height of its fame, which also had a very large voice at the time that spoke out against bullying in schools as well. So those are two examples of using very powerful music groups or a group and, and a person to, be a voice that, with something that was very important to a consumer cohort, which was all insights driven.


Charli - That's so great that you had a positive marketing message. How do you balance creative innovation with data driven insights in developing your marketing campaigns? 


Scott Woodward - That's interesting. I think technology has changed so rapidly and positively. You know everything now is motion driven, with motion graphics and movement and film, and that's been a really interesting, inject, exciting injection in the marketing and storytelling. So I think technology is so inextricably linked to luxury, and fashion, and branding, and storytelling now. You know, if you look at what Nike is doing, and technology brands like Apple, and fashion brands like Burberry, and now with the Metaverse being so important, and Apple's headsets being launched, technology is a really interesting way and things that so many brands are doing now and, and innovating, leading way to communicate to consumers using technology. I think the Metaverse is one of the latest ways to speak to youth that so many brands have embraced the past two years, after Covid as well. 


Charli - Can you give us any examples of any of these brands using technology? For example, you said metaverse. Can you give us any exact examples? 


Scott Woodward - I mean, I would say Tommy Hilfiger, which is owned by PHV, Phillips Van Heusen, is a brand that has, from the onset of the metaverse being introduced, it has invested in it, is doing events and fashion shows using the metaverse, created a logo for it. So they're, they're, they're, treating the metaverse as the newest point on the omnichannel marketing spectrum as a way to speak to younger consumers. So I would say Tommy Hilfiger is one of the brands that come to mind that has embraced this technology and this new point on the omnichannel marketing wheel,with significant budgets and a lot of commitment. 


Charli - What challenges do you see with the world moving more towards technology and AI?


Scott Woodward - AI is particularly on the radar now of being challenging because imagery can be generated, articles can be generated with AI. So I would say if I had to identify or isolate a hot point right now that is the most critical from a technology standpoint, it would be AI. And we can see that in most recently with what's going on with Sag-Aftra and the negotiation for actors and models and that whole industry of protecting rights and not, you know, AI generating voice and images. And we're seeing it the same in creating imagery for fashion. So I would say AI is the most critical right now with regard to what's happening in the advertising space, the fashion space, the film industry, the commercial industry, and how quickly it's evolving. 


Charli - You've also got the rise of digital influencers. So influencers, for example, that aren't even real. How do we overcome this as an industry? 


Scott Woodward - It's really interesting. I just joined an organisation called We Are The Board, and one of the discussions and dialogs we've had is how quickly marketing has evolved, with the technology, with social media, and the role that influencers have played, micro influencers, general influencers across all the platforms. And I think we're figuring that out now, even as things seem to be moving back to a more traditional front with brand ambassadors and traditional celebrities and traditional models as we knew them. So, I think the whole realm of influencers is, is, is  evolving as well as they relate to having their own businesses on all of the social media platforms like Instagram and like TikTok. 


Charli - So, Scott, there's been many cultural changes over the decades. How has this affected marketing in general? 


Scott Woodward - Cultural changes are so important and how they affect how brands market. I teach an entire module at Parsons on cultural shifts and paradigm changes and how it informs, and brands and marketing and how they develop campaigns. Three in particular that come to mind is after the MeToo movement was, which was such a cultural paradigm shift for women, Tory Burch's foundation did a campaign called Embrace Ambition, with some of the biggest stars in the world. Gwyneth Paltrow was in it, Chris Pine, Tracee, Tracee Ellis Ross was in it, and many, many more culturally relevant celebrities, music actresses and actors and really, what she was communicating was, you know, ambition is not a dirty word for women, in their career, goals, and in life across genres. So I thought that was an important change in cultural marketing and how that affected such a successful or luxury marketing brand as Tory Burch. 


Also, I believe Nike is one of the most influential brands in the world, and they've always embraced cultural changes. If you look at what NFL star Colin Kaepernick did by taking a knee, whether you agree with that or not agree with that, they really embraced Colin, who was a personality, on Nike's roster and did an entire campaign around it, and their consumer base really responded positively to it. So I think that was a very vivid example with Nike, and I believe, you know, also what happened with George Floyd a few years back, Nike also embraced that and did an extraordinarily compelling TV spot, around that where there wasn't even any images in it. It was just type on a black screen that talked about the importance of equality. And the seminal moment that happened with George Floyd and how it affected the world and so many things in the world. 


So those are three examples, two from Nike and one from Tory Burch. I would also say years ago when Abercrombie and Fitch went from such exclusive marketing, really recognizing inclusivity and the effect that anti-bullying was having on marketing and how they changed their marketing imagery and platform. And they're one of the most successful, retail consumer brands now, like American Eagle Outfitters, they've really found their footing in how they now communicate to Gen-Z and younger, those in particular, American Eagle Outfitters and Abercrombie and Fitch have done a wonderful job in their marketing platforms and how they speak to youth today. So those are just some examples of how cultural paradigm shifts change and inform our marketing, and how brands respond to them immediately and integrate them into their marketing, messaging.


Charli - So obviously, touching upon the cultural shifts and the changes within marketing, do you see these changes being reflected on social media?


Scott Woodward - I do I think, they I think they've permeated all platforms. You know, I mentioned the simplicity of Nike's ad that ran in response to George Floyd. It was just a stunning TV spot that was white words on a black background. There were no images. It was so, so palpable and powerful and stark. And that ran everywhere. That ran as a spot, it ran as outdoor advertising, and it ran across all social media platforms. So I think that brands learn how to pulse and tease and change and slightly tweak messaging to work on all platforms. But I think when it's as consistent as possible, whether it's a TV spot, a billboard outdoor or a campaign run across social media or, you know, having influencers join that in some way, shape or form, I think consistency is really important, and Nike really nailed that out of the park, their response to that particular, global change. 


Charli - That's extremely insightful. Thank you so much for joining us Scott and sharing your knowledge with us. 


Scott Woodward - Thank you so much for having me, I appreciate it. 


Charli - I'm Charli Fisher, and you've been watching AYO NEWS insights. We'll see you next time.

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