For Banana Republic CMO Mary Alderete, it’s an exciting time to be in brand marketing.
“What’s really exciting is the brand narrative and how we’re bringing that to this new generation, and more importantly, how those consumers are engaging in the co-creation of our storytelling,” she said.
Alderete, who first worked at the company as a senior director of marketing in the early 2000s, left and returned a decade later, motivated by the challenge of developing a connection between Banana Republic and newer generations. She is now working with the brand’s in-house creative agency to experiment with new storytelling formats and lean into influencer marketing, with NFL star Jared Goff as the newest edition to the current influencer roster. The goal, across the board, is to be part of the conversation.
“Where we get our inspiration every single day is: What’s happening in the world right now, and how can we get in on that conversation?” she said.
On this week’s episode of The Glossy Podcast, Hilary Milnes sits down with Alderete to discuss Banana Republic’s evolving media strategy, the ways it’s marketing invisible technology and the perks of keeping processes in-house. Edited highlights are below.
A millennial media strategy
“The power shift to the consumer is part of what’s been so invigorating for me at this point in my career. Face it: You can buy a jean, a chino or a sweater from a vast array of brands. It’s the ones that connect emotionally, with a really compelling point of view, that will win a customer’s loyalty. For example, millennials are savvy creators, curators and consumers of content on digital platforms. They expect to be able to co-create and engage with brands on a personal level. So our content strategy is really focused in three areas: One, they want access to your brand, to your influencers, to your product stories, to the way you manufacture and transparently tell me how that’s done. Two, they want more and multidimensional stories, so give me that one story five ways, not just one expression of that idea. And most importantly, they want you to tell them something they don’t know.”
Marketing invisible innovations
“What we say is that the technology should be invisible. No one wants to go out and buy a pant that has so much technology in it, you forget what you’re actually doing, which is expressing your personal style through a product that’s relevant to the way you live your life. That’s where the storytelling comes in. So we can tell not only the technical innovations — like Core Temp being made with this volcanic sand that keeps you cool– but also the style part of that innovation. It’s really just about how we tell the story of all the performance attributes that are technical, but the style is still No. 1.”
The agility of an in-house creative agency
“We’ve been doing everything in-house for the past two years, with the exception of one campaign. What we find is that having the creative process in-house brings us closer to the brand positioning, the consumer and the work. We’re able to move quickly and in innovative ways, because we don’t have a lot of layers or process around it. It’s a very fluid creative process, and speed is critical in the market these days. It’s being able to be fast and responsive, in service of being culturally relevant. The cultural zeitgeist is what’s driving the millennial perception of the world, and the brands that can capture and hold the consumer’s attention are the ones that are going to play a role in their life. So if you’re unable to be nimble and agile, and have an idea and execute it quickly, then you won’t be able to be a part of that cultural conversation.”