Agility And Empowerment Through Tough Times With ThirdLove Co-Founder Heidi Zak

On this 237th episode of “Marketing Today,” I speak with Heidi Zak, the co-founder and CEO of ThirdLove, the 3rd largest online bra and underwear company in the United States. Zak is passionate about making sure all women feel comfortable in their underwear, no matter their shape or size.

Our conversation starts with a glimpse of Zak’s past, growing up in a town of just 3,000 people and working at a farmer’s market. After college, Zak finally found her way to the Big Apple while working in an investment bank’s retail division. Zak then talks about the cushy job with Google that pulled her out west, the same cushy job that she decided to leave to start ThirdLove. In a market dominated by men, Zak had a hard time finding investors for her women’s bra and underwear company, that is until some men were able to see the “opportunity to do things differently in all aspects.”

We then dive into the challenges presented by COVID that forced ThirdLove to “cut back on marketing expenses to focus on efficiency.” Zak then tackles the issue of creating content when the world is shut down, claiming, “as a marketer, you’re constantly in the cycle of content creation, but sometimes you might not maximize the assets that you’ve already created.” Lastly, Zak discusses ThridLove’s support of entrepreneurs with its TL Effect program in an attempt to show everyone that “you can support causes through what you show to the world!”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • Heidi grew up in a 3,000-person town just outside of Niagara Falls and learned a lot from her time working at a farmer’s market. 1:41
  • It wasn’t until after college that Heidi found her way to the retail group at an investment bank in NYC. 3:01
  • Like most college graduates, Heidi had no idea what she wanted to do after school. 4:09
  • Banking served as an excellent entryway for Heidi to understand basic business skills that she used to build her own company. 4:32
  • Heidi made the switch to the operations side out of a desire to learn more about operating a retail business. 5:12
  • A job at Google brought Heidi out to the West Coast, where she got her first taste of entrepreneurship and the startup industry. 5:50
  • Heidi quit her job at Google to start ThirdLove with her husband after seeing a need in the market. 6:40
  • It was difficult to raise seed money for ThirdLove in a world dominated by men at the time. 7:31
  • When COVID hit, ThirdLove hunkered down and prepared for the worst-case scenario. 8:49
  • The market for bras has changed a little as more and more people have started working from home. 10:24
  • ThirdLove had to cut back the most in the Television marketing sector while becoming more efficient in all other sectors. 11:38
  • In the last month or two, ThirdLove has been able to reinvest in mid to upper-funnel marketing. 12:30
  • Heidi is always testing out new markets to see where the potential lies for innovation. 13:00
  • Creating content became trickier when COVID hit, forcing ThirdLove to do things differently with the same stuff. 14:25
  • Leveraging content from customers and the team has allowed the brand to connect with its audience. 15:32
  • With so many social movements going on in today’s society, ThirdLove has put the elements of inclusivity and diversity at the company’s forefront. 16:55
  • TL Effect supports a new-business female founder of color by providing mentorship, a monetary grant, and promotion through ThirdLove. 17:55
  • Kyutee Nails was the first winner of the TL Effect and provides unique nail services while many salons are shut down. 20:02
  • Competitive gymnastics during her childhood showed Heidi the power of dedication and determination. 21:45
  • Just like Alan, Heidi struggled with how the apparel industry makes its clothing around these one-fit models. 23:14
  • If Heidi could go back, she would focus more on the moment and less on the future. 25:35
  • ThirdLove has been conducting more testing and research with SMS technology to connect with its customers. 28:23
  • Heidi believes that the sheer amount of brands competing for consumer mindshare makes it hard to stand out from the competition. 30:25

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Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.

Toyota North America Elevates Lisa Materazzo To Group Vice President Of Marketing

This week in leadership updates, Toyota North America promotes Lisa Materazzo to group vice president of marketing, CarLotz hires Michael Chapman as CMO, Meredith Corporation names Amanda Dameron chief digital content officer, Brightcove taps Jennifer Smith as CMO, Victoria’s Secret appoints Martha Pease as CMO and more.

Toyota North America Elevates Lisa Materazzo To Group Vice President Of Marketing

Toyota North America has promoted its longtime marketing executive, Lisa Materazzo, to group vice president of marketing, reports Ad Age. 

Materazzo, who will succeed Ed Laukes, recently served as VP of Lexus marketing, and previously held leadership roles at Toyota in marketing, media strategy and digital engagement.

She first joined the company in 1998 as a senior product planner.

CarLotz Names Michael Chapman Chief Marketing Officer

CarLotz has announced the appointment of Michael Chapman to CMO.

Chapman joins from The Martin Agency, where he served as chief growth officer overseeing brand strategy across the agency’s clients.

Prior to Martin, he worked as senior planner for McCann leading global strategy for UPS.

Meredith Corporation Names Amanda Dameron Chief Digital Content Officer

Meredith has appointed Amanda Dameron as chief digital content officer, a newly created role.

Dameron most recently served as Tastemade’s head of content for three years. Prior to that, she was editor-in-chief and executive vice president of content for Dwell.

Brightcove Appoints Jennifer Smith Chief Marketing Officer

Jennifer Smith has joined Brightcove as CMO, the company announced in a press release.

Smith joins from Alfresco Software, where she served as chief marketing and culture officer.

Victoria’s Secret Names Martha Pease Chief Marketing Officer

In an effort to revive the brand to growth, Victoria’s Secret has appointed Martha Pease to CMO, reports WWD.

Pease is a board member for BioSig Technologies and previously was a partner at Boston Consulting Group.

Hunter Boot Appoints Claudia Plant As Chief Marketing Officer

Hunter Boot is bringing on Claudia Plant as CMO.

Plant joins from Charlotte Tilbury Beauty, where she served as interim CMO for five months. Previously, she was senior vice president of brand experience at Burberry.

Coty Taps Stefano Curti As Chief Brands Officer, Consumer Beauty

Coty has announced the appointment of Stefano Curti to chief brands officer, consumer beauty.

Curti joins from Markwins Beauty Brands where he worked as global president for three years. Curti also spent 22 years at Johnson & Johnson as global president of the company’s beauty and baby divisions.

WNBA Names Phil Cook As First Chief Marketing Officer

The WNBA has announced the appointment of its first CMO, Phil Cook.

Cook spent the last 24 years at Nike, most recently leading the company’s Global Basketball brand as senior brand director, concepts and consumer go-to market.

Discovery Taps Jim Keller As Executive Vice President, Digital Ad Sales

After seven years, Jim Keller is exiting Hulu to join Discovery as executive VP, digital ad sales and advanced advertising, reports Variety.

Keller was most recently Hulu’s VP, head of national advertising sales.

The move follows the network’s debut of its direct-to-consumer service Discovery Plus.

Potbelly Chief Marketing Officer Brandon Rhoten Steps Down

According to QSR Magazine, Brandon Rhoten, Potbelly’s CMO since 2018, is exiting the company.

His departure comes amid a string of shakeups at Potbelly. Over the summer, the company changed CEOs and in November, its chief legal officer resigned after nearly 14 years.

Revlon Appoints Martine Williamson As Chief Marketing Officer

Revlon has named Martine Williamson as CMO, according to a press release.

From 2001 to 2015, Williamson worked as part of both Revlon’s global and US marketing teams across all color cosmetics categories.

Prior to Revlon, Williamson served as strategic marketing advisor at Topix Pharmaceuticals.

Visa Elevates Frederique Covington Corbett To Senior Vice President Of Global Brand Strategy

Visa Asia’s CMO, Frederique Covington Corbett, has accepted a promotion as SVP of global brand strategy and planning.

Corbett has been with Visa for nearly five years. Before joining Visa, she worked as international marketing director of Twitter.

Pepsi Launches Purpose-Driven Campaign To Spotlight Detroit Artists

As part of its ongoing support of Detroit, Pepsi has launched a purpose-driven community platform and creative campaign called “Full of Detroit Soul,” which marks a culmination of the brand’s 80 year-plus support for the Detroit community and a way to virtually celebrate the next class of artists influencing the city’s culture.

The campaign will showcase local artists’ work and include a virtual performance by Detroit-raised R&B artist KEM, a digital hub and limited edition packaging at retailers across Detroit next year.

Taking inspiration from Detroit’s popular mural and art scene, Pepsi tapped three local artists to create citywide murals, including Desiree Kelly, whose known for her mixture of street art and traditional oil technique, Ndubisi Okoye, whose work aims to inspire people throughout the African Diaspora and Sydney James, whose become a local leading creative change through a variety of community arts projects.

The digital hub will feature the campaign artwork and a two-minute video spot in which the local artists share what Detroit personally means to them. The spot was produced by a creative video production company based in Detroit, Woodward Original. In addition, the microsite spotlight’s Pepsi’s Detroit-based community partners, such as the Urban League of Detroit, Latin Americans for Social & Economic Development, Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, SER Metro-Detroit and Detroit Branch NAACP.

Pepsi is also hosting a virtual locals-only meet-and-greet and performance by KEM, an R&B singer and producer who grew up in Detroit. Early next year, the brand will roll out limited edition packaging inspired by the campaign to Detroit retailers.

Over the last four years, Pepsi has contributed more than $1 million to Detroit through local charities as its manufacturing facility and distribution center there employs more than 400 employees.

The purpose-driven campaign is part of Pepsi’s larger plan to integrate purpose into its brands and engage Gen Z, a group that continues to shape the food and beverage industries and increasingly expect brands to act on the social issues it supports. To do so, PepsiCo has been ramping up its sustainability efforts and strengthening its first-party database through an in-house team that enables it to network media and consumer data.

In Q3, Pepsi’s e-commerce sales nearly doubled and total revenue grew 5.3 percent to $18.09 billion.

Real Estate Agents Tap Influencers To Engage Millennial Home Buyers

Many industries are seeing the benefit of influencer marketing for its ability to spread brand values and drive return on investment (ROI). Now, as COVID-19 yet again puts the kibosh on open houses, real estate agents are turning to macro-influencers to engage young home buyers.

According to Crain’s New York, real estate agents in New York are enlisting influencers to appeal to millennials, which represent the largest share of home buyers in the US.

At the onset of the pandemic, agents shifted to virtual home walkthroughs and augmented reality-powered home staging. Still, the New York real estate market is suffering, with residential sales transactions down 41 percent year-over-year according to PropertyShark.

The third wave of COVID represents the need for agents to remain virtual, but a sale in the pandemic will require more than giving buyers the ability to browse homes online.

Young buyers want to envision a dual work-life space, one that includes a veneer of cool, New York-based Compass sales director Christine Blackburn told Crain’s. 

Influencers are a surefire way to induce that cool factor. To promote the sale of studios in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights at the end of March, Blackburn partnered with three Instagram influencers who curated model homes with touches of their personal aesthetic. 

One of the influencers, Summer Rayne Oakes, is known for sharing houseplant tips with her 213,000 Instagram followers and 348,000 YouTube subscribers.

Crain’s reports that Oakes transformed a 447-square-foot studio, priced at $499,000, into a “boho-chic” space by sourcing furniture, plants and other decor on a $5,000 budget.

Blackburn called Compass’ partnership with Oakes “super effective.” To date, Oakes’ YouTube video of the studio transformation has received 478,000 views and her Instagram post featuring the makeover has 3,361 likes and 82 comments.

According to Crain’s, Thomas Fialo, vice president at Douglas Elliman Development, Marketing partnered with beauty and wellness influencer Sai De Silva, who has 329,000 followers, to promote the Quay Tower condominium near Brooklyn Bridge Park. After De Silva posted an authentic day in the life video inside the luxury building on her Instagram Stories, Quay Tower’s Instagram page saw a 650 increase in visits while its website saw a 500 percent surge in clicks.

One major advantage of promoting real estate through influencers is that younger generations perceive them as more relatable and therefore, more trustworthy. Research from Morning Consult found that 50 percent of millennials trust influencers they follow for product recommendations compared to 38 percent for their favorite celebrities.

Hootsuite Elevates Tara Ataya To First Chief People And Diversity Officer

This week in leadership updates, Hootsuite names Tara Ataya as its first chief people and diversity officer, Boots UK appoints Peter Markey as CMO, Hallmark Channel’s parent company taps Lara Richardson as CMO, PepsiCo Australia and New Zealand names Vandita Pandey as CMO and more.

Hootsuite Promotes Tara Ataya To Chief People And Diversity Officer

Hootsuite has promoted its vice president of people, Tara Ataya, to the newly created role of chief people and diversity officer.

Ataya will be tasked with developing company-wide diversity strategies to represent employee voices in the C-Suite.

Ataya joined Hootsuite as VP of people just before the pandemic. Prior, she was VP of human resources at Vision Critical for over five years.

Boots UK Names Peter Markey As Chief Marketing Officer

Boots UK has tapped Peter Markey as its new CMO.

Markey joins from TSB Bank, where he served as CMO for nearly four years.

He succeeds former Boots UK marketing director Helen Normoyle.

Crown Media Family Networks Taps Lara Richardson As Chief Marketing Officer

Hallmark Channel’s parent company, Crown Media Family Networks, has announced the appointment of Lara Richardson to CMO.

Previously, Richardson served as executive vice president of marketing for Discovery and Science Channel.

PepsiCo Australia And New Zealand Appoints Vandita Pandey As New Chief Marketing Officer

PepsiCo Australia and New Zealand has named Vandita Pandey to the newly created position of CMO for both snacks and beverages.

Pandey joins from Frito-Lay US, where she spent the last 11 years in roles across marketing, insights, corporate strategy and media. Most recently, she was general manager of Bare Snacks.

eBay Names Julie Loeger As Global Chief Growth Officer

eBay is bringing on Julie Loeger for the newly created role of global chief growth officer, which combines global marketing and global customer experience.

Loeger has spent the last 29 years at Discover, most recently as executive vice president and president of US Cards.

Loeger’s appointment follows the departure of eBay’s global CMO Suzy Deering in October and eBay’s chief strategy officer Kris Miller in February.

Wheels Up Taps Lee Applbaum As First Chief Marketing Officer

Wheels Up has named Lee Applbaum as its first-ever CMO, according to a press release.

Most recently, Applbaum served as CMO for Surterra Wellness. Prior to that, he was global CMO for Patrón Tequila and Grey Goose Vodka.

The move to appoint a CMO comes after Wheels Up purchased Gama Aviation in April.

Nielsen Names Jamie Moldafsky As Chief Marketing And Communications Officer

Nielsen has announced the appointment of Jamie Moldafsky as chief marketing and communications officer.

Moldafsky joins Nielsen from Wells Fargo, where she was CMO for nine years. Prior to Wells Fargo, she held a series of leadership roles at American Express, Charles Schwab and Whirlpool Corporation.

Stella McCartney Appoints Peter Chipchase As Chief Marketing Officer  

Stella McCartney has named Peter Chipchase as the company’s CMO, as reported by WWD.

Chipchase most recently served as chief communications and strategy officer at Soho House for seven years.

eBay UK Taps Eve Williams As Chief Marketing Officer

eBay UK is bringing on Eve Williams as its CMO following the departure of its global CMO, Suzy Deering.

Williams joins eBay UK from ASOS, where she served as global brand director for nearly five years.

Emarketer: 131 Million People Will Grocery Shop Online This Year

As consumers become more reliant on digital touchpoints during the pandemic, grocery ecommerce is continuing to balloon. This year, eMarketer expects online grocery sales in the US will grow by nearly 53 percent in 2020, reaching $89.22 billion—an increase of $30.86 billion from a year prior.

There will be 131 million digital grocery shoppers in the US this year, a 42 percent increase from 2019. By 2023, that number will grow to 147.4 million, according to eMarketer.

By 2023, eMarketer anticipates online grocery sales will reach nearly $130 billion, accounting for 10 percent of total grocery sales.

The age of COVID-19 marks many shoppers’ first experience with grocery ecommerce and the habit is likely to stick. As reported by eMarketer, research from Aki Technologies and TapResearch found that 68 percent of new online grocery buyers said they’d continue to shop online in the future.

“We’ve got growth coming from new customers and growth coming from existing buyers who are either spending more frequently or more per trip. When you add these two factors together, what you get is astronomical growth,” said Cindy Liu, eMarketer senior forecasting analyst at Insider Intelligence.

For consumers who are avoiding in-store grocery shopping and don’t want to pay fees associated with online grocery delivery, curbside pickup has become the holy grail, surging 208 percent during April.

According to data from CommerceNext and CassarCo Strategy and Analytics, 43 percent of US internet users said they tried curbside pickup for the first time during COVID-19 whereas just 27 percent said they bought online and picked up in-store.

The online grocery boom comes as US ecommerce sales are set to reach $794.5 billion this year, up 32.4 percent year-over-year—a level not previously expected until 2022.

Ford Appoints Suzy Deering As Chief Marketing Officer

This week in leadership updates, Ford names Suzy Deering as CMO, Pinterest taps Celestine Maddy as head of consumer marketing, Korg USA elevates Morgan Walker to director of marketing communications, Sperry brings on Elizabeth Drori as CMO and Reddit appoints Paula Price to its board of directors.

Ford Names Suzy Deering As Chief Marketing Officer

Ford has appointed Suzy Deering, former global CMO of eBay, as its new CMO, according to Forbes.

Prior to eBay, Deering was chief executive officer of Moxie.

She replaces Joy Falotico, who’s been serving as both CMO of Ford and president of Lincoln Motor Company.

Pinterest Taps Celestine Maddy As Consumer Marketing Head

Pinterest has named Celestine Maddy as head of consumer marketing, as reported by Adweek.

Maddy joins Pinterest from The Wing, where she worked as senior vice president of marketing and communications.

Prior to The Wing, Maddy served as VP of marketing and communications at Foursquare, VP of marketing at Reddit and marketing director at Quirky.

Korg USA Elevates Morgan Walker To Director Of Marketing Communications

Korg USA has announced the promotion of Morgan Walker to director of marketing communications.

Walker has been with Korg for nearly six years, having joined in 2014 as senior marketing communications and events manager.

Sperry Names Elizabeth Drori As Chief Marketing Officer

Sperry has announced the appointment of Elizabeth Drori as CMO. 

In her new role, Drori will oversee Sperry’s global brand strategy.

Drori most recently served as head of marketing for Walmart’s fashion business. Prior to Walmart, she worked in a variety of leadership roles at Converse.

Reddit Appoints Paula Price To Its Board Of Directors

According to TechCrunch, Paula Price has been named the newest member of Reddit’s board of directors. She has served on the board of six public companies, including Deutsche Bank and Accenture.

Price’s appointment makes her one of two black directors on Reddit’s board.

Gary Goodman’s Creative Picks: Positivity

Well, here we are on the lead up to the holiday season and one thing is for certain: We could all use a little good news and positivity! So this week, I wanted to focus on creative output that put a smile on my face and surprised me with moments that helped me find that extra gear on the final sprint to 2021. I hope it does the same for you.

Burberry – “Singin’ in the Rain”

First up is an astounding musical number for the British fashion brand Burberry that taps into a little Hollywood nostalgia to make us all feel good.

Why it matters: There’s something so infectious about this spot that you can’t help but feel that no matter what is going on in the world, everything is going to be OK. Admittedly, I can’t dance. But the utter joy and energetic optimism on display actually make me want to try.  This is the world we all long for: no masks, no social distancing, no politics; just an unbridled joy for being alive.

The details: Dreya Mac has created a beautiful modern rendition of the timeless Gene Kelly track that creates incredible syncopation and energy for the spot to take off. They shot this in London’s Petticoat Lane in a tongue-in-cheek stab at the street which is famous for luxury brand knockoffs. And finally, a little Hollywood sidenote…Gene Kelly filmed the iconic scene with a 103-degree fever while getting drenched with water. Now that’s what stars are made of!

Calm – CNN’s “Key Race Alert” sponsorship

Next up, I wanted to take a departure from video-based advertising and feature a very smart sponsorship that was hard to miss on election night if you happened to watch CNN.

Why it matters: You know the old adage, ‘timing is everything?’ This election night placement from wellness brand Calm has to be one of the smartest and best-timed placements of the year! 

On a night filled with anxiety and contentious rhetoric on both sides of the political aisle, Calm chose their moment in what could be looked at as a Super Bowl Sunday type event to get their message out and help everyone take a deep breath and relax.  

Calm’s sponsorship with CNN gave it prime placement on the screen throughout the network’s election coverage as it appeared in the corner of CNN’s Key Race Alerts all night long. According to Danielle Abril on, “the juxtaposition couldn’t have been more jarring: Calm’s logo in the corner of the screen while CNN anchors Wolf Blitzer and John King were anything but, well, calm.”  

The details: In an email from the brand, a Calm spokesperson said “we understand the uncertainty of this election cycle can be a source of anxiety for many of us, especially as it coincides with an ongoing pandemic. Our goal during CNN’s Key Race Alerts was to provide viewers a moment of Calm and a reminder to take a deep breath during a stressful night.”  Apparently, downloads of the app during this window saw about a 40% increase as their message clearly landed with its intended audience. Bang on Calm. Well done!

Corona – “Free Range Humans” video series

Yes, I took a detour from video-based advertising in the last example because I knew I wanted to double down on this last selection and hopefully inspire us all with the road less traveled.

Why it matters:  Although some like to say traditional video-based advertising is a thing of the past, I guess the Mexican beer brand, Corona, begs to differ. Corona has just gone live with an 8 episode series to launch their Corona Studios brand which is ‘dedicated to providing high-end consumer content about travel, the outdoors, surf lifestyles, and sustainability’ among other topics.  I love it when brands see the intrinsic value in being their own broadcasters of great content. Look at what it did for Red Bull. According to Corona Global VP Felipe Ambra, “with the events of this year, we know that people around the world are increasingly appreciative of the outside, and pondering what an alternative life could look like.” I have to admit, after watching Episode 8 on the underwater sculptor, I was hooked and dreaming of being able to fast forward to a time when I can return to going on adventures with my family around the world.

The details: Apparently the agency behind this looked at 500 candidates before landing on their eight hero storylines. And in order to enable more people to be able to follow their dreams and lead this type of ‘free-range lifestyle,’ Corona is establishing the Free Range Fund which is a grant pool to help support outdoor-oriented projects of select consumers globally. This fund will also help the brand identify those individuals who have broken with their indoor careers and pursued their passions outdoors to potentially be featured in the next season of Free Range Humans. I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly considering it. 🙂

Sherwin-Williams Missed A Huge Opportunity When It Fired An Employee With 1.4 Million TikTok Followers

In the age of COVID, there are few worse missteps a brand can make than brushing off the potential to reach millions of young, engaged users on one of today’s most lucrative and fastest-growing apps, TikTok. Yet Sherwin-Williams did just that.  

The company recently fired a senior sales associate, Tony Piloseno of the wildly popular TikTok account @tonesterpaints, where he shares oddly satisfying paint-mixing hacks with his 1.4 million followers. According to BuzzFeed News, Piloseno used his content performance as part of a digital marketing pitch to the company, which it shunned before terminating him for gross misconduct.

Piloseno emailed a contact from the company’s marketing department with a deck sharing how TikTok could help drive brand awareness. Two months and multiple follow-ups later, the contact told Piloseno that there “wasn’t a need to see the presentation” given they weren’t running any promotions at the time.

Upon discovering that Piloseno created some of his TikTok videos during working hours and with company equipment, in late July Sherwin-Williams fired him for offenses, including “wasting properties [and] facilities,” and “seriously embarrass[ing] the Company or its products.” 

The brand told BuzzFeed, however, that the decision to fire Piloseno was due to a customer complaint about his TikToks.

Sherwin-Williams’ decision to ignore Piloseno’s TikTok pitch marks a huge missed opportunity. Sure, one might argue that Sherwin-Williams is doing fine without TikTok’s user base, which App Annie expects will exceed 1 billion next year. After all, lockdown-driven habits led Sherwin-Williams to post revenues of $5.12 billion for the quarter ended September, surpassing consensus revenue estimates three times over the last four quarters. But even brands reaping windfall from COVID-19 have a lot to gain by tapping into the success of viral challenges on TikTok and leveraging employees as brand ambassadors, which Sherwin-Williams clearly had in Piloseno.

GameStop, Wendy’s, Sephora and Dunkin’ Donuts have utilized the emerging trend, encouraging employees to post positive messages about their jobs and offering incentives in exchange for content support on their personal platforms. Though not new, this tactic can be effective for building relationships with consumers and promoting brand values beyond the company’s own marketing channels.

In addition to the concept of employees as influencers, TikTok enables brands to create an authentic dialogue with consumers and establish relatability —something shoppers are increasingly craving from brands. A study conducted by Microsoft Advertising found that 72 percent of people are likely to support brands that are genuine in their advertising.

Take American Eagle Outfitters, for instance. Its summer TikTok campaign, #AerieRealPositivity, featuring TikTok star Charli D’Amelio generated over 2 billion impressions, contributing to a 100 percent surge in sales for Aerie and 50 percent increase for American Eagle. Then there’s Chipotle, whose #Boorito campaign starring popular TikTok creators like Zach King and Kombucha Girl generated 3.9 billion views. Lest we forget E.l.f. Cosmetics’ #ElfVanishingAct challenge, which received over 5 billion views and 3 billion user-generated videos featuring the campaign’s song, an original jingle created by E.l.f.

With plans to erect a permanent office in Los Angeles, the expansion of social commerce with Shopify and the formation of a $1 billion creator fund, it’s clear that TikTok is here to stay. Brands that have a young target audience and want to remain digitally agile in the face of uncertainty will fully embrace it.

ANA Study Highlights Ongoing Lack Of Diversity In CMO Hires

Despite urgent calls for racial justice this year, there’s still an overall lack of ethnic diversity in the marketing industry as black, hispanic or Asian people occupy just 12 percent of chief marketing officer roles—unchanged from the last two years—according to the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) latest diversity report.

The findings, which build off of ANA’s inaugural diversity report in 2018, break down the gender and ethnic representation of the marketing teams at 40 ANA member company participants.

In 2020, white people comprised 88 percent of ANA company CMOs. Blacks comprised three percent; Asians, five percent; and Hispanics/Latinos, four percent.

The industry has made progress with gender diversity, with women representing 52 percent of the top marketer positions today—a seven percent increase since 2018. Among lower-ranking jobs, the gender diversity is even greater, as ANA’s survey of 30,940 marketers indicates that 67 percent are female and 33 percent are male. However, these numbers are unchanged over the past three years.

As for ethnic diversity among lower-ranking marketers, the industry has a great deal of work to do. White people comprise 74 percent, blacks comprise six percent, Asians comprise 10 percent, Hispanics comprise eight percent and “other” comprise two percent.

The ANA board of directors lacks ethnic diversity as well. Among its 43 members, 29 are white, five are Hispanic, five are black and four are Asian—33 percent ethnically diverse compared to 24 percent in 2019. The board includes 23 women and 20 men.

When asked what key actions have helped their company increase diversity within the marketing department, respondents noted the importance of diversity in recruiting, board and senior-level accountability, setting goals and tracking progress, employee referrals, leveraging relationships with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and crafting specific internship programs for diverse students.

Other steps marketers have taken to improve diversity include the formation of a diversity action committee, deliberate sponsorship and mentorship of diverse talent, the creation of employee resource groups and the implementation of diversity and inclusion learning in professional development plans for leaders.