“Brave” may not be the word most people would use to describe the average marketing campaign, but the top executives who came together at Samsung 837 on November 15, for the Marketing Society’s inaugural New York event, know from experience that the best business decisions are made outside of what’s familiar.
“Be comfortable with the uncomfortable,” said Michelle Froah, vice president of marketing excellence, strategy and integration for Samsung Electronics America, at the global marketing industry group’s Brave Conference.
Held at Samsung’s experience center in Manhattan’s meatpacking district, the gathering brought together some of the top names in marketing to showcase remarkable stories of brave decisions on the job and to encourage bold leadership in the industry.
Froah referred to Samsung’s swift and determined marketing reaction to the Galaxy Note 7 recall last fall as Samsung’s brave marketing moment, and described the company’s task of rebuilding public trust in the brand.
The company took care to engage on a personal level with its most loyal customers, Froah said. After the recall, a live-streamed event at Samsung 837 aimed at communicating directly with customers to address and acknowledge their concerns brought the company real insight direct from customers.
“We really aimed to be transparent with everyone,” Froah said. “Our customers were very willing to forgive.”
Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, Froah said she is especially proud of how Samsung came together as an organization in response to the Note 7 crisis and “focused solely” on consumers.
The results? Just one year later, Samsung sales are now at pre-crisis levels, Froah said. The company has also moved up a notch, to No. 6, on Interbrand’s 2017 list of the 100 Best Global Brands.
More recently, she said, Samsung went head-to-head with its competitor in a brave ad campaign whose call to action was simple, elegant and bold: “Upgrade to Samsung.”
Another powerful speaker at the Brave Conference, Madonna Badger, described her transformation from the senior art director behind Calvin Klein’s notorious nude-supermodel advertising campaigns to the crusader for positive representations of women. Her #WomenNotObjects and #IWillStandUp campaigns ultimately changed the way the most prestigious advertising awards panel, Cannes Lions, judges the annual entries.
Badger told her audience that her transformative moment was a 2011 fire in her Connecticut home that took the lives of her three young daughters and her parents. A devastating period followed for her, as well as a good deal of professional soul-searching, she said.
“I made a declaration never to objectify women or men again,” Badger said. “Take a leap of faith,” Badger advised the audience of marketing executives. “Be honest.”
Other presenters included Elissa Montanti, founder and director of the Global Medical Relief Fund, Tough Mudder CEO and founder Will Dean and, streamed from a parallel Brave Conference in London, Mars chief marketing officer Andrew Clarke.
To learn more about the Market Society, a global network of senior marketers, please visit https://www.marketingsociety.com/the-reception.