This week, Samsung Electronics America (SEA) VP of Marketing Excellence, Strategy & Integration, Michelle Froah, delivered a keynote address to a crowd of senior brand marketers at Incite Group’s Marketing Summit East. The conference is a biannual event that brings together over 400 executives from leading global brands including P&G, Sony, Google, AmEx, Walmart, L’Oreal, LinkedIn, Marriott, Whole Foods, and more.

Michelle Froah, VP of Marketing Excellence, Strategy & Integration for Samsung Electronics America

Michelle Froah, VP of Marketing Excellence, Strategy & Integration for Samsung Electronics America

Michelle led a session titled, “People over Products: The True Meaning of Innovation,” which recognized the challenge brands face with taking a human-first approach to innovation across all functions –not just product development, but also customer service and the entire brand experience.

“Too often as marketers we’re guilty of focusing on KPIs that we lose sight of the human element in our work, but the reality is that true magic happens when product truth and human truth intersect,” she explained. She discussed how critical it has been to drive meaningful, people-first innovation in all they do – from finding actionable insights that drive their marketing efforts, to engaging with consumers, to how to think about brand building.

Michelle shared an example of how her team is innovating their approach to engaging with consumers coming out of last year’s challenges. “When something goes wrong in your life, you find out who your real friends are. In our case, it was our loyalists, and we put them at the heart of our rebuild strategy. After all, they are the heart of our brand,” she said. Under Michelle’s leadership, the SEA Marketing Team created a Loyalist program, inviting loyal Note users to opt-in to engaging with the brand directly. They were offered exclusive access to product and brand experiences, including personal interactions with the CEO and senior executive team. Michelle emphasized how essential the program was to uncovering real, human insights during a challenging time to determine the best approach to connect with and serve consumers in relevant and meaningful ways.

“As we look ahead, every consumer touchpoint is a marketing opportunity for purposeful innovation, especially in a highly competitive environment like ours where the consumer journey is no longer linear.”

Continuing the discussion, Michelle touched on how brands need to start listening to consumers who expect intimate, personalized engagement with every brand interaction. She noted that it’s the responsibility of the brand to capture real-time consumer feedback and uncover their own truths.

To close out the session, Michelle challenged the audience to listen more, engage personally and leverage challenges as an opportunity to drive meaningful innovation for consumers in everything they do.