Andrew Davison, Crocs first chief marketing officer, hasn't wasted any time setting the brand on a new path. When he joined the company in March 2011, Crocs was considered to be, by some, a one-trick pony, having built its business on a single clog.
The company is now determined to show consumers it can deliver the comfort of a clog in more stylish silhouettes. And it's using in-house resources to do it. Mr. Davison, former senior director-digital innovation at Crispin Porter & Bogusky, has established an in-house agency to handle the company's creative campaigns. The brand's latest campaign carries the copy, "Think you know Crocs? Think again. Crocs comfort on the inside, new style on the outside."
Mr. Davison will discuss why he established an in-house agency and why it's working for the brand at Ad Age 's coming CMO Strategy Summit in Chicago.
Ad Age : You've been with Crocs a little over a year. What was the biggest challenge you faced walking in the door?
Mr. Davison: As Crocs first CMO, the biggest challenge was walking into a company that historically did not need to focus on brand and marketing because of the strength of the original product offering. As we have evolved into a four-season lifestyle footwear brand and retailer, it is critical that we are attracting new consumers to the brand through effective marketing that creates an emotional and functional connection with our target consumers.
Ad Age : How has your background as an agency guy influenced your work at Crocs?
Mr. Davison: [I have] a relentless and passionate focus on the consumer in all aspects of the business. Understanding the value of building the brand by focusing on our core DNA and heritage, embracing who and what we are and drawing the consumer to us by leveraging our authenticity and market permission derived from that heritage. [I have also been] building internal teams in creative and e-commerce that mimic agency structure, processes and culture.
Ad Age : When it comes to working with agencies, what's the biggest challenge midsize brands face?
Mr. Davison: Working with agencies that understand the needs of the customer from the brand perspective not the agency perspective. On the agency side it is all about the big ideas, which are important and necessary. After all that is what you hire an agency for. However, the big ideas need to be scaled to, and in the context of the business realities faced on the corporate side -- phased implementations, revenue requirements, cost management and selling in creative ideas to non-marketers.