As VP-global marketing and communications for Motorola's $37.6 billion Mobile Devices Business, Leslie Dance has helped take it from a brick-like mobile phone to some of the sexiest looking devices in the marketplace. Handsets like the Razr and Pebl have cast a golden halo over the entire Motorola brand.
|Leslie Dance, VP-global marketing and communications for Motorola's Mobile Devices Business
Ms. Dance, a protégé of Geoffrey Frost, the famed Motorola exec VP-chief marketing officer who died last November, has done it all with an eye for trends, an ear on the youth market and a tight fist on the budget.
"The single biggest thing Leslie brings to the table is awesome pre-trend spotting," says Ron G. Garriques, exec VP-president of the Mobile Devices Business. He calls Ms. Dance a "translator between preteens and teens and middle-aged executives."
One of Ms. Dance's projects he particularly liked was the "Moto" city events she devised, where Moto ads were projected onto city buildings. "A city of Motorola was produced, and it's almost free," he says. "It's genius!"
Ms. Dance likes to mix it up, setting up a booth where fans could surf at the Super Bowl in Detroit and a snowboard booth in Las Vegas.
She puts her marketing money where her product is. Ms. Dance was behind a mobile marketing collaboration with MTV Networks International that produced a live-action series of eight "Head & Body" mobisodes.
Ms. Dance also has taken a hand in what is a cutting-edge trend in marketing: putting her business in the hands of a holding company. In an arrangement with Omnicom Group, Motorola is able to send one check to the holding company, and Omnicom doles out the money to BBDO Worldwide, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and Amsterdam 180, among others.
Once a Broadway press agent, she met her husband, a British engineer, when she returned to Hawaii and worked on hotel publicity. The couple went to the U.K., and Ms. Dance began working at Hill & Knowlton, which had a Motorola project. It was love at first sight.
When Mr. Frost needed a global PR director, Ms. Dance, 50, took the job. Eventually, she returned to the U.S. in her current post with her teenage son and daughter, and her husband.
Her challenge going forward is to continue to put the right amount of money in the right places and "to follow our design statement."
How does she do it? "Original thinking, pushing the boundaries and taking some risks," Ms. Dance says. "As Geoffrey used to say, 'Are you causing some trouble yet?'"