1. Focus: Know thy brand
"Nothing ever gets better until you're really clear with
yourself about what your brand stands for, why it even exists. At
some point, someone has to say, 'Stop. We're doing all of this
stuff -- why? Why does it matter?' It's a leadership question. It's
someone declaring a better future and willing to go back and
question some of the fundamentals of the brand.
What I like about the Brita story is the commitment that the
idea, the brand, the product experience, would lead us out of the
woods. Leaning into the fundamentals was a way to win so that we'd
have a brand for the next 50 years, and not just rely on price
promotion and other offers. I love the commitment to brand building
as a craft and a business imperative together."
2. Data: Let science lead you
"'State-of-the-art' means a strong commitment to brand
fundamentals, and then harnessing all the amazing data and
technology as a means to an end. One of the things that excites me
is that we've used our data science to identify new segments within
water filtration that would not have been apparent to us, that defy
classic segmentation. Machine learning clusters consumers in ways
we never would've, and I think that is very much part of the
The thing that keeps me up at night is that I believe small
brands can do this, and that's my biggest fear. With a bit of
technology and some good partnerships, you can approach what I just
talked about and do it at a speed that we're still trying to
approach. You just need smart people working on tough
3. Mystery: Don't lose sight of art
"Never lose the mystery in brand building. Clorox has had an
exceptional history in terms of brand building. We have an
incredible fusion of data and analytics that would be the envy of
most companies. These are human questions we're trying to answer on
a human scale, and when [your brand] doesn't respect that, the
culture can reject it. Bringing back this balance between mystery
and science is tough to get back if you lose it."
4. Patience: Take the time to test, test,
"We got to the big idea of Brita faster than we thought. What
took us longer was that we said, 'Let's make sure we don't just
celebrate. Let's follow that idea down into the product moments,
into the communication. Does the whole thing hang together?'
I would tell all marketers that once you find the big idea, keep
going, but really pressure test it and make sure it can speak to
your category authentically all the way down to your product
experience. You'll know you're on to a good one when it speaks
comfortably on all those levels."
5. Curiosity: For more, search beyond your
"A radical commitment to external focus is probably your
greatest resource [in building a brand]. Modern organizations of
any size -- if they're not careful -- militate against an outside
view. It's not just reading the Wall Street Journal or AdAge; it's
talking to theologians, particle physicists ... trying to keep up
with the conversations.
Ideas happen in networks, and I would encourage every modern
marketer to open up their vision of where they're going to draw
inspiration, guidance, or even technical assistance from. The lanes
are getting wide, and that's where the magic and mystery is
happening. If you don't have a good dose of humility these days, I
think you're making a great mistake in terms of the health and
future and momentum of your brands."