The CMO Show:
Adriane McDermott on crafting brand...

Adriane McDermott, Chief Marketing Officer at Seafolly, talks to host Mark Jones about why curating customer experiences is the future of brand marketing. 

Australian Financial Review recently reported that “online will account for 19 per cent of Australia’s retail sales by 2021, up from 7 per cent in 2016”.

Disruption in the retail space is seeing brands constantly challenged to keep up with the pace of change and adapt to evolving consumers needs. 

This can prove an especially difficult task for legacy brands accustomed to a specific and long-standing way of operating, and realising the norm is no longer enough to stay relevant.

According to Adriane McDermott, Chief Marketing Officer at Seafolly, the key to navigating change is investing in your brand narrative. With more than 20 years’ experience working at fashion, retail and lifestyle brands, she says the iconic swimwear retailer needed to reinvent itself in order to retain its status in the market.

Seafolly’s solution to this challenge came in the form of their recent brand campaign: ‘Own Your Folly’. Drawing on its origin story, the campaign encourages women to embrace their bodies and freedom to enjoy moments of ‘folly’.

The campaign received some feedback, which Adriane reflects on as an opportunity for the brand to listen to and learn from its audience.

“Since we’ve launched the campaign has been really empowering and enlightening for us to get out in mass media. And then being surprised by the amount of engagement that came back from women who, I suppose, have challenged us,” says Adrienne.

“As a reaction to that, all great marketers need to pivot. They need to take this kind of consumer feedback and run with it. I took it really seriously in the first couple of days of the launch itself in a very constructive way to add content, context and the intent behind what we were doing.”

While online has become the primary purchasing channel for many brands, Adriane maintains that a strong, positive in-store experience is irreplaceable.

“With this new platform we landed earlier this year, it gave us an opportunity to really take a look at our in-store experience. If women are coming to our physical stores, they expect an experience and that has got to be around fit styling. So we are investing back into training our staff to really make that the reason why women come to physical stores to shop swimwear. Because a lot of ease and convenience is now online,” she says.

Check out this episode of The CMO Show to find out about the power of curating customer experiences and how to address customer feedback on campaigns.

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The CMO Show production team

Producer – Charlotte Goodwin & Natalie Cupac

Audio Engineers – Daniel Marr & Tom Henderson

Got an idea for an upcoming episode or want to be a guest on The CMO Show? We’d love to hear from you: cmoshow@filteredmedia.com.au.

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Transcript
Host: Mark Jones

Guest: Adriane McDermott

Mark Jones: The idea of a legacy brand, or a legacy company, one that’s been around for a long period of time is fascinating to me and it’s one we don’t talk about enough. How do you stay relevant? How do you capture that idea of we’ve been around for a long period of time, but now we’re kind of old and tired? The way companies respond, sometimes is they kick out the heads of marketing or comms. The better approach I think, is to interrogate your origin story. What happened in the beginning and how can we make that story relevant for today?

Mark Jones: You’re with the CMO Show and Mark Jones, joining us for a really interesting conversation is Adriane McDermott. She’s Chief Marketing Officer at Seafolly.

Mark Jones: She brings incredible experience into her role from David Jones and Nike and all these sorts of places. She’s interrogated Seafolly, this iconic swimwear brand in Australia. She’s looked at the history of it and then reinvented it. And I imagine many of you would have seen some of the creative that’s out there, this Own Your Folly line that they’ve been pushing and getting a bit of actually controversial pushback.

Mark Jones: And so, it’s an interesting study in reinventing a legacy brand, coming up with new creative and then also setting in place a brand campaign and a platform to develop over time. So tune in and enjoy my chat, with Adriane.

Mark Jones: My guest is Adriane McDermott. She’s the CMO at Seafolly.  Just to kind of get us going what is Seafolly, what does the brand mean to women?

Adriane McDermott: I’m sure a lot of your listeners are aware of the Seafolly brand, it’s an iconic Australian brand. It has one of the most iconic status in terms of the relationship it has with summer, it’s been around since 1975. And I think everyone knows it and loves it, they just maybe haven’t heard from Seafolly in the last few years. And that’s really the journey we’ve been on, to remind people that this iconic brand actually has a narrative and to really introduce people to who we are and what we believe.

Mark Jones: So why hadn’t they thought about you for a few years?

Adriane McDermott: Well, Seafolly is a category leader in swimwear and I think every woman in Australia knows or has some story around their first bikini that they ever bought. I think people know the brand iconically. It has that association with the Australian summer. But again, we hadn’t really spent some time investing in the brand itself. We were in a situation in which the product was pretty prevalent in the Australian market with a lead category share.  And all brands, especially in retail over the last couple of years, we’ve all been a bit disrupted or shaken up by new competition and really needed to go back and look at our own DNA and really start to bring that forward in the brand marketing. And that’s what we’ve done this year.

Mark Jones: We’ll talk about the campaign and I also want to talk a bit about the legacy stuff, but first of all, how long have you been at the Seafolly?

Adriane McDermott: Sure. This is my third year at Seafolly. And like any good marketer, I think with time and experience after the first couple of years, you really get your head around the customer segmentation, the insights that you need to bring forward. So this year we’ve spent a lot of time  going into a new direction from the earlier part of this year with a competitive pitch and with a new strategic brief to really again start to invest not only at a seasonal product level, which a lot of retailers do, but also go back and again, build the narrative and invest in that piece of brand content that people really needed to engage with.

Mark Jones: What did you bring into the role? You’ve got a retail and pretty iconic background right?

Adriane McDermott: Well being female, first of all, and a swimwear wearer.

Mark Jones: Kind of important.

Adriane McDermott: … has some great first party insights. In my own experiences with the brand and living here in Australia, you can tell, obviously I’m not a native to Australia.

Mark Jones: No.

Adriane McDermott: I became an Australian citizen in 2005 or so-

Mark Jones: Which part of North America?

Adriane McDermott: I’m from New York originally, but I haven’t lived there in some time. Really in the last 20 years, I’ve spent about half my time living in San Francisco and Portland, Oregon and then Sydney. And particularly the last eight years working for David Jones, Camilla, which is Camilla Franks, the kaftan brand and now Seafolly. And prior to that in the US I worked for Banana Republic and Nike out of Portland, Oregon for about six years. So I think that experience plus the brand marketing experience I’ve had over 20 plus years working in both markets is really what I brought to the table. Seafolly is a global brand, so it has a huge amount of opportunity to be an iconic fashion swimwear brand of the world. Nobody’s really taken that helm and Seafolly’s already in 40 countries, including the US. So part of my experience is really taking that global direction for the brand as well.

Mark Jones: You’re three years down the track, which by the way, congratulations. That’s longer than most CMOs. Statistically speaking, it’s two and a half or something.

Adriane McDermott: It’s getting lower.

Mark Jones: Right, it’s on the slide. So, well done. But I’m interested in how did you first interpret the brand? What did you do when you turned up?

Adriane McDermott: I think it’s kind of a pitfall that a lot of category leaders fall into. And that’s if you do have a leadership position based on a product promise, sometimes it’s tempting not to invest back into the brand. And what I really discovered was that we were trading on a product USP rather than really engaging and connecting with not only today’s consumers, but more importantly the next generation of consumers.  My first thoughts were we really need to go back to the DNA and really bring forward not only the heritage and some brand truth. But also really develop a platform that is more resilient in the future as product, price, service and experience become more commoditized and more competitive.

Mark Jones: You mentioned a product USP, what was that?

Adriane McDermott: Definitely fit and fashion.

Adriane McDermott: There are plenty of brands who come at the category from a fashion perspective. A lot of the newer competition in fast fashion and more disposable fashion and even some of the retailers developing a swimwear offer come at it from a fashion perspective.

Mark Jones: So if I do understand it’s this summer’s look.

Adriane McDermott: Exactly.

Mark Jones: Right, and then you need next summer’s look next year.

Adriane McDermott: Exactly. It could be the hot coloured chilli red, it could be the latest new saffron floral print. Now, other brands come at it from a fit perspective. In fact, there’s a lot of lingerie brands that get into swimwear, or women who start from a lingerie background, or the support that’s required in swimwear and develop a brand. Seafolly rides the line between fashion and fit. There are really no other brands who have both the trend and the fashion credibility as well as this 44 years experience designing swimwear that supports and that makes people feel amazing.

Mark Jones: So, in other words, in sort of marketing speak it’s the customer experience.

Adriane McDermott: Well it’s the product truth, but also the delivery of that experience in our retail stores where fit specialists can really help a woman find something that makes her feel great. That’s really what we’ve tried to bring forward in the marketing as well, is the insight that nowadays women don’t want to be told if and how to look good. They want to look good because they feel good first. And that’s kind of the new inner confidence that’s coming through in the next generation of women. And also just the zeitgeist of what’s happening in culture today.

Mark Jones: How women feel about the product, just how important is that?

Adriane McDermott: It’s amazingly important, especially for a category like swimwear because you need a huge amount of confidence to really take those 10 steps between your beach towel and the edge of the pool or ocean. You need to have a lot of confidence that what you’re in actually suits you, flatters you, makes you feel amazing. And it’s really that confidence, and the inner confidence that Seafolly has uniquely versus a lot of other brands.

Mark Jones: How much more above your competition would they be prepared to pay for that feeling?

Adriane McDermott: You know I always think that there’s at least a 20% premium on any category where there is a very strong product promise or USP that comes from that much design sensibility. And we see that in a lot of different categories, and certainly in the luxury categories and some of the more premium priced product.

Mark Jones: How have you interrogated this story and the position of Seafolly? three years down the track, how differently are you thinking about the brand?

Adriane McDermott: Again, as I mentioned over the last couple of years, there have been a lot of new category entrants. And really our big insight earlier this year was the fact that it was starting to look like a sea of sameness. Alot of people were mimicking the Seafolly direction that was quite innovative some years ago but has become more of a category norm. And we really set out to challenge those category conventions. And the conventions of the swimwear category are pretty simple, good looks and good locations, a little bit of Insta perfection in the world and that swimwear always has to equal summer. So what we chose to do is go back and take the lead again and redefine the category because that’s what category leaders do. And we broke out of the sea of sameness, we even broke our own formula, which in the past had been more about the faces of Seafolly.

Adriane McDermott: So a little bit of a celebrity endorsement model for marketing where the brand says a lot less. They use spokespeople or brand ambassadors to really do the talking. So earlier this year, again with this competitive pitch and the brief that we set out to bring to market was more about challenging those conventions, using that consumer insight around women, really wanting to feel good in today’s fashion environment in order to look good, and combine that with a little bit of bravery. So we invited agencies to really be brave. Break our formula, let’s do some things differently in order to get back into the conversations and frankly to really drive some reconsideration amongst a younger customer.

Mark Jones: So then the campaign Own Your Folly was developed by Thinkerbell and Adam who’s been on the show. And so I get a sense of the spirit behind that. Tell me about what was required to shift the organisation into saying we’re going to own a story platform as it were?

Adriane McDermott: Partnering with a few mentors within the organisation, we again set out to write a brief and field those responses. Thinkerbell nailed it in the most simple form, which was through fashion and fit, we give women the confidence to own it. The creative expression is Own Your Folly because folly comes back to our brand name. It’s in our DNA. It’s not a widely used word these days, and we saw that as a positive, not a negative because we could define it and no other brand could actually claim it as their own. So really we were able to get a lot of stakeholders onboard with the simplicity of the idea, which you can kind of discern even in that statement alone through fashion and fit being our USP, giving women the confidence to own it 

Adriane McDermott: I really believe today, if you’re not standing for something, you’re really standing still. And we didn’t want that to happen to the brand. So sticking our necks out and actually building a narrative and putting a stake in the ground is exactly what the brand needed to do.

Mark Jones: Now I’m going to indulge in a little bit of sort of marketing strategy speak here because I’m a storyteller, and I think about brands and the stories they tell. And a narrative by definition is actually the whole journey that you’re taking on as a reader. It’s interesting that I… And I’ve found this in many examples now where brands talk about a brand narrative, but they actually mean it more like you said, “Who we are and what we believe.” Akin to a mission statement or a purpose or a vision, as opposed to the full journey. How have you thought about that or have you thought about that at all because I think if you want to tell a brand story in my view, just don’t put it out there, you want to take people on a full experience

Adriane McDermott: I think that really resonates and thank you for the reminder because you’re right, it’s more than a statement. And by the way, we did launch this to our internal staff. It’s now become our internal rallying cry. We launched about a month before the Above-the-line really to our internal teams and all the stakeholders who are really closest to Seafolly. And you’re right, we went back to go forwards. We went back to our beginning to tell our story. And the narrative for Seafolly is that it did start in 1975 as Peter’s Folly. And Peter Halas was a Hungarian immigrant who actually came to Australia in 1957, didn’t speak a word of English at 17. After some years in 1975, he was working for a swimwear company and he decided in his folly, to go off and start his own swimwear brand.

Adriane McDermott: And what he had was a certain characteristic which we now use in our internal culture called… he was a folly maker. And being a folly maker means he made his own luck. He took a shot at it, he did it against all odds. Some people told him it was a foolish dream, but he still went out and did it anyway. So the way we launched the platform to our internal staff is reminding people of that story. And those are the values now that we’ve brought back into the culture of, make your own luck, work with what you got, take a risk, own it. use your intuition. So we went back to Peter’s folly and felt that folly really being in our brand name was that Australian attitude for making your own luck and giving things a crack.

Adriane McDermott: We also went back into our narrative to look at our own progress over time and realise we’ve always been ahead of the curve. We are leaders, not followers in our design. 

Adriane McDermott: When people were selling bikinis in sets, we sold in separates. We were the first ones to get Gigi Hadid on board in 2015 before she exploded into fame. So there was this history of us always being ahead of the curve that we also had to remind people of in our narrative to really be brave, to again, redefine the category. And then really Seafolly means sea, being the beach lifestyle and folly being this Australian attitude. And that’s again what we went back to in order to build the narrative and bring that forward.

Mark Jones: And that’s actually a theme that runs through your story. And I think it’s interesting to hear how you’ve interpreted that because one of the challenges I think we face as marketers is what appetite do you have to dig through the history and find the trends, find the theme, find that consistent idea? And actually saying, “Are we going to continue this story or are we going to start something completely new?”

Adriane McDermott: Yeah, it is a challenge. And I do a lot of reading on how organisations can put together an authentic purpose. And it is always easier when the founders very clearly and very expressedly had a reason why they started a brand to begin with. In the absence of that, it’s harder work to, I think, really tried to discern what kind of almost like archetypal business are we. And there’s a great book, which I’ve read recently on this called Conscious Capitalism. It talks about how finding that purpose is pretty archetypal. It’s either the true, the good, the heroic or the beautiful. So I feel like in the absence of finding that founder’s story or going back to actually into the archives as a great marketer to find that purpose and that narrative. Really doing some deep thinking within the business and with stakeholders about what kind of business are we. And then really trying to put some words around that I think is probably the next best thing to do if there’s really just that not strong founder’s heritage that you can lean on.

Mark Jones: Now, the next thing that springs to mind in that context though is you mentioned this sort of Australian spirit or the Australian culture that’s wrapped up in folly. And that does come through in the creative that I saw with the women mowing the lawn in their bikinis and-

Adriane McDermott: Getting up to mischief.

Mark Jones: Right. Getting up to mischief. I got to ask though, some of the comments that I read were speaking about, this is not a diverse set of people that are shown. basically saying, look, this is not what we-

Adriane McDermott: Representative.

Mark Jones: Correct, what we like to think of as the broader Australian community. So just tell us about what was going on there.

Adriane McDermott: That is really interesting that you bring it up because this has been really empowering and almost enlightening for us to again, get out in mass media with a new message and a narrative and a new piece of creative talking about the brand. And then being surprised by the amount of engagement that came back from women who I suppose have challenged us to really think about how far we should be taking this narrative. And as a reaction to that… all great marketers need to pivot. They need to take this kind of consumer feedback and run with it. I took it really seriously in the first couple of days of the launch itself. Not negatively, but in a very constructive way to be able to add content and add that context and the intent behind what we were doing.

Adriane McDermott: So, we’re doing a second piece of content. So a brand film of which we’ve got eight of our own staff, including myself, who’s going to stand up in swimwear and we’re filming a piece of content which is more authentically around what the Own Your Folly platform really means. And by all means it is about embracing diversity and all women and representation of women in a really inclusive way. And I feel like adding to that content and adding to what we’ve already put out in the market is the way for us to balance that message and ensure we’re listening to that feedback and responding to it.

Mark Jones: That’s fascinating. So in other words, watch this space.

Adriane McDermott: Yes. Watch this space. We also did, within 10 days of the launch, another social first shoot with four other women, we’ve got nine influencers coming up. And I suppose the feedback that came to me again was quite encouraging to keep going on a more diverse talent perspective, to be able to represent the brand to more women and connect with them in a way that they feel is genuine and empowering.

Mark Jones: Tell me about your channel mix. We’ve been talking about Above-the-line creative and you’ve mentioned content a couple of times. Are you just thinking TVCs these days? What are you doing?

Adriane McDermott: So this year was a bit of an exception. So in the past we would have spent about half as much of what we spent this year in media. So part of this new narrative was doubling down on our media investment this year. And we went into new channels like TVC, which is a mass broad reach. We also are in cinema advertising, we chose huge amounts of outdoor media, which has always been traditionally what Seafolly has done to be that spark that starts every summer. So our channel mix did evolve this year only because we wanted to land more of an awareness message early in the season and be able to again get back into those considerations sets amongst women who maybe hadn’t heard from us in a while. And also, get that talk-ability. And I suppose big channels like that have a way of getting back into the conversations. 

Adriane McDermott: And also just ride the line between that kind of interesting and important with that message. That again, brings to bear that consideration for the brand.

Mark Jones: What’s the role of earned media, social media, content owned media? 

Adriane McDermott: Well, certainly social media is absolutely critical to any fashion brand and particularly Seafolly. Between Facebook and Instagram we have around over 800000 followers and a really highly engaged audience.  We are thirsty for content on our organic social and also in terms of our channel strategy. Of course about 50% of the media that we spend is in paid social and YouTube. So social media and social media content and looking like more organic around a lot of our messaging and using a network of women that can represent us is also extremely important.

Mark Jones: What’s the role of influencers? Because I think if I look at the Gartner Hype Cycle of marketing trends, influencers are right at the bottom of the trough of disillusion.

Adriane McDermott: Yes. Well that’s true. Our strategy is definitely change. So we’ve been also working with One Green Bean and Co-maker. And working with Co-maker for our influencer strategy has been a refreshing because they’re the ones who get out there and approach women who are actually influencing other women authentically. And producing some amazing content and not just influencers by their own appointment.

Mark Jones: Right.

Adriane McDermott: And-

Mark Jones: Do you mean less professional influencers but more effective? Like are real or-

Adriane McDermott: They’re content creators.

Mark Jones: Right. Okay.

Adriane McDermott: There are women out there who… And I’m sure lots of men too, but there are people who are just really good at creating great content. So we have approached through Co-makers, again another nine women who we’ve chosen based on their representation and the messaging and the audiences that they can reach through their own channels to engage with us on some great folly kind of content. So they’ve become folly makers too, but they can do it in their own way, and I think that’s what people are connecting with now rather than just a paid influencer endorsement.

Mark Jones: And how are you measuring the effectiveness of that aspect of the campaign?

Adriane McDermott: It is about reach and engagement particularly engagement on content like that. So things like comments now, of course none of us can see likes anymore on anything. Then being able to use our social listening to listen to those comments and again react to those comments and be in those conversations.

Mark Jones: Obviously you’re a retail brand, which means that retail stores I imagine are super critical for you. 

Adriane McDermott: That’s really a huge growth channel for us.

Mark Jones: I’m just wondering about how you manage the channels there, the sales channels and how you tie together this work that we’ve been discussing with that digital performance side.

Adriane McDermott: It’s really important for us to drive online engagement and online traffic.  Once you actually get consumers to traffic your online site, you can actually track them and re-target them for future. So, again, part of our initial intent with the media strategy was to gain all of that awareness and consideration. And we have had a huge uplift in online sessions to our seafolly.com as a result with a new audience. So anywhere between 50 and 60% of new users coming to our online site.

Mark Jones: Interesting.

Adriane McDermott: That does give us an enormous opportunity in the next three months of summer to be re-targeting that population and that new audience with, again, some reconsideration for the brand and hopefully converting by putting the best product in front of them that they’re going to engage with and hopefully purchase.

Mark Jones: So there’s a real focus then on making sure that our messaging is across all of those channels and that we’re optimising that. And so would you say then that the paid social component really is critical to making all of this work?

Adriane McDermott: Nowadays, definitely yes.

Mark Jones: And what have you learned that actually makes the difference between average and excellent?

Adriane McDermott: If anything I were to have done better in this more recent launch, it’s ensuring that all the channels, and the total customer experience is going to line up. So unfortunately, in the timing of the launch of the Above-the-line campaign, there were six outfits in the campaign. Only two of them were actually shoppable right away. But because that piece of content lasts longer, what we’re wrestling with now is making sure we hold that demand long enough that the product is actually available to purchase either online or in store. So any retailer now, I think the biggest challenge and what I always wrestle with is the precision of when the messaging delivers and when that product is hot and when it’s shoppable.

Mark Jones: There in lies many internal meetings.

Adriane McDermott: Yes. And a lot of coordination.

Mark Jones: Is there any sort of secret sauce to getting that right? Is it just all about stakeholder management or supply chains? 

Adriane McDermott: I feel like today brand and product teams need to work really in sync with one another. Because there’s as much of a brand story or a marketing opportunity with a great product innovation or again, in the case of fashion, retail, the right timing of the right trend when it hits market. And I know based on my previous experience Nike or other brands do this really well. When an innovation comes to market, it’s the synchronisation between the brand marketing and that innovation and some cultural significance of that innovation hitting the market at the same time that you really get the trifecta of demand.

Mark Jones: So let’s for a minute talk about conscious capitalism. And you mentioned the book there and purposes and so on. There’s a real awareness of how we think about the impact of our products on the world around us.

Adriane McDermott: Definitely.

Mark Jones: What’s going on there in terms of your understanding of the mindset of your customers? 

Adriane McDermott: For sustainability, I feel like every brand has got to have an understanding of the impact that their brand has on the environment now.  In conscious capitalism, every stakeholder including the environment is equally important to find that mutual benefit. For Seafolly, we are on a very fast pace to address sustainability, which has become even more important in three aspects. The first being product, the second being packaging, and the third being what a lot of retailers call circular fashion. So the first being product, by this time next year a lot of our core product will be made in sustainable fabrics and the availability of those fabrics and the production process connected to that is becoming more available, which is fantastic for a lot of fashion retail.

Adriane McDermott: And I think people are starting to get more conscious around their own consumption of apparel and the amount of waste that could go into that category. So product is certainly important. Packaging, we’re very close to having a hundred percent of our e-comm packaging on online orders being made of compostable or calico bags, reusable materials, as well as our swing tags, our shopping bags, just to have a certain amount of accountability for what we’re packaging our product in. And then thirdly, is this circular fashion. Brands are taking more responsibility for the entire life cycle of their product. 

Adriane McDermott: Part of our direction is to make swimwear that lasts a long time and to avoid that kind of repetition of having to buy too often. But also taking responsibility for the end of life cycle, potentially taking that swimwear back in our stores, breaking it back down again and using that into threads and then fabrics and then reusable fabrics in the future. So there’s a few suppliers, and a few new options for the category in that sense.

Mark Jones: Well done on making progress there. Congrats, that sounds fantastic. I imagine purchase consideration, if you go back to the earlier part of our conversation, we talked about the fit and the feel, that experience being the primary kind of driver for the sale, that sustainability piece. How influential do you imagine that will become in the future?

Adriane McDermott: For the fashion industry, it’s incredibly important it’s definitely critical to get that right. I think we all have a responsibility to develop our strategies there for product packaging and again, that end of life cycle responsibility. I think it will become more and more relevant and it won’t be a trend, it’ll be the norm.

Mark Jones: Just a final thing, broadly speaking, retail’s not having a great time. How were you thinking about the sales aspect of your role, really driving some sales outcomes in clearly what is a difficult environment? Are you less reliant on physical retailers for example? Or what other strategies are you bringing to the table?

Adriane McDermott: Again, with this new platform that we’ve landed earlier this year, it also gave us an opportunity to really take a look at our in store experience. So in September we’ve actually launched a new fit training programme. We actually called it in our internal staff the Fab Programme, which was folly attitudes and behaviours. But also just really hyping up on the fact that if women are coming to our physical stores, they expect an experience and that experience has got to be around fit styling. So we are investing back into training of our staff to really make that the reason why women come to physical stores to shop swimwear. Because as you know, the rest of the fashion category and a lot of ease and convenience is now online. And so we have to have a reason why our physical stores are great experiences for women.

Mark Jones: Again, the customer experience is not just the using of the product, but actually the experience in store of people who kind of get me, right?

Adriane McDermott: Exactly. Relatability and connection.

Mark Jones: And how are you making sure that the spirit of that customer interaction is aligned with the spirit of the brand narrative we were speaking about earlier. Because there’s actually a brand personality that is coming through here. Do you kind of give the staff like culture training as it were?

Adriane McDermott: When we launched to our retail teams, in September, we even had a folly race around the Gold Coast. Again, just really embedding that cultural truth and some of that new narrative into the way of working which is really important. A lot of our retail teams, they’re amazing women who care immensely around the experience of making women feel good. And that’s really the connection that we get, and a lot of times in our fitting rooms between sales staff and again, a woman who might not be so comfortable around shopping for swimwear. So we really do change the way women feel about themselves by putting on great fitting swimwear.  I think the women who work in our stores, they really understand that that genuine connection is a really thrilling part of their job. 

Mark Jones: Well, all the best with this story. I’ve really enjoyed hearing about how you interpret this brand story that you’ve re-crafted, I think, for everybody. 

Mark Jones: And I think, again, from the marketing discipline perspective, being able to see how you’ve looked for that consistent theme throughout the story of Seafolly and imagining it forward because I think a legacy can actually be a problem sometimes, right? As opposed to the positive aspect that you’ve been able to bring forward and celebrate. So thanks for your time. All the best with-

Adriane McDermott: Thank you.

Mark Jones: … the summer season that’s upon us.

Adriane McDermott: Thanks.

Mark Jones: Yeah. And we will be watching with interest to see how the brand grows from here.

Adriane McDermott: Thank you so much for today.

Mark Jones: So there you go. What did you think? I did come out of this interview feeling a better understanding of how this space works and a great deal of respect for Adriane and her team and what they’re doing.

Mark Jones: So, a really interesting brand, and a really interesting story about how to take the origin story and to make it relevant. And then also, I think most importantly about this story is being able to respond and to iterate and start to think about diversity and how can I make sure that as a marketing leader I can continue to build that conversation rather than a sort of a set and forget.Mark Jones: It’s a conversation that you’ve started now, how are we going to develop it over time? So, some really great lessons there from Adriane McDermott, chief marketing officer at Seafolly. As always, I just really appreciate the fact that you take the time to listen to us. I hope you get a lot out of the show. if you have any ideas, I’m open to suggestions. Send me a note via LinkedIn and with that we’ll speak to you next time.


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