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Marketing Mix Podcast with Charisse Ford Hughes

Charisse Hughes explores ways to measure influencer impact

December 20, 2018

Joining us on the Marketing Mix Podcast with Jeff Ragovin is Charisse Hughes, CMO, PANDORA (Americas). Charisse explores omni-channel marketing strategies, driving online to in-store conversions and ways to measure influencer impact. Taking a look back at some of PANDORA’s top performing marketing programs of 2018, Charisse explains why tapping into key cultural moments is one of the most effective strategies for improving brand perception. 

Listen to "Charisse Ford Hughes, CMO, PANDORA (Americas)" on Spreaker. 
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Jeff Ragovin: How has your transition been from marketing beauty to marketing jewelry?

Charisse Hughes: The first part of my career was all about brand building. It was heavily focused on luxury beauty and driving global businesses at scale. My role working on a high touch product set me up for the role that I have now at PANDORA, which is slightly different in that I am much more of a commercial marketer. So, I’m heavily focused on the retail experience, distribution and distribution expansion, and really thinking about direct to consumer opportunities. This has challenged me to strengthen my capabilities in the digital and CRM space and really round these out to achieve more personalization and individualization. I feel my career in beauty taught me to lead from a consumer standpoint.

Jeff Ragovin: How are you guys using digital to drive in-store purchases at PANDORA?

Charisse Hughes: There’s this healthy tension that is happening between brand building and performance marketing. I'm super excited that we have evolved into the digital space, and I think digital has been one of the best shifts in the marketing world. We have historically talked about marketing being a balance of art and science, and digital has helped marketers do just that. It’s helped us better understand consumer behavior and improved how we leverage those behaviors and triggers to drive deeper engagement, and ultimately drive conversion, repeat and loyalty.

For us at PANDORA, we’ve used a variety of tactics to drive consumers to store, but one thing that we’ve really focused on and benefitted from is the fact that we are an omnichannel retailer and that means that we want consumers to shop when they want to, where they want to. So if we think about it from a more holistic standpoint, our goal is to elevate the PANDORA brand. That’s about boosting relevance across all the consumer lifestyles and ultimately, the most important goal, which getting consumers to shop. We have done that through geotargeting, social, email marketing, engaging each individual consumer, and providing the best products and services that are really going to drive them to shop with us.

Jeff Ragovin: Are there any specific technologies you use to track the online to in-store conversion? 

Charisse Hughes: From an internal technology standpoint, we can see our consumer's behavior in our key channels. That has been one way that we’ve been able to attribute the results to in-store vs. ecommerce. We have also partnered with some of our social partners to run some tests. We have done everything from beacons to offline conversions. A lot of different methods have really helped us get closer to understanding which media and methods are most effective at driving consumer behavior.

Jeff Ragovin: Are there any trends in digital that you optimizing?

Charisse Hughes: The biggest thing I’ve seen and that continues to work really well for us is video. We're in such an emotional category. It seems obvious, but there are a lot of different ways that we can use video -- from traditional marketing messages to tutorials showing how to properly clean our products. So we are thinking much more deeply about how we are using video beyond its storytelling purpose.

Jeff Ragovin: PANDORA sponsored Coachella in 2016. Can you tell us a little more about that?

Charisse Hughes: We were really focused on two things. We wanted to build style credentials for the brand and we were looking for a younger consumer. Brands are living, breathing organisms and we need continue to feed and fuel them. A way to do that is with new consumers and for us, that means younger consumers as well. Playing into key cultural moments, such as festivals, are huge opportunities to bring together like-minded people and get them excited about our brand and what we're doing.

We became the exclusive jewelry sponsor at Coachella in 2016. We created this installation with a really fun, leather jewelry bar where you could use our leather as chokers or you could creatively intertwine them to create your own designs. We invited influencers and festival goers to be super creative in how they express themselves and their style with our leather bracelets.

Coachella has a global following, so there was nearly 100,000 visitors between both weekends for that six day period. It was a major success for us from a brand standpoint. Social media impressions exceeded our goals and influencer impressions were three times our goal. Most importantly, we beat our traffic expectations, which was really what we wanted to do. We wanted to get those people into the installation and have them engage and learn more about the brand. In the end, we were really excited about that experience and it started to lay the groundwork for some future collaborations that we have since done that have been focused on culture and cultural moments.

Jeff Ragovin: You led PANDORA’s first ever influencer program with Ciara. What inspired that program and how did it perform?

Charisse Hughes: Ciara is an amazing lady. She's incredibly fearless, feminine and majorly multi-faceted. We wanted to align ourselves with someone like Ciara, who embodies the spirit of female empowerment, to help introduce us to new audiences that may not be as familiar with PANDORA. Ciara is a star power; she has multiple millions of followers in her social channels, but she is also an incredibly authentic woman, mother, wife and career person. Needless to say, she was such an incredible person for us to partner with.

We started the engagement with Ciara in March of this year for the launch of our new 18 carat gold plated collection called PANDORA Shine. The partnership was all about introducing new advocates and creating renewed interest and desire for our brand. We then continued the relationship for Mother’s Day, which was a perfect fit for her as a Mom of two. Most recently, we hosted a dance lesson with Ciara and the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. Ciara is a lovely lady and a class act -- and an awesome dancer by the way!

One of the single most important insights that we gained was around brand perception. We’ve seen that consumers who are aware that Ciara is a part of the PANDORA family have had a more favorable view of our brand and have increased purchase intent. Ultimately, that’s really what you want from a collaboration. Authenticity is so important and I think we nailed it.

Jeff Ragovin: Ciara is an amazing macro-influencer, does PANDORA actively tap into micro-influencer as well?

Charisse Hughes: Yes, it’s so important for us to be close to our consumers and understand how they use and integrate our jewelry into their everyday lives. This has led us to a really strong portfolio of micro-influencers in markets all over Latin America as well as in the U.S. and Canada. Micro-influencers play an important role for us because they are deeply connected to the brand and tend to have, in some cases, higher engagement. At the end of the day, whether it be a celebrity influencer, macro or micro influencer, you want somebody who is truly authentic, engaged and loves your brand. 

Jeff Ragovin: Thank you for joining the Marketing Mix Podcast.

Please note, the above has been paraphrased for editorial purposes