Mary Alderete, global head of marketing for Gap, has seen firsthand how the last two years have been a transformative time for her sector: Brands have had to change the way they film campaigns, become more socially conscious and decipher new social channels like TikTok. Alderete said her team has re-evaluated every step of their marketing process, including making the decision to bring all of Gap’s marketing in-house at the end of 2020.
“[Bringing] all our creative development and execution in-house has helped to create a fully integrated brand experience with accountability across every consumer touchpoint. [It’s] a seamless digital-to-store experience across media and social media,” Alderete said. “A fully internal marketing team has become the heart and soul of the brand.”
Much of Gap’s marketing since this move has focused on latching onto elements of popular culture, from quickly capitalizing on the organic revival of the Gap logo hoodie led by TikTok influencers in June 2021 to launching its spring 2022 campaign with iconic Harlem designer Daniel Day, aka Dapper Dan. Day not only starred in marketing materials across Gap social channels like Instagram, but he also codesigned product.
“The category leaders that have emerged are those who have been able to make a culturally relevant connection between their products and consumers, finding the right balance of art and science,” Alderete said.
Alderete and her team have been focused on identifying promising up-and-coming talent in their campaigns like models and actors Evan Mock and Angus Cloud, who both starred in Gap ads before their big breaks on “Gossip Girl” and “Euphoria,” respectively. This year, Gap’s summer campaign was set to music by Jon Batiste before he won Album of the Year at the 2022 Grammys.
“I’m particularly proud of the community we’ve been able to foster throughout our casting, featuring a multi-generational group of culture shapers throughout our campaigns who are having an impact and moving things forward by being a force for good,” Alderete said.
But it’s not all about creativity. Alderete said marketers in fashion today need to spend just as much time thinking about performance marketing as they do on high-level conceptual marketing.
“Content has to evolve as you move through the funnel, which applies to everything all the way down to display retargeting,” Alderete said. “We love the emotional connection and awareness that’s created at the top of the funnel with linear and OTT. But just as important is our digital marketing strategy across Facebook, Instagram and programmatic, as well as email. There’s a delicate dance between message and medium, and we are constantly evaluating what hits and resonates.”
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