Empowering others isn’t just a passion for Alexis Stoll-Scigliano, it’s a job requirement. The consumer engagement and brand marketing guru has made a career out of building memorable consumer experiences that not only inspire action, but also the people they reach.
From experiences in event marketing to brand management and consumer engagement, Alexis knows how to build meaningful relationships from anywhere in the world. So we sat down with LMVH’s Director of U.S. Consumer Engagement, Emerging Spirits to get her perspective on the challenges and wins of engaging consumers in today’s digital world.
Tell us about your experience in Brand Marketing? And your transition from Event Marketing/Business Leadership into Branding.
Starting her career in partnership marketing, Alexis was always adjacent to sports and brand marketing in some way. “Right from the start, I was collaborating with brand managers from the likes of PepsiCo, YUM Brands, Sony, etc. — companies that invest a lot in building their brands and are marketing-first organizations — as partners of the Philadelphia Eagles and the AND1 MixTape Tour.
“Then I moved to the Turner Broadcasting Sports and Entertainment Ad Sales team, it was at a time where marketers were being forced to think about how to integrate their campaigns and experiences digitally, so we explored leveraging any on-air programming to build out unique experiences for their clients which was an awesome challenge.
“In my next role at Momentum Worldwide on the American Express account team, I was fortunate enough to be working with highly intelligent marketers from a brand and media perspective. But, while agency life is super fun when you don’t have other commitments, when you have a new baby, and you’re trying to navigate work, life, mommy guilt, and everything else, it loses its flare. So when I had my first child, I made a move to Nielsen whose strong work-life balance culture allowed me to get my personal life back on track.”
This is where she told us that she believes everything happens for a reason. And here’s what she means by that: After a year deep in KPIs and metrics at Nielsen, Alexis had this moment where she felt lost. “I was watching the Super Bowl the year Beyonce performed at halftime, which had strong underpinnings of women’s empowerment and women reclaiming their space. While scrolling through social feeds, I couldn’t help but notice how many people that I’d worked with in the past were in some way touching this particular Super Bowl, and I was completely disconnected from it. I was so overwhelmed with feelings of being lost, off-track, disconnected from my passion, away from an industry that I worked really hard to crack into in the first place. I was determined to figure out how to take all my experiences thus far and get back to a place where I wanted to be.”
And that’s exactly what she did. By reconnecting with her prior client at Mountain Dew, Alexis was presented with an opportunity on PepsiCo’s sports marketing team, and 365 days post-Super Bowl revelation, she found herself working on the field during the Bruno Mars halftime show.
“PepsiCo was structured in a way that rotated team member roles every 18-24 months to build your knowledge in all sectors of marketing — how the product gets made, its strategy and delivery, consumer communications, etc. which were invaluable to me. After the Sports Marketing team, I transitioned onto the Mountain Dew brand team where I got to oversee the brand’s presence within action sports, basketball, and gaming.
“When I came back from my second maternity leave, I was transitioned onto the AMP Energy brand team, leading brand strategy and product innovation, which was definitely a change of pace for me. It was the first time that I wasn’t in direct connection to the sexy communications side of marketing, but instead gaining my first real exposure to the brand marketing process on a much deeper level. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. Over two years, a team of just four of us completely relaunched the brand as a fully organic energy brand — everything from concept to commercialization.”
Her next moves to New Balance and Foot Locker in their women’s portfolios marked the return to her passion for elevating and celebrating women. And now, she’s part of Moet Hennessy, a division of LVMH, overseeing consumer engagement for their Emerging Spirits portfolio and taking everything she learned to uncover new ways to connect these products to people and culture.
So where did this passion for sports and entertainment originally come from?
“I’m a first-generation in a Guyanese family. I had a really nice upbringing in the suburbs, but it was a different world for my parents, so they didn’t understand the connection between kids and sports at a young age in the United States. I just grew up playing sports with neighborhood kids and joining softball leagues before eventually walking onto the track team.
“And that was where it clicked for me — eventually. At first, I figured I was pretty fast and would just dominate, but I was so wrong. I couldn’t even finish one lap without stopping to catch my breath. But I stuck with it, initially setting small goals for myself, and then setting bigger goals and achieving them. While I was physically focused on becoming a better runner, an even more valuable byproduct of that was developing the confidence to take on challenges and accomplish things that I didn’t think I was capable of. I found so much passion in running. That mind/body connection in sports is so important, and I just had to stay connected to it which is why I chose the path of sports marketing.”
How has your team adjusted while coming out of COVID – transitioning to less in-person events or any virtual adaptations or new trends?
There’s no doubt that consumer engagement has been one of the most highly affected aspects of marketing during the global pandemic — so how does a brand adjust? “It’s certainly been a challenge, especially when you have a product that relies so heavily on that ‘liquid to lips’ moment. You can build brand awareness and influencer engagement, but nothing can ever be as effective as the experience of trying the product first-hand.
“But we’ve been lucky thus far — having only started with LVMH about 6 months ago, we were able to host those in-person events but in a careful and thoughtful way. Everything is a lot more intimate now, and we’re cognizant of hosting at outdoor venues and making sure everyone is really comfortable with the format of the event.
“While I was at Foot Locker, during the onset of the pandemic, I was fortunate to be working for a brand that always stressed the importance of an omnichannel approach to business. You only have so much space in your store to host products, so online is important from a practical perspective. Marketing really had to step up to drive consumers from a brand that is traditionally thought of as brick and mortar to a brand suddenly reliant on its e-commerce business.
“We focused efforts on our social channels to leverage that engagement and drive a natural progression from platform to e-comm versus our physical stores. For Foot Locker Women, we also built out IGTV programming that was empathetic to what our consumers were feeling during the pandemic; encouraging mental health awareness, real talks with influencers on how to cope, and more. We also created fun, uplifting moments too, such as how to customize your sneakers from home using household items and live music sessions with artists. We had to make sure we were really conscious of the things people were going through during this time.”
Talk about hyper-targeted marketing… How are you using it? How has it been effective?
“Hyper-targeted marketing is everything. We use it through all of our paid media plans. It allows us to get super specific when building out audiences. As an emerging brand, it’s so valuable to utilize the audience profiles of other brands to target our potential buyers based on interests we know they really care about.
“In an industry like wine and spirits, you not only have to be hyper-specific in where you’re buying paid media and amplifying those messages but also making sure it doesn’t fall on deaf ears. For example, if your audience is really only located in key metropolitan areas, your paid media plan shouldn’t cover the whole nation; and even further, you have to know exactly where the product is actually located within each of those metros too. The last thing you want to do is drive all this awareness to people who can’t actually buy it.”
What digital marketing trends are you seeing in branding? Which ones will be important moving forward, and how can marketers prepare?
“We’ve already seen this major shift in driving to e-retail, both to partner sites and direct to consumer sites, and that’s definitely here to stay. I think leveraging influencers to drive to company social channels or directly to websites will continue to be popular. Because of the monetization of various platforms, we’ve seen the purpose of Instagram completely evolve; it’s no longer simply a place for beautiful images, but now a home for commerce.
“Just like in the past, people will continue to pay close attention to how things are changing, and learn how to adapt. We’re always getting smarter in the face of new challenges, and we’ll continue developing strategies to connect to consumers in new and exciting ways.”