Strategies We're Watching

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Our Thoughts
  • by Courtney PeGan Stevens

In 2019, we featured empathic marketing in our monthly “Brand Moves We Love”  blog posts. Last year, we highlighted companies we thought were humanizing innovation in our “Innovations We Love” monthly feature. For 2021, I’m challenging the team to find and feature “Strategies We’re Watching” to highlight interesting, empathy-driven choices that brands and companies are making. 

At SEEK, we believe that the best strategies involve an empathic understanding of a human need. Lately, I’ve noticed meaningful shifts in marketing strategies and innovation choices that I think are worth sharing and keeping tabs on, and these are my interpretations of various corporate strategies. Read on to see what has caught my attention and then let's have a conversation about the empathic strategies that have caught yours!


The Strategy: A Heritage Brand Celebrates Uniqueness and Quality Instead of “Fashion”

The Player: RedWing Shoes

Why I’m Watching: The new RedWing Shoes “Out Of Fashion” campaign / strategic messaging spoke to me on a deeper level. What’s cooler than being “in fashion?” Being yourself. Being original. Being built to last. Choosing quality over quantity. Preserving traditions. Reducing our waste. 

As a former shopaholic and boutique owner, my journey over the last decade has been one of increased awareness and thoughtfulness in my wardrobe approach. I’m seeking brands that understand the journey I’m on to build a forever wardrobe that is kinder to the environment and still makes me feel like myself. 

Heritage brands like RedWing have such a strong brand equity among their loyal consumers, and this campaign both invites new consumers in and celebrates the most loyal RedWing fans. I will be keeping an eye on RedWing to see how this campaign continues to play out. 


The Strategy: Postpartum Care Line Prioritizes Taking Care of Mom and Tackling Taboos in Emotional Ad

The Player: Frida

Why I’m Watching: I’ve long felt a tension when watching my friends heal postpartum because so much attention is placed on the beautiful bundle of joy in their arms and not always enough attention on the woman holding the bundle. So, when I saw this ad by Frida, I connected immediately with their strategy to be THE brand for new moms. 

I wasn’t aware of Frida before seeing this ad. When I saw it, I immediately recognized the brand to be a disruptor and an unabashed parent-supporter, and I wanted in. The ad is emotional, raw, and disruptive because it breaks down breastfeeding taboos on screen while painting a portrait of the hidden struggles in a brilliantly empathic way.  And because I believe that true empathy compels action, I’ve already sent my first Labor Recovery Gift set to a dear friend. 


The Strategy: Launching Sustainable Straws and Cutlery in Fast Casual

The Player: Shake Shack

Why I’m Watching: It should be no secret to anyone that plastic waste is a major problem for the planet, so it always piques my attention to see big brands publicly make the switch from plastic to more environmentally friendly alternatives, like the Shake Shack and AirCarbonⓇ  partnership that was recently announced. (AirCarbonⓇ is a natural, carbon-negative material that feels like plastic but degrades naturally if it ends up in the environment.) 

As part of their ongoing mission to Stand for Something Good, Shake Shack is tackling sustainability head on and piloting plastic-free cutlery in select stores, for now. As a corporate strategy, I strongly appreciate when brands share the accountability with consumers for reducing harmful waste to our planet. So now, thanks to Shake Shack, more diners can enjoy meals on the go without the guilt of adding more plastic waste to our world. Here’s hoping this is the first of many similar initiatives nationwide. 


Have any strategic moves caught your attention lately?  Let’s keep the conversation going!  Follow us on LinkedIn or email me directly: courtney@seekcompany.com.