GODIVA CMO, John Galloway on Bringing Sweetness to 2020 [Episode 38]

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John Galloway is chief marketing and innovation officer for Godiva Chocolatier, the 95-year-old Belgian maker of premium chocolate. He joined the company in 2018 after nearly 30 years in marketing, including substantial stints at Pepsi and Hard Rock.

John came to Godiva from a position as CEO of Beautiful Day, where he worked for three years to roll out the lifestyle brand startup. Before that he was with Hard Rock for eight years, handling advertising, public relations, loyalty, and social media for 208 hotels, casinos, cafés, and music venues in 75 countries.

At PepsiCo, he began with the Mountain Dew brand and worked in sports marketing, integration of new acquisitions, and other areas, concluding as vice president of marketing for Gatorade. Before that, he worked for agencies including TracyLocke and Burson Marsteller. John has a bachelor of arts in marketing from Manhattan College and attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Here are some key takeaways from this conversation with John Galloway.

  • Get your guard-rails in place to disaster-proof your brand. The past year was extremely challenging for most brands, but the brands who weathered the storm the best were the ones who had the strongest sense of who they are. The best way to respond to tragedy is with authenticity, which can only come from a brand that knows its identity, mission, purpose, and overall reason for being. Having a handle on this enables you to not only act fast in real-time, but it enables your team to do so as well. If your company has a universal understanding of your brand's identity, you can move faster and further in a crisis by giving more autonomy to your employees. This was a key to John’s ability to weather the storm of 2020 by hanging true to Godiva's north star of “opening people’s eyes to a more wonderful world.”

  • Stick to your cause. This is an interesting, albeit controversial topic. Godiva is a very cause-oriented organization, but John recommends picking a cause and sticking to it, investing in it, and focusing on it. In a world where there's a lot of bandwagon CSR, people can spot greenwashing, or any kind of washing, a mile away. Sticking to one cause not only prevents you from watering down your company's footprint in a specific charity or cause, but it's the kind of dedication that affects real change, all while showing your customers that you're the real deal.

  • Show your face! This is a simple one but potentially powerful. In our ZOOM-driven world, it's easy to turn the camera off and listen in on meetings, as ZOOM fatigue is a real thing. However, John claims that keeping the cameras on creates more energy, fosters community, and makes the meetings more productive. Today, a key element of retaining your staff is ensuring that they feel like they are part of a community, and having everyone see everyone else helps do that. Also, studies show that when people go through the motions of looking and dressing their best to prepare to be on camera, they're naturally more optimistic and productive, which we all could use more of.

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