Special interview with Rebecca Traverzo – EVP, Global Marketing, Consumer Products
“Our mission is to create a culture where all people can pursue their pleasure.”- Playboy.
The most recognizable brands in the world don’t just create products. They create movements. They shift culture and very few brands have done so like Playboy.
Playboy was able to lead many social movements such as sex positivity and sexual wellness because it deeply understands its audience. Playboy adapted throughout the years to trends, and it continues to be a brand leader by investing in understanding and engaging with the youth culture.
Now that today’s youth look to social media creators to influence their lifestyle choices, Playboy stays at the forefront of everyone’s mind by fostering key relationships with creators that feel authentic to their brand story.
That’s why we had a chat with their EVP of Global Marketing – Consumer Products on how they identify the right creators to work with to tell compelling brand stories that bring their products to life.
Understanding Culture, the Key to Creating Playboy’s Legacy
Q: Rebecca, your 20+ years of brand leadership experience is beyond impressive. As EVP of Global Marketing – Consumer Products at PLBY Group, what excites you the most about your new role?
A: To have the opportunity to evolve such a legacy and iconic brand like Playboy from the days of Hef, playmates, and provocation to a compelling and culturally relevant lifestyle brand focused on engaging GenZ consumers with amazing products and storytelling is what really excites me about my role at Playboy Group.
This is an opportunity that only happens to someone once in a lifetime. Additionally, the opportunity to work on brands like Yandy who led the industry boom of fast fashion brands years ago, and Lovers who have been a fearless leader of the sex-positive and sexual wellness movement for over 40 years, I could pinch myself at how lucky, excited, and honored I am to be in my current role.
Q2: I saw a quote from you in an article on LinkedIn stating, “There is nothing I love more than to understand the intersection of product, culture and consumer truths to deliver successful award-winning marketing campaigns, brand impact, and deeper consumer connections,”. What are some things you have done in your career to bring this to life?
It takes a village to deliver award-winning marketing campaigns and programs so I can’t take all the credit. I’ve been blessed to work with some smart, scrappy, and talented people in my career. There are so many great things that I’ve been able to be a part of that have deepened my love of marketing including the iconic “Can you hear me now” campaign for Verizon Wireless, Subservient Chicken for Burger King, The ProGlide Challenge for Gillette, #mycalvins for Calvin Klein and Your Boobs Deserve ThirdLove.
All these campaigns were data-driven, consumer-centric, and cultural catalysts that drove social engagement, water cooler conversation, and most importantly growth for all the brands I had the pleasure to work on for many years.
Not Just a Brand. Creating the Playboy Lifestyle for Fans
Q: PLBY Group’s mission is “to create a culture where all people can pursue pleasure”. How important are the brand’s fans in reaching aligned communities in Beauty & Grooming, Gaming & Lifestyle, Style & Apparel, and Sexual Wellness?
A: Our consumers and fans are critical to the sustained growth of our consumer products brands. PLBY Group has made a conscious effort to acquire and/or create brand and product offerings that are synergistic with one another so that a consumer can enjoy anything and everything that is important to them within the Playboy ecosystem. Whether they come to us for our fashion POV, our products, or our creators, they have the ability to shop, discover, and play across all our brands regardless of category.
The Challenges of Finding the Right Creators for Playboy
Q: What is the balance between art and science you look for with your influencers, ambassadors, and creators to enable your brands to tap into hard-to-reach audiences that ultimately help to spread the word & attract new customers?
A: We obviously look at their engagement metrics first and foremost to validate their influence among their respective following which is the science. But equally important is their content. Is their content on brand for us, have thumb stop quality and a compelling visual message like ours which is the art. You must have some level of both for us to feel good about the influencers, ambassadors, and creators we align our brands with. We want to make sure that the partnership is as authentic to their community as it is to our consumers.
Q: As little as 3 years ago, brands didn’t know how to measure the value of creators – As an EVP of Global Marketing – Consumer Products, how do you measure ROI and success for creators beyond just the content they create / stories they tell? What types of technologies do you use to help support and scale?
A: There are several technologies we rely on to gain both qualitative insights and quantitative measures for our creators, influencers, and ambassadors. We leverage Dash Hudson for in-depth reporting on engagement metrics and revenue generated from any content. We also leverage Impact Radius to report and payout direct sales attributed to each individual creator. And finally, we use Tagger Media to identify future creators and influencers that resonate with our brand and products to drive the scale of our influencer program.
Q: As more and more people identify with being a “creator” and with reach not being as important of a factor as engagement for brands– What do you see as the primary challenges and obstacles to maintaining and optimizing creator management?
A: The biggest challenge is finding a white space to tap into that provides a level of authenticity – where it feels natural for a brand and creator to partner. The landscape is so vast at this point, and everyone is a “creator” nowadays that we are losing a level of authenticity and influence that was so compelling at one time. The other challenge is getting the right content with the right message back that can be leveraged in a way that not only influences but generates incremental revenue for the long term.
Q: In delivering successful marketing campaigns, possessing a platform to gain better insight into the intersection of product, culture, and consumer truths is crucial. What features would you like to see in a creator platform to help merge those intersection points together?
A: I think a true insight tool is lacking across all creator platforms. Having the ability to understand signals and behaviors of not just creators but their following would be the optimal north star for brands to be able to find that intersection where their brand and product offerings can thrive but also be more relevant in the marketplace. That intersection of product, culture, and consumer truths is where “Love Mark” status sits. As a marketer, that’s our north star.
Riding the Waves, the Challenges of Evolving a Brand in the Digital Age
Q: In your position as EVP of Global Marketing – Consumer Products, what do you see as the biggest obstacle to connecting brand growth and revenue? How do you track and report this to stakeholders?
A: I think most of the time our biggest obstacle sits internally with key stakeholders. It takes time to grow a brand and it’s not cheap. It’s a marathon and not a sprint. And you need to invest now for long-term growth which may be challenging when we are so focused on delivering a level of performance with efficiency at the core. With so much noise in the marketplace today competing for such a short attention span from consumers, we need to be patient, agile, and nimble while also understanding that there will be peaks and valleys along the way. Test and learn quickly, fail fast, and scale rapidly is the secret sauce to driving both growth and revenue. We track performance metrics and sales daily and report on them weekly, monthly, and quarterly to make sure we are pacing where we need to be and making data-driven business decisions for better outcomes.
Playboy’s Creator Partnership Goals for 2022
Q: What are some exciting things fans and consumers can expect from PLBY Group in 2022?
A: We are entering into a rebrand for both Playboy and Yandy this September which will focus on establishing our fashion POV, consumer-centric storytelling, compelling imagery, and optimized site experience which is very exciting. We are thrilled to be partnering with Lana Rhoades again for Yandy with an exclusive lingerie collection set to launch on her birthday next week. We are also launching our new Playboy Intimates line, which will feature beautiful and sexy lingerie for her and basics and essentials for him in November. Lots of exciting things are happening for us that will carry momentum into the upcoming new year.
Make sure you visit Playboy’s website to keep up with their new launches. Also, check out their Instagram page @playboy to see their creator partnerships.
Thanks for chatting with us Rebecca!