Born: Atlanta, Georgia- USA
Worked in: US and UK
Name an innovative idea or business solution for which you are most proud. Allison has worked for the last 18 months with Colgate-Palmolive and other agency partners to develop a new global integrated communications process that has to be relevant and practical for 5+ agencies in over 80 countries. And it has to work for all projects, whether they are being developed locally, regionally or globally. Through her extraordinary efforts, a process has indeed been developed with the capacity to enable teams around the world to seamlessly create great work.
Why do people see you as an innovator? Allison is an innovator, because she won’t accept “can’t” as an answer. If an idea doesn't seem possible to implement, she will explore every angle until she finds a solution that will deliver. It may not look the same around the world, but through adaptation and collaboration she’ll figure out a way to accomplish the task.
What role does innovation play in your marketing strategy today? Innovation is often the tool we use to engage consumers. Let’s be honest—toothpaste may not be exciting to everyone. So, we push ourselves through product innovation, combined with innovative consumer engagement. To support the new Colgate WISP product launch, for example, innovation meant encouraging consumers to change their thinking about when & where to brush their teeth. An integrated campaign was developed to underscore how consumers should “not get caught without it, “ and Colgate WISP appeared in unexpected places where anything could happen.
What is the biggest challenge you face in applying innovative thinking to international projects? “Innovative thinking” has different meanings in different parts of the world. For example, it's very easy for to sit in New York City and talk about how we need to be using more digital media or mobile couponing. When speaking to colleagues in Azerbaijan , it becomes clear that innovation may mean figuring out how to appropriately adapt the Western women in our commercials to the Muslim culture. Finding ideas and solutions that are scalable for the broad range of international markets under Allison’s care is certainly her biggest challenge.
Dictionary definitions aside, how would you characterize innovation in the work you do? For Colgate-Palmolive, innovation is about finding creative (and sometimes simple) solutions that can be actioned around the world. At the end of the day, we are looking for ways to connect with consumers in a new and engaging way... it's not about innovation for the sake of innovation.
Any other interesting aspects to your international background? As part of her role of managing the Colgate-Palmolive business from both a Global and a Latin American perspective, Allison is often embedded in local markets for several weeks at a time.
This gives her a chance to understand the market and the nuances of local media trading. Most recently she spent time in Hong Kong, London and Moscow. Dubai and China are most likely to be her next destinations.
Any internationalist trivia about yourself? Allison has never been to a city she didn't love—and always tries to spend some extra time in each location to sightsee and study local cultures and trends.