Ladies First

At the latest CMO Breakfast Series presented by The Boston Ad Club, Keds CMO Emily Culp walked attendees through the latest campaign she’s spearheading. Culp came into her leadership role at a key moment in Keds history: the brand was about to celebrate their 100th year in business making shoes for women. She marked this milestone by launching the #LadiesFirst campaign.

The campaign aims to go beyond gender washing by empowering women through style and collectively practicing what they preach. By building partnerships with female led businesses, they deliver on these goals. One example of this is the “Ladies for Ladies” initiative, which aims to collaborate with 100 artists and creatives to help develop unique product lines. Currently, the Ladies for Ladies collections include designs inspired by weaver Malhia Kent, paper and print making company Rifle Paper Co, and mixed-media artist Kristin Texeria.

Armed with fine-tuned insights from Keds’ omni-channel operations, Culp also hand-selected spokeswomen who were in tune with Keds’ target audience. She personally interviewed actor Alison Williams, and K-Pop Star Krystal Jung, to ensure that they were genuine fit to be brand ambassadors. Culp knew the importance of authenticity when choosing the right faces for the campaign, which equated to an amplified brand reach. For example, when Alison Williams was photographed walking her dog in her Keds shoes, Culp’s team saw a spike in interest in that particular shoe. The team was able to rapidly react to bring this shoe to the forefront of their digital channels resulting in high, measurable, and traceable volumes of sales.

Keds celebration of their 100th year in business capitalizes on its legacy while delivering on forward-looking creative operations. It’s easy to see how Culp’s team has set itself up for success in the years to come and is keeping pace with the ever changing ecommerce and retail space.