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The Speed of Culture Podcast: Empowering Gen Zalpha in a ‘Phygital’ World

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Kristin Patrick, EVP & Chief Marketing Officer at Claire’s, on navigating the art of brand evolution

With an incredible 60-year history, Claire’s is one of the most well-known and much-loved accessory brands. Now, the brand is turning the microphone to its consumer base to empower and enhance the customer experience.

Kristin Patrick, EVP and CMO at Claire’s, joins Suzy Founder and CEO Matt Britton on the latest episode of The Speed of Culture podcast for an insightful discussion about the brand’s 16 million-member-strong loyalty program, its keen focus on empowering Gen Zalpha, and merging the physical and digital strategies to create a unique, one-of-a-kind brand experience. They dive into Claire’s initiatives to meet evolving consumer needs, the brand’s 16 million member loyalty program, the empowerment of Gen Zalpha, and the importance of merging physical and digital to create a unique brand experience.

Patrick is an exceptional executive and esteemed Super League Gaming and ChromaDex Board Member, highly recognized for her expertise in digital transformation. With a profound understanding of leading people, optimizing processes, and leveraging advanced systems, she has consistently driven remarkable results in both top and bottom-line performance across a wide range of organizations. Her leadership prowess extends across diverse industries, including omnichannel retail, fashion, entertainment, beauty and consumer packaged goods.

In recognition of her remarkable contributions to brand marketing, she earned a well-deserved spot as one of Forbes’ 50 Most Entrepreneurial CMOs and as one of the “Top 50 Women in Brand Marketing,” as awarded by Brand Innovators. Before her role at Claire’s, Kristin showcased her marketing prowess at renowned brands such as PepsiCo, Playboy Enterprises, William Morris Endeavor, Liz Claiborne/Lucky Brand, Gap, NBC Universal, Revlon, Calvin Klein and Disney Consumer Products.

Explore the episode’s key takeaways below to navigate the art of brand evolution and uncover how letting consumers guide your brand can lead to success.

Key Highlights:

  • 08:45 – 11:22 – Adapting Claire’s for a New Generation – In 2021, Kristin joined Claire’s, a 60-year-old global brand, where she saw the opportunity to revitalize and connect with younger generations. Listening to consumers, she tapped into the brand’s potential, leveraging her Disney experience to chart new paths that resonated with customers’ desires and expectations.
  • 11:22 – 12:51 – How Claire’s Evolves with Consumer Demands – In 2023, Claire’s is expanding beyond its owned stores and entering retail giants like Macy’s, Walmart, and Galleries Lafayette in Europe to meet consumer demands. Customers recognize Claire’s as a trendsetting voice and seek more content, products and experiences to complement the brand’s accessories. Claire’s is determined to seize these opportunities and evolve alongside its audience.
  • 14:03 – 17:30 – Empowering Gen Zalpha – Generation Zalpha, a powerful combination of Gen Z and the succeeding generation, embodies a wide range of perspectives. They are incredibly creative and entrepreneurial and deeply care about the world and humanity. Having grown up in a digital era, their fusion of the physical and digital is crucial. Claire’s aims to empower Gen Zalpha by giving them a voice through its platform, fostering a strong and lasting connection with their consumers. 
  • 19:32 – 22:53 – Leveraging Loyalty Program’s Data – Claire’s has an impressive loyalty program with 16 million members, which allows the brand to collect a wealth of data and continually enhance the consumer experience. Moreover, Claire’s holds valuable expertise in the Gen Zalpha market, which empowers the company to discern its customers’ purchasing habits, brand preferences, and even trends such as social commerce.
  • 23:33 – 26:35 – Embracing the “Phygital” and AI Trends – In 2023, a significant trend is the blending of physical and digital experiences, also known as “phygital.” Claire’s is taking advantage of this trend by integrating their loyalty program with ShimmerVille, the world they have created in Roblox. They have exciting plans to sell game characters to enhance customer engagement in their stores. Moreover, AI is becoming increasingly essential for creative endeavors, and forward-thinking brands recognize the importance of being early adopters to meet the expectations of the tech-savvy generations they cater to.

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