Stacie Bright is that rare person who could inspire excitement about the laundromat.
As Unilever's senior communications marketing manager, Bright spearheads laundry and skin-product outreach for the company's home and personal care division. She's helped craft campaigns for household names like Snuggle, Wisk, and Q-Tips - brands consumers have known for decades.
When contemplating messaging, Bright focuses on understanding the mindsets of each of her "kids" and using that to create reliable, credible consumer connections.
Packaged-goods preferences can change on a dime, so the key to promotion is finding campaign strategies and insights "that will really resonate with the consumer," Bright says. "If your program creates that [brand] loyalty, you've made a connection. That's what gets me really excited."
For Bright, that sentiment applies to everything from beauty bars to laundry liquid.
"I love the work that we did for All Small and Mighty," Bright says. "We launched the 3X concentrated laundry category, which was one of the largest innovations to hit laundry since liquid," she explains. That was "a new way to think" about the personal wash category and its impact on the environment, retailers, and consumers alike.
Another momentous campaign for Bright was Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty. "Every single day, I was proud to get out of bed and work on [that project]," she says.
Launched in 2004, the campaign generated massive media coverage - and some controversy - with its reliance on "real women" rather than ultra-thin, perfectly featured models. Since then, it has won numerous awards and expanded to include components such as the Dove Self-Esteem Fund, an outreach effort meant to transform the public's at times unrealistic Western concept of beauty.
"I'm in such a lucky position," Bright says, "to work on something I love and also make a difference in the lives of young girls and [their] self-esteem."
One of Bright's current projects also addresses self-esteem issues, targeting women looking to reinvigorate their lives after divorce. As part of Pond's sponsorship of USA Network's The Starter Wife mini-series, Bright helped develop a brand-peppered story line and visual product integration, star-studded promotions, and a "40 & Fabulous" online survey and sweepstakes.
Though she's been honored with Unilever's President's Award for her professional achievements, Bright refuses to take sole credit. She describes herself as "almost an in-house consultant" who helps Unilever's brand teams and PR agencies better understand how PR strategy and messaging fits within each product's 360-degree marketing collaborations.
"The channels are blurry," she explains. "PR's doing promotions, promotions is doing advertising ... you have to really stay constant and show how your channel is staying relevant in the marketing mix."
Bright is also a new-media advocate, often encouraging the use of viral videos, webcasting, webisodes, and other interactive tools.
But regardless of communication methods, Bright says, some best practices never change.
"To be the best [PR pro], find the things that you believe are the most important to develop your communication," she says, adding that whatever tool a PR pro uses as a consumer conduit - "the media, online, whatever" - it's ultimately about influencing.
"It's about reaching the people you need to get to at the end of the day," she stresses, "doing it with ethics, being able to hold your head high, and finding new ways to stay relevant."
Unilever, senior communications marketing manager
Barton G., SVP of business development and marketing
Edelman, VP, New York office
Robert Marston and Assoc./Newlin, director