40 Under 40 2020 | Melissa Layton, Crocs, 39

40 Under 40 2020 | Melissa Layton, Crocs, 39

In her role as senior manager, Melissa Layton is credited with helping Crocs achieve record sales and positive brand metrics in 2019 through her PR and influencer marketing strategy.

The activations she spearheaded range from a surprise shoe giveaway in collaboration with singer-songwriter Post Malone to fashion mashups with restaurant chain KFC, streetwear brand Chinatown Market and luggage and handbag designer Vera Bradley.

And Layton didn’t miss a step when the coronavirus pandemic threatened to derail the footwear company’s momentum. With its “Free Pair for Healthcare” initiative, Crocs donated 100,000 pairs of shoes to healthcare workers on the front lines and registered its biggest-ever monthly jumps in PR impressions, online searches and social followers.

This is especially impressive given she has been with the company for less than a year. “Layton is savvy enough to know trends are difficult to predict,” notes Emily Sly, Crocs’ senior director of global marketing communications. “Rather, she embraces the notion that leaning into the unknown will only continue to challenge her to adapt, learn, grow and, ultimately, be the best practitioner and leader she can be.”

Layton started her career at Weber Shandwick in St. Louis, and later worked at its Chicago office supporting consumer brands such as Oreo. In 2013, she joined McDonald’s where, as director of U.S. brand marketing comms, she first began exploring opportunities in digital and influencer marketing and worked on Olympic Games and FIFA World Cup activations.

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