“When I don’t start my day by dedicating time to myself, everyone suffers. I’m just not my best self. I have come to realize an hour for yoga or a run in the morning is directly tied to how I approach my day supporting and driving the business.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Tracy Crane, CMO at StyleHaul. Tracy oversees marketing, sales and talent for StyleHaul, a marketing agency that connects brands with social content creators, with the goal of driving awareness and conversion for brands.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I’m from the east coast originally, where I was raised by truly awesome parents who instilled in me the value of loyalty and perseverance from the very beginning. Losing my father at 15 years old, my mom had to continue to raise me on her own in NYC, which couldn’t have been easy. But she stepped up to the challenge, and through it all gave me the foundation I needed to pursue my passions. I learned the incredibly valuable lesson that life can throw you incredibly unexpected and hard curve balls, but with perseverance and commitment, you can overcome and accomplish anything. I’ve always loved fashion and beauty, and early in my career I had the honor of working alongside retail visionary Mickey Drexler at J.Crew. (More on that below — he deserves more time).
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began running marketing at StyleHaul?
Within my first six months at StyleHaul, we were testing out new ways to engage our creator community, and thought that hosting a holiday dinner could be fun. Talk about an eye-opening experience when no one showed up. At that moment, I realized how much work we had to do around building more meaningful and personal relationships within the creator community, raising brand awareness and driving loyalty. We’ve also learned how important it is to create quality and relevant experiences. Now we’re more selective around they types of events we produce and are lucky to now have lines outside our events!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We are fortunate to work with some of the most well known brands out there helping them to break through the social clutter to effectively tell their stories, and get in front of the right consumer — the ones who are most likely to take action on behalf of that brand and become a loyal customer. Today it’s more than just getting a leading creator to talk about your brand — we are developing differentiated, 360 degree programs for our brands where we are using our proprietary data to tell us what will drive the strongest performance and ROI — long gone are the days of guessing what will be most successful, now we can tell you.
What advice would you give to other CMOs to help their employees to thrive?
Empower your leaders and team to be self-starters. Hire a skilled team with passion and motivation that matches yours, trust them and let them soar. It’s also not just about skill set, cultural fit is critical. You can have the perfect candidate on paper, but maybe their values and management approach don’t align with the culture at your company. I would also say that some people need more support and leadership than others. You have to know when to invest more time in an employee whose proven that they want to be a successful contributor, but maybe have hit a few bumps in the road. I definitely believe in second (and third!) chances.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
Hands down I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help, guidance and support from Mickey Drexler. Mickey taught me the fundamentals of pretty much everything — from how to challenge the standard protocol to not accepting anything middle of the road — I learned to always strive for more, strive for better results and not shy away from “attacking” the challenge at hand. His passion for fashion, for retail, for the consumer was felt by everyone who worked for and with him — and it was a great lesson that with passion, dedication, focus and persistence, incredible things can happen. He always kept me on my toes — and further instilled in me the importance of anticipation — you did want to be asked a question you did not know the answer to! I would recommend that everyone try and find the right mentor, it can be life and career changing. Allow them to be honest with you, trusting that they have your best interest at heart, and know when to seek their advice.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Because I am somewhat fashion obsessed, I know the power of clothing to make you feel like you can do anything. People have different sources for confidence, and I love how a great outfit can change someone’s outlook and attitude. I donate clothes so I can share that feeling with countless women who share my passion, but may not have the resources. I also have an undying love for animals, elephants are one of my absolute favorites, and I hope that one day I can make an impact, however small, on preserving those precious creatures on our planet.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CMO” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
- About the importance of team building and the amount of time you need to dedicate to it. I’ve watched teams suffer from not feeling connected, and others thrive when they are accountable to one another.
- That you have to be mindful of the example you are setting. There are eyes and ears everywhere and it actually can help you be a better person and leader if you think about the weight of all eyes on you — from interns to EVPs.
- That said, I wish someone told me that not everyone is going to like or love you, and that’s ok! People jive with all different types and I think that as my career has evolved, I’ve been able to prioritize the importance of earning the respect of peers and colleagues, and realize that disagreement or a difference of opinions can be healthy for growth.
- That you have to become more of a generalist. There was a time when, as a marketer, I was consumed by font and color palette selections, and every detail of an activation we were hosting. Now, I have to trust in my senior leaders and their teams and can’t be as much of a verticalized expert as I think about the needs and success of the company as a whole. Our business at StyleHaul evolves very quickly, and to meet client and market needs, we have to be agile, informed and almost all-knowing!
- That mental and physical wellness would be such an important necessity for finding balance and maintaining a clear head. When I don’t start my day by dedicating time to myself, everyone suffers. I’m just not my best self. I have come to realize an hour for yoga or a run in the morning is directly tied to how I approach my day supporting and driving the business.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
“Courage is like a muscle. We strengthen it by use” (Ruth Gordon)
Everyday we are faced with challenges, with things we have never experienced before, things that push outside of our comfort zone. Be courageous, take a jump, show your vulnerability — it is through this process that we can achieve true “success” and happiness. Courage is a sign that you believe in yourself — you believe in your potential and you are willing to take a risk and go for it — that’s when the magic really happens.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂
Brene Brown, if you’re reading this, I am the biggest fan of you and your work! Years ago I watched her TED talk on Vulnerability and I was hooked. She has this uncanny ability to say it like it is — she shares insights around things that you never have realized on your own, but the minute she addresses them, they ring so true. She provided answers to questions that I had been asking for a long time — and based on what I learned from her, I was able to make changes in my life for the better. And on top it, I find her incredibly funny (perfectly sarcastic at times), real and relatable — she has a remarkable gift that I truly admire. I could go on and on….
Originally published at medium.com