Marketing Leader Q&A Series: Lara Richardson on her new role as Crown Media’s CMO

Photo: Lara Richardson

As we celebrate our colleague and friend Lara Richardson’s news heading to Crown Media as their new CMO, we posed questions about what she is most excited about in her new role and what motivates her personally and professionally.

What are you most excited about in going to Hallmark Channels to be their new CMO? 

As they say, timing is everything! I can’t think of a more exciting time to join Crown Media. Ratings wise, Hallmark Channel has had a great year. There is a wave of progress and momentum as the evolution of the Hallmark brand continues. Also, Wonya Lucas recently took the helm as CEO, and having the opportunity to work with her fueled a lot of my excitement. Last but not least, the chance to work on a brand that is so beloved and rooted in a legacy with such amazing superfans is a marketer’s dream!

You have extensive marketing experience across a diverse range of networks. Which position taught you the most in your career? 

There is no way to pinpoint one position that taught me the most. I have learned so much from every job I have done, and I have no doubt I will be taught A LOT in this new position as well. My first job in television was in the 125th market, Lubbock, Texas. I was the promo scheduler, a writer/producer, and kids show producer – all at the same time (without a computer!). If I wanted to paint the set, I had to do it myself. Working in a small market like this allowed me to try so many things. That role taught me to roll up my sleeves, try new things, and not worry about the project’s size – it was ALL important.

Tell us about some of your philanthropic work and how that has changed you as a person? 

I have found a tremendous amount of reward and perspective by helping others in times of national disasters, personal tragedy, or causes that feel unjust. Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Maria were both national disasters that I felt “called” to help… however I could. A lot of my producer skills helped me navigate uncharted territory in the wake of these disasters. Understanding how to make something happen, like a rescue or a fundraiser, were all skills I developed in my professional life. During COVID, I volunteered with an organization called Support and Feed. The concept is simple. Restaurants need business and people need food. Both are struggling. The money raised buys meals prepared by local restaurants and businesses to people experiencing food insecurity in our communities. All of this work has put into perspective what is essential in my life.

What are the most important things marketers need to be thinking about as we head into 2021? 

No one could have predicted 2020, which had a tremendous influence on consumer marketing. Hopefully, 2020 taught us to be agile, listen to your consumer, give them what they need, and ask for and try to anticipate what they may not even know they need. The marketplace is changing – this can be said every year. Focus on the consumer and enjoy the ride.

For new marketers, what is the one piece of advice you’d give for them to think about as they progress in their careers? 

The one thing I would tell anyone, not just marketers, as they progress in their careers, is to be yourself and bring your unique perspective and personality every day. Don’t be afraid to be the only person in the room with a different POV. You may not always be right, but you will always know you spoke and stood in your truth. And specifically, for a marketer: Let the strategy be your guide. Good creative execution is everything, but it will not be effective if you don’t have a sound strategic foundation.

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What’s Your 2021 Game Plan? Hindsight is 2020.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

How prepared is your business to take on 2021? To help get your organization started, we’re sharing the top five initiatives our clients and partners are activating to ensure a focused yet agile plan for the year ahead.

1. Ensure your foundation is strong

With the struggles of 2020, we all learned the importance of a strong business foundation. Any weaknesses in that foundation became glaringly apparent and made it difficult to be nimble when our businesses needed it most. To ensure we recover well, many of our clients are preparing for 2021 by taking an in-depth look at their brand strengths, areas of opportunity, and mechanisms to foster growth via the Noetic Brand Health Diagnostic (BHD). Noetic developed this benchmarking diagnostic tool to uncover insights into your business’s overall brand health. The BHD provides a snapshot of what’s needed to protect your brand, ensuring you can make informed decisions into the new year and beyond. You can do your own “house inspection” with our Brand Health Diagnostic HERE.

2. Lean into your strengths, bolster where you need it

Agility proved to be the name of the game for 2020. When making decisions to evolve your everyday business, are you more art or science-leaning? Your innate strengths and know-how can pull you through times of uncertainty. Many have felt the weight of specific skill sets needed to innovate their companies and offerings towards growth. Excellent news! Awareness is your first step. Noetic’s Art & Science Assessment can help you understand where you shine and where you may need to buffer or bolster your skills. It provides ideas, tools, and tips on doing just that! To quickly assess your natural strengths and where to focus your New Year’s Resolutions, try out Noetic’s Art & Science Assessment.

3. Secure the right partners 

Teams have certainly had to adapt like never before. Working across industries, we have seen some clients make deep cuts as budgets decreased, while others added to their teams faster than ever before to keep up with demand. It’s increasingly important to assess your current, perhaps slimmed down, bench strength during dynamic times like these. Fueling your organizational strength could mean adding team members OR bolting on support services to better prepare you for what’s next. Being a boutique consultancy, Noetic can tailor our approach to ensure we match your needs and your organization’s culture, equipping you to drive growth into the new year and beyond. Find out more about how Noetic can bolster your bench strength HERE. 

4. Prioritize team cohesiveness and collaboration 

Remote or hybrid working teams will continue through 2021 and perhaps beyond. Research shows that working groups who are well cared for, have clear visibility of the roadmap, and feel supported by an organization are more likely to flourish, even during rough terrain and driving conditions. Everything DiSC® provides an overview of an individual’s preferences and behaviors towards building effective working relationships and optimal teaming – some team members prefer to be the driver or the co-pilot, while others like to sit back for the ride as a passenger. Understanding the different behavioral profiles and the role preferences across a team can help leaders individually map out team members to steer more effectively to their final destination. Being Everything DiSC® certified, Noetic can help unleash your team’s full potential in 2021.  Find out more HERE.

5. Build a clear plan to achieve your business goals 

Research shows times of crisis are precisely NOT the moment to go quiet as a brand. It’s the right time to let your audiences know you are here, have the expertise, and are ready, willing, and able to support them authentically and appropriately. Consumers turn to brands they trust for support during times of uncertainty. Especially during those times, it’s more important than ever that a brand walks the talk. As we enter 2021, Noetic has been working with clients on their marketing and digital content plans, ensuring connection points to annual and quarterly goals. From strategy, calendarization, analytics, and optimization, Noetic can help you meaningfully connect with your partners and customers – what are your goals, and how can we help you achieve them? Let’s talk about how we can help you this year.

The New Year is ripe with opportunities. We look forward to partnering with you and helping sharpen and activate your brand’s vision of what it holds.

To see more content from Noetic Consultants be sure to connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Guy Kawasaki: Three Things for Marketers to do in 2021

Thinking from Guy Kawasaki and Lisa Nirell with Energize Growth.

  • Quality AV is king…or queen. Digital presence matter more than ever. It is worth the investment in good teleconferencing equipment. Thanks to Guy, you can start here.
  • Own the value chain. Go to direct distribution. Don’t let others own your product.
  • Thin out your product lines. Now is the time to get rid of the dogs and milk the cows.

For more great ideas, check out Guy Kawasaki’s Remarkable People Podcast and Energize Growth.

To see more content from Noetic Consultants be sure to connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.