The Courageous Podcast with Ryan Berman

The Courageous Podcast Episode #29: Marisa Thalberg (EVP/Chief Brand and Marketing Officer of Lowe’s)

Episode Summary

Marisa Thalberg, EVP/Chief Brand and Marketing Officer of Lowe’s, is now one year in on her new mission to surprise and delight DIY customer’s. Never have we asked more of our homes nor have our homes been more part of the cultural conversation. Who better than Marisa, named one of Forbes 50 most Influential CMOs in the World, to share how her team has navigated these trying times by striving to do the right thing for Americans. In this episode, Marisa, who worked previously at Taco Bell in California, shares what it’s like to move across the country during a global Pandemic; a move she doesn’t recommend! Marisa also walks us through her current reality of making decisions in 1) a new job, 2) from a Zoom box, 3) in the business of home. We also discussed what role Lowe’s should/shouldn’t play during the pandemic, where courage should/shouldn’t show up in a business and, finally, how her work on the infamous “The Bell Hotel” was not a year one move. In a time when retailers are struggling to find their way, Lowe’s is just the opposite. We discuss it all on this episode.

Episode Notes

3:59 - Does Marisa feel like she's a courageous leader?

6:03 - We force Marisa to choose 3 words to describe herself.

6:33 - Her thrill in the workplace: finding ways to win creatively

8:12 - "Psychology is the gameplay for what we do"

9:47 - Marisa shares the power of brands and their role in culture.

10:26 - The role of home today.

12:12 - Marisa explains what delights her about jumping into new verticals.

13:18 - Marisa is adamant about not doing things differently for the sake of doing things differently.

15:34 - Marisa doesn't recommend moving across the country during a global pandemic.

17:40 - One surprise she learned from an economist: residential sales have been stong during this time.

19:51 - "It takes time to build trust and relationships."

21:37 - Work life and home life have come together

22:35 - The importance of keeping the team aligned: Marisa and department are meeting once a week right now.

25:07 - Marisa shares that when she's passionate about the work shes doing she's not afraid to speak up.

26:35 - We remember the inspirational leaders we report into (and the not so good as well).

30:11 - Marisa confides why marketing and the consumer needs it proper seat at the business table.

31:32 - Ad Age hails Lowes as Marketer of the Year

33:31 - Marisa walks us through her reality of making instinctual decisions in 1) a new job, 2) during a pandemic, 3) in the business of home

34:43 - Where courage should and shouldn't play in their business

38:23 - Lowe's win-win-win program: "Plant's Of Purpose"

41:32 - We tak about her work creating Taco Bell's "The Bell" Oasis out in Palm Springs

42:33 - Creating a culture where people are not afraid to bring bold ideas to the table.

45:15 - Once the fundamentals are locked then you can begin to take some creative risks.

46:32 - Marketing isn't all fluff & fun. Marketing brings clarity. Clarity drives focus. Focus is part of strategy.

48:54 - Marisa shares some of her tenets of leadership.

52:05 - What are the things worth fighting for?

53:51 - Why did the "Bell Hotel" make business sense at the time?

58:47 - Marisa gives a quick shout out and explanation to "Executive Mom's" which she founded 18 years ago.

1:01:26 - The importance of staying compassionate through all of this challenge and change.