CMO Impact
Achieving Personal & Career Success

CMo Club Spotlight: Eric Reynolds of The Clorox Company

Lindsey McCaffrey
February 05, 2018

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Eric Reynolds, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer of The Clorox Company; and CMO Club Chapter President for San Francisco

Eric Reynolds, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer of The Clorox Company; and CMO Club Chapter President for San Francisco

This week, we turn our spotlight onto Eric Reynolds, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer of The Clorox Company, and CMO Club Chapter President for San Francisco.

1. What was your first (or favorite) job?

I was the guy inside a gigantic moose costume at the Minnesota Zoo. One of my earliest jobs, it should have taught me the power of emotionally connecting with your audience. Instead, it bred in me my lifelong dislike of amusement park characters. I hated that damn suit.

2. What are the three most important components for your personal and professional success?

  • Hard work and resiliency have been at the core of every meaningful thing in my life.
  • I’ve surrounded myself in my work and personal life with people who energize and push me. I weed out people who drain me of energy, are themselves stagnant, or who are consistently unhappy.
  • I see the joy (and often good humor) in most things that I do and people with whom I work. I’m terrible at being miserable.

3. You are currently the CMO Club Chapter President for San Francisco. What are you most looking forward to over the next year with your local group?

The Bay Area is a tremendous place for marketing talent, industries, and ideas that shape the future. Continuing to be that safe place for CMOs to discuss the challenges and elevate the ideas that will help us master our future excites me. Today’s challenges cannot be addressed alone. We need community.

4. What is the biggest challenge for operating your marketing team around the world?

Without a doubt, the biggest challenge is finding the right team members and then creating the environment that unleashes them and allows them work courageously and quickly. The pace of change and newness has only accelerated, while the types of marketing talent you need to succeed has exploded. It’s always been about the people and helping them succeed.

5. As a marketer, what are you most looking forward to in 2018?

I am most excited by three things:

  • First, returning the industry’s conversation back to powerful brand-building, grounded in humanity. If we can’t get the discussion back to the very thing that drives real growth, we’re doomed.
  • Second, continuing to master technology and data to serve our brands. We’re starting to get smart on this, but yoking technology to brand storytelling is the key.
  • Finally, the marketing community’s leadership to advance inclusion and diversity thrills me. Not just with our consumers, but with our teams, agencies, and other partners. Marketing can play a powerful role in advancing movements like #SeeHer.

6. Which book would you recommend to your fellow CMO Club members right now?

I’d recommend two:

  • “The Business of Choice: Marketing to Consumers’ Instincts” by Matthew Willcox. I’ve been going deep on neuroscience and behavior economics lately. Matthew’s insights are incredibly useful.
  • “Eating the Big Fish: How Challenger Brands Can Compete Against Brand Leaders” by Adam Morgan. This has been out for what, 10 years? Re-read this book. It’s as relevant and possibly more powerful today. Clorox brands typically lead their categories. But if we’re lazy marketers or slow, challengers can eat our lunch. We all have to act like challengers today.

7. Name one Head of Marketing who impresses you today and tell us why.

There are so many great leaders who inspire me and inform my thinking. People like Antonio Lucio, Keith Weed, Marie Gulin-Merle, Jonathan Mildenhall, Seth Farbman, Anne Lewnes all come to mind for various reasons. But the one I’m crushing at the moment is Linda Boff at GE.

GE is in the middle of an epic transformation. I’m pretty sure not every day over there is a lot of fun. But Linda Boff is showing—like Beth Comstock did before her—how to reinvent an old industrial brand, considered dead by many.

Clorox has a lot of brands that are over 100 years old. Watching Beth and her team, their energy and resiliency, is like a master class on how to reinvigorate employees, prospective talent, and consumers by bringing the brand’s idea into modernity, in a way that’s fresh and exciting. I think that’s really hard challenge. And she’s doing it.

8. Do you have a personal mantra, words of wisdom or favorite inspirational quote?

Oof. Just one? I love aphorisms. I’d offer three:

  • “Optimism is a force multiplier.”
  • “Always assume best intent.”
  • “Be curious.”
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