Adaptability is the key to success when you are working in any challenging environment. You must operate in a way that puts you ahead of the curve as opposed to behind itBlandine Jean-Paul
For this segment of Women In Marketing, we had the chance to chat with Blandine Jean-Paul who is the owner of B’Dynamic Marketing Agency. Born in New York, Blandine used to DJ back in her college days and actually wanted to be a reporter. She has her eyes set on being a CMO for one of the Fortune 500 companies. We definitely think she has what it takes! Let’s dig in
LET’S GET PERSONAL
WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES?
I was born in New York City. My fondest childhood memory is playing in Prospect Park with my great aunt. She used to spoil me and when we went to the park, she allowed me to play in the water fountain.
SHOW OFF TO OUR READERS. ANY HIDDEN TALENTS THAT MOST PEOPLE WOULDN’T KNOW OF? A CLARINET STAR IN THE MAKING PERHAPS?
Interestingly, I have several hidden talents that people would be surprised about. First, I love to crochet. I started crocheting when I was a teen and when I was pregnant with my first child, I had progressed this skill to a point where I was able to crochet blankets, hats and sweaters for both of my children.
I was also a DJ in college and worked at a few radio stations before I started my career as a Marketer.
WE WOULD ALL LOVE TO WIN THE LOTTERY RIGHT? IF YOU WON $10 MILLION TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
If I won $10M tomorrow, I would first invest or donate a large portion in social programs that support and educate inner-city youth. Giving back is a priority for me because I believe through those efforts I can reap greater personal rewards that are more gratifying.
After that, I would focus on building generational wealth from family and friends by guiding and supporting them to invest in real estate and the stock market.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU ABSOLUTELY WOULDN’T SHARE WITH ANYONE!
My favorite meal is a classic Haitian dish called Seafood Legume. It is a vegetable stew made with conch, crabs, eggplant, cabbage and a whole lot of creole goodness.
I am a connoisseur of all foods, I will try anything at least once because I have learned some of my favorite dishes have come from culinary exploration.
YOU OBTAINED YOUR MBA IN MARKETING AND INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT FROM THE NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY (GIRL YOU FANCY!). ACCORDING TO GLASSDOOR, IT HAS BECOME SEEMINGLY EASIER TO APPLY TO WORK FOR COMPANIES LIKE GOOGLE, APPLE AND STARBUCKS AS THEY DO NOT REQUIRE APPLICANTS TO HAVE A DEGREE. HOW CAN YOUNG WOMEN UTILISE THE INTERNET TO UPSKILL THEMSELVES PARTICULARLY IF THEY CANNOT AFFORD TO OBTAIN A FORMAL EDUCATION?
That’s a tough question to answer, while I value my formal education and my MBA, the experience I garnered at ESPN and the other companies I’ve worked for were instrumental when it comes to the experience I gained. I sought my MBA because I wanted to transition from Media & Digital Marketing to Consumer Products & Goods (CPG) which required a different discipline.
Rightly so, CPG companies still put a lot of value in MBA education but having a strong multimedia background will help any candidate breakthrough in any industry. Continuing to sharpen in digital is also to anyone’s career advancement. I recently enrolled in an Executive Education course about Digital Marketing Strategies at Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern Univ because I truly believe it is important to be in a continuous state of learning. I would tell young women today to build their resume with tangible experiences that give them exposure to multiple platforms and keep learning.
WHAT MADE YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH THE WORLD OF MARKETING? WHAT PARTICULAR MOMENT IN TIME PUSHED YOU TO PURSUE THIS CAREER? AFTER ALL, WE ALL WANTED TO BE DOCTORS GROWING UP, RIGHT?
My dream was to be a reporter. I always wanted to be in front of a camera and/or microphone to bring the latest news and sports to the world. Then one day I was offered a sales coordinator job for Madison Square Garden Network and everything changed. That job ended up being more of a marketing sponsorship and activation role for MSG Network’s biggest sponsors.
That is when I started to sink my teeth into marketing. I was brainstorming marketing ideas for the New York Knicks and the Rangers and it was amazing and it fundamentally changed my career trajectory. From then on Marketing was my thing. I went from sales coordinator for the MSG Network to Marketing Manager for the New York Knicks and the rest is history.
YOU HAVE ACCUMULATED AN ENVIOUS AMOUNT OF EXPERIENCE HAVING WORKED FOR TOP-TIER COMPANIES SUCH AS NEW YORK KNICKS, ESPN AS WELL AS DIAGEO. WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THESE ROLES AND HOW DO YOU APPLY YOUR EXPERIENCES IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE AT B’Dynamic Marketing Agency?
Well, after my last role with Smile Direct Club, I decided it was time to explore starting my own business. After twenty years in Corporate America, I was truly ready for a change. So, I reached out to some business contacts and landed two business contracts and that is how B’Dynamic Marketing Agency started.
For the last year, I have been building and executing H&L Rapid True Value and H&L Agro’s marketing strategy which includes the relaunch of a new e-commerce website, revamping their marketing organization and much more. I started my work with them in Q4 and they were able to achieve a 107% YOY sales increase for Black Friday.
The gains did not end there and over the next 10 months, both retail brands were able to realize dramatic sales and growth profit increases that have propelled the business to new heights. H&L, the parent company of the two retail brands is poised to surpass its budget goal for 2020 despite a global pandemic.
AS A WOMAN IN THE MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS ENVIRONMENT, WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU FACE WITHIN AND OUTSIDE THE ORGANISATION AND/OR INDUSTRY AT LARGE? WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER FEMALE PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS FRATERNITY?
As a woman in marketing, I’ve faced many challenges. From the beginning of my career until now, I have been in male-dominated industries like sports, entertainment and alcoholic beverages. I’ve had to learn to adapt my style in each of these different industries. My overarching motto comes from one book, “Who Moved My Cheese.” Adaptability is the key to success when you are working in any challenging environment. You must operate in a way that puts you ahead of the curve as opposed to behind it.
ENTERING THE WORKPLACE
WHAT DOES THE TYPICAL DAY OF WORK LOOK LIKE? ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
I am both. My mood in the morning determines which beverage I strike first. It’s #TeamCoffee when the agenda is jam-packed and the timelines are tight and #TeamTea when things are moving along nicely and at pace.
HOW BEST DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
The best way for me to strike a positive work-life balance is to be deliberate about turning off my devices. I make specific plans to give myself time to disconnect. I don’t always fully disconnect but I do make sure that I create time for myself and my family.
HOW SMOOTH OF A TRANSITION WAS IT FROM BEING EMPLOYED AND TAKING THE LEAP OF FAITH BY GOING THE ENTREPRENEURIAL ROUTE?
My transition has been interesting. Throughout my career, I have always found opportunities to consult for small to medium-size businesses. After my experience with my last employer, Smile Direct Club, I decided to take a break from corporate America and embark on an entrepreneurial journey.
HOW BEST WOULD YOU DEFINE GREAT LEADERSHIP?
A great leader is driven by empathy and self-awareness. These are the top two qualities that define great leadership.
JOB HOPPING IS A COMMON PHENOMENA ESPECIALLY IN THE DYNAMIC WORLD OF ADVERTISING AND MARKETING. WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ON JOB HOPPING? DOES IT HURT OR AID ONE’S CAREER?
I’ve always felt that if I spend two-plus years in a role and I have documented successes along the way, it should not be a struggle to advance my career within that organization. Sadly, that hasn’t been the case which has fortunately or depending on how you look at it, unfortunately, led to my job-hopping. My career has advanced because of my ability to recognize when growth and/or development are not possible.
FORBES HAS AN ANNUAL ‘THE WORLD’S MOST INFLUENTIAL CMOS’ REPORT. FOR THE YEAR 2019, ONE OF THE KEY HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE REPORT WERE THAT 31 OF THE 50 CMOS LISTED WERE WOMEN. IN YOUR OPINION, IS THIS A POSITIVE REPRESENTATION OF GENDER EQUALITY?
It is inspiring to know that women finally have a seat at the table. I am hopeful that this trend will continue and that we will eventually see similar gains for women of color.
COVID19 HAS BROUGHT WITH IT AN UNPRECEDENTED DISRUPTION TO THE WORLD. SEVERAL COMPANIES ARE NEARING BANKRUPTCY WHILST OTHERS HAVE BEEN FORCED TO EITHER CLOSE-DOWN OR LAY OFF THEIR STAFF. WHAT SHOULD THE BEST COURSE OF ACTION BE ESPECIALLY IN THE MARKETING CONTEXT AS WE ADAPT IN THIS ENVIRONMENT? HOW HAVE YOU AND YOUR DEPARTMENT COUNTERED THE EFFECTS OF THE PANDEMIC?
There are two ways marketers can adapt to this new environment. First, drive the digital transformation for your business. Whether its e-commerce led or content-led, turn digital into your core engagement strategy. Second, focus on the essentials. Align your brand around what matters to consumers now, health, wellness, sustainability are just a few areas that come to mind.
SYSTEMS AROUND REMOTE WORK AND VIDEO CONFERENCING ARE INCREASINGLY BECOMING STAPLE IN MOST ORGANISATIONS. ACCORDING TO THE INFOGRAPHIC CREATED BY VISUAL CAPITALIST, ZOOM IS NOW WORTH MORE THAN THE 7 BIGGEST AIRLINES IN THE WORLD AT A WHOPPING MARKET CAPITALIZATION OF JUST OVER $40BN. WITH THAT BEING SAID, WORKING FROM HOME/REMOTE WORKING IS AN ASPECT OF MODERN-DAY WORK THAT HAS BEEN LONG OVERDUE. IN YOUR OPINION, WHY HAVE MOST ORGANISATIONS STRUGGLED TO CONVERT TO THIS WAY OF WORK?
I believe working remotely is a challenging proposition for the employee and the employer. For the employee, keeping a work-life balance when you are working remotely is a real challenge. The work boundaries no longer exist. You can easily end up working 10 hours a day with no break in between. For the employer, it reduces their ability to interact and engage with employees. It’s hard to build your corporate culture on a Zoom conference call and I think that is what makes it hard for companies to fully embrace the remote environment.
MARKETING OBJECTIVES WILL MOST LIKELY CHANGE DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. HOW HAS YOUR ORGANISATION PIVOTED WHERE MARKETING IS CONCERNED AND HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO HAVE A DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGY AMID THE PANDEMIC?
Digital has become the core focus of the work I do. Whether it is relaunching a retail commerce website or building a YouTube strategy for a content brand, everything I have touched since the pandemic started has become part of a massive digital transformation to help keep these businesses in the green.
WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF B’Dynamic Marketing Agency BIGGEST SUCCESSES IN MARKETING OVER THE PAST 12 TO 18 MONTHS?
The biggest success we had this year was converting a very old, malfunctioning website into a fully integrated direct-to-consumer portal that has fundamentally changed this retailer business and increased profitability.
AT THE TIME OF PUBLISHING, THE DIGITAL MARKETING INSTITUTE ESTIMATED THAT THE INFLUENCER MARKETING INDUSTRY WILL HIT THE $10BN MARK BY 2020. WHETHER B2B OR B2C, IT’S EVIDENT THAT BRANDS AND ORGANISATIONS HAVE HAD THEIR OWN SUCCESS WITH THIS MODEL OF MARKETING. HOW WILL THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AFFECT THIS INDUSTRY GOING FORWARD AND DO YOU BELIEVE THERE IS STILL A PLACE FOR INFLUENCER MARKETING?
I believe the pandemic will make influencer marketing more interesting. Now, Influencer partnerships must have a clear purpose and align with essential living to be relevant today. The influencer’s values need to align with the audience to be credible and the content should be be positioned as a soft sell.
ARE THERE ANY RECENT/UPCOMING INFLUENCER MARKETING CAMPAIGNS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE FROM B’Dynamic Marketing Agency?
My main client, Hardware & Lumber, had significant challenges with its brand perception for its chain of Hardware stores, Rapid True Value. Instead of being known as the largest hardware chain on the island, it was seen as a home goods store and was losing its positioning as a hardware brand to the consumers it served. With this knowledge, we built an influencer marketing campaign that showed famous entertainers executing DIY projects in their backyards and homes during the pandemic. The program delivered over 179k impressions and 287k+ video views in just a few weeks.
HOW IS B’Dynamic Marketing Agency CHANGING THE APPROACH TO MARKETING, GROWING BRAND AFFINITY, USER ADOPTION, AND ENGAGING CONSUMERS LIVING A DIGITAL LIFESTYLE?
Working with my client, Hardware & Lumber, we have changed their approach to utilizing digital to engage with consumers. We’ve built an intuitive e-commerce engine that has real-time customer support, unique content and a simplified shopping and checkout process. Then we refined the brand’s social media strategy to focus on lifestyle content that promotes ‘do it yourself’ ideas to drive conversion and engagement. Finally, we revamped digital advertising and made it more effective, so it could support our retargeting and diaspora strategy.
2020 AND BEYOND
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING? (WHAT DO YOU READ, AND HOW DO YOU CONSUME INFORMATION? PAPERBACK VS EREADER?)
Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to read a book in years.
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
Right now, my Netflix Watchlist has Cobra Kai, The Gift and Black Earth Rising. I am almost done with Cobra Kai. I could not pass up the opportunity to relive Karate Kid.
AS WE LEARN TO LIVE WITH COVID19 IF YOU COULD REPLACE THE HANDSHAKE AS A FORM OF GREETING, WHAT INTERESTING NEW GREETING WOULD YOU REPLACE IT WITH?
I would replace the handshake with the elbow bump. It’s a cross between a sports chest bump and a proper handshake.
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
I try to keep in touch with everyone I care about so I don’t have anyone I miss talking to. I work hard to stay in touch with everyone I know. Whether it’s a phone call, a text or a direct message on social media, I find a way to connect to my friends and family.
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
My message to young professionals in marketing is to stay informed and seek to be informed by any means necessary. That is the key to continued success in marketing.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
If I could go back in time, I would tell my younger self to make sure that you are focused on saving money, building your business network and being open to any opportunity no matter how scary it may seem. You can potentially unlock something amazing if you focus on these three areas.
WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING OUT FOR AWESOME WOMEN IN MARKETING TO PROFILE. WHO WOULD YOU LIKE US TO INTERVIEW IN FUTURE?
I would recommend Elisa Padilla
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS (PROFESSIONAL AS WELL AS PERSONAL)?
Visit every continent on the globe especially Asia
Write a book
Launch/Host a Podcast
Become a CMO at a Fortune 500
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FEMALE HEROES?
My female heroes include:
HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOUR COMPANY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
@bdynamicamktg – IG & FB
@blandinejp – Twitter