Part 1

Part 2

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Eric Toda - Head of Marketing at Hill City / Gap, Inc.

Eric was one of the founding members of the Hill City leadership team who had the opportunity to 'build a brand from scratch' and launch the first new company for Gap Inc in over ten years.

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Show Notes

Part 1

Eric’s Background - (02:16) 

I started my career in Facebook and from there I went to Nike where I worked as the Global Digital Brand Marketing Director. 

That’s where I have learned the most about brand marketing and the power of storytelling. 

After that, I went to Snapchat and Airbnb. And now I’m at Gap Inc. 

The Experience of Working With Gap Inc - (04:07) 

When I went to Gap Inc, I received a lot of questions. Like why did I choose Gap, why did I leave tech, etc. 

The answer was - I wanted an experience that a tech marketer like myself has never received. 

It was exciting, but it was also an experience I don't think I would ever receive again in my career. 

Coming Up With the Name Hill City - (06:14) 

Hill City was a name that represented the progress and ideals of San Francisco. It also represented an outdoor urban line. 

The Brand Positioning - (08:21) 

We didn't look at any of the brands internally. And the reason is that we wanted to create something different. We wanted to create a feeling of newness. 

One of our key differentiators was to not have much logos. We want to build high-quality stuff that you can use through different aspects of the day. 

Distribution Strategy - (17:39) 

Our distribution strategy is purely digital. It allows us to better target our audience. We also did some direct mail campaigns. 

Part 2

Putting Targets Together - (02:21) 

We found that it’s really good to focus on men. We also focused on women, because women validate a lot of what men wear. 

We tried to figure out how to speak to both genders with their own messages. 

How we got to them was through digital channels. That was supplemented with PR and Communications. 

The Messaging - (04:31) 

You’re not always targeting her and speaking to her, but you are always speaking to him. 

She is probably buying gifts. If it’s a holiday period, you can prepare something along the lines ‘here are the best gifts for him’ etc. 

Channels Used - (07:33) 

We built a bot on Facebook Messenger. Our focus was also on retargeting search ads, display, etc. 

We tried direct mail too and it proved to be such an effective channel for us. Some may see it as archaic, but that's because not a lot of people are doing it really well. 

Direct mail is a good supplementation to digital. And more people are putting their phones down and are being more conscious about how much screen time they have.

Another lever for us was just being on the Gap Inc platform. 

One thing that followed me throughout my career was the ability to do a lot with a limited budget. That’s why we didn’t invest much in TV ads. 

As far as challenges, measurement was one of our biggest battles.