How to Climb the Marketing Ladder from a Woman Who Knows

Posted on by Patty Odell

Chelsea Phillips is vice president of marketing for Beyond Beer Brands at Anheuser-Busch, spearheading the company’s strategic shift to capture growth in this ever-changing segment. A new campaign for the RITAS margarita brand launched this week under a new creative platform that inspires women to own or reject the negative labels placed upon them, and love themselves in the process.

Among her accomplishments, she led the BON & VIV Spiked Seltzer revamp in just six months, culminating in the brand’s Super Bowl LIII debut. Her portfolio altogether represents $500MM in net revenue for the company.

We chatted with Phillips about marketing to women, and being a woman in marketing.

Anheuser-busch
Chelsea Phillips, vice president of marketing for Beyond Beer Brands at Anheuser-Busch

CHIEF MARKETER: You worked your way up from district manager to VP of marketing over seven years. What advice would you give to other women hoping to climb the marketing ladder?
CHELSEA PHILLIPS: Women or otherwise, my advice is always the same. To successfully influence others, find where what you need and what they need overlap. That intersection is so powerful; it changes a conversation from “this isn’t important” or “I don’t have time” to “I’m listening.” And in those conversations, it’s important to be kind; too often, we lose the human element of business.

CM: RITAS introduced #NeverApologize this week. What specific challenges/strategies do you think about when marketing to women?
CP: RITAS is a margarita in a can. As a brand, we get how that opens us up to some pretty silly labels like trashy, girly and too sweet. Our labels are in no way comparable to those offensive to women, and that’s what we’re out to change—the way so many women are reduced to and marginalized by such labels.

CM: How do you plan to do that?
CP: As a team of mostly women, we believe it’s time for us all to think about how society portrays women. By calling out the problem and taking action with our partners to address it, we’re hoping to be a catalyst that drives change. With issues that matter to women front stage in the news these days, we felt the time was right for the brand to take a stand.

CM: How, in general, has marketing to women changed over the seven years you have been in a business that largely focused on young male consumers?
CP: There’s a major shift happening in marketing right now as more women forge their own path to success. At RITAS—and Anheuser Busch as a whole—we pride ourselves on hiring more diversely and partnering with organizations, such as #SeeHer, to portray people (women included) in more equitable ways. These efforts have been under way for years but we’re excited to be launching a bold new campaign that inspires women to never apologize for who they are, and love themselves in the process.

CM: How would you describe the tone of the creative and the messaging?
CP: #NeverApologize is an open invitation to women everywhere to never apologize for who they are, how they feel, what they love, or how they love to do it. As a female-first brand, the platform demonstrates RITAS’ commitment to empower women to let go of judgment and boldly champion individuality.


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CM: Is there a key element?
CP: At the center of the new platform is a short video which serves as the manifesto for #NeverApologize. The video showcases the juxtaposition of harmful labels and women unapologetically living their best lives. It is meant to be disruptive and captures the spirit of fierce, independent, and strong femininity. The setting showcases how women can truly live joyfully when they no longer fear judgment or feel the need to apologize for being who they want to be. We enlisted acclaimed female director, Lauren Sick for her passion and ability to capture an authentic portrayal of the human experience.

CM: How does this campaign fit into the overall marketing strategy?
CP: This is the first initiative under the new brand platform, which will be supported throughout the summer with additional out-of-home, digital and social media advertising campaigns.

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