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408: David’s Bridal is Innovating Retail Brand Experiences with Kelly Cook, President of Marketing, IT & Finance

Kelly Cook does it all! She is a mother of five who plays the drums AND serves as President of Marketing, IT, and Finance at David’s Bridal. Her love of learning and trying new things can be seen in her impressive and varied work history. From Continental Airlines, to Waste Management, Inc. to DSW, Pier One, Sears, Kmart, and now David’s Bridal, Kelly tells us she learned a lot about herself and her craft by challenging herself in new industries and encourages other marketers to try the same.

In this episode, Alan and Kelly discuss her unique role combining brand, tech, and finance and what those three aspects may mean for the future of brand experiences at retailers. Kelly also tells us how David’s Bridal views their role in the wedding planning process, as well as how their unique omnichannel approach and crowdfunded loyalty programs help them connect with brides on a deeper level.

David’s Bridal sells 1 out of every 4 bridal gowns in the US, so they know brides, and they know brides are stressed out. That is why David’s Bridal is on a mission to make every step of the process as easy as possible, expand their scope to fill gaps in the market, add more value for their brides, and help them keep costs down. It was the creativity of the brides they serve and the dedication of their employees through COVID that inspired David’s Bridal’s new “The Things We Do for Love” campaign. Even with the rise of AI, automation, and neuromarketing, Kelly and her team at David’s Bridal know the in-store human connection is a part of their business that will never be replaced.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How is David’s Bridal blending brand, technology, and finance to prepare for the future of retail brand experiences?
  • How do they structure their unique omnichannel approach and crowdfunded loyalty programs?
  • What inspired the “The Things We Do for Love” campaign?

Key Highlights:

  • [02:00] A mom of five on the drums
  • [03:10] Her start and the stops along the way
  • [04:05] Growing intellectually by switching industries
  • [05:55] Brand, and technology, and finance, oh my!
  • [07:35] David’s Bridal market share and value prop
  • [10:20] Keeping wedding costs down
  • [11:25] The omnichannel approach to being there when brides need them
  • [14:40] A loyalty program? Like, for repeat weddings?
  • [19:05] “The Things We Do for Love.”
  • [24:40] Mentorship in prioritization, communication, and paying it forward
  • [31:05] Advice to her younger self
  • [33:05] How to not lose humanity in technology
  • [35:35] Brand-on-brand social interactions
  • [37:30] We are often our own worst enemies. 

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