Grove Collaborative, a natural cleaning and personal care product subscription service, is appointing Lilian Tomovich as its first CMO.
Tomovich joins the San Francisco-based DTC online retailer after a six-year stint at MGM Resorts International, where she served as chief experience and marketing officer since 2014. In addition to holding various managerial and executive leadership roles in the past 25 years at companies and agencies such as Citi, Rogers Communications, LoyaltyOne and Mastercard, Tomovich has also served on the board of numerous brands and organizations, including the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Canada Basketball and Dine Brands Global, parent company of Applebee’s and IHOP.
The 2019 She Runs It Mother of The Year awardee is making a shift from the entertainment and hospitality sector to sustainable consumer products at a time when customer preferences and behaviors are evolving at unprecedented rates due to Covid-19 and marketing is pivoting to try to keep up with the changing brick-and-mortar and ecommerce landscapes. Tomovich told Adweek that since the start of the pandemic, Grove Collaborative—which sells products like hand soap, hand sanitizer and antibacterial bathroom cleaners—has experienced “explosive growth.”
“As a marketer, the opportunity to help continue drive the momentum of a business of high growth is super exciting, because, obviously, I came from an industry that is very challenged right now,” Tomovich said. She is also thrilled to be joining a company that has a mission to be “a positive force for human and environmental health,” she noted, especially since shoppers are becoming more interested in brands that are both transparent in their operations and products and involved with their communities.
“Consumers are mindful about the products they bring into their homes and the products they’re using, because they’re spending more time at home and they’re far more conscious about cleaning,” Tomovich said.
According to data provided by a Grove Collaborative spokesperson, 50% of the company’s customers are trying natural products in its categories for the first time, 65% are cleaning more frequently, 86% are spending more time at home and 50% are starting homeware projects. Consumers are also looking for authenticity in their brands, and Tomovich thinks it is important for brands making shifts to align themselves to social causes or the current climate generated by the health crisis to not just “talk the talk, but walk the talk.”
As a Certified B Corporation, Tomovich said, sustainability and conscious consumerism have been foundational to the DTC brand’s DNA since its inception. At the start of 2020, Grove Collaborative—in partnership with Plastic Bank—became one of the few plastic neutral retailers in the world. In March, the company announced a 100% plastic-free goal by 2025. To achieve plastic neutrality, Grove’s owned brands and vendors, such as Mrs. Meyers and Seventh Generation, are subjected to a plastic offset “tax.”
“The company calculates the amount of plastic sent to consumers and then compensates Plastic Bank to collect the equivalent amount of ocean-bound plastic—meaning there is a cost the company is imposing on itself for everything they ship containing plastic, even recycled,” Grove Collaborative said in a statement.
In July, Grove Collaborative committed $100,000 worth of merchandise to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. The subscription service has also issued calls-to-action to other CPG counterparts and third-party brands to implement sustainable product innovations and to donate natural cleaning and sanitizing products to public schools nationwide.