How Newell Rubbermaid Is Integrating The Digital Presence of 40 Brands

“I’m a hybrid,” reporting to both the CIO and CMO, said Bert DuMars, VP E-Business and Interactive Marketing, Newell Rubbermaid.

Newell Rubbermaid counts more than 40 brands, including Sharpie, Levolor, Rubbermaid and Graco. PRNewser caught up with DuMars recently to speak with him about the company’s digital marketing efforts.

In 2007, corporate was paying for a bulk of the digital work, with the actual brands not paying very much, said DuMars. Eventually, the company increased the investment from brands, which co-invested in projects.

Integration took time, he said. Brand websites were on variety of different platforms, which drove up costs. In December of 2008, the company launched a global platform for all brand websites, starting with baby and infant product maker GRACO.

GRACO was one of the first Newell Rubbermaid brands to really embrace social media, said DuMars. It started rather simply. Lindsay Lebresco, who now works for GRACO agency partner Converseon, would go out and meet moms. “What would you want us to do if we were out here?” she would ask.

From those conversations, GRACO’s blog and social media program was born. “The VP of marketing put her neck on the line to push the program,” said DuMars. In regards to GRACO’s blog, “It was a nice soft sell. For seven months there were no product mentions on the blog,” he said, although recently, “we’ve been integrating it.”

From Graco, brands like Rubbermaid and Sharpie followed.

Asked about how the company is measuring and quantifying these digital efforts, DuMars said the company works with partners including Scout Labs, which he called, “very inexpensive” and a “good deal.”

For other brands, agency partners such as Converseon or Draft FCB conduct measurement. The company also works with Omniture. In terms of the well known net promoter score metric, DuMars said it is a good metric, but “not something we’re looking at in particular.”

Instead, DuMars said social customer relationship management (CRM) is the “next step.” He is currently working on syncing brand’s social media efforts to their customer service departments.

And despite all the talk about social media, DuMars believes that integration of traditional mass media, traditional digital media and social media is “where it’s at.”

“If you pull them all together that’s when things start rocking. If you think word of mouth is going to carry this all of the way…it’s not true.”