Julie Channing is Turning the Science of Sustainability into Marketing Art at Allbirds

Headshot of Nadine Dietz

From the beginning, Allbirds has focused on their strong brand purpose and commitment to the “science of sustainability” as their fundamental marketing anchors, led by their VP of Marketing, Julie Channing. Four years after their founding, their passionate following continues to grow, along with their company – Leonardo DiCaprio is just one of their high profile investors. They opened their first flagship brick and mortar store in New York’s SoHo earlier this month with plans to open eight more. Under Julie’s guidance, Allbirds has developed a minimalist, gorgeous aesthetic with a strong emphasis on telling the story behind each product. Ask Julie and she’ll tell you that she has the best job in the world working for a company she believes in and marketing a product she truly loves. “Seek out a brand or product you are truly passionate about and it will never feel like a job.”

Read on to hear more about Julie’s story and the amazing work she’s doing at Allbirds.

Tell us about your current role and responsibilities. Why did you choose to join your current company?

I’m responsible for all of our brand marketing efforts, and lead a talented team of storytellers in sharing our brand mission and product innovations with the world. I was brought on by the co-founders of Allbirds a few months before our official launch to help craft the brand experience, which was essentially a blank sheet of paper at the time.

Joining such an early stage start-up and leading the charge in developing a brand from scratch pushed me far outside my comfort zone, but from my first meeting with Tim and Joey (co-founders) it was apparent to me that Allbirds had all the makings of a beloved world-class brand and it was a career opportunity of a lifetime to help it realize that potential. Nearly three years later, I still feel so lucky to come to this job every day.

What current developments in marketing are most inspiring to you? How will they affect the future of marketing?

I’m excited to see such a significant shift towards authentic, purpose-driven marketing. Corporate social responsibility programs have always existed but were often treated as one-off marketing initiatives designed to drive goodwill for a specific period of time. I love that today’s consumers hold brands to a higher standard, and want to support companies who are committed to balancing profits and principles 365 days a year.

The implication as a marketer is that we have the chance to tell deeper and more meaningful stories that inherently create a greater sense of community and loyalty among fans than ever before. We also have an obligation to be more transparent and human in our communications, and take advantage of vehicles like social media and experiential marketing to facilitate that type of dialogue between brands and people.“We have the chance to tell deeper and more meaningful stories that inherently create a greater sense of community and loyalty among fans than ever before.”

What are you working on now that you think is innovative?

At its core, Allbirds is a material innovation company rooted in stylish comfort. There is so much science that goes into making shoes out of premium natural and sustainable materials such as wool, eucalyptus trees and sugarcane. Our job as brand marketers is to turn that science into art, and share our sustainability narrative in a way that both educates and inspires people – all while making the topic of sustainability more approachable than it historically has been. I think our recent material videos are a great example of this at work: From Wool To Shoe, From Tree To Shoe, From Sugar To Shoe, Why SweetFoam™

nadine.dietz@adweek.com Nadine Dietz is chief community officer at Adweek and host of the CMO Moves podcast.