Elizabeth Lewis and Merritt Gilbert

What Really Matters at Bridgestone

These talented marketing leaders are creating new cultural relevance for Bridgestone Americas with the new brand purpose What Really Matters. Elizabeth Lewis from Bridgestone Americas Elizabeth, or E, as she likes to be called, joined Bridgestone 14 years ago, and currently serves as executive director of brand and marketing strategy. Merritt Gilbert has extensive Bridgestone experience in consumer products and consumer brands. She is currently the marketing director for integrated agriculture products.

Who does purchase tires? Are women part of that?

Merritt Gilbert tells us tires are in a category that all drivers need. Women are important to that target audience because in a household, they tend to be the decision makers. “Women like all people just want to be heard and seen. So, when we’re coming up with messaging or placement for our advertising, we want to make sure that we’re reaching them in their purchase journey and delivering messaging that resonates with them and makes them feel seen.”

What is it about tires that women are interested in?

“In the safety minded consumer, that’s where women over index and it’s really about the mom who is driving their kids all over town to all of their activities,” Gilbert shares. She and Elizabeth Lewis both stress the importance of meeting their customers where they are, with their safety and the importance of it at the front of their campaigns. As for women, Gilbert continues, “It’s a wonderful time to give that reassurance and peace of mind when they’re out there making all of those trips to basketball, gymnastics, robotics, whatever it might be.”

Your approach is not just selling tires, it’s more about creating these sustainable futures and solutions for mobility. So how did you make that transition?

“I mean, it’s really funny. If you think about it. We sell tires, which is like the world’s oldest invention. The wheel was one of the first efficiency plays. Even a millenia later, we are still working on products that are highly engineered, literally making leaps and bounds in the past few years as far as sustainability and what makes them and how efficient they are and how they’re contributing to the electric and autonomous future. It is really exciting for us, especially as marketers.”

Talk to us a little bit about your new brand platform, What Really Matters.

Lewis proudly shares their new platform, What Really Matters, launched last year, and how it’s succeeding in their company’s brand and marketing strategy. “What’s beautiful about this moment and this platform, it’s not an ad campaign. It’s not like clever advertising. It’s about us being able to live our brand purpose in every action we take as a company. And the bolder our actions we take, the more powerful our brand communications become. It’s really about finding the nexus between what do we stand for as a company and what is it that our customers and consumers care about. As Merritt was talking about, it’s not just safety. Sometimes it’s performance, sometimes it’s something else entirely. But we know that at Bridgestone we have something to offer each of them.”

How do you incorporate storytelling into your marketing?

Gilbert tells us that through all branches of Bridgestone, they like to focus on storytelling in terms of their online presence. To do this, they have a team that reaches out to influencers that already love their brand, or show a need for it through their content. This team is backed by a criteria to ensure that it’s authentic and doesn’t feel like advertising, reaching out once they feel they’ve found a good fit.

Tell us about your ‘Play Like A Girl’ Initiative.

“We actually shifted to working with a handful of football teams across the country on creating flag football programs for young women through Play Like A Girl. Some 94% of female C-level executives played sports based on Ernst and Young research.” The Play Like A Girl initiative is not just about playing, according to Lewis, but learning about leadership skills and helping them with life skills as they think about a career that’s not necessarily rooted in sports. “It’s really exciting,” Lewis continues, “It’s really powerful. It’s a beautiful evolution of our brand platforms and how our sponsorships and partnerships come to life as well.”

Resources and Links

Elizabeth Lewis on Linked In

Merritt Gilbert on Linked In