WIRLC Launch Party: A Fireside Chat With Robin Domeniconi

By: Caitlin Sullivan

At last week’s Women in Retail Leadership Circle (WIRLC) launch party, Melissa Campanelli, co-founder of WIRLC, sat down with Robin Domeniconi, Rue La La’s chief marketing officer, to get her thoughts on everything from brand storytelling to smart hiring techniques to linear thinking vs. creative thinking.

The fireside chat, held at the Gansevoort Park Hotel in New York City, started with Domeniconi discussing her transition from editorial to marketing (she’s one of the founders of Real Simple magazine), and how her background has helped Rue La La embrace brand storytelling.

“To do storytelling, just like in a magazine and just like in any kind of brand, you need to know what your brand stands for to make the story relevant and contextual,” said Domeniconi. “To help identify our brand, we came up with filters. At Rue La La, ours are ‘show me with what,’ ‘show me how to,’ ‘show me why not’ and ‘show me what’s new.’”

Through these filters, Rue La La can help identify who its customer is and remain relevant to them through content. Domeniconi stressed that filters are key for defining a brand and that retailers should remain vigilant about deploying a smart content strategy. She went on to share how the flash-sale site keeps the attention of its customers.

“We want you to embrace your own personal confidence and style, because the best style is the style that you feel good in,” Domeniconi said. “[Rue La La’s] marketing is based upon what we know you already have, what we know about you, and very organically we’re showing you what to do or how to wear an item.”

With content marketing and “clickers and scrollers,” the team at Rue La La can provide engaging content without diverting the customer from the purchase path.

Domeniconi was asked during the chat what were some key elements to Rue La La’s success. Her answer? Hiring smart people.

“I look at it as a pie,” Domeniconi said. “Wherever that piece of pie is empty, I hire the smartest person I can get there. I never look at it like, ‘Oh my God, this person is going to show me up.’ I always look it is as, ‘Oh my God, this is a great person who is going to help this company.’”

Domeniconi also discussed the types of personalities and employees needed to be a part of teams to successfully reach a brand’s audience. She segments workers into one of two groups: linear thinkers or creative thinkers.

“Linear thinkers and creative thinkers need one another,” Domeniconi said. “Linear thinkers play a major role. They drive my creativity and then help measure that creativity. You have to find the balance between science and art. If you just have science, then you won’t have an emotional connection and won’t be able to become a commodity or distribution channel. It’s more EQ needs to appreciate IQ and IQ needs to appreciate EQ.”

When asked if she’s ever experienced gender bias in the workplace, Domeniconi explained that she’s experienced more bias in the “left brain vs. right brain battle.”

“I think women bring a certain intuition to the table,” she said. “That feeling you just know, almost a sixth sense. Now that doesn’t mean we don’t rely just as much on technology, research and analytics, but we’re able to have this touch of this emotional thing that builds a brand. And so, I think my greatest challenge now, moving forward and before, was not that I’m a female and they’re a male, it’s that I think completely different.”

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