CES 2016: 5 Questions With Johnson & Johnson Global CMO Alison Lewis


Johnson & Johnson chief marketing officer CMO Alison Lewis CES 2016 panel

Johnson & Johnson Global Chief Marketing Officer Alison Lewis is being kept busy at CES 2016 this week in Las Vegas.

In addition to keeping her eyes open for “people-centered” technology and solutions (as she told Adweek at CES in explaining why marketers should pay attention to Amazon Echo), she spoke on a keynote panel on Thursday (“Screen Savers: Champions of Content”) where she highlighted why mobile is “crucial” in her words.

Johnson believes the mobile device will continue to house most of the software needed to run the increasing number of tech devices at consumers’ disposal, as she also told Adweek. And as she commented on-stage at CES today, “It’s no longer just about activating television, it’s about digital—and specifically mobile.” Mobile is also, she added, “where 50 percent of our web traffic comes through.”

In addition to highlighting the importance of mobile to engage consumers, J&J’s CMO this week launched a global scholarship program for undergraduate women as part of the company’s commitment to expand STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) into STEM2D (adding manufacturing and design) education for women.

Building a diverse STEM2D community is one approach Johnson & Johnson is taking as part of a broader effort to accelerate the development of women leaders and to support women at all stages of their life to improve global health and well-being and drive sustainable economic growth.

Johnson & Johnson also kicks off a partnership at CES 2016 this week with the Silicon Valley-based Plug and Play Tech Center.

J&J is teaming with Plug and Play’s global innovation platform—a network of more than 350 startups and 100 investors plus university and corporate partners—to launch a health and wellness technology accelerator that will support innovative, early-stage companies developing direct-to-consumer solutions that enhance wellness. (Applications for the first group close on February 15, 2016, and the program kicks off on March 31, 2016.)

The range of activities at CES reflects her role at J&J, where Lewis leads the company’s four global franchises, marketing services and franchise R&D, working closely with the Chief Technology Officer. She is responsible for growing the Consumer Group’s portfolio of mega-brands globally through breakthrough marketing and innovation platforms while building best-in-class marketing capability around the world.

We spoke with Lewis to find out what else is top of mind for her this week at CES.

brandchannel: Alison, what are keeping your eyes open for at CES, in the health and wellness arena and beyond, and what technologies are you paying close attention to?

Alison Lewis - Johnson & Johnson CMO chief marketing officer headshotAlison Lewis: At CES, the story in years past has been about connected cars, tech-enabled appliances, and the latest consumer electronics. What’s exciting at this moment, is that CES is rapidly becoming a forum for consumer health solutions that could scale to the general population and touch the lives of consumers and their families.

At every turn, these platforms and solutions are being integrated in consumer’s homes, bags and pockets. They are also touching every area of the consumer’s life, providing digital solutions for monitoring, managing and sharing data and insights about their lifestyle. I’m interested to see breakthrough consumer health solutions that offer true differentiation, which includes sticky engagement platforms, elegant yet simple design, and utility in managing their health.

BC: So much of CES these days is focused around health tech. Can you give us more insights into why and how, for example, J&J is partnering with Google (forming Verb Surgical) to advance robot-assisted surgery?

Lewis: Technology has disrupted the business models of many industries and has major potential to disrupt the way healthcare is delivered. Digital Health is emerging as a leading venture capital investment. However, with the increasing complexity of the healthcare marketplace, investors are becoming more cautious in funding this space. Johnson & Johnson is well positioned to lead in transforming healthcare through technology enabled innovation and partnerships.

We’ve invested time to understand the external health landscape, meeting with both venture capital firms and large-scale technology companies to understand how to solve the complexity of healthcare. We are also evolving innovation at Johnson & Johnson with the individual at the core of everything we do and applying our deep clinical behavior science knowledge in combination with consumer insights to deliver personalized solutions.

We’ve initiated close to 100 efforts in the most promising technology platforms and have several high potential commercial programs underway, accelerating innovation and value by creating integrated solutions with several external companies. We are working together with Apple and IBM to use mobility, artificial intelligence, advanced analytics and connections into Electronic Medical Records systems to create a solution for patients preparing and recovering from knee replacement—a technology solution we will expand on to areas such as bariatric surgery.

BC: And what are you learning from collaborating with IBM Watson?

Lewis: By partnering with IBM Watson, we’re building a cognitive computing and analytics platform that will help predict patient outcomes, suggest treatment plans and give patients targeted encouragement during the recovery process. Through IBM’s Watson Health platform, we’re able to gain insights from a vast pool of data—from patient records to information coming from wearable devices.

Our app connects to the Watson Application Programming Interface (API), giving it access to IBM’s data and analytics, and if the patient gives consent, it will feed in patient data. In addition, IBM is adding Johnson & Johnson clinical and behavioral data to its own data sets, giving Watson more information to analyze.

BC: How are you using data to create content around connections and map the customer journey?

Lewis: Data helps us focus and identify how best to build connections with our customers. In order to meaningfully connect, we need to be relevant, which means delivering the right message—to the right person at the right time and in the right place. The only way to achieve this in such a quickly evolving environment is to use data to guide and inform.

An example of using data in this way, is social listening. We use social listening to secure insights directly from the consumers. Social listening allows us to understand what topics interest our consumers and what topics illicit the most responses and engagement from our consumers. We then use this data to develop content that is both compelling and supports our messaging.

Data provides more depth and understanding of the consumer’s journey. It shows us that the journey is not solely focused on the ‘what’ but also the ‘where’ as in, where the consumer will be most receptive to a connection or a message from Johnson & Johnson. For example, data shows us not only the time of day but the type of device a new mom uses to connect with us. We use that information to inform the type of message and the format of the content we share with her.

BC: Are you able to scale the kind of emotional connections you’re able to make with, for example, the Band-Aid brand or the baby care business to other J&J businesses that may be more B2B or less family- or kid-focused?

Lewis: At the core of what we do is solving problems and providing solutions. To do this, we need to uncover the right insights to build an unparalleled consumer experience that translates to all of our brands. The more we are able to understand our consumer’s life and how we can help make it healthier, easier and ultimately more enjoyable, the more we are able to connect with them. This is a scalable model that can apply to any brand.

An example of this is our Tylenol dosing program. We provide dosing information for children’s Tylenol in a mobile-friendly format, so it is easily accessible to a parent whenever they need it. We know when a child is sick, a parent’s first and only concern is helping their child feel better, they don’t want to be searching for dosing information. By providing a mobile format we are taking one less worry out of the situation.

Read our CES 2016 coverage and hear from more brand leaders in our Five Questions series