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Photo: Marc Tousignant

Scott Woodward has been described by some in the industry as a model marketer or a marketing archetype even, given he has successfully navigated a career that has now spanned three decades. The first half of his career was spent as an in-house brand marketer for some of the most iconic brands in the world and the latter half as the founder of his own brand agency in New York, SEW Branded, working with over forty brands, emerging and established, as a quintessential brand design and marketing guru.

Woodward began his career in Chevron’s marketing training program in their Mid-Atlantic regional offices after completing his MBA, only after being turned down by Shell Oil. Chevron gave the marketing neophyte an opportunity to sharpen his marketing acumen by being exposed to marketing, branding, advertising, finance, real estate, and legal functions within its retail and wholesale marketing endeavors. The energy giant was also undergoing its first re-brand, which would foreshadow Woodward’s career in fashion and luxury brand imaging.

After two years with the energy icon, he responded to a Wall Street Journal ad for an international marketing analyst with Bausch & Lomb, Ray-Ban’s parent company. After multiple interviews among hundreds of applicants, he landed the job and it was the beginning of what would become a notable marketing career. Woodward ascended the product management ranks at Ray-Ban quickly and became its first director of global image marketing, ultimately moving his team to New York to helm the brand globally.

He is considered one of the first to recognize how the fashion industry developed consistent and powerful global brand images around the world and leveraged this with the iconic fashion accessory brand into a singular ad campaign globally with consumers wanting a clear and consistent brand message, as opposed to disparate and often confusing regional brand images.

He convinced upper management, mostly helmed by Ivy-educated packaged goods marketers devoid of fashion backgrounds, to allow him to consolidate the branding, advertising, public relations, packaging, merchandising, and retail endeavors under his creative direction, a real first in the industry. He cited examples like Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger and the power of global brand images with an increasingly global and more sophisticated consumer. They agreed and he modeled his new role and team after the Global Image Marketing group at Nike, a brand long revered by him. He also chose Arnell Group over BBH London, a bold move at the time, to help him globalize the brand, from brand packaging to advertising to merchandising was re-articulated.

Woodward’s first defining task at the Ray-Ban brand, after being promoted from the ranks as a senior product manager, was as the brand’s first Director of Brand Development & Planning with the singular task to leverage the parent company’s multi-million-dollar Olympic sponsorship into a three-dimensional first-ever flagship store for the brand that articulated its unique heritage in Hollywood alongside its original WW2 Aviation heritage.

He looked at what Levi’s had done across Europe with retail stores and applied the thinking to Ray-Ban. The store opened with a star-studded celebrity red carpet and wowed everyone attending the Olympics, athletes and celebrities alike. He had done an advertorial in GQ with the hottest male television talent at the time and they all attended as a favor, including Party of Five’s Matthew Fox and now film superstar James Marsden. Jason Lewis and the top male models of the day who starred in his campaigns with whom he remains close friends, post Sex and the City fame. The retail experiment won store of the year, besting Disney.

Woodward’s marketing strategies reinvented the 60 years old brand and were capped with his hunch to leverage Ray-Ban’s starring role in Men-in-Black, a 1997 blockbuster movie in which the main leads of the movie, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, were shown wearing Ray-Bans as part of their uniform, in an integrated global campaign led with a spot that served as a movie trailer and brand spot, that simultaneously marketed the film and the brand, growing market share significantly and making Ray-Ban cool again after an Oakley craze with younger consumers. That integration model is still used today by films like James Bond with Heineken and Top Gun with Appleby’s. Ray-Ban’s had a star turn in Top Gun and Risky, winning the CFDA and Woolmark awards years before.

After being one of the first in the industry to recognize the importance of a global brand image, he’s also known for building world-class teams and executing flawlessly with best-in-class talent and agencies. His eye is one of the keenest in the business Karen Harvey, the fashion talent recruiter, once shared with him while at Ray-Ban, before creating the opportunity for him at Calvin Klein given his branding work at Ray-Ban. He was appointed vice president of global retail marketing and public relations of worldwide retail stores where he devised comprehensible marketing strategies. He also pioneered the consumer insights role as vice president, creating new categories and informing and honing creative campaign messages.

In his last corporate role, Woodward was hired by the Movado Group as CMO, one of the first at just 33 years old, to re-think its in-house agency and build a world-class global marketing team, responsible for crafting a new image for their portfolio of luxury watch brands, including Movado, Concord, ESQ, Piaget, Corum, Coach, and Tommy Hilfiger. Having passed on the top marketing job at Salvatore Ferragamo for the newly created role at Movado Group, he felt he could repeat his Ray-Ban success with the watch portfolio.

Early in the job, he recalls meeting with Emily Woods, J. Crew’s former Chair, who asked him to come aboard the struggling preppy brand as CMO, but he ultimately declined to stay at Movado and first re-branding their luxury portfolio timepiece Concord under a year with the ahead of the zeitgeist campaign, Be Late. Time is a Luxury. While Woodward does believe everything happens for a reason, he ponders what might have been with the brand’s given its many re-inventions. After his stint at Movado Group, friend and deceased branding legend Mike Toth paved the way for him to become Nautica’s CMO under Harvey Sanders and David Chu, but he instead joined New York legendary shop Arnell Group, having collaborated with founder Peter Arnell as a client, who convinced him to join and help him on Sprite, Coke, Martha Stewart, and Lego before finally selling the shop to Omnicom.

After the Arnell Group stint, he founded a tee-shirt line, Scotte Woodward that was sold at Saks, Bloomingdales, Kitson, and Fred Segal, while leveraging his media clout and appearing alongside Kimora Lee Simmons on Life & Style, Sony’s response to The View for a younger demographic. Along the way, Woodward has gained an impressive list of Hollywood friends including Farrah Fawcett, Matt Fox, Ian Ziering, Gilles Marini, and Rosanna Arquette, all willing to support his new endeavors. He fondly remembers Matt LeBlanc inviting him to be a front-row guest at multiple Friends tapings after befriending the actor while shooting a GQ spread together while at Ray-Ban. Paula Abdul and Ryan Seacrest wore his tee-shirts weekly during the height of American Idol, as did Lance Bass at a Grammy performance.

In the end, he ultimately pivoted to founding his own consultancy, SEW Branded (his initials sew, as a wordplay on “so or completely” branded). The nimble brand marketing and advertising consultancy in New York have done work for Bausch & Lomb, Woolrich, Lands’ End, Black Halo, Robert Graham, Sotheby’s, and The Plaza Hotel, to name a few.

Woodward has always been inspired by the brand design greats in New York that have included Peter Arnell and Mike Toth, with both of whom he has worked He considers Fabien Baron, Sam Shahid, Doug Lloyd, Trey Laird, and David Lipman masters and credits them with his decision to pivot from in-house marketing roles to establishing his own client-roster and to be able to work on multiple brands at once and doing packaging, digital brand design and campaign development.

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Photo: Scott Woodward arriving at the Emery Awards at Cipriani Wall Street

Much like Arnell intuitively connecting Tina Turner with Hanes and Celine Dion with Chrysler, Woodward has also collaborated with megastar celebrities and was the first to create a Kindness Campaign Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation after watching its launch at Harvard on Oprah. He enlisted then influencers Patrick Schwarzenegger and the Ellen-discovered young musician Grayson Chance to raise $1M to create kinder school environments with students.

His encore a year later with One Direction included Woodward interviewing each band member and getting them to open up in one-on-one interviews to explain why they did the campaign amidst a world tour and how it affected them, their friends, and their families. The collaboration won the Clio Award for best film and integrated campaign and also raised $1M for antibullying.

Pivoting to become an entrepreneur after a successful in-house corporate career, his firm specializes in brand design within fashion, luxury, heritage, and aspirational segments for an eclectic client roster. Their award-winning multidisciplinary collaborations for One Direction and the Born This Way Foundation, received the Clio, Summit International, IAC, and Emery Awards, which Woodard received for his efforts to curb bullying.

Always the philanthropist and humanitarian, Woodward also occasionally teaches Marketing, PR & Branding at Parsons School of Design in New York City to aspiring marketing students enrolled in the strategic design and management BBA program. He muses if programs like this existed when he embarked upon college, and how his career may have evolved much more quickly.

He graduated from Saint Leo University, where he was the first president of its collegiate chapter of the American Marketing Association He completed an MBA one year later at Loyola University, whose Jesuit philosophy is to care for the whole person. Woodward’s model of cause-marketing now referred to as purpose-driven marketing with Millennial, Gen-Z, and Gen-Alpha consumer cohorts, might play a fundamental role for generations to come in making the world a better place.

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