Episode 182: From Pharmacy to Marketing - Alyson Griffin's Unexpected Journey of Storytelling & ConnectingJan 09, 2023
Alyson Griffin has over 25 years of experience leading Marketing and Global Brand & Thought leadership teams for top technology brands, HP and Intel. During her tenure she was credited for curating “first-of- their-kind” immersive experiences that traversed technology with art, influencers, gaming, and music. For example, Cannes Lions winner, Intel’s Drone Light Show at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics.
Griffin’s wide-breadth of experience also includes overseeing billions of dollars’ worth of sports, entertainment, social influencer and talent media campaigns.
She has designed and executed high-impact, ROI-positive marketing campaigns across six continents, garnering over 1 trillion+ impressions. Now, as the Head of Marketing at State Farm, Griffin has been entrusted with the critical charter of revolutionizing the 100 year old brand through the lens of future-forward marketing initiatives, such as designing the brand’s inaugural metaverse footprint.
Griffin’s expertise includes designing and spearheading innovative activations that leverage the
intersections between content, creators, entertainment and sports to introduce brands to new and diverse audiences. Her unique perspective challenges the status quo across industries and transcends traditional marketing tactics, resulting in quantifiable growth.
Griffin has overseen both billion-dollar marketing budgets and mentored bootstrapping start-ups, consistently leading teams into battle. Born and raised in Silicon Valley, keeping a pulse of new and emerging technologies is in her blood.
Along with being a natural storyteller, Griffin is a seasoned executive and keynote speaker. Her
accolades include 20+ reputable industry awards and recognitions, such as Adweek’s Top 50 Marketers, Ex Awards, Reggies Awards, ANA Awards, to name a few. She has been featured in top publications such as Adweek, Fast Company, Ad Age, Event Marketer, Brand Innovators and many more. Across her career, the brands and campaigns she’s been directly associated with have been the recipient of numerous Cannes Lions recognitions.
In this episode, you will learn the following:
- Alyson Griffin's journey from pharmacist and corporate background to becoming the head of marketing for State Farm.
- Alyson's advice to try different things and gain life experiences to find out what one does not want to do in order to determine what one does want to do.
- How important Jake from State Farm is to the brand.
“I didn't realize until looking back on it, how much those two things, technology and entrepreneurship, really kind of were baked into who I have become."
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Welcome to your next stop. This is Juliet Hahn. In this episode, I interview Alyson Griffin, head of marketing for State Farm. Love this episode. We get into Alyson's background.
She grew up in Silicone Valley, entrepreneur dad, mom was in corporate, works for a tech company, and then just her Pivot, she wanted to be a pharmacist. You guys cannot miss this here. We're State farm. What they're doing, what they're doing in the Metaverse, what they plan on doing in the future. It's a really fun episode about Pivots.
But also one of the things that was so touching is and I can't wait for you guys to hear is how there was a period of Alyson's life after being really in powerful positions that she took a step back and was a consultant because her family needed her. So you do not want to miss this episode. You can follow Alyson on LinkedIn. And that is A-L-Y-S-O-N. Griffin.
G-R-I-F-F-I-N on LinkedIn. And then you can also follow State Farm on Instagram. Jake from State Farm on Instagram and also follow Jake from State Farm on TikTok. And you guys, you know what I say all the time, stories connect us. And that's going to bring me to what I'm doing right now, doing a lot of consulting.
You might not know this, but I help people share their story. I help people that are out in the podcast circuit. Also, people that are in corporate be able to formulate their stories in a way that are going to captivate on audiences more because, again, stories connect us. If you're in the business world and you're going out to networking events and you need a little bit more of kind of like that oomph. What part of your story you want to tell?
Please reach out to me if you are on the podcast circuit or you're a small business or an influencer or an entrepreneur and you want to get out and really promote what you're doing, but you don't know how to really put your story together, that is what I do. So many years of talking about stories, talking to people about their stories, and I have gotten to the point where I'm here to be able to help you be able to do just that. So you can email me at info at imjuliet hahn.com and I can give you a 30 minutes free consultation to see if we are a match. Again, thank you so much for joining your next stop and enjoy this episode with Alyson Griffin, head of marketing of State Farm. Have you ever been listening to your favorite podcast and that moment comes up and you think, oh, my gosh, I need to share it?
Well, now you can with picked cherries. What I love about Picked Cherries so much is that when I'm listening to my favorite podcast and that moment comes up that I want to share. I can take a Snippet, which is called the Picked Cherry, and I can send that to my friends and family so they can get involved in the podcast that I love. It's almost like sending an IG or a TikTok. Available now, iOS and Android if you're not picking cherries.
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Hello, everyone. Welcome back to your next stop. You know, I say this every single time. I'm so excited to bring you another guest that has followed a passion. Welcome Alyson Griffin to your next stop.
How are you? I'm well. Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited. So Alyson is the head of marketing for state Farm.
She has worked for big companies like HP and intel. I can't wait to get into this story because we're going to learn a little bit about Alyson. But just to set it off, Alyson is on LinkedIn if you guys want to follow her on there. And I'm going to spell her name just in case. But it's Alyson.
And that is G-R-I-F-F-I-N. So you can follow her on LinkedIn and then on Instagram, State Farm and then also Jake from State Farm. You guys want to go follow that? You can follow them also on Twitter. You can also follow Jake on TikTok, where he has created that whole I mean, his following really organically, and we're going to get into all of this.
But, Alyson, I would love to start a little bit about who you are, where you grew up, and where you went to university. Okay, well, thanks so much for that. So I am from the Bay Area, born and raised, and really was a product of Silicon Valley and entrepreneurship. My mom worked at Hewlett Packard, ended up for 43 years, and my dad was a small business owner and entrepreneur, and I'm an only child, so I had their full attention, and anything that I tried to tackle or wanted to do, I had support and the means to be able to try stuff. And so I didn't realize until looking back on it, how much those two things, technology and entrepreneurship, really kind of was baked into who I have become.
And along the way, I've made a couple of career Pivots. And just that unexpected Journey, I think, was also something that a lot of people in Silicon Valley sort of have not an expected journey. And you know what I love is when you said that your mom was in corporate and that your dad was an entrepreneur, I literally got so excited because these are the kind of stories that I love. I say on this podcast all the time, stories connect us. And I know one of the things that you say is it's storytelling.
Yeah. Storytelling, not story share selling. It is storytelling, not story selling. And I think it's so important because even in the business world with brands, you want that, right? You want storytelling.
But even with people, that's how we connect. That's how stories when you put your story out there, that's when someone will say, Wait, I love that she lived, you know, that's where she lived. And her parents had this entrepreneur, and then also corporate, because you're going to connect with more people, they're going to be interested, and I want to know a little bit more about this. So I think that's so brilliant, and I got really excited about that. So where did you go to university?
So I knew really early on, I was about 15. So my university story starts when I was 15. I wanted to be a pharmacist. That was it. And so I started working in a pharmacy the minute I could at 15 and a half, and just thought that science and chemistry and also physiology and things like that were just so fascinating to me.
So I went all in on pharmacy school, and there were only two in California that you could get your Pharm. D. Doctor of Pharmacy degree all at once, as undergrad, all the way to the Doctor of Pharmacy in five year round years. And so I went to University of the Pacific in Stockton UOP. And started that journey.
And by the time I was in my third year of college, I was already counting pills in a pharmacy. I was already licensed as a technician, and it was great. And I remember in the beginning having so much fun, being able to fill all the scripts, and then one day I stood there, and I was counting these pills, and I'm like, is this the movement that I'm going to be making for the rest of my life? And no disrespect to pharmacists. No, there's different paths.
There's research, there's retail. I was in retail, there's hospital, all that kind of stuff. But for me, after almost at that point, it was actually two and a half years, I was like, I don't know if I can do it anymore. And I was so afraid to tell my parents, who, as I said, the only child. I was very supported.
I had told them forever, I want to be a pharmacist. And so they were all in on the story of my daughter is going to be a pharmacist. And when I talk to college people, women mostly, too, it's that permission to say, it's not that you made a mistake. It's not that something bad happened, and you realized it wasn't your thing. It's just not the thing, and it's okay.
Right? And I think it's really important because it fascinates me when people decide, okay, this is what I wanted to do, and then I needed to not do it instead, where so many people you talk to that continued, that because that's what their parents wanted to do, and then you speak to them, and they're miserable. When I went to school, I always talk about it, so I'm dyslexic. So school was really tough for me, but I was a really good athlete, so I played two sports in college, and when I went into school, I thought I was going to be in corporate fitness, because corporate for it. I was like, I'm good with people communications.
I was always like teachers would listen to me and be like, oh, my gosh. And then I would do a paper, and they were like, you're not trying hard enough. And that was where my Dyslexia got in the way. And we didn't know back then what it was all about until my dad is Dyslexic as well and so is my sister, so we kind of know it. I have a son that's dyslexic.
It runs deep in our family. But the Dyslexia is what actually became one of my superpowers because it was my communication power. But so when I was in school and I did corporate fitness, I had to take anatomy and physiology. My Dyslexia, science and math was like torture. So I remember calling my mom, and I was playing field hockey, and I injured my back that day, just like, tweaked it.
And I remember calling her and just being devastated and being like, I don't know if college is for me, I'm not going to do I know if I put my mind to it and it is my path, I will be able to do anatomy and physiology, but I just don't know that I really want to. And I think I need to look to something else. And she said, Talk to some kids, talk to professors. And I went into communications, radio, television, film. Then I went into the advertising because I loved the connecting.
But I do remember that part where it was so difficult to be like, oh, God. However, because school was hard for me, there were so many times I had failed and just got right back up, didn't even think of it. It was like, okay, oh, I failed that test. Oh, I'll just going to do better the next time.
I didn't let it define me. And that was something my parents were super supportive as well. It's like, yeah, you learned different, right? You were very smart. You learn in a different way.
And it's a journey that it's part of my story, right? It's a part of my story and how I got the grit and the kind of tenacity to keep going. So when you told your parents that you kind of were not going to do this, did you have an idea that you wanted to go into something else, or was it really kind of you didn't know what you wanted to do, right? So my then boyfriend, now husband, was a big help for this whole having the courage. I stayed another extra semester because I just didn't have the courage to tell them.
And he really helped talk me through it. And be confident and reminding me, your parents love you, they will support you. This is not a big deal. And then I kind of gotten it in my head I didn't want to leave you a pee because I really loved the university and the size and the friends I had made. And so I kind of was trying to convince my parents to let me stay there and just do communications or something else.
And they said no, that it was very expensive university that they were paying for. And they said, look, you can go to an expensive school, but figure out what you want to do and you're there. Because they were one of two that are the best for pharmacy. And we need you to go where you're going to have the connections and the right kind of infrastructure around for the career you want to do. So what I said was, Fine, I'll come home for one semester and go to San Jose State, which was the local I'm from San Jose and just go to San Jose State, and I'll take a bunch of different classes.
I'll take a business class. I took a pharmacy and criminal justice. It was like a criminal justice but drug class. And I thought, that's interesting. I got to use something with drugs, right?
Meaning, like, I know it, I'm very already three full year round years. Basically, I've got a degree in chemistry without even trying, so maybe I'll do that. So there was a couple of things, and one of them was advertising. And as soon as I walked into this advertising class, it was as if the heavens parted and rays of gold and light were shining upon me, and I just knew they were my people. It was something I cared about.
It was something that was interesting. And all of a sudden, I just said, that's it. I want to do marketing or advertising, communications, that kind of thing. And I was for a minute thinking about, all right, I'll go find what college do I want to go to to go do that. But honestly, I was already now in my first semester senior year age.
And, I mean, you're younger than everyone in my grade. Because early on, I advanced quickly. So I felt like, okay, I have a little bit of time. But I realized, look, I've already got this great boyfriend who is now my husband, and I'm already through all of that college. I had done it for three years and got that experience, and I was more like, heads down.
Just take the classes that you have to take and just be done with this because otherwise it's going to take me a lot longer. And so I ended up making the decision to stay at San Jose State. And I want to say that it was really hard for me because growing up there, I don't know if others listening would say this, and I mean, this lovingly, but that was the local school. Like, everybody wanted to go away. And it's funny because San Jose State now is one of the hardest state schools to get into because of its proximity in Silicon Valley, and it gets fished.
Their engineering program is amazing. Their nursing program is amazing. And maybe it was or wasn't back then. I'm sort of not remembering. It was so long ago, but I just find it funny that I had this, like, oh, it's the school that's right by my house.
What am I doing? But it ended up it's an amazing school, and it got me out quickly, and I was able to be in a sorority there, which that connection launched my career into public relations. That's amazing. And you said two things, and I think it's really important for the listeners to hear because I don't think a lot of people do this. You also were like, I'm going to go out and do a couple of different things.
I'm going to try this and try that. And so many people, they have that feedback year of failure. I don't want to try this because what if it's not for me and I'm wasting time or whatever? And it's so important, even with my kids, I always say it's really important to find out what you don't want to do because you're going to find out what you want to do. So it's like when people say, what do you want to do?
And they're like 15 and 17 and 13, I'm like, you shouldn't know, really. I mean, there are people, right, that know they wanted to get into pharmacy or wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer, but it's really important to try those experiences and talk to people just to get those kind of life experiences and find out in the summer, have a bunch of different jobs, because you're going to find out. You know what? I thought I really wanted to work with kids. I don't want to work with kids of this age.
Do you know what I mean? And so I love that you kind of just did that. Do you think that that was, again, something innate in you or that was what you saw your parents kind of give you the confidence to try other things? Yeah, I think it was. So part of it is I was older at that point.
Excuse me. And it's like, I was going to just think that semester anyway, meaning I was in my head. I didn't know what I wanted to do if it wasn't pharmacy, and so I was going to just take that semester to do it. And I had parents who were so supportive once the shock of not pharmacy wore off, then they were like, well, let's figure it out. What do you want to do?
And I knew I wasn't in a huge rush. I had the support. I was living back home. It was really inexpensive to just be back at home and go to a state local school. And so for all those reasons and my dad that entrepreneurial spirit the taking risks and succeeding.
And then my mom, like I said, the Silicon Valley which is the ethos of Hewlett Packard as well. For whatever reason, it didn't occur to me that it was bad to just try something. Right? Which I think is cool. And a lot of times and I love kind of unfolding that on the episodes speaking with people because I had this one guest and it was the most fascinating thing.
Her dad was a professor and her mom was a stay at home mom. But she's like, I always wanted to be an entrepreneur and I don't know why. And that was interesting to me because usually people with the entrepreneur mindset, they see it somewhere, right? Or they have a parent. So it's kind of innate and born in them.
She's like, no. And then all of a sudden we were talking and she was wait a second. My dad actually ran a shop when I was young. So I don't completely remember it. But I remember we used to have lunches and I literally saw her, like, light up.
She was like, we would go to dinner with the family that he owned the shop with and we used to do this. And you could see the excitement from her. And I said it's interesting. You've been chasing that feeling. There's, like, memory, feelings and then there's memory memories and you've been chasing that feeling.
That's why you've always wanted to be an entrepreneur. And she created her own business. But she was like, oh, my gosh, you're so right. And that it really is true. So, like, you saw what you were seeing from your parents and getting that and and she was doing the same.
I, you know, the same. I saw my parents a schoolteacher very, you know, straight and straight, you know, this way. And then my dad was an entrepreneur and so you kind of pull from them. So when you in college, the sorority, when that kind of launched you into that can you take us into a little bit about that and how you then got into the PR and the marketing and all that? Yeah, because I was older and wasn't in college at that point for any of that social stuff.
I had a very serious boyfriend by then. In fact, we ended up getting engaged right before I graduated. Meaning I was still in college and in the sorority. So with my sorority, I used it for something different than being brand new in college. And I already had a boyfriend.
We were already very serious. I'd already been through my early college years. So I took advantage of the sorority for the leadership. And I was able to have a lot of leadership positions which really helped shape my leadership. Now, if you will.
And I was also able to join because my grades were really good by then. Again, I mean my grades were always good but I was older. I was killing it. So I was able to with the sorority and the good grades and my involvement, I was able to then snowball into other leadership positions, other organizations on campus and that's what got the interest of my chapter advisor. So an adult who was a former collegiate member of that chapter and she worked at a PR agency and they were looking to hire and she knew like, oh Alyson, I know her.
She's in all these leadership positions and all these clubs and she's killing it and all that kind of stuff. And so all of that opened the door for me to then get into what became a public relations agency in Silicon Valley doing high tech public relations, that's so cool. And I love how I mean just opportunities again, following opportunities that lead you. And I love that you were a little bit older so you were like, I don't need to be parting and doing this. I want to take the next step in my life.
So you got into the agency side and then when was it that you decided to get into marketing and then start working for these bigger companies? If you can take us through a little bit of that journey because then I do want to talk about State Farm and where you guys are there and I know we're limited on time. Yeah, great. So for me, I didn't think I would do high tech public relations. I thought for sure I would be doing public relations and marketing for a drug company.
And I remember McKesson was in San Francisco and I remember putting my student resume there and of course that's not where my connection was and they never ever called me by the way. And it was just funny you're talking about taking the opportunity that's presented to you in my mind. I was familiar with the companies because of my mom being at Hewlett Packard, the tech companies. But I really, really thought that I was going to do the function for a drug company. And as it turned out it was lovely opportunity because especially early career jobs paid more in high tech.
And so I was like, you know what? It was again another moment where it wasn't what I had in my mind, it wasn't what I anticipated, yet it was a wonderful opportunity. And so I felt like just jumping in and trying the thing that was presented to me and I was confident enough in myself that I would be able to make it work. And so that was really important. So then being on the agency side exposed me to so many different brands, so many different business models, so many different cultures of companies, so many different we took a company public a couple of times.
And then an old, old Hewlett Packard was one of my clients, which wasn't brand new and IPO, it was storied and dependable and had been in Silicon Valley and starting Silicon Valley. So my point of that is that Agency opportunity opened up my eyes to so many different types of businesses, and it really helped me decide where I wanted to kind of auger in that's cool. And again, it's about the opportunities. And I remember now going to State Farm, but one of the things that I think when you first came, I know Rebecca, someone from Mr. Agency loved Rebecca had always told me about what you were doing at State Farm.
You have to meet Alyson. She's this dynamic woman with such a great story. And then I think on LinkedIn, I saw a post, and it was about how you got to see your son play in a band. And I remember just getting the chills because it was so cool because you said if you weren't working for a company like State Farm, you maybe weren't going to be able to take that red eye and maybe not being able to catch what your son was doing. So now can we just jump into State Farm and again, what that means to you and how you've been able to be a mom in this world when you're at such a high level and be able to run things.
And there's a saying women can do it all. I don't always believe it. I think we can do it all at some points in our life, but not all at once. And so if you can kind of just take us through State Farm and what it means to you as a mom and as a businesswoman, yeah, I. Want to go half a step back to get into that.
So I spent most of my career, almost 30 years in high tech, most of the time at Hewlett Packard, but also at intel and then had a Pivot when that's my son Ryan, the one the musician, the one you saw the post about. He required a little more focus and attention when he was in early high school, mid high school. And so that that was one of those conversations that I had with my husband that said, look, I've been on a great career trajectory. I've been, you know, killing it, doing well, love it, fun. But I think Ryan needs me to take a little bit of time off right now, and we need to focus inward.
And so that opportunity because I was able to have the confidence that I could do some consulting, so I took the opportunity to do some consulting, but have more flexibility in my schedule was really, really important to me as a mom. And I'm forever even more connected with Ryan, that we had the opportunity to, as a family, and Ryan and I in particular, to kind of get through a hump together and for us, as a family, to realize that ryan is a different child than our older son, Sean, who's a little more traditional, studious, and traditionally sits at the front of the class. And the teachers can understand. And Ryan was a little more attention and mental health a little different. Sort of sounds a little bit like you're with Dyslexia.
It was those just differently needs. And for us to be able to get him in a spot where he is now great was a really big important step in my journey. And so then, while I was off and consulting, I get this call from State Farm, and it was completely out of the blue. And it wasn't an external recruiter, which I thought was interesting because in marketing, there's maybe seven or so big marketing recruiters over the years. Over the 30 years.
Kind of got to know all of them and they come a calling and it's great. But this was internal State Farm and they were looking for a head of marketing and I just thought gosh, that's really interesting. You know, almost 100 year old company and they're in insurance and they're only in one country and I'd always been a global marketer and I thought at first kind of I don't know that this is a fit and I don't know. But I was consulting and I thought well I'd love to understand what they need and I'd love to make a connection so let's have a conversation. And what they were looking for was they were not at a place of something that was broken, that needed to be fixed.
This brand was on fire. They had just one brand of the year and it was right after 2020 and it was Ad Week. Ad week or Ad age. I'm sorry. Now I'm not remembering that right here sitting here, of course as soon as.
We hang but it was like a big acclamation that they got big award. So the point is it wasn't something broken but what they were looking to do was to move past where they were with big brand linear television campaigns and to go try to use a little bit more of the marketing tech stack a little bit more automation and full funnel nurturing. And these are all the things that we've been doing on the technology side for a really long time. And so I was intrigued because I could make a contribution there and they wanted it. That was one thing.
So the pure just business of could I find myself being fulfilled because there's a need and I can help that gives me excitement and joy in my just work life. So that was one. The other was what they were like as a culture and as people. And it reminded me a lot of the early days of Hewlett Packard. I mean Bill and Dave, hewlett and Packard had a very famous book the HP way they did.
Management by walking around. They, I think, were among the first to do cubes and no offices. Very open. Wanted to understand at this very collaborative and we're a family and let's help each other to grow the company and succeed. And those were the qualities of this good neighbor, you know, like a good neighbor state Farm is there.
This good neighbor spirit. Felt very comfortable. It felt like I was home. So that was another weird because tech is not like that. I'll just leave it there.
It has become not quite as loving, if you will. So it just felt like refreshing and exciting and I was really excited to jump in and and take the opportunity and ended up actually leaving after over 50 years in the Bay Area to move to central Illinois in a state that is not 72 and sunny, 365 days a year and away from family, away from friends. My boys, they're both in college. They both go to San Jose State right now. One is a senior, actually.
He's graduating next week early, a semester early. Congratulations. You need one.
And then Ryan is there as well. And so we left them. I mean, they're in college. But it was a really big leap to leave California. Well, especially when you're there all the time.
And I know there are certain places in the country I feel, and this could be a generalization, but I do feel it there are certain places in the country, like, if you're like my husband bored and bred in New York. He is a New Yorker. It's really hard for him to think of going other places. When he would get jobs, he's in advertising, so there would be times where it was like, okay, maybe New York is really the hub, but it was like, can I see myself there? And it never kind of went anywhere.
We're still in New York. But it's very ingrained and I think certain parts. And when you're in California, my aunt, I have family from California. And you love it. It's hard to decide.
Okay. But the thing that I'm hearing you say, which I kind of love, is that this was really the next step in your journey. It was like, okay, the boys are in school. I was able to take this time off and be with your youngest when he needed, which is such a beautiful thing. I think that the listeners are really going to warm their hearts because it's like, okay, she had this big career, but it was like, this is what we need for a family.
It shows who you are, right? It shows who Alyson Griffin is to the core, which I think, again, stories connect us. Yeah, it was a really interesting time. I feel like divine intervention. Call it the universe, call it whatever we want to call it, but State Farm came to me at a time when I had wrapped up, could easily wrap up work, consulting stuff, the boys.
My younger son Ryan was going to be a freshman in college and a junior, right? So they were going to be settled in a way not living with us anyway. And my husband was a 30 year San Francisco juvenile probation officer, so he is still on the young side. He had gone in right to juvenile hall, san Francisco juvenile hall, right from college. And so he was just fortunate that he had the 30 years even though he's not that old.
And so he was able to get his California pension, his retirement, and so all those things. And then there was this wonderful brand that had amazing marketing, right? They do fun, interesting marketing, which you have to be insurance category is very, very competitive. And so to be able to bring a little bit of Martex sophistication and a little bit of that b to B, business to business type advertising, even though we don't do business to business, we're consumer advertising. But to be able to think about our almost 20,000 independent contractor agents and how do we kind of B to B talk to them, how do we get them energized to then go sell on our behalf?
How do we think about these nurture journeys that I was speaking of before and thinking about the customer differently, but also thinking about the great assets we have. I mean, Jake from State Farm is one of the most fun assets that a marketer could have to go activate. And I just thought that it would be so exciting to be able to get that off the ground and push past even where it had already been, right? And I say this on the podcast all the time, whether you believe in the universe or God. I believe in God.
But I do feel like we all have a path. Not everyone finds it, but there's times where things like that what you just described happened and it was like, okay, this is what I was meant to do, right? This is what I was meant to do for this part of my life. Let's see where it goes. I mean, it was really kind of everything lined up.
It was like that puzzle that just came together and you're like, oh my gosh, that's amazing. It sounds so wonderful. I know we're wrapping up soon, but I would love for you just to touch a little bit because I know State Farm is in the Metaverse. I know there's like fortnite and you guys are on roadblocks. There's so many different things that you guys are doing that are so cool, that are so up and coming, that are just fascinating.
Thank you. So from a marketing discipline perspective, rather than human being mom, that kind of thing, from a marketing perspective, state Farm is really looking to marketers. Do three things capture current demand that's out there in the market, generate future demand and make sure you retain your great customers and create advocacy for your brand. And so the Metaverse and a lot of what we're doing, like we mentioned TikTok earlier, and that Jake from State Farm generating future demand is a really fun one for us. So we've we've put that character in gaming, and that's how we started, as a preamble or a step toward the Metaverse.
Jake from State Farm was the first non playable character in the game, NBA Two. K. And it was interesting because we were looking for measurement. Like, if we put him in there, will anyone talk to him in the game? Because he's an Insurance character, is anyone going to stop and think that's cool?
Yeah, they did. And if they talk to him, how long? And if they stay for a while, will they follow him into the store that we had so that you could buy skins? Right. Khaki and a red polo.
If they buy it, will they wear it? If they wear it, will they wear it around the game? Right. So there's all those levels as a marketer. It's just fascinating to check all of that.
And this is before Metaverse. And so what was cool about when the Metverse came around is we already had a lot of data and a lot of experience with that sort of avatari liked character. And we already knew that there was some traction there and that people would engage, and we learned what they liked to engage with and what wasn't as interesting. So we were fortunate that when the State Farm Park opportunity in I Heartland came up, we were fairly confident in how we would roll that out. And so, yeah, we're on Roadblocks and in Fortnite right now, two different State Farm parks, and Jake is there.
We've got games and our jingle the like a Good Neighbor notes that play. We have that integrated on Roadblocks into Sound. It's kind of a whole Sound game that you'd have to go on there to play. But the point is trying to get our assets, our brand assets out there in different ways with younger audiences and making a connection. And it's brilliant because it's all about the connection.
And I have to say, Insurance, it's not top of mind, but I know who Jake is. And every time a commercial comes on, I'm always like, oh, I like him. He makes you feel good. You'll get commercials of other things, and there's some, like, local New York and it's kind of a joke in our house, local New York commercials that I get angry at. I'm like, I can't stand that guy's face, and I'm not like an angry person, but that commercial but Jake from State Farm is such a likable human that you are like, oh, God, he's just so lovable.
And so I think it's brilliant. Alice and then I think what you guys are doing, and you can feel the excitement. You have just everything in this episode, you're talking about your background and your family, you're talking about your boys and your husband and then talking about what you're doing at State Farm. You can feel who you are. I know the audience listening is going to feel who you are and it's just going to make people also a little bit more curious about State Farm.
Like what are you guys doing next? So that kind of leads me to my last question. What are you excited for State Farm and yourself in the future with them? Yeah, we're really trying to push the boundaries of bridging technology, innovation and mixed with the assets that we've already have traction around like a good neighbor, Jake Khaki's and Red Polo, those things, those are our assets. And Metaverse is definitely one that we're going to keep pushing harder into not only as games but maybe even you could imagine offices in the Metaverse and things like that.
Not that there's an announcement here about anything, but we're going to keep pushing. We're also really interested in the levers that we have in marketing and this is kind of behind the scenes. It's. Not that someone would necessarily feel it or know it, but rather than having most of our investment and our focus on linear television, we're looking at showing up around the web in new and interesting ways that are less. Like a commercial and more like valuable information that is contextually relevant to what somebody is doing on the web and getting a little bit more traction there.
So I'm just really excited about keeping pushing, keep the innovation going, showing up in weird new ways. Gaming is another big one for us in general. We created something called the Gamerhood last year. It was not this year but it's December now, right on our hundredth anniversary. We were pushing into the Metaverse and launching a never before done gaming competition.
And so those are the kind of things that I value is trying new different ways to connect with potential and current customers. And our team is just they're on it, they're energized and excited to go try these new things. And it's really fun when people go, oh my gosh, they're 100 year old insurance brand, but we're going to show up and be cool and interesting. Well that's what's so cool. You guys are cool and interesting and it is 100 year old brand but it also shows that they have developed through the time and I think there's so many companies that don't change with time even I mean education which we can get to all into but there's so many things out there that has not caught up with the time.
So I love that you guys are ahead of that and doing it. So I just have to say thank you so much for joining. Your next stop everyone again, this is Alyson Griffin, follow her on LinkedIn. She's ahead of marketing for State Farm. Go follow State Farm on Instagram.
Go follow Jake from State Farm on Instagram, but also on TikTok. And I can't wait to just follow what you guys are doing. So thank you again for joining your Next stop. Thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure.
Of course. And thank you, Rebecca, for introducing us. This was awesome. So, you guys, you know what to do. Like share rate review.
You might be listening to this episode and being like, oh, that's fun. But what do I say every single time? Share it. Share it with many people because this story connects. It's not just about the state farm.
It's not just about Alyson being a mom. It's about Alyson being in a powerful role as a mom. And she even talked about how she took time off to be with her son. So you can feel who Alyson Griffin is on here, and that's what she's bringing to State Farm all the time. Someone needs to hear this story out there because maybe they're in Crossroads, maybe they don't know what to do, and maybe they can take a little information from this episode and change their life a little bit.
So welcome back. Not welcome back. Take that out Audi. But so thank you again and we will see you guys for another episode of Your Next Next Stop. I hope you liked this episode of your next stop.
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