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Lee Nadler

Nadine Karp McHugh

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Trendsetters: Colgate-Palmolive's Nadine Karp McHugh Discusses New Structures for a Contemporary Marketing World

Ask Nadine Karp McHugh about today's challenges to progress in our industry, and she'll answer emphatically: "Much could be accomplished through greater collaboration, so that we can all move forward faster. Silos help no one. Those who can move dynamically through the future will win."

She adds, "Even in our new era of real-time big data, smart marketers need to be able to capture the insights that result from this data to find "own-able"and unique solutions that will make a difference. Everyone is talking about big data driving everything-- and it will-- but without insights and creative problem-solving, it cannot be effective. Data is just a blunt tool waiting to be sharpened."

As Vice President of Global Integrated Media Communications at Colgate Palmolive--a global company serving more than 200 countries and territories with consumer products that make lives healthier and more enjoyable - McHugh is responsible for driving best-in-class digitized media and integrated marketing ideas and best practices. She encourages excellence in a wide diversity of brands-- including Colgate® toothpastes, Speed Stick®, Irish Spring® , Palmolive® and Hill's Pet Nutrition's line of pet foods.

Without question, Nadine has a passion for high caliber creative problem-solving that drives brands to find distinctive "own-able"solutions, particularly ones that ultimately result in competitive advantage. She firmly believes that the future of marketing will depend on everyone's ability to harness their creative potential to drive and build "the possible."For her, this is the democratization of marketing to which she is so unwaveringly committed.

She adds, "Technology has changed our world and will continue to do so in ways we have not yet dreamed of. By thinking differently and being able to reframe problems, the future we create is only as limited as we allow it to be."

Nadine's own history in the industry has shaped her belief in the critical importance of navigating in a new marketing world. Not only has she been a pioneer in many emerging sectors of marketer and agency solutions, but she decided to devote her late nights and weekends to completing a Master's degree, remotely and through annual on-site work (aka Grad School Boot Camp), in an entirely new field. In fact, just this spring she was the world's 500th graduate with a Master's of Science in Creativity and Change Leadership.

She says, "I felt that getting this additional degree was a great way to arm myself, and the businesses I support, with the expertise needed to move forward in our ever-changing world. Creative problem-solving and change-management leadership are among the credentials now necessary to transform businesses so they can better steer toward the future, and the global world of marketing and communications must be at the forefront."

Her Master's degree comes from the International Center for Studies in Creativity (ISCS), part of the State University of New York in Buffalo, which boasts the oldest creative studies program in the world, with course offerings on creativity since 1967. In addition to graduate programs and an undergraduate minor in the discipline, ICSC is currently planning for a Ph.D. program. No word yet if Nadine is tempted to go further in her studies.

She explains, "It all began with Alex Osborn, one of the founders of BBDO, who was also the father of brainstorming."As one would suspect, the program focuses on using innate creativity to find new solutions, yet in doing so, it sets up a framework for empowering others within an organization to have the confidence to use new tools. According to Nadine, "the future of business is increasingly about the balance of analytics and creativity. I want to be sure that I am thinking in such a way that I can harness what is available to construct relevant solutions and productive change."

She admits, "A large part of the course work is studying and practicing models and frameworks that provide opportunities for people to ‘own' their own creativity. What organization wouldn't want to infuse this kind of thinking into its processes? This is becoming a movement around the world. We often talk about right brain and left brain, and the potential of big data infused with creativity. Where they meet, will be where the magic happens."

Nadine Karp McHugh is a member of THE INTERNATIONALIST 1000 initiative- 1000 Marketers Around the World Reshaping the Future of Marketing in global partnership with the ANA/Association of National Advertisers.. She is also a chapter contributor in the upcoming book, The Reinvention of Marketing, to debut this fall, published by The Internationalist Press with the ANA.