Marketing Inclusion Leadership: Insights from Google Director Sherice Torres

By Zharmer Hardimon, Senior Editor | Marketing Inclusion

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of articles featuring the voices of executives from a diversity of backgrounds, offering tips on how to align digital business goals and purpose-driven goals that help support communities. This interview initially appeared on Think with Google, which features free tools and resources for marketers. (See our first interview in the series, with Lowe's CMO Jocelyn Wong, here.)

Always keep “a relentless focus on the user.” That’s Sherice Torres’ advice for marketers. And it’s how she operates as a marketing director of Brand Studio, Google’s internal think tank that uses creativity, media, and technology to create experiences that connect Google products to the people who use them.

At Brand Studio, Torres, a former Viacom exec, leads the team responsible for driving brand programs for crisis response and sustainability. It’s a job that not only keeps the focus on people, but ties directly to Google’s overall mission: “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

I sat down with Torres to take a closer look at Brand Studio’s role and strategy. What follows is our conversation about the power of communicating brand values, the most challenging part of her job, and lessons brands can learn from Google’s approach to marketing.

You’re tasked with helping people understand Google’s mission as it relates to crisis response and sustainability. Can you talk more about what that entails?

Our job in Brand Studio is to take the words behind Google’s mission and really bring them to life, demonstrating Google’s values in action through programs, partnerships, and campaigns.

In the crisis response space, we partner with a cross-functional team to help our users in the wake of natural and man-made disasters. The most obvious way we do that is by providing credible, timely information through our products (SOS Alerts, Crisis Maps, People Finder). We also provide skilled volunteers and offer grants through know the path to a cleaner, healthier future begins with the small decisions we make each day.

When it comes to sustainability, we focus on amplifying Google’s efforts to operate in a sustainable fashion, as well as using our platform to empower others to do the same. We know the path to a cleaner, healthier future begins with the small decisions we make each day. That’s why we’re committed to making smart use of the Earth’s resources and creating products with the planet in mind.

One way we’re doing this is by using AI to help our data centers run on 50% less energy than the industry standard, and we’re building those data centers with components specifically designed for reuse in other Google facilities. We also offer open source tools, like Planet Sunroof from the Geo for Good team to help users identify how much energy and money they can save by installing solar panels on their homes.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

I’d say focus. There are so many different ways that we can help our users in times of crisis — from preparedness to response to recovery. The key is to focus on a few areas where Google can uniquely add value and can make an outsized impact to ensure that we are optimizing our efforts.

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