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Storytelling: The Underutilized Marketing Tool with Rashad Drakeford, Head of Content Marketing, Robinhood

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Taking the plunge into unfamiliar territory, such as investing, can not only be a difficult fray to enter, but scary at the same time. When should you buy? Should you sell? What is the right stock for you to buy?. The world of finance and largely, participating in investment has long been the domain of the few and privileged. Now, thanks to the companies like Robinhood, becoming a part of the finance world is as easy as downloading an app from your favorite app store. The challenges of communicating with this new class of investors excites Rashad Drakeford, Head of Content Marketing at Robinhood. And Rashad told me all about how e knows that asking the right questions of his audience will help him to guide them through the process of investing, and to their goals.

“What we’re developing at Robinhood over the next three years is: how do we inspire people to think, feel, and act? How do we make them feel confident about their financial future? How do we tell stories of people that they see themselves in? There’s a new class [of investors] that’s being born out of this moment; how do we invite them in? How do we have our arms wide open to let them know that they’re not alone?” 

This future-focused mindset, paired with an incredible background in politics and entertainment, gives Rashad a unique perspective as a marketer. Whether it’s been through his time working on the 2008 Obama Presidential campaign, or from his experience at Apple, and working on Beats by Dre Rashad’s experience has touched multiple industries and he shared his wealth of experience with me. In this episode, Rashad and I dive into the way he thinks about his influencer marketing strategy, he speaks about some of the incredible leaders he has been influenced by, and you’ll hear about what makes the most compelling content marketing campaigns. Get ready to enjoy all that Rashad has to share on this episode of Marketing Trends.

Main Takeaways

  • Leverage What You Have: It can be discouraging as a small business marketer to look around and see all of the cool campaigns with fancy bells and whistles that big companies with massive budgets can produce. The key to getting the most out of your own brand and budget lies in the quality of the stories you have to tell. Good stories resonate, and a good story can help you compete with the likes of fancy, high-dollar productions. The human touch of a great story can have just as much impact with your audience as some fancy production elements. The point is to lean into your strengths as a business and lean into your strengths as a marketing team to compete against bigger players.
  • Picking the Right Influencer: When thinking about your own influencer program, bigger numbers are better, but there are some additional factors you should be considering to make the best partnership decisions. The quality of their audience engagement is critical and the overall alignment of their mission with yours are two of the factors that, when aligned, will serve both parties well.
  • What Does a New Class of Investors Need? The opportunity to reach a new audience is one that excites a creative marketer. First, the challenge is to educate and inform. The best way to do that, to draw in a new audience, is by asking them the right questions. Seeing things from their perspective will help you to craft your message and really connect with your audience.

Key Quotes

“The way we leaned into our ability to create branded content across social and digital; We were doing virtual reality concerts. This was back in 2013 [when] no one was really doing that. If MTV is able to create interstitials and vignettes that live on linear TV because they have 80 to a hundred million households, what’s our value prop? What we landed on was, we have phenomenal storytellers. We have great content creators. We’re going to go and create content for brands that we’ll use across all of our social media and our digital and linear. And on top of that, we’ll white-label it and give it to you to use however you want across your channels. And so we were able to really be innovative in that, in that space.”

“Robinhood really did lower the barrier of entry and democratize information and democratize people’s [ability] to participate in the wealth generation process, especially for folks that have been historically, and systematically left out of financial empowerment in this country. I felt like there was an incredible opportunity to come here and help tell stories, to help inspire people to get involved in their financial health and wellness.” 

“hat we’re developing at Robinhood over the next three years is how do we inspire people to think, feel, and act? How do we make them feel confident about their financial future? How do we tell stories of people that they see themselves in? There’s a new class [of investors] that’s being born out of this moment; how do we invite them in? How do we have our arms wide open to let them know that they’re not alone? 

“The way I have the team approaching [influencer relationships] is avoiding one-offs, and [istead] developing a real partnership with talent that not only pushes forward our business goals but also helps the talent reach their goals. I never walk into a partnership conversation with a fully fleshed-out plan. [I’m] making sure that our missions are aligned because this is not just about someone cashing a check. [I’m making sure] we’re both invested and passionate about what we can do together. I don’t let how many followers someone has be the determining factor on doing a deal or not. Numbers you see on Tiktok and Instagram and Twitter are important, but what’s the engagement and what’s the conversion metric from past partnerships or even their own work?”


Rashad Drakeford is the Head of Content Marketing at Robinhood – Head of Content Marketing. Previously he spent time at Apple as their Head of Global Social Media. Before that, Rashad spent some time at REVOLT MEDIA & TV as the Senior Director of Digital Content Development. Because of an opportunity, he came across while he was in college, as a student he became the National HBCU Outreach Coordinator for The 2008 presidential campaign of United States Senator, Barack Obama. This campaign position led to jobs for him as the Obama-Biden Transition Project, as an Associate and Public Liaison in Intergovernmental Affairs, and then took a position in the government at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as Special Assistant in the Office of the Secretary.

Marketing Trends podcast is brought to you by Salesforce. Discover marketing built on the world’s number one CRM: Salesforce. Put your customer at the center of every interaction. Automate engagement with each customer. And build your marketing strategy around the entire customer journey. Salesforce. We bring marketing and engagement together. Learn more at salesforce.com/marketing.

Episode 275