In this episode of the Anthropology in Business podcast, Autumn McDonald speaks with Matt Artz about her career as a business anthropologist. The conversation covers Autumn’s journey into anthropology after two decades at Fortune 500s in corporate America, and the starting of ADM Insights & Strategy, LLC.
About Autumn McDonald
With over 2 decades of experience in Research, Insights, and Analytics spanning 6 continents, Autumn D. McDonald is the owner of ADM Insights & Strategy, LLC. She leverages her multifaceted expertise to aid the clients of ADM Insights & Strategy, LLC in designing research organizations, developing research plans, harnessing impactful learnings, and identifying actionable paths forward. With diverse angles of expertise ADM Insights & Strategy is uniquely equipped to greatly illuminate insights. ADM Insights & Strategy, LLC utilizes mixed methods approaches that integrate market research with an anthropologically inspired lens for greater human-centricity and depth of understanding.
Previously, she was the Senior Director Global Consumer Insights at The Hershey Company, leading the entire consumer research function worldwide. Autumn was responsible for spearheading the organization to provide consumer insights, tools, methodologies, models, and analyses needed in developing superior marketing, sales, and product strategies grounded in human understanding.
Prior to her role at The Hershey Company, she was responsible for providing competitive advantage by identifying consumer driven opportunities, uncovering consumer needs, and creating synergies in consumer research across geographies at Mattel. Before joining Mattel, Autumn led the entire Global Knowledge & Insights organization worldwide for the Revlon company. Her work in uncovering and bringing to life engaging consumer insight at Revlon resulted in earning a 2014 Ogilvy Advertising Award. Earlier in her career, Autumn spent 4.5 years at Kraft Foods where she was responsible for leading the Company’s In Market Testing for Growth organization. During that time, she oversaw Analytics in market testing that touched each of Kraft’s Business Units and more than 15 retailers. Before Kraft, Autumn spent roughly 2 years at Colgate Palmolive, leading Shopper Marketing across the company’s largest business. Her time at Colgate Palmolive was preceded by nearly a decade with Procter & Gamble, where she led research teams spanning multiple organizations, including the Multi-Cultural Business Development Organization focused on African American and Hispanic consumers.
In addition to her global research experience, Autumn has spearheaded over 500 research studies and secondary analyses focused on Black and Latinx constituents in the United States. These include, but are not limited to, the creation and validation of new research methods specifically designed for Latinx and Black consumers, quantitative habits and practices studies focused on multi-cultural populations, countless qualitative interviews with Black and Latinx constituents, in context participant observations with People of Color (POC), and new immigrant ethnographic studies.
Autumn’s expertise in research, race, and culture, and has resulted in invited speaking engagements with the Advertising Research Foundation, the Black Family Digest, the American Marketing Association, and the Hispanic 360 Conference, to name a few.
Autumn earned a Dual Degree in Mathematics and Spanish from the University of Texas at Austin and is currently developing her Master Thesis in Applied Anthropology at the University of North Texas. Her specialization is Socio-Cultural Anthropology, with an emphasis in intersections of race, ethnicity, and space.