Alan VanderMolen | Influence 100

Alan VanderMolen

SC Johnson



After a 30-year agency career that included notable stints with Edelman and WE, Alan VanderMolen was named chief communications officer at CPG giant SC Johnson earlier this year. The low-profile, family-owned company is expected to become more visible following VanderMolen's arrival.

Best known for such brands as Windex, Ziploc, Mrs Meyers and Pledge, SC Johnson has stepped up its sustainability credentials in recent years, acquiring eco-friendly brands Method and Ecover in 2017, and disclosing the product-specific ingredients of its fragrances. 

VanderMolen oversees both internal and external communications at SC Johnson, reporting to CEO Fisk Johnson. His agency career, where he not only built a string of successful businesses but also developed a considerable range of expertise across corporate, purpose and brand activism, is likely to provide further clues as to how he tackles his first in-house mandate.

Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR's direct impact on business performance
Starbucks’ handling of exiting the Forbidden City. Immediately resulted in rebound in their PRC business.

What are the comms industry's biggest challenges and opportunities in the year ahead?
Investment in and effective use of data to inform content strategy – both creative and distribution. Proficiency in employee engagement and employee comms.

What have you most admired about this industry in 2020?
Attacking disinformation.

What has most disappointed you about this industry in 2020?
Not attacking disinformation.

How have you switched off from work and maintained wellness in lockdown?
Playing my guitar. Riding my Harley. FaceTime with my son. Walking my dog. Fishing.

Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has helped you get through this year or provided inspiration?
Rolling Stones Blue and Lonesome. The Who Live at Leeds. Re-watching The Sopranos. Reading a lot of Shakespeare and Poe.

If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
An antiques trader.

Sum up 2020 in one word.