Meet the new CMO
Hi folks. I’m Kiernan. Kiernan Patrick. Kiernan Patrick Schmitt. (I once met the comedian Colin Quinn at a New York City pizzeria and he told me I had the worst name he’d ever heard.)
I just started as Clover’s Chief Marketing Officer, but I’ve been a Clover devotee since 2011. Back then I lived in NYC and worked at an agency called Blue State Digital. My favorite client by far was Ayr’s alma mater MIT, and I’d take any excuse to hop an Amtrak north to see my clients in-person. After 4 hours, I’d emerge from the train seeking hearty food and a good drink, which are in short supply inside South Station. The Clover Food Truck was a welcome beacon—all hand-scrawled signage and pour-over coffees that were worth the wait. (Pro tip: if you’re looking to get a Clover sandwich for your multi-hour return Amtrak trip, ask for the condiments/sauces on the side to prevent unnecessary sog.)
In 2016, I moved back to Boston and “Proximity to Clover” made the list of Pros (alongside “Minuteman National Park” and “Snow!”) In Clover consumption terms, 2016 to 2020 are a blur of egg and eggplants, ginger sodas, and a medically questionable amount of hummus.
When the pandemic hit, I was one of the first in line at CloverHUB to help the company clear out its fridges—a long line of us idled outside, far apart, in the rain, carrying home flats of eggs and gallons of milk, unsure of when we’d return. Later, when Clover started contactless pick-up, I, like many, rejoiced: finally a reason to leave the house and comforting food for an uncomfortable time. Plus, a way to ensure that Clover survived!
Fast forward to 2022 and the company is back on its feet and then some. All 14 locations are now welcoming customers, and the pandemic even drove Clover to create our at-home meal box program which, it turns out, lots of people really like.
My favorite Clover offering? The Brussels Sprout Sandwich. Oh the Brussels Sprout Sandwich. I’m the most zealous subject that King Brussels has ever laid his cruciferous eyes on. Just to illustrate: last fall, when Clover sent out the email that The Brussels was in its final days, I called out of work, headed straight to Kendall Square, ordered two to-go, and took in the latest Wes Anderson flick while munching away on those gorgeous green goblins.(It’s the hazelnuts; I’m an inveterate sucker for hazelnuts.) Long live the King!
To close out, a few words on “Marketing.” Clover hasn’t had a Chief Marketing Officer before. In fact, there was a time when Ayr and the team thought Clover would never have anything called “marketing.” Personally, I don’t like the word very much and I share the allergy to it. I hate when a company keeps trying to force-feed me products I don’t want and stories I don’t believe.
But that’s exactly why I wanted to join Clover. The products don’t need “spin” because they’re actually delicious. And when they’re not, they come off the menu. Clover does in fact think through the food’s sourcing, its seasonality, its flavor combinations. We genuinely do listen to and respond to customer feedback. We are sincere in our ambition to tackle climate change through changing the way people eat.
And the stories don’t need embellishment because, since its founding, the company’s been an open book. This blog is proof of that. It’s got an “Our Mistakes” tag for godssake: what other company on earth has that?
So here’s what I promise: Yes our food pictures might get a little better and the website UX might get a little easier to follow. Yes the murals in our stores might get a fresh coat of paint. Yes we’ll be starting a Tiktok. But Clover is not going to suddenly become some glossy, Botoxed fast food company. We’re not going to “market” at you (God, just typing that…) Ultimately I’m here—along with Ayr, Lucia, Jane, Cody and all the others you’ve come to know—to keep you all up to date on the food we’re making, why we’re making it that way, and the impact it’s having on the world.