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Find Your Uncomfortable Zone

Posted By Don Lupo, Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Updated: Thursday, March 14, 2019
By Aaron Walton

"From the red carpet to the acceptance speeches to the social media conversations, marketers and the ad industry have much to learn from a new Hollywood."

Photo by Kal Yee

Pose star and Tony award winner Billy Porter set the bar high for authenticity before the Oscars had even begun. He arrived on the Red Carpet in a ball gown tux designed by Project Runway’s Christian Siriano. ‘People are going to be really uncomfortable with my black ass in a ball gown," Porter wrote. "But it’s not anybody’s business but mine." And that was the kind of cultural confidence that shifted the 91st Academy Awards out of its conservative comfort zone and into the 21st century, celebrating talent from communities of color and diverse cultures.

Regina King, the evening’s first winner, built on Porter’s tone-setting style by dedicating her win to Beale Street author James Baldwin. Mr. Baldwin instantly became the top trending search on Google trends, underscoring why representation matters. From the red carpet to the acceptance speeches to the social media conversations, marketers and the ad industry have much to learn from a new Hollywood, particularly about how the powerful role we play as image makers and identity influencers impacts our responsibility to reflect and respect societal change. Here are three key takeaways:

1. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
As humans, we tend to be uncomfortable with the unknown. It’s a survival instinct. It’s why bias, which we all carry in one form or another, acts as a shorthand for sameness which we tend to believe will keep us safe. As marketers, we are obligated to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. It is our responsibility to our brands and to consumers to tap into a spectrum of perspectives, psychographics and consumer profiles. Whether it’s gender fluidity in the form of a ball gown tux or understanding the Black-centric social commentaries of an author like James Baldwin, the message from a new generation of diverse talent was unapologetic – particularly in relation to what’s unknown and, therefore, uncomfortable, to dominant-culture leadership. Time to catch up. As advertising and marketing industry diversity programs stumble and fall short of expectations, we too cannot keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. For an industry that prides itself on pop-culture prowess and its ability to laser target individuals in the micro-ist of ways, we have blinders on when it comes to some uncomfortable truths. Our industry doesn’t give credit to culture, it often minimizes the importance of creative contributors from diverse backgrounds, and has turned inclusion into an exercise of consensus instead of a celebration of uniqueness.

2. Practice centering
In spite of D&I efforts, there is very little work being done by clients or agencies when it comes to centering people of color and diverse cultures. Centering is loosely defined as being committed to racial, gender and cultural equity, having diverse stakeholders be in control of resources, and recognizing them for their expertise. The Oscars showed us what centering is and what it is not. Black Panther epitomizes the former while Green Book reflects the latter. Late night host Seth Meyers created an excellent commentary on the White Savior film prototype which, many agree, is how Green Book can be classified. Even when agencies add multicultural talent to their teams, they do little to empower them to lead, or even to simply engage, from a cultural POV. On a positive note, one can look at the work aired by Verizon during the Oscars, specifically the unsubtitled Spanish language work, an Oscar first, and see what centering looks like. While not all Latinos are Spanish speakers, the brand had the cultural courage to unapologetically communicate with those within the community who are; to put their voice center stage without worrying about backlash from an intolerant, often monolingual subset of consumers. Stop thinking of resources like the proverbial pie with a finite number of slices. Cultural fluency expands us all and, with this commitment to growth, opportunities multiply and there are more than enough to go around. The pie gets larger.

3. Why "winclusion" matters
If there was ever any doubt about the influence of culture on the psyche of millennials and Boomers alike, one need only listen to Rami Malek, Regina King, Hannah Beachler, Spike Lee, and Spiderman’s Peter Ramsey and Phil Lord, among others. While they may be celebrities today, each of these winners was once a child, standing in front of a mirror and dreaming about what winning an Oscar would be like. And they all wondered why they never saw anyone like themselves represented. "Winclusion" is not just access, it’s advancement and an ability to assume roles worthy of awards – the kind of awards that make history and give voice to those who are often unrepresented and marginalized both in front of and behind the camera. How is your organization rewriting the rules of inclusion, reframing the idea so it’s not just an invitation to a club whose rules and values are already set in stone, leaving little room for authenticity and cultural confidence?

During a Black History Month fraught with politicians wearing black face and other ignorant offenses, the Oscars managed to demonstrate that progress can be made and respect can be paid. Was it a seismic shift or an anomaly? Time will tell. What is clear is that diverse storytellers, and the consumers they inspire, are done asking for permission to be a part of the societal fabric they influence and impact in the most innovative ways. And those same cultural champions, and the communities with which they connect, are putting our industry on notice as well. Uncomfortable? Good. You should be.

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Aaron Walton is a founding partner of Walton Isaacson.

Tags:  aaron  diversity  inclusion  isaacson  uncomfortable  walton 

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Member Profile: Shanique Bonelli-Moore, Executive Director of Inclusion, United Talent Agency

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 14, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, March 13, 2019

How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?
My interest in communications was sparked in high school, mainly through extracurricular activities. I always enjoyed being behind the scenes, working with people and having a hand in making things happen. And when I had the opportunity to be a cast member of a teen talk show, I discovered that I got more fulfillment behind the camera than in front of it. I began to research and explore careers that would allow me to use my skills, and discovered a great communications program at Syracuse University.

During my time in college, all of the internships I held were communications based in some form. I came to realize that internal communications was a great professional starting point for me, because I could learn to use corporate communication to connect with people, drive engagement and shape corporate cultures – all while gaining exposure and expanding my reach in other areas of the business world.

My career kicked off with a media relations internship at General Electric (GE), where I advanced through their two-year Communications Leadership Development Program (CLDP). For the next nine years, I held several public relations, internal communications and marketing communications roles with GE and NBCUniversal. I then transitioned to Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), as their Director of Global Internal Communications and eventually moved over to the marketing team where I was a senior level experiential marketing leader.

As I continued to hone my craft and gain experience, I discovered how expansive the communications field is, touching every aspect of business. I found opportunities to lead initiatives that not only increased employee engagement, but also supported diversity and inclusion. This expanded my career focus, and I joined Buzzfeed as their Senior Director of Internal Communications. While in this role I also helped drive diversity, inclusion and belonging efforts for its entertainment business.

I was offered the opportunity to lead Internal Communications at UTA in early 2018. This role felt like a culmination of all of my experiences, and allowed me to join the internal leadership team that worked to advance diversity and inclusion – an initiative that I will now lead as Executive Director of Inclusion. UTA has made great progress over the past few years and I can’t wait to build on that foundation and see what comes next.

What has been an important, perhaps the most important, lesson you’ve learned in your career so far?
The greatest lesson that I have learned thus far is that not only should we be the biggest advocates for ourselves, but we must also be worthy of being advocated. You want to be good enough to earn your place at the table and feel confident that your seat belongs to you. I celebrate everything that I have achieved so far in my career. And while I am ambitious, my ambition is not aimed at gaining further recognition, but to learn, and further develop as a leader, so that accolades come as a result of work, dedication, and never being satisfied with “enough.” I can then serve as my own greatest advocate because I know that I have set my sights on what I want and in spite of my road not being an easy one, I pushed to propel myself to where I want to be.

What keeps you motivated? Do you have a personal motto?
My family has always been my biggest motivator and my top priority. My daughter is the greatest inspiration of my life – she is my North Star. I have always wanted to achieve as much as possible, and knowing that she is watching me and what I do, and that these things will inform her decisions and shape her path inspires me to do even better, and to help make the world a better place for her.

Samuel Beckett said it best, “Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again.” I love this because it speaks to being human, and not looking to yourself for perfection but rather for progress.




Photos: Don Lupo Photography

What excites you most about this industry?
Advertising is influential in its ability to determine who and what people buy - but I love how it also reflects what our world looks like at a given point in time – it’s an intersection between commerce and culture.

Through insight, collaboration and inclusion, this industry has the power to tell stories that resonate with people, compel action, shift cultures, and drive change. I am excited to be a part of something that reaches into communities and seeks ways to constantly make connections.

Where is advertising headed? What do the next five years look like?
The industry’s influence comes with a responsibility – I hope that advertisers will start paying attention to more diverse markets. I think people are quickly realizing there is a demand for representation and they can leverage diversity to appeal to a greater audience. Social media and digital content have changed the conversation about the approach to advertising, causing more companies to recognize that people want to connect with other people who look like them or reflect the global community.

What advice do you have for emerging professionals who are beginning their careers, particularly women?
I can only speak from my own experience, but for me what was important was finding my voice and being able to advocate for myself. I had a strong desire to be both a parent and high performing professional. I am doing both but with the understanding that I had to make some trade-offs and concessions, and those choices work for me and for my family. Women no longer have to assume that life is an either-or proposition; you can design the life you want, but you must stand in your truth - any sacrifices you make should be on your terms. Take ownership of your decisions go forward without fear.


What’s been one of your favorite ThinkLA memories?

My favorite memory is the opportunity I had to participate in the The Diversifying Advertising event back in February 2018. I moderated a panel on the challenges agencies and businesses face when creating a diverse culture. Facilitating this robust discussion resulted in an invitation to join the ThinkLA board, which I accepted with great excitement. I am looking forward to making more memories with ThinkLA.

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Shanique Bonelli-Moore is Executive Director of Inclusion at United Talent Agency.

Tags:  agency  inclusion  member  profile  shanique  talent  united 

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Black History Month: Marketing Legends

Posted By Administration, Thursday, February 28, 2019

ThinkLA Marketing Legends


Aaron Walton

Board member Aaron Walton is a marketing legend in his own right. His experience includes working for Pepsi and touring with Michael Jackson, placing Marlon Brando in his first commercial, and building his own marketing empire through his agency Walton Isaacson with Co-founder Cory Isaacson. Read more about Aaron


Sheila Marmon

“Be an agent for your own success. Don’t wait for someone to hand you that next opportunity. If you see a gap in your organization, fill it. Become an asset.”

Sheila Marmon is the Founder and Owner of Mirror Digital. An alumni of Princeton and Harvard, Sheila began her career on Wall Street but saw a need for diversity in marketing and advertising. Mirror Digital is a "leading provider in interactive media and the authority on the multicultural digital ecosystem." Read more about Mirror Digital



Marketing Legends Throughout History


Thomas J. Burrell

Advertising Hall of Fame member Thomas J Burrell built his career from the ground up, discovering his passion for advertising by working in an ad-agency mailroom.  In 1971, Burrell founded Burrell Communications and landed major corporations like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola as clients. Read more about Thomas



Carol Williams
Carol Williams created the Secret Antiperspirant campaign “Strong enough for a Man, but Made for a Woman” while she was an intern at Leo Burnett Worldwide. She is the second black woman in the Advertising Hall of Fame and owns Carol H. Williams Advertising. Read more about Carol



Coltrane Curtis

Former MTV VJ,
Coltrane Curtis founded Team Epiphany over ten years ago. This full-service consumer marketing agency specializes in creative services, brand strategy, and social media and includes HBO, Converse, and Heineken as clients. Read more about Coltrane


Byron E. Lewis

Byron E. Lewis founded UniWorld Group in 1969 to market to African Americans and Latinos. Uniworld continues to be successful today, managing clients like Progressive, Ford, and Colgate. Read more about Byron


Vince Cullers

Beginning his career as an art director at Ebony Magazine, Vince Cullers went on to create and own the United States’ first black advertising agency. Vince Sullers Advertising released ad campaigns that strove to portray black Americans in a positive light. Read more about Vince

 

 

Tags:  #thinkMembers #memberspotlight 

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Volunteer Spotlight: Franziska Pugh

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, February 19, 2019

How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?

I studied strategic communication at Michigan State University intending to become the next Samantha Jones of publicity. During my undergraduate studies, I received the opportunity to visit Los Angeles and tour advertising agencies, entertainment firms and production studios. After meeting with an Account Executive and learning more about the role, I knew I would find my home in brand leadership and strategy. I worked to gain relevant internship and research experience and began my career as an Account Coordinator and then Assistant Account Executive at DonerLA. Recently, I joined the MullenLowe team as an Account Executive working on automotive. I’m incredibly lucky to have worked with a diverse group of clients and agencies who are dedicated to mentorship, professional, and personal development.  



What inspired you to become a ThinkLA volunteer?

After moving to Los Angeles, I aimed to get involved in the community and meet professionals who were interested in advertising, media and entertainment. I was impressed by the variety of events that ThinkLA offered. After hosting the first the first Intern Summit event at DonerLA, I became fully immersed in the mission of bringing opportunities and community to Los Angeles and beyond.


What’s been one of your favorite ThinkLA memories?

I recently joined the Emerging Leaders Council and assisted in hosting the first ThinkLA She Suite event. This event was truly remarkable in bringing women across multiple agencies and industries together and creating dialogue around their success, barriers and opportunities. Events like these are so important in building a support system, mentorship opportunities and friendships.

I also really enjoyed the Intern Summit Series. I value being a part of energetic professionals that continuously strive to grow professionally and personally. It was a blast to volunteer at these events, meet the panelists and learn more about the advertising industry and professional roadmaps.


What keeps you motivated? Do you have a personal motto?

My personal motto is, “Hold the vision. Trust the process.” We are lucky to work in an ever-changing industry that has so many opportunities to learn and grow. This motto is my reminder to be patient and flexible in my approach. 


What has been an important, perhaps the most important, lesson you’ve learned in your career so far?


There are two lessons that my mentors have instilled in me.

  1. “Take a seat at the table.”
    When you get the opportunity to sit at a table with other professionals, make sure you listen to what they have to say and speak up to be heard. You will never get what you don’t ask for. Make sure you’re prepared, bring insight into the room and showcase your expertise.
  2.  “If you’re the dumbest person in the room, you’re in the right room.”
    A few years ago, I voiced a concern about “sounding dumb” when conducting informational interviews. One of my mentors told me that if I make it into a room where I have no idea what is going on, I am exactly where I need to be. This lesson still holds true. If you’re the dumbest person in the room, you’ve strategically (or, luckily) maneuvered your way into a place with people you can learn the most from. Listen, take notes, do your research after and build connections while you have the chance.

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    Franziska Pugh

    Tags:  #ThinkLA  #ThinkMembers  #volunteerspolight 

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    Recap: 2019 MAKERS Conference

    Posted By Jean Freeman, Friday, February 15, 2019

    by Jean Freeman


    Last week, I was honored to represent Zambezi and women-owned businesses at MAKERS. This was my second year attending, and my first as a member of the MAKERS Board of Directors. The whole experience was inspiring and exciting! 

    The theme for this year was All of Us, and the programming was exceptionally curated to live up to this theme. Founder and creator Dyllan McGee has continued to elevate the MAKERS platform by telling the stories of trailblazing women, and underscoring the common threads in all of these individual stories.

    There were so many highlights, but here are a few of my favorites:

    * Glennon Doyle gave a mesmerizing talk about the power of forgiveness, infused with lots of laughs and tears. Glennon has a strong following in the Christian blogging community, and her book Love Warrior explores the power of love and forgiveness through her family journey.


    * Regina Wilson, one of the few African-American women firefighters, led a discussion with senior women from LAFD. Only 4% of all firefighters are women.

    * Susan Schuman, CEO of SYPartners -- and coach to such luminaries as Meg Whitman and Howard Schultz -- spoke about the shifts in leadership needs for today’s CEO. I did not stop taking notes during her talk. My favorite takeaway: “Shift from having all the answers to coaching through this beautiful mess.”

    * Lisa Borders, inaugural CEO for Time’s Up, talked about how her career prepared her for this moment. Time’s Up is starting “The 4% Challenge” which strives to increase the number of women directors in Hollywood; currently only 4% of the top 100 studio films over the last decade have been directed by women. Lisa described growing up in Atlanta, where her father was a chauffeur for Coca-Cola executives, and her tremendous pride that in only one generation she was able to ascend to the executive ranks of Coca-Cola, where she formerly served as Vice President of Global Community Affairs. She was interviewed by movie star Jennifer Garner, and one of my favorite takeaways from the interview was Lisa’s definition of leadership: Leadership = Passion + Action.


    * Jamella Jamil, actress and activist, gave an impassioned talk about the need to change male stereotypes which she wrote about in her poem “Tell Him.”


    On Friday morning, I was honored
    to take the stage with other members of the MAKERS Board of Directors to make our pledges of what we will do this year inside our own companies to continue to promote the MAKERS mission of gender equality. Zambezi is committed to conducting a wage audit to ensure pay equity and correct like-for-like discrepancies. As I reiterated on stage, “As we all know, money equals power.”

    To watch the full sessions click here.

    Here’s to a powerful 2019!


    Jean Freeman is Principal + CEO of Zambezi, LLC and charting the future for one of the largest female-owned businesses in the advertising industry. Jean has successfully grown Zambezi from a startup to what it is today – a thriving agency named Small Agency of the Year by AdAge and one of the top Largest Women-Owned Businesses by the Los Angeles Business Journal. 



    Tags:  #makers #diversity #women  makers 

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    Volunteer Spotlight: Danielle Erves

    Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 31, 2019

    How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?

    I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in public relations from San Jose State University and was lucky to get my first job at a PR agency in Oakland right out of college. From there, I moved to Los Angeles and started at Jukin Media, a digital media company that helps people make money from their videos on the internet. There, I was lucky enough to be able to work on the company’s marketing, PR, and social media

    My interest in marketing and public relations started at an early age in high school marketing things like school dances and alumni events. Once I began to study it in college, it opened up a new method of communication for me.

    What inspired you to become a ThinkLA volunteer?

    I attended my first ThinkLA event three years ago.
    I saw all the amazing people hustling, sharing, and building with each other. I knew I needed to get involved.

    What’s been one of your favorite ThinkLA memories?

    My favorite ThinkLA memory is from Toys for Tots last year. My coworkers and I had a crazy couple of weeks and had just wrapped up. We ended up laughing and dancing the night away. Work hard, Play hard..

    What keeps you motivated? Do you have a personal motto?

    My personal motto is: You can’t have a bad day if you’re smiling. I try to smile all day long, I’m in a good mood and good things happen. If I do get into a funk, I put on my favorite song and jam out! I’ll be back to smiling soon after that.

    Are there any written materials you suggest to read?

    The best advice I can give to anyone regardless of their industry is to keep learning and reading. It’s so important to want to learn more, otherwise the world will pass you by. One reading suggestion is The Alchemist. One of my good friends gave it to me to read and it changed my mindset.

    What advice do you have for female ad professionals who are beginning their careers?

    Have a voice early in your career and establish yourself as a leader and someone who deserves a seat at the table. Know what you are worth and ask for it. Don’t be afraid to speak up.

    Any closing thoughts for the ThinkLA community?

    The first year I started with ThinkLA, I taught an Account Management 101 class and it was so rewarding to feel like I was making a difference to someone starting out in their career. The feedback I got was so positive, it only confirmed that mentoring and helping people around me grow, learn, and move up is one of the best things about my job. But I’m not gonna lie: the Award Show Gala after-parties never disappoint!

    Any closing thoughts for the ThinkLA community?

    The ThinkLA community is very unique and I’m very happy to be apart of it. It can be a difficult to know how to navigate organizations similar to ThinkLA, but the community ThinkLA has built is on the fosters up and coming professionals and educates the community in a fun way. I’m very happy to be part of it..

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    Danielle Erves 

    • website: ervesconsulting.com
    • IG: @ervespr_
    • Twitter: @ervespr
    • LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/danielleerves

     

    Tags:  #Thinkla  #thinkMembers  #volunteerspolight  Advertising  L 

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    Global Wednesdays January!

    Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 10, 2019
    It's big (ad) world, but we aim to make it feel even smaller by highlighting inventive, global ads, monthly, that break the mold from the mundane handpicked by ThinkLA Board Member and Award-Winning Creative, Luis Camano. To capture that global spirit, we will feature inspiration from outside of the U.S.

     

     

    Mi Querido Watson / Spain
    Mi Querido Watson is an agency in Madrid and this was their Christmas Salutation. Because the video is in Spanish, here’s a brief explanation of their great activation. Every year we all receive awful gifts for Christmas. According to the agency there are no bad gifts, just bad briefs or a target incorrectly chosen. Their solution? The agency will collect the unwanted gifts and redirect them to several NGOs who will find the right target: those who really need them the most. Here’s to the true spirit of the Holidays.


    Coca-Cola / Belgium
    From Coca-Cola/Belgium comes this very small but very smart media placement. Who doesn’t need some extra wrapping paper during the Holidays shopping frenzy?


    Iceland
    And finally, a banned TV ad in the UK, from a retail store chain called Iceland who had something to say about the environment. Beautiful, moving and ballsy!


    If you want to know more about this subject, here’s a helpful link.

    This post has not been tagged.

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    Global Wednesdays December!

    Posted By Administration, Tuesday, December 11, 2018
    It's big (ad) world, but we aim to make it feel even smaller by highlighting inventive, global ads, monthly, that break the mold from the mundane handpicked by ThinkLA Board Member and Award-Winning Creative, Luis Camano. To capture that global spirit, we will feature inspiration from outside of the U.S.

     

     

    Coca-Cola / Brazil
    How to turn a negative expression into a positive message, and change culture organically.


     

    Centre Pompidou / Paris
    Old and traditional tactics worked for this Museum to become a tourist destination.


    WeChat / Hong-Kong
    A rewarding way to send money back home, while talking to your loved ones.


    Tags:  #Thinkla  #thinkMembers  Creatives  Global Ads  Global Wednesday  Marketing 

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    Harnessing the Power of MarTech

    Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 5, 2018
    Harnessing The Power Of MarTech

    The convergence of advertising and marketing technologies represents an incredible opportunity for those who understand how to manage them. This event helped attendees navigate the complexities, technologies, and organizational challenges with best practices and case studies to harness the power of MarTech.

    Takeaways:

    • Insight into building and optimizing your MarTech toolbox;
    • Discovering cutting-edge, innovative customer experiences; and
    • Learning strategies for successfully implementing key technology solutions.

    Major thanks to supporting sponsor AdTheorent, exhibit sponsor Centro, and pitch sponsors Gimbal, the Trade Desk, and Adelphic.

    Please read our detailed recap below.   

    PHOTOS

     

    SPONSORS



    Supporting Sponsor
    http://adtheorent.com/



    Exhibit Sponsor
    https://www.centro.net/



    Pitch Sponsor
    https://gimbal.com/

    https://www.thetradedesk.com/

    https://www.adelphic.com//

     

    Event Recap


    by Pranav Pandit

    On a crisp L.A. afternoon, the Doubletree Hotel in Culver City hosted some of the best and brightest minds in the world of Marketing Technology, or as one moderator proclaimed… ”cough, nerds”. Zingers aside, the stage was set for a deep conversation about navigating the complexities, technologies, and organizational challenges of MarTech and how to harness its power.

    The event was kicked off by ThinkLA Co-President Tim Hand who welcomed the group. Tim handed off the mic to the event co-chairs Kim Brown Robinson and Paul Santello for opening remarks. They explained the focus of the event: a robust discussion on the convergence of advertising and marketing technologies representing an incredible opportunity for those who understand how to manage them. Hopefully, the audience would walk away gaining insight into building and optimizing their MarTech toolbox, discovering cutting-edge innovative customer experiences, and learning strategies for successfully implementing key technology solutions. And even if none of that happened, there was a raffle and cocktail reception awaiting those who made it all the way through. 

    The opening keynote speakers were Patrick Dolan, IAB President and Anna Bager, EVP Industry Initiatives. They set the stage with several pieces of data from the most recent IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report. TL;DR: there’s growth, growth and more growth.

    Overall, digital continues to grow with double digit increases in areas like social media and the emergence of audio as a separate category. (Alexa is listening… always.) And it’s not just the usual goliaths driving this upward trend: direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands ditch the traditional ways of thinking through buying efficiencies and an embrace of MarTech, giving the category leaders fits. But the waters are choppy for everyone as customer journeys get more complex every day and regulations such as GDPR and CCPA make companies finally be nice to their lawyers. The pi
    èce de résistance of the presentation was the often-seen and crowded chiefmartech.com slide, eliciting gasps from the audience and a cross-eyed author of this recap.

    Notable quote: “DTC brands are causing the big guys death by a thousand paper cuts”.

    The data portion of the day was kicked off with a commercial break by one of the event’s wonderful sponsors, Matt Russo from Gimbal.

    Shailley Singh from the IAB Tech Lab gave the audience a brief description of the great work his group does including developing standards, software and services for the industry. He then jumped into moderator mode with Matt Mendez from Oracle Data Cloud and Josh Peters from BuzzFeed on the panel. After some debate and definition of first-party vs. second-party vs. third-party data, the panel discussed the impact of GDPR and CCPA regulations. Everyone agreed that compliance isn’t just following the rules but a true embrace of the collection and usage of data from a consumer protection standpoint.

    Notable quote: “One man’s first-party data is another man’s third-party data”

    Matthew Thornton from Industry Index gave one of the more eye-opening and straightforward presentations of the day regarding Data Leakage. Through their research, it was noted that many of the top websites had a lot of first-party technology embedded on their site. In general, technology isn’t so bad, but with so much of it implemented, the result is a confused web team and ultimately, data leakage.

    Notable quote: “It’s not a drip, it’s a deluge”.

    The targeting portion of the day featured a panel led by Logan Gufstason of AdTheorent (another amazing sponsor of the event) joined by Karl Meyer of Samsung, Krista Thomas of VideoAmp, and Jason Zollan of Oath. The level of honesty and sharing of opinions was evident right off the bat as the panel agreed that there are pros and cons to some of the industry’s tried and true audience measurement/targeting tools. Nielsen was dubbed a “frenemy” because of its benefit of standardization across the industry but drawbacks due to its continued use of a panel-based methodology. However, a thoughtful approach to mixing and matching data could help solve the use of seemingly disparate targeting tools. That approach is especially helpful in areas like OTT and audio targeting as they lag behind desktop and mobile in targeting advances.

    Notable quote: “Putting all your eggs in one basket…or betting on one horse…is probably not the way to go”.

    After a small break to check out our exhibit sponsor Centro’s table in the foyer, bug agency people about RFPs, and grab a cookie or three, we got right back into the action.

    Two more gracious sponsors, Lorenzo Moreno of the Trade Desk and Jeff Harp of Adelphic kept the momentum to start the ACTIVATION portion of the agenda.

    Dubstep music and sharp wit led the way for the next panel. A few glow sticks and Red Bulls could have started a full-on dance party, but the panel, comprised of moderator Leisha Bereson of Canvas, Kenneth Hurta of Brandfolder, PJ Miele of Amobee, and Matt Schmidt of SpotX, dove into topics such as who owns data and how is it actioned upon. The overwhelming consensus was: It takes collaboration and a focus on the end goal. In any given project, groups can get overprotective about deal points and it creates a lack of transparency and forms roadblocks. And then there’s specs. What is often a pain point given the unbalanced attention to targeting over creative could be so DAM easy through the use of a Digital Asset Manager. And finally, for the first time the entire day, someone mentioned “blockchain”. #tooklongenough.

    Notable Quote: “Not having a smart, tech savvy team is like having a garage full of cars and no one knows how to drive” - Ian Wilson of Heineken (he wasn’t there but was quoted)

    Rounding out the Activation section was an informative and resource-rich presentation from Kerry Bianchi of Visto diving into omnichannel programmatic. FYI, “multi” means more than one, “omni” means all places. Kerry explained that the trend of bringing programmatic activity in-house continues, but the four things to consider when making that decision are: 1) A thorough cost benefit analysis, 2) Getting your data house in order, 3) Be confident in the legal/operations side of the house, 4) Not underestimating or skimping on talent…getting it and keeping it.

    Notable quote: “A ‘one-stop-shop’ probably isn’t feasible or even realistic”

    We entered into the final topic of the day, analytics, with a mention of The Terminator and how AI isn’t scary technology that’ll take over the world. That’s just what they want us to think…

    It was the presentation from Anya Ware of IBM Watson that got people comfortable with terms like Augmented Intelligence and Natural Language Processing. Her discussion started with four common challenges associated with data: 1) Unused data or data that isn’t actionable, 2) Lack of transparency, 3) Walled gardens and the scarcity of data coming out of them, 4) An explosion of tools, seemingly useful but creating confusion. To solve for these challenges, IBM implements AI that understands structured and unstructured data, uses reasoning that can form hypotheses, learns and develops skills and interacts using natural language processing. Ok, so maybe Skynet is real, guys. Kidding…but…we were introduced to Lucy, IBM Watson’s AI powered Marketing Assistant (and also the name of Watson’s daughter in real life #truestory). Lucy can be used for data aggregation and mining, sentiment analysis and personalization, which via several case study examples was proven to save organizations hundreds of hours driving smarter, more efficient use of data.

    Notable quote: “90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years”

    (You would think at this point there would be tumbleweeds in the room given it was late afternoon and we’d been talking about technology all day, but most of the audience was still there. It was impressive and a testament to the quality programming developed by the committee and speakers)

    The audience was treated to lovely closing remarks in the form of a fireside chat with Sharon Harris of Deloitte and Jason Lee of Horizon. After Sharon revealed the winner of the day’s Best Moustache as Josh Peters from BuzzFeed, she summed up the day quite thoroughly yet succinctly. I won’t summarize her summary because, well, I just did that for you but needless to say it was all-encompassing. When asked for some words of wisdom about an approach to data strategy, Jason got his mic skills in order and offered six key tidbits: 1) Adapt your data conversation because the landscape is constantly evolving, 2) Simplify and identify your “north star” or end goal, 3) Identify and prioritize roles and responsibilities, 4) Establish a roadmap to that end goal, 5) Establish data governance, 6) Have a holistic approach. Then Jason tried to throw out something about blockchain but that cat was already out of the bag. He did however leave us with:

    Notable quote: “Data. It’s important”

    The closing keynote was skillfully delivered by Nichola Perrigo of RPA. The main points of her presentation were quite candid: Advice about data hygiene, a mention of Forrester’s Zero Party Data and the need for constant evaluation were given, but the importance of trust and attention to people were areas relatively unexplored by the other speakers. It was a human ending to an otherwise technology heavy day.

    Notable quote: “There’s elegance in simplicity”.

    And with that, an afternoon filled with acronyms and talk of technology ended with hors d’oeuvres, vodka sodas and the mutual exchange of rectangular, medium weight card stock with contact info… and a further appreciation of the power of MarTech.


    Pranav Pandit is a ThinkLA event committee member and recent transplant from Chicago. He’s a free agent looking for the right gig utilizing his 19+ years in the advertising/marketing business.



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    How to Love What You Do More

    Posted By Administration, Tuesday, November 27, 2018
    Updated: Monday, November 26, 2018

    by Chelsea Szabo and Cecilia Gorman


    Are you engaged at work?

    It’s an important question because, according to Gallup, engaged employees are more productive, collaborative, positive and impactful to a company’s bottom line.
     
    To help you answer this question, we’ve provided 10 questions below. Answer each one with a yes or a no, specific to your experiences in the workplace.

    • Do you smile often?
    • Do you enjoy your job?
    • Do you check your posture throughout the day and is it generally good?
    • Have you said, "How can I help you?" to anyone recently?
    • Do you feel connected to your organization’s goals?
    • Do you proactively solve problems?
    • Would you rate your average energy level as medium to high?
    • Do you find meaning in the work you do?
    • Do you enjoy the people you work with?

    If you answered "Yes" to a majority of the questions above, most likely you’re pretty engaged at work. Congrats! If you answered mostly "No", you’re not alone: only a third of America’s workforce is engaged, per Gallup. It’s important if you aren’t engaged to consider what changes you can make to increase your engagement level. Here’s why -

    Potential Dangers of Disengagement At Work

    • Stunted career. You stop learning and growing in your role which limits career advancement.
    • Get stuck in negativity and it spreads. You enter a world of negativity, seeing only problems which can pull-down colleagues around you.
    • Case of the Mondays. You feel like you’re just getting through each day and lose enthusiasm to go into work. 
    • Over-indulge. You’ll eat when you’re not hungry or drink excess caffeine to fill the void.

    Here’s what you can do -

    Ways to Enhance Your Engagement Level at Work

    • Use your talents. Make a list of your top 5 talents and find ways to bring each of them into your workweek.  
    • Make rejuvenation mandatory. Getting sleep, eating properly and doing some kind of exercise are not luxuries, they are mandatories. When you’re physically charged you naturally more engaged.
    • Identify what you love. Discover three things you most enjoy about your job. For instance: maybe you like collaborating with others or being creative or using your analytical mind. Following, find ways to practice those things daily.
    • Enter every room with a smile and strong stature. Use crossing a meeting room threshold as a trigger to remind you to exude happiness and confidence (bonus: even if you don't feel happy or confident, using a power pose and "acting" happy helps release the hormones that can jump-start your engagement).

    Thoughts to consider:

    1. Are you medium to highly engaged at work? If not, what is getting in your way?
    2. What situations or people cause you to feel engaged? Which ones drive you to feel disengaged?
    3. What are three things you can do next week to enhance your daily level of engagement in the office?


    Are you a woman interested in bringing further engagement into your life or career advancement? Check out Empowershipa one-year, remote-access learning and development program that helps women thrive by building leadership competencies from the inside out. ThinkLA members who enroll five or more women into Empowership receive a 15% discount

    Sign up here: https://www.empowership.me/thinkla-membership-page.

    Chelsea Szabo and Cecilia Gorman are the co-founders of Empowership.

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