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Member Spotlight: Reddit LA's Matt Joanou and Will Cady

Posted By Emily Hope, Monday, April 23, 2018


How did you get started in advertising?

Will: Music happened to me first. I studied electric bass through high school and college and then played professionally for another decade in Boston. I learned so much about the idea of Expression and not enough about the idea of Audience. Everything was “practice, practice, practice”. This was essential to the craft, but I saw a gap between what the supposed “best” artists create and what most people actually care about. Why do more people listen to Flea than do Jaco Pastorius?

Trying to answer that question led me to L.A. to work at a legacy music magazine going digital. Who better to understand what most people actually care about? Their whole value proposition is that they know what’s cool and more people -- or supposedly “bette”’ people -- trust their take than do the other magazines. That was the hustle, at least.

Through that experience, I found that my inner scales were tipping the other way. I was focusing too much on Audience and not enough on actual Expression. It left me asking, “How do you build an audience of people who are actually paying attention?”

Honestly, trying to answer that question created more frustration in me than it did inspiration. So I quit. I hit a big reset button and made time for myself to “figure it out”. That’s when I got the call from Reddit, which is funny because in a lot of ways Reddit was going through the same internal reckoning at that time. I suspect that’s how resonance operates.

A couple of years into Reddit, I’m feeling a harmony and things seem to just work. Reddit has been a place where I’ve found a balance between Expression and Audience, because it is a platform of communities built on the experience of shared expression. So now, I’m gathering the answers to hopefully someday share with others who may find themselves asking the same questions I did.

Matt: In 2010, I was focused on helping long-tail businesses (i.e., “mom and pop shops”) market directly to their customers via mobile phones. While at Cal Poly SLO, myself and five friends built a loyalty platform called Punchd, essentially digitizing buy-x-get-y-free physical punch cards. Groupon had come onto the scene a few years prior and demonstrated the potential of grassroots digital campaigns to drive foot traffic. The challenge was how a business could retain their new customers after a discount-driven surge in foot traffic.

The industry soon saw that daily deals were only a small piece of the online-to-offline commerce puzzle. Punchd served as a natural evolution and offered small business owners a simple tool to engage with their customers regularly. After moving up to the Bay and going through the first batch of an incubator called 500 Startups, we were acquired by Google. As a team, we continued to tackle similar challenges with an internal group called the Mobile Apps Lab.

After several years of working on Loyalty efforts and in-turn Google Wallet and Offers, I was encouraged by my mentors to make the jump to the Ads side of Google. Ads is the engine of Google, and the next two years served as my introduction to digital advertising. The work was split between partnering with brands and agencies across Google’s offerings: Search, Display, YouTube, and Mobile. Understanding multiple layers of the digital funnel, especially brand versus performance, taught me to always consider the big picture and how marketing fits into a larger strategy.

In 2015, a couple of my former colleagues from Google had joined Reddit to help rebuild the company (Reddit had been owned by Condé Nast for the nearly eight years prior). It was the sleeping giant of the internet, with nearly 300 million users and under 100 employees. I joined the team the following year to help launch our L.A. presence with Will, Ben (Miller), and Dante (Orpilla). The biggest questions we needed to answer at the time were, “What does L.A. mean to Reddit? And what does Reddit mean to L.A.?”( See below for their thoughts two years down the road.)

Why Reddit? Why L.A.?

Will: Reddit and Los Angeles are both grids with massive pockets of culture that often manage to shift culture entirely. The difference is, Reddit is where passions are shared and Los Angeles is where passions are made.

Now that we have this IRL presence in LA, we have opened up the connection between industry and the masses in a very exciting way. We’re making it happen through our partnerships with showrunners, tech companies, and advertisers alike.

This past month, Reddit’s Chief Technology Officer Chris Slowe moderated a conversation with Vint Cerf, one of the founding fathers of the internet at the Google L.A. office. Chris sourced his questions directly from the r/LosAngeles subreddit community and the r/Technology community. These Angelenos and tech fans had their voices heard.

As more partners come to us, we’d like to explore how we can dip further into giving that megaphone to the staggeringly wide spread of communities hosting passionate conversation every day on Reddit. Redditors are not just techies; we’re also baseball fans, and makeup artists, and hypebeasts, and auto mechanics. Anything you love, we have a community for it. There’s even an r/Advertising.

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

Matt: Drive to do good work and make an impact. I’ve been fortunate to be a part of companies whose missions I truly believe in, that what we’re doing is worthwhile. It makes all the difference. The work will not always be inspiring, but the end goal still can be. With individual projects or campaigns, I gravitate towards those that I can be proud of once finished. Ultimately, I want to be able to sign my name on quality.

Will: What keeps me motivated is motivation itself. Giving a damn. It’s the one thing us humans can do that the robots can never take from us.

Robert M. Pirsig died one year ago this month. He wrote a book called Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance and in it he describes an idea of quality that’s as refreshingly practical as it is abstract. The idea is that only as much quality can be extracted from a creation as was put in it. So a motorcycle will only have has many miles in it as the manufacturer cares about the thing when they make it; and beyond that how much its owner cares to fix it.

You’ve got to give a damn if you want the things in your life to be good.

Looking at advertising specifically, I’ve found this to be the most useful standard to hold for my own process of developing creative content and campaigns for partners. If it’s engagement we’re looking for from people, then we need to be engaged ourselves when making whatever we’re putting in front of them.

Funny enough, giving a damn is also about 70% of the formula for getting to the front page on Reddit. That’s why it’s always good.

 What excites you most about this industry?

Matt: We are living through a unique time of information availability and proliferation. There is societal awareness of the power of influence and attention like we’ve never seen. The next generation was born into this connectedness and has just started to realize its power. The March for Science rewrote the rulebook on advocacy and demonstrating what true digital influence looks like. Their movement has a cause and ethos behind it that resonates on its own. At the same time, brands are being asked to take a stance in how, where, and what they stand for. While it’s a precarious place to play from, it’s also a huge opportunity and will define the successful brands of tomorrow.

Will: The evolution of Creative’s role in advertising over just these past few years has been exciting for me. Now that we effectively have the ability to reach anyone, anywhere, anytime, the question we’re left with is, “What do we say?”

That shift has moved creative from a supporting role in advertising into a driving one. At its highest expression, you see brands functioning as patrons of the arts in a manner that used to be reserved only for royalty and the church.

Most encouraging of all, is that in order for this approach to work at all, these brands have to actually add value and move a creative field forward – and when they do, it absolutely soars. Look at Apple’s “Shot on an iPhone” campaign. Look at Vans’ Warped Tour.

 


Photos: Don Lupo

 
What advice do you have for those just starting in advertising?

Listen to what everyone is saying and figure out how to say it better. The best ideas are self-apparent, so learn how to express them in a way that moves conversation forward faster and further, whatever the medium.

I find words to be especially important. It’s vital to not only recognize which words have become empty language, but to also make an effort to replace those words with richer language. That’s how we evolve. I’ve learned this from watching how Reddit fosters healthy conversation. Our users refuse to let language, whether it’s words or memes, go stale.

Applying that to advertising right now, I’d say we should talk less about being “authentic” and talk more about being “human”. “Authentic” is a great example of a term I habitually say and hear in discussions quite a bit, oftentimes with a wince or a caveat. So let’s ditch it! I’ve started to replace it with “human”; to me, that’s a more precise, rich term for the same root idea while being a supposedly less sophisticated piece of vocabulary. That’s the good stuff.

Also, read Marshall McLuhan.


What’s next for Reddit?

Will: Reddit is waking up and finding that it is strong. The platform is modernized at long last and now the rest of the world can access the big secret. Our job (on my team anyway) is now to communicate that we’re open for business - and that our business is to drive Reddit’s larger mission to bring community and belonging to everyone.

We’ve gained a clearer vision on what makes this Reddit thing such a unique beast and now we know how to run with it. For instance, I’ve learned that unlike other social media platforms, Reddit is defined more by the spaces our users occupy than by the users’ identities themselves. How cool!

Where we are defines who we are. Whether it’s the place we call home, the event we bought tickets for, or the bar we’re dancing in. The spaces we inhabit affect our identity deeper than we may have yet considered. That’s not only a useful insight for Reddit, but it’s also a meaningful, refreshing way to look at the world. Reddit is a treasure trove of truth like that. Ultimately, that’s what we’ll be building our business on.

Matt: I’m focused on building out Reddit’s global agency practice. Reddit’s brand partnerships team has already done a lot of quality work with agencies over the past two years. And we’ve done a really good job of showing what’s possible with some of the biggest brands in the world: Coca-Cola, Toyota, McDonald’s, Amazon, etc. Now we’re at a point where we can be more intentional with our agency relationships and start forming longer-term partnerships. That means bringing additional resources to the table and exploring ways that agencies can leverage our data/insights, creative teams, trainings, etc. We are ultimately in the business of connecting brands with our communities in a meaningful and healthy manner. Agencies will often be the vehicle to drive those engagements.

 


Any closing thoughts?

Matt: As the industry continues to evolve, we will need more folks willing and able to grasp concepts from different angles, levels, and perspectives. I believe that the industry will increasingly seek out people from a wide variety of backgrounds. As the delivery and creative executions become more democratized, it boils value down to its simplest form: storytelling. More than ever, advertising will need diverse experiences, contextual awareness, value establishment, and a deep understanding of human nature. For me, that’s an exciting future.

Will: It’s vital for us to remember to focus on the end, not the means. Advertising is the means through which we send our messages. What is your message?

My message at Reddit is clear to me. It’s one of the company’s core values: “Remember The Human”.

Tags:  #MemberSpotlight  #ThinkMembers  Members  Reddit 

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Spotlight: Rochelle Webb, President and Chief Strategy Officer, The Dialectic Compound

Posted By Emily Hope, Wednesday, April 18, 2018


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

I always knew that I wanted to be in the business of communicating with people. When I was in high school, I thought I would get into that through pictures, photography and visuals. While at Boston College, I figured out that I wanted it all. I became passionate about studying the strategy of advertising and marketing. In a very spontaneous move from Atlanta to L.A., I fell into the game of ‘knowing someone who knew someone’ that got me an entry level gig in a media agency and I never looked back.

I took some pivots here and there from media buying to PR to media strategy and then to global brand marketing. I wanted to be a generalist, so I could be a CMO of a big company one day. I wanted to speak everyone’s language, so that I could be a great leader of people and of a large-end organization, and I felt I had to walk the walk, so I could talk the talk. After falling in love with business, I realized the big company that I would end up running would be my own and that I was destined to be an entrepreneur. Building became my new ‘sexy’ and Fortune 500 was in the rearview. Ever since then, I have been writing my future to cater towards the goal of starting my own venture and utilizing the skills I gathered along my journey.

After 17 years on both agency and client side businesses and finishing business school in the midst of it all, I emerged as an entrepreneur with a heavy focus on marketing. Marketing and strategy are at the core of everything that I do and I don’t regret a single move that I have made along the way.  

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

Work smarter, not harder.

I think this applies to people and strategy development. As a human, you need to arrive in a situation, quickly assess it, and understand where your opportunities for collaboration and value-add lie. You should understand where you can learn the most, as well as, understand the areas that allow you the greatest amount of visibility to decision makers.

But, that is only a small part of the puzzle.

The larger part of navigating the industry chasm is to have the gravitas to understand how to socialize and operationalize your work. This is how you gain traction, earn respect and position yourself to elevate your career. You have to work your audience in a way that doesn’t feel forced, over-confident or entitled.

I have always been results oriented.

I chase success metrics. I have had the opportunity to work on powerful pieces of business in my career, so my motivation has always been in the success of those businesses and being able to clearly identify the areas where my team and I have been able to make an impact.

What excites you most about this industry?

The constant change in marketing and advertising literally gets me out of bed every day! Most people wake up to see what’s going on in politics, I want to know what is going on in marketing. If you blink, you may get left behind.

I am always amazed at the pace at which martech and adtech are moving on a minute-by-minute basis. There is an off the shelf solution for almost anything these days, so teams and brands can be in better command of their own destiny and work smarter. It raises two interesting questions that I have always asked myself… Is it possible to have a ‘successful’ in-house advertising agency in client-side businesses? And what will happen to the traditional agency model as technology plays a bigger role in business? But now, I no longer have to wonder, it is happening before my very eyes and it is exciting to watch.

People are re-inventing themselves and their roles. There is a fresh eagerness to learn in order to stay ahead of the curve. I just hope that hiring managers adopt the creativity to be able to look at today’s talent pool and re-imagine them in these new world roles. There is no longer the ‘perfect resume’… it now relies in the ‘perfect pitch’ for yourself and networking, networking, networking.

Where is advertising heading? What do the next five years look like?

Advertising is heading towards a more automated future and human assets will begin to play a different type of strategic role. I think media planners will have to start asking themselves, ‘how can we use technology to outsmart our competition?” or “How can we partner more strategically with our media suppliers to provide better brand experience to our consumer?” or “What resources are out there to help us better anticipate the consumer’s needs and make a bigger impact with our brand assets?” Rather than, “how many impressions or clicks does it take to make an impact?”

I am eagerly awaiting the shift in industry where agencies ‘think differently’, as Steve Jobs rightly coined, and am watching today’s planners and strategists revise the future.

In the next five years, we will see leaner teams, but more of them. There will continue to be an evolution of innovation arms to help navigate this impending sea change. We don’t get through this guessing, we have to encourage the habit of being curious and becoming more predictive, so that we prepare our current mid-level managers to be the best leaders that they can be in the future and you do this by always seeking answers to new questions. Today’s mid-level managers need to have the willingness to continue rolling up their sleeves to get the work done. We don’t progress by harnessing ambivalence.

What advice do you have for black advertising professionals that are beginning their career?

Get in where you fit in… and where you don’t. It is important to quickly understand what you do well and lean into that, but more importantly, it is important to understand where you don’t fit in and determine why, and then understand how you can make it clear that you do fit. What I mean by that is that in professional situations, people tend to surround themselves by peers that look like them and very intentionally avoid the ‘agitators’ or people that often speak their mind and represent the unpopular point of view or ‘devil’s advocate’ perspective with the intent of driving innovation. People at the top sometimes see this as more work to invite this perspective into a meeting. But, you can insert yourself by using your intellect and professionalism to show people that the proof is in the pudding, and back it up by being solutions oriented. Bring the problem and the solution. When speaking, use facts, not generalizations. When listening, really listen and play it back, instead of waiting for your turn to speak.

What this doesn’t mean is walking into a company as an assistant media planner, walking into the Account Director’s office and demanding a raise and a promotion. What it does mean is when there is a problem to solve and the answer is not readily available, go to look for it, study it and present it back to the people that are responsible for solving the problem. Show initiative.

I often tell my mentees, “play bigger than you think you are… because than you are playing who you really are.”

 



Photos: Don Lupo

 

What should our industry be talking about in 2018?

The incredibly low percentage of women and minorities in leadership positions. I left agency-side advertising seven years ago to go client-side. And I left client-side corporate America to branch off on my own three years ago to start my own consultancy. I often attend conferences and seminars only to see a very monochromatic group of individuals. There is an adage or a stat that says, “people tend to surround themselves by people that look like them.” Okay, so I get it, there aren’t that many people in leadership that look like me, so how do I change it? I am a change-agent, so I don’t do well in stagnation, which is why I decided if my employers were not going to support my growth, then I have to invest in myself and start my own entity. I got an MBA and started my own company in an effort to stop working for other people. I am absolutely razor-focused on determining my own future success and supporting those that may not be the obvious choice. Those that look like me. 

Any closing thoughts?

I hope that this movement creates real momentum around changing the faces at the top and that we as a culture truly make a shift. I hope this is more than a movement of diversification, but diversity becomes reality. I promise to do my part, but I won’t lie… there are many moments in my day, every day, where I am dis-heartened by what I see. And there are situations that occur that cause me to reflect on my own career where I realize racism played a role, by people who I liked and respected and I thought felt the same about me. And that hurts. I don’t want to hurt anymore.

I stand for change, a brighter future and the rise of the underdog. There are enough powerhouses in the industry that if they continue to take the risks to make sure their voices are heard, that I believe we can turn the industry. I see hope with organizations like ThinkLA that make the conversation around diversity a priority. Using your mindshare to stand up for the under-represented means we have in fact taken a step in the right direction.

Thank you ThinkLA.

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The Dialectic Compound was born to incite immediate change in thriving businesses. It is a collaborative, curious and creative 'Think Tank' of highly seasoned business, marketing and operations executives who are curated from the wild.

Tags:  #MemberSpotlight  #ThinkDIG  #ThinkMembers  Career Advice  DIG 

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Member Spotlight: Cynthia Pena, Account Executive, Marketing and Communications

Posted By Emily Hope, Wednesday, April 11, 2018

 


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

I studied PR but I kind of fell into advertising. When I graduated, I was working weddings on the side, and a contact through there also worked in the ad world managing events and facilities. While working a month-long agency project under her, I ended up falling in love with the work and culture.

I stayed on in this hybrid role they created including facilities, reception, and barista. I ended up meeting a ton of people in the agency, (learned how to make bomb lattes) and within a few months, I easily transferred into their PR department. Ever since, I’ve always been involved in events in some capacity, but my main focus has been agency communications and marketing.

 

 

What excites you most about this industry?

The fact it’s always evolving. The ways brands are reaching consumers and joining conversations are never the same. When you see someone do it in a clever way and actually add value, it’s gold.

Why are you involved with ThinkLA?

It’s the perfect opportunity to not only meet and network with others throughout LA, but also to make a difference and impact the events in our industry. Even early in your career, you have a voice and opinions, ThinkLA lets you explore both.

What’s the best advice you’d give to someone interested in a career in advertising? Are there any written materials you suggest to read?

Find someone already doing what you want to do and ask for coffee or 10 minutes of their time. See what you can learn from them and how they got to where they are.

For reading materials: Read the trades! Know what’s going on in the industry, the trends, the changes. It’s all valuable.



Photos: Martin Aranda

 

Tags:  #Memb  #MemberSpotlight  #ThinkMembers  Marketing  Member Spotlight  Members  Team One  Team One USA  ThinkLA  ThinkMembers 

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RPA's Cannes’ See It Be It

Posted By Emily Hope, Tuesday, April 10, 2018

See It Be It, Leading From the Inside Out: takeaways from the RPA - hosted Cannes’ See It Be It event, an evening of inspiring conversation addressing gender imbalance in creative leadership.

 

 

1. Self care is essential

Part of being a leader is maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Peers look up to leaders who take care of themselves.

  • “To lead from the inside-out, you must take care from the inside-out,” - Tahirah Edwards-Byfield, Senior Copywriter, Saatchi & Saatchi.
  • “Show up for yourself how you show up for everyone else,” - Tahirah Edwards-Byfield
  • “Self-care at its core is about finding things that will improve your state physically and emotionally and it’s so important in this state,” Chloe Gottlieb, Chief Creative Officer, R/GA US
  • “Boundaries are important. It’s okay to say no,” - Tahirah Edwards-Byfield
  • “It’s not about how much time you spend with your family. It’s how present you are when you are with them,” Chloe Gottlieb

2. Leaders should instill inspiration, not fear

You shouldn’t feel intimidated by a leader; you should feel awe-inspired. When you’re in the presence of a good leader, that is when ideas come to fruition.

  • “When a good leader walks into a room, people feel less full of fear and more full of possibility,” - Lauren Carlyle Smith, Creative Director, 72andSunny.
  • “If there’s an environment of respect where people feel safe, you can have really transformative conversations with people,” -  Chloe Gottlieb

3. Be a team player

We can do so much more when we work together. When women collaborate, everybody wins.

  • “’One team, one dream’, represents the coalition of women coming together. We are more powerful when we work together under one united mission,” - Isadora Chesler, VP/Director of Video Production, RPA.

4. Look at things with a fresh perspective

No matter what our titles are, we can all be creative. Look at each task with fresh eyes and approach it in a new and innovative way.

  • “From day one, I didn’t see the glass as half-full or half-empty. I wanted to redesign the glass,” - Chloe Gottlieb

5. Encourage and empower other women

As women, it’s essential we support each other and push each other to take risks. Don’t just find your voice, but encourage others to do the same.

  • “If women don’t see themselves as leaders, maybe the solution is simply telling them they are… If you think someone is doing a great job, tell them, because they just might need to hear it,” - Krystle Mullin, Associate Creative Director, RPA.
  • “#seeitbeit isn’t just about finding your confidence. It helped empower me to help others find their confidence,” -Carrie Dunn, Senior Writer, 72andSunny
  • “Do you know a hero? Tell her and then tell everyone,” - Krystle Mullin
  • “Jump. You have a soft pile of women to land on.” - Amina Halim

6. Believe in yourself

Don’t underestimate yourself; you are much stronger than you think. Find your voice and allow yourself to realize your full potential.

  • “Men will apply for a job when they are 60% qualified. Women will apply when they are 100% qualified…however, women underestimate their abilities by 30%, which means they won’t go after a job until they are 130% sure they are qualified!” - Carrie Dunn
  • “You have to find your inner voice before you can lead others,” - Chloe Gottlieb

7. You don’t need to be a bitch to be a leader

Don’t be a bitch; be bold, be brave, be a fearless leader.

  • “Women are naturally nurturing, good listeners…if you want to be a good leader, be more of a woman.” - Amina Halim

 

This passionate group of women led an evening of honest conversation aimed at enacting change in the advertising industry and in building a community of women who support each other and encourage diverse thoughts and opinions.

This article was originally published on Medium.

Tags:  #ThinkDIG  DIG  Gender  Women  Women in Advertising 

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Global Wednesday: April

Posted By Emily Hope, Thursday, April 5, 2018
It's big (ad) world, but we aim to make it feel even smaller by highlighting inventive, global ads, monthly, that are breaking the mold from the mundane. To capture that global spirit, we will feature inspiration from outside of the U.S. and sometimes from brands that we've never even heard of!
 
These creative international ads are brought to you by Luis Camano, an award winning creative and an expert in the field of Brand Activation. 

 

1. Lacoste has created one of the best activations of the year. Brilliant in its simplicity and effectiveness, generating a very strong emotional connection with consumers. The trifecta for any successful activation.

 

 

2. Old Spice continues to mock typical fragrance ads. In the latest issue of GQ, Old Spice included a scented, man-sized paper blazer. Trés chic, but watch out for rain, you will likely get paper machéd. Click on the the image below.

 

 

3. A suspicious pop-up with a twist. To announce the future opening of their NY store, DIESEL created this entertaining activation. That’s so New York!

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Member Spotlight: Pete Favat, North American Chief Creative Officer, Deutsch

Posted By Emily Hope, Tuesday, April 3, 2018

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

It started in grade school. I started drawing stuff and became the go-to-guy for posters: sports, proms, yearbooks, anything. When I was 14, I was designing restaurant menus. People came to me for marketing because I drew all the time.

My road map has been to go with my gut. I was a CCO at 29. I mean, it was my own company, but I was running Converse.

How I got to Deutsch is really interesting and unplanned. Honestly, there are many times I have thought about leaving the industry and then something happens and I stay. I realized that the job doesn’t always need to be the one you thought it was. You can create your own. You can make docu-films or create an art show to help homeless people, like what we did with 100 Pieces. I have been able to use this job to do other things that satisfy my creative needs. What keeps me in advertising right now is that no one knows where the business is going and it is exciting. It keeps me young. The one thing I do know is that doing good is a passion.

Once, a reporter referred to me as a bonafide expert in advertising. If I’m ever an expert in anything, it’s time to quit.

 


Photo courtesy of Deutsch

 

What keeps you motivated?

If I’m not making something it’s because I died.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned so far?

We can use our creative talents to make the world better. Sometimes people look down on advertising but what they don’t realize is that we have the ability to creatively move humanity forward. Advertising is starting to get a whiff of that and award it.

What excites you most about this industry?

The opportunity to help change the world with our creativity. We can partner with corporations to make the world better. And at the end of the day, that is what consumers want in 2018.

Where is advertising heading? What do the next five years look like?

Brands are starting to understand that being a purpose-driven company and putting the good back into humanity is the currency of the future. People will buy things based on their emotional attachment to the way a company behaves. With so much competition, all product is parody. You create a product and in two weeks, you’ll have the same product made by someone else. People will buy with their hearts.

What advice do you have for those just starting in advertising?

“Hate something, change something.” Taken from Honda’s 2004 “Grrr” campaign. Advertising is rapidly changing into something else. And if you don’t like it, you’re probably a good candidate to change it from the inside.

What does 2018 hold for you, and for Deutsch?

That’s the beauty: I have no idea and a ton of ideas. We just start trying things and experimenting. If you don’t, you’ll sink. But to start, let’s make sure we’re doing right by our people and creating a culture where they feel safe. That’s how great work gets made.

Any closing thoughts for the ThinkLA community?

L.A. is at an inflection point that I’ve never before seen in my career. I’ve worked in London, Boston, Sweden, China, and all over the U.S. and I have never seen the collision of creativity and the fusion of film, music, and entertainment. The only thing missing is fashion. L.A. doesn’t get any credit for fashion. Every day, I think this is the best time and place to be in the ad business. L.A. has a ton of opportunity. Relish it. If you’re a creative person, you can do anything you want. The world is wide open. You have just as much of a chance as the next person.

 

 

Tags:  #MemberSpotlight  #ThinkMembers  Deutsch  Los Angeles 

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Member Spotlight: Samantha Hawkins, Supervisor, Community Management, RPA

Posted By Emily Hope, Monday, March 26, 2018

"I was lucky enough to be Sam’s Mentor through ThinkLA’s Mentorship program and I fell in love with her immediately; she is so powerful, smart, kind, dynamic, understanding, AMAZING. Her desire to grow and learn from everyone around her is infectious – to progress not just for progression’s sake, but to expand and learn about everything around her. I so value our time together and our friendship moving forward!" - Leisha Bereson, VP, Group Director, Programmatic, Canvas Worldwide 

 


Photos: Don Lupo Photography

 

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

I was a Business Marketing major in college, I was active in extracurriculars like sports, but also within the business department. Because I did two sports year-round, I didn’t have a lot of time to get real-world experience with internships until around my senior year. So I supplemented my course work with things like clubs, organizing local business owner speaking events, competing on the business presentations team, etc.

I eventually did get an internship where I was the Public Relations and Marketing intern for a fashion brand that was new to the West Coast and was trying to get more awareness of its denim line. I did things like compile press clippings from magazines, ship samples to Nylon and TeenVogue for their photoshoots, reach out to local bloggers for events we hosted. It was a lot of fun that was formative for me early on.

Then I got into my first real corporate job in Orange County in the automotive industry. I knew nothing about cars but Kelley Blue Book took me in as a Public Relations Coordinator. It was a temp position that eventually lead to a full-time role as a Marketing Coordinator. From there, I worked my way through the lower ranks of Marketing Specialists and then Associate Marketing Manager.

I learned a lot during those years, wearing a lot of hats in maintaining my team’s media and production budgets, learning to write effective briefs, managing our social media community and the content development process. I also learned a lot working with our media and creative agencies. I loved that the people were authentic, personable but had so much expertise in their fields.

I decided it was time for me to join the agency side so that I could learn from these amazing experts by working with them, and here I am at RPA!

 

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

I’m motivated by learning, growing, and helping others learn and grow. We should never lose a student mentality; we should always be learning. And at the same time, if we can each teach one another, we learn even more ourselves and we share that knowledge to help others grow. Let's elevate one another.

What excites you most about this industry?

The fast pace and changing landscapes that always keep me on my toes. I love challenges and collaboration, so this is a great industry for that!

Where is advertising heading? What do the next five years look like?

As the content bubble begins to burst, we’ll leave the days of viral video, click bait, and surface-level content that is stimulating but not valuable. The pendulum is swinging toward advertising and marketing that is both valuable in content -- what that content contributes to the daily lives of people -- and also that puts the values of people and brands front and center: humanitarian values, societal values, equality, etc.

Authenticity, transparency, and equality take center stage. I also think we’ll see traditional continue to emerge in new forms. For example, the changing landscape of digital video and original programming and that shift from TV: what’s old is new again, just in slightly different formats and spaces.

What advice do you have for black advertising professionals who are beginning their career?

Stay hungry! Hungry to learn and hungry to push for growth. Don’t expect to do the bare minimum and get more opportunity or to get meaning from your job; you have to dig deeper. Learn as much as you can and always challenge yourself, reach higher... and once you’ve achieved that, reach even higher again and again.

Make sure you give back, mentor someone, be someone’s role model, help bring someone up the ladder as you go, whether you had someone to do the same for you or not, again we need to lift each other up. Be yourself and have fun with it, surround yourself with people that contribute to your happiness and positivity; don’t feel you have to change yourself just to get by.

What should our industry be talking about in 2018?

We should be talking about what we’re actually doing to increase diversity and inclusivity within our industry, within our agencies, in the work we do for clients. Let’s talk about what we’re actually doing about it. How is it working? How are we measuring success? Let’s share best practices and learnings.

It’s 2018. We know the realities of this issue, so it’s time to show action and celebrate those that are doing it well.

Tags:  #MemberSpotlight  #ThinkDIG  Diversity  Diversity in Advertising  RPA  Social Media 

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Pose&Focus: Women In Advertising

Posted By Emily Hope, Monday, March 26, 2018

Earlier this year, we were thrilled to come across an ultra-fresh Instagram feed: @lin_marty, Linda (Lin) Marty's photography page. The instagram feed is beautifully designed, screams BOSS LADY, and has beautiful, bohemian portraits of many our ad friends. After a bit of research, we were even more elated to learn the message behind these gorgeous images.

Pose&Focus: Women In Advertising is Lin's personal passion project, dedicated to highlighting women in the advertising industry through interviews and creative expression. The imagery is a creative portrayal of who they are beyond the corporate meetings, events, and brands they work with. Their stories will be honest, comical and informative that look to inspire all female professionals within the industry to thrive.

"Having been in the business for over a decade, I found it very important for women (and men) to support female leadership in our community and industry," says Lin. "Especially with our current political climate, this mission is more important to me than ever before. I want our female readers to know when they come here they will get solid advice and actionable steps that they can use to elevate their own careers."

 

 

Photos: Lin Marty Photography

View the entire series at linmartyphotography.com. Nominations for Pose&Focus Vol. 3 are open until April 2. Nominations must be female, located in Los Angeles, and currently work in the advertising industry (agency, sales, ad tech, production, etc.) with at least three years of experience. Contact Lin for more details. 

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About Linda: Linda is founder, creative director, and photographer of Lin Marty Photography. She is dedicated to supporting influencers, creative entrepreneurs, and boutique businesses to discover, define, and elevate their digital brand identity through beautiful and professional portrait and product photography. Prior to becoming a photographer, Linda worked in advertising, most recently at Canvas Worldwide as VP, Director, Digital Investment.

The series is supported by makeup artist, Julia Alexander, and body paint artist, Scott Richards.

Tags:  #ThinkDIG  Lin Marty  Pose&Focus  Women at Work  Women in Advertising 

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Spotlight: Shari Holly, Program Director, PIPELINES

Posted By Emily Hope, Wednesday, March 21, 2018

When we made the call for our Women of Color in Advertising list,  we were thrilled to be introduced to a true champion of diversity and inclusion: Shari Holly. Shari is the Program Manager for PIPELINES at PRETTYBIRD, a non-profit aiming to close the access and opportunity gap by connecting underrepresented talent directly to opportunities and programs in tech and creative industries through a mobile app and series of engaging programs.

 


Photos: Don Lupo Photography


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

My career road map is rather unconventional. Growing up in Detroit, at the time there weren’t many other black women pursuing creative careers, starting businesses, or creating non-traditional methods for success. There was a stigma (which is what I was taught) to find a stable and secure job (government, lawyer, teacher doctor), climb the corporate ladder, and retire with a sweet pension: the good ole’ American dream. I knew I was born a creative, but you really don’t know what you don’t know, and furthermore, without much access or role models, pursuing creative careers seems rather far-fetched in a sense.

I moved to Kalamazoo (yes, it’s a real city), graduated from college with a degree in Business and Spanish, and formed the idea along the way that I wanted to work in Immigration Reform and/or International Business. I wasn’t until I moved to Chicago and worked for the Tribune that I’d realize that I actually belong in Media and Entertainment, not the government. Working in advertising at the Tribune exposed me to a world of creative and media that I long to know more about and this is where my creative career was born.

After reaching my wits' end with Chicago’s brutal weather, I moved to LA never having been here before and made looking for a job full time. A month later, I landed a job (which apparently rarely happens to transplants who move here) working for a direct-response advertising agency assisting a media buyer. I didn’t love it. Numbers and post logs have never been my thing. I did that for about a year before moving on to a post-production house where I worked in Digital Media Services.

In my two and a half years here, I learned quite a bit about new age media and how VOD platforms are drastically changing the way content is digested. It was very interesting, but as much as I learned, I had reached a point in my career of having the strong desire to do something purposeful. Spending 75% of my life at a job that didn’t have purpose or give back was not something I wanted to do anymore.

I came across an opportunity to be a Diversity Program Manager for PromaxBDA. I had zero experience in D&I or Program Development but knew this would be an opportunity I would enjoy and would find purpose. Kat, the VP who interviewed me (and now, my lifelong mentor) took a chance on me and hired me because she felt my passion and commitment to this cause. It was at PromaxBDA that I realized for the first time in my life, that this is where I belonged. This work is the work that I want to do for a lifetime, and that’s to commit to doing what I can to close the access and opportunity gap for aspiring, yet underrepresented creatives, to increase inclusion in our creative industries and to create space of belonging for minorities in this industry.

After PromaxBDA, I worked with the Directors Guild of America and the Association of Independent Commercial Producers to jumpstart their first-ever Commercial Directors Diversity Program, then moved on to PRETTYBIRD, where I am currently spearheading the PIPELINES diversity and inclusion initiative. Here, we are taking a radical, unconventional approach to connecting underrepresented talent to our tech and creative industries through a mobile app. We also host a series of engaging programs and events for our demo as well. I am committed to this and exactly where I belong!

 

 

 

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

On a personal level, life genuinely keeps me motivated. I never take a day that I wake up in the morning for granted. Every (new) day that I have is another literal opportunity to do something different, to take my purpose to a higher level, to be thankful for my many blessings, to spread truth and peace.

Professionally, the amount of work that still needs to be done to create more direct paths the underrepresented to opportunities in our creative industries is what keeps me motivated. I have a “can’t stop, won’t stop” mentality when it comes to my work.

My personal and forever motto is “I don’t need easy; I just need possible”. I heard this in a movie called “Swimfan” and coined it as my personal mantra in everything that I do.

What excites you most about this industry?

That it’s always, always changing, and that the opportunities are limitless. Entertainment and Media are very unique industries that constantly require adaptability and change… and I love change.

Where is advertising heading? What do the next five years look like?

Hopefully, advertising is moving away from the "safe" and "traditional" and gravitating more towards the radical, boundary-pushing work that’s reflective and inclusive. I believe the next five years look like more biracial parents in commercials, more VR experiences to increase empathy in our branding for example. Brands will also face a challenge of engaging a particular, demanding, and technology-dependent demo. Brands will have to connect with their diverse demo on a deeper, personal, and more emotional level as it’s becoming more about the person and less about the masses. What a time to be alive!

What advice do you have for black advertising professionals who are beginning their careers?

There was a clip we shot of Omar Johnson, former CMO of Beats, explaining his experiences being the “only black person in the room” and what we expressed was so simple yet so powerful and something I will never, ever forget. Being black and in entertainment, there will be many times you will experience being in meetings/rooms/sets where no one or hardly anyone looks like you and while many will view this as a disadvantage, it’s actually quite the opposite. It boils down to perspective. He expressed that once he shifted his perspective, so did the dynamic in his interactions. He said that he views being the only black person in the room as a superpower. A superpower! That your views and ideas are unique, much needed, and unlike any other perspective the majority can offer. You can empathize in ways others cannot. You can offer a view that is special and autonomous. No one can offer your (necessary) view except for you and that is where you find your power, your confidence, your authenticity in your work. A light bulb went off as I watched this clip and not only have I shifted my own perspective, but I encourage other black creatives and professionals to do the same.

What should our industry be talking about in 2018?

What they can be doing specifically to create an inclusive work environment and how they can change/revamp their hiring practices and culture to attract, hire, and retain more diverse talent? Aside from the fact that having more inclusive teams and work environments increase the bottom line, the world and the world of entertainment is evolving drastically and company cultures must do the same.

Any closing thoughts?

“If you don’t prioritize your being, your doing will suffer. It’s simple, but not easy.” – Robyn Ward

 

 

Tags:  #ThinkDIG  #thinkMembers  Diversity  Diversity in Advertising  Member Profiles  Member Spotlight 

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Influential Women in Marketing

Posted By Emily Hope, Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Enjoy this partnered content provided by Laurel Mintz, CEO and Founder of Elevate My Brand. To provide content on your company's behalf, email Emily Hope, emily@thinkla.org

 


Laurel Mintz, Elevate My Brand

 

There have been countless women over the last few decades that have influenced the upward trajectory of our journey. What most have in common is that they understood the value and importance of marketing. From Madam CJ Walker, the first self-made millionaire who turned her own hair loss into a thriving CPG brand, to more current marketing mavens like Alli Webb, founder of Drybar, who also changed the hair game with her bold vision and smart marketing initiatives. These, and countless others, are and have continued to take over the world one marketing message at a time.

Here are some of the women who I think are trailblazers and influence millions with their own brand of marketing.

Social Media - Mari Smith (@marismith) – Even a decade later, consumers and brands alike continue to be stumped by social media marketing. Mari Smith is one of the sharpest and most well-known marketing gurus for small business on Facebook. She is best known for taking $50 and turning it into 500k followers. Now that’s what I call trailblazing with a tangible after burn.

Influencer – Julie Solomon (@julssolomon) – Julie spent years in the PR world, but knew she could help more people by developing a brand to help others understand how to brand and monetize themselves in the influencer world. An influencer in her own right, she now teaches others through her workshops, podcast and extensive social presence. Her infectious smile and warmth is palpable through her stunning pink hued branding as she advises her followers.

Content – Pam Neely (@Pamellaneely) – We used to say content was king, we now know it’s all about engagement through content. Pam Neely is one of, if not the most influential content marketer of our generation. If you need to build your following, e-mail marketing lists, and brand voice, you can’t do better than this content diva.

Experiential – Sarah Boyd (@sarahpboyd) – Also starting her career in the PR world, Sarah had a vision to create events where influencers and brands could engage with each other in a meaningful way. And so Simply Stylist, now Simply, was born. It was such a bold brilliant idea, that media powerhouse NYLON decided they needed it in their stable, appointing Sarah President of West Coast Operations. Sarah now jets from LA to NY to Dubai living her dream and executing her idea as a global experiential brand.

Networking – Sarah Zapp (@sarahzapp) – If you live in LA and don’t know Sarah, you’re at the wrong party. Whether flying off to do content with Martha Stewart in Norway or hosting tastemaker events with Baron Davis, Sarah Zapp is a community builder and one of the most connected women I’m lucky to call a friend.

I always tell our clients, "marketing when done right, it's the funnel to awareness and conversion when you are clear about your KPIs and measure constantly."

The above are just a few of the many ways to market well and, if you’re going to do it, you might as well follow in the footsteps of the trailblazing women who have come before you. Thank you to all the women who make seemingly impossible inroads possible for the rest of us.

By: Laurel Mintz, CEO and Founder of Elevate My Brand and Columnist of On Brand for Inc. Magazine.

Tags:  #ThinkDIG  Diversity  Elevate My Brand  inclusion  Women  Women's History 

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