Posted By Don Lupo,
10 hours from now
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."
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.
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.
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.
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, firstname.lastname@example.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.
"Women of color in gaming? How cool is that? Sam runs the Xbox account at Empower after a long career in the entertainment category with studios like New Line and Lions Gate. She's incredibly talented, creative, smart and funny!"
"Yumi is passionate and an expert leader in her field. She is valued by her team and clients, not just for her contributions, but for her personality that makes collaboration, creativity and innovation possible."
LAURA SEMPLE, VP, DIRECTOR OF CONTENT STRATEGY, CONILL
"Laura is a rock star! Super smart, super strategic, great sense of humor and dynamic personality."
JENNIFER MILLER, GROUP SEARCH DIRECTOR, NEO@OGILVY
"I consider Jennifer a leader in search marketing in Los Angeles previously running search for Saatchi and most recently Neo@Ogilvy. She's a great leader and partner in the space."
"Kat ran the DPSG business at Initiative and it's an incredibly tough account because they don't have the budgets of Coke and Pepsi and it's was a grueling planning schedule. The clients loved her at DPSG, I was surprised when they moved the account to NY because of Kat. She's incredibly smart. Was happy to see that Red Bull was smart enough to pick her up!"
"Rinku started her media career as a planner at RPA on Honda and has come full circle now as the Digital Media Director at RPA on Honda. She is a veteran in automotive marketing both Tier 2 and National and an incredibly smart marketer."
"Promoted to SVP almost two years ago Hwa-Shih is her own brand and the face of Palisades Media Group to the LA advertising community and she was instrumental in Palisades winning the coveted Netflix account."
"Bettina is a leader in the Entertainment Marketing industry for 20th Century Fox and the first to develop a non-profit organization founded in 2015 to ensure that the seminal digital film campaigns that help drive digital marketing into the lexicon of Hollywood are recovered and preserved, as well as to insure that the incredible campaigns of today and tomorrow are not lost to time."
"Ariana is the best mentor I have ever had - she is a diligent, highly knowledgeable and determined individual. She has a knack for managing clients' social media needs, while giving the best thoughtful recommendations."
CILMARA SANTOS, VP OF CLIENT RELATIONS AND BRAND PARTNERSHIPS, CONILL
"Cilmara is incredibly smart and connected. She knows the space well and provides informed and insightful perspective on brands, communications, and the industry in general."
"Bernice is passionate and an expert leader in her field. She is valued by her team and clients, not just for her contributions, but for her personality that makes collaboration, creativity and innovation possible."
"Also a force in the entertainment category, Darlene was also on the publisher side and part of strategy for Uproxx and worked on some of the amazing programs they did there like the Honda Uncharted program that was showcased at ThinkLA's Auto Breakfast. She has the perspective both from the agency side and publisher side.
Darlene is also extremely philanthropic, which gives her an interesting perspective of the world. She has been centering her travel and vacations around this and was recently accepted to a volunteer program in Uganda where she will be living and working with AIDS children."
"She's probably one of the only women of color that started her own influencer management company after being an early executive at Machinima and Collective Digital Studio. Her company manages some of the top social influencers on YouTube."
"Besides being lovely, she's been in the entertainment community in Los Angeles forever and I don't ever remember her being on a panel and she should be. Recently I've seen her behind many really creative executions, including viral/social/custom projects for NBC TV."
"Jennifer is a force in Los Angeles in the entertainment category, starting with Sony, then leading Paramount at MEC and now STX and Horizon. Jennifer is a favorite in this industry for her creativity, professionalism and being a great partner."
"Indree has worked on the agency side, publisher side, and social side, so she has a strong base across the board. She also has worked in NY and London and I find her adventures admirable but also add to her experience."
"You mean beyond beating stage four breast cancer and becoming an inspiration to many women in this industry? Nicole is another veteran in the LA entertainment community having run media and New Line and Focus Features, now running her own consulting business working with brands like Amazon Originals."
"She had a very successful career in PR, specializing in Hispanic, and she is currently a few months away from completing a degree in production, directing and writing at the prestigious Art Center in Pasadena. She also runs a blogger collective and is a social influencer."
Bernadette is President of one of the only Latina-owned production companies in the advertising industry nationwide; works across both advertising and entertainment in Hollywood. She's been tracking Super Bowl commercial diversity stats since 2015."
"Carron works at the intersection of branding, selling, pop culture, and technology. She prides herself on being a change agent, and helps brands step into new industries and elevate their current perception with the target market."
"Kristina “KJ” Jenkins is #15 on The Drum list. She leads Zambezi’s strategy team, helping brands explore trends in creativity and culture, tapping into her forte as a pop culture expert. KJ’s cultural insights have played a key role in Zambezi's 2016 One Show Gold Pencil and Cannes Gold Lion winning campaign The Uncommon Force for STANCE™, Star Wars limited-edition collection, as well as TaylorMade’s The Wait, which was honored with a Sports Clio, Autotrader’s millennial-themed campaign featuring the spots The Journey, One Search , Concert and Kick and the wild experiential street & social media event Driven By Style."
"Rahiel has an ability to put people at ease and has immense knowledge of social media marketing for fortune 500 companies as well as start-ups."
CARLENE ROWE, DIRECTOR OF BRAND PARTNERSHIPS & EXPERIENTIAL, CONILL
"A passionate, charismatic and caring leader, Carlene has transformed businesses throughout her career. Since joining Conill, she has honed a distinctive practice area that is increasingly important for brands in a conversation-driven marketplace.
Carlene’s inclusive approach inspires collaboration among colleagues and agency partners alike. She's a true champion of mentorship and development. Her impact on people and culture extends well beyond the bounds of her team."
"Mellissa has created a company that specializes in the production of top quality commercials, features, episodic TV, webcasts, and documentaries earning her a reputation for excellence and efficiency."
"Brenda is first-generation Mexican American and a USC alumna who has done amazing things in her communications career. After a successful career in journalism she now oversees the marketing and media efforts for the largest voting jurisdiction in the country here in LA County. She is responsible for overseeing all of the marketing efforts to get Angelenos educated about voting rights and options. Her awesome marketing and ad campaigns have been recognized by PRSA both in Orange County and LA."
SAMANTHA HAWKINS, SUPERVISOR, COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT, RPA
"Sam is articulate, personable, and extremely insightful. She brings a thoughtful and pragmatic approach to a very complicated and ever-evolving space."
"Leisha is incredibly smart and is overseeing a leading edge discipline on behalf of two major automotive brands."
CHRISTINA IGARAIVIDEZ, ASSOCIATE MEDIA DIRECTOR, RPA
"Christina is immersed in the landscape of multicultural advertising, and can provide a nuanced and very experienced point of view on Hispanic perspectives and how to advertise to Hispanic consumers. She also has a robust social media presence of her own."
"Clarissa knows the art production space well, and has worked on brands as diverse as Honda, Apple, and more. She is well connected with photographers around the world. In her spare time, she is also a cabaret singer!"
KANYA HENG, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, RESEARCH, ANALYTICS AND INSIGHTS, RPA
"Kanya is brilliant! She knows the analytics space inside and out and is great at making complicated data maps easy to understand."
"As an Asian American woman in the field of media and PR Deanne has broken through more barriers than most. She has spent her entire career at big agencies continuing to rise in spite of the difficult fields she chose. Additionally, as a leader she is so connected to her staff, championing them at every turn and is a leader in the industry as it relates to creativity, client relations and how we stay ahead in this every changing landscape. Her ideas are endless."