012 – Angela Wei of Milk Agency – Finding the North Star of Content

Angela Wei

Compelling content, experiences and partnerships for brands as part of a complex creative ecosystem with Milk Group

Angela WeiAngela Wei, Managing Director of Milk Agency (a creative agency, production resource and brand partner as part of Milk Group, a culturally conscious company), joins Lisa Berger, Edward Hertzman and Dalia Strum at the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by 24 Seven Talent.

Collaboration and expression, brand collaboration, and the grey area in between

Angela WeiWei discusses how Milk Agency as an extension of Milk Studios (Milk Group), a full service creative studio started 20 years ago as one of the first independent photo studios, how the agency as an incarnation of Milk is a platform for creative collaboration and expression, the culture platforms, how Milk.xyz features emerging talent and cultural stories, and the most recent iteration is Milk Makeup (direct to consumer and then via Sephora), and how Milk Group developed organically, but is a complex ecosystem. She shares he career path an early employee at Razorfish, from digital content to the ad world, working at MTV and at Discovery Channel, becoming interested in how those brands collaborated with other brands, working at Time Inc. in branded solutions, and interest in the grey area between brands when collaborating.

A content pyramid, a culture shift for younger generations, and working with makeup lines when you have a makeup line

Angela WeiShe mentions content as a pyramid — at the top are films and featured commercials, down to snackable content at the bottom – and how Milk creates throughout the pyramid. She touches on how modern marketing is not enough, content is the future, brands being publishers and that people haven’t figured that out yet. The industry is intertwined, with big media houses pushing to keep integrity and trust, and how younger people are more comfortable with brands as a culture shift, with brands engaging more and creating dialogue. Wei says that an audience is a pyramid too, scaling is meaningless without a true purpose and a north star, and collaboration has to come down to the foundation of what a brand is about. Plus, the impact of having a makeup line on having makeup brands as clients, and Wei brings a seaweed snack.

Diminishing IP value, evaluating success, Virginia Wolf

Angela WeiWei covers the “barbell model”, pure performance marketing now, how a type of brand determines the type of brand content and experiences, pop ups, embedding a brand experience that you take with you, how the IP value of brands are diminishing, how content is also what you input, and customizing content. She also shares perspectives on the ROI of branding and experiences, how one measures success of experiences and branding, and how it is usually qualitative, the impact of expectation of clickable marketing, and the danger of the expectation of never ending growth. And, Wei’s favorite books, being inspired by Virginia Wolf, the importance of curiosity and reflection, having space to explore, a crazy dog person, and how challenge comes from discomfort.


Find more MouthMedia Network podcasts at www.MouthMediaNetwork.com

011 – Rudi Anggono of Google Zoo – User First

Creative think tank for brands and agencies at Google…

Rudi Anggono, Head of Creative + New Experiences for The Zoo at Google (Google’s “creative think tank for brands and agencies”, with a mission “to push the limits of creativity thanks to Google’s platforms and technologies”), joins hosts Lisa Berger, Edward Hertzman and Dalia Strum at MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by 24 Seven Talent.

Driving sales with a creative team, Westworld, and YouTube

Anggono discusses how The Zoo at Google help clients and agency partners to think of creative ways to use technologies, who is their most ideal client, the importance of being open-minded and ready to innovate in the content space, how The Zoo is a creative team that is part of the Google sales organization, and helping clients to innovate in the video space, which is mostly YouTube. He shares an example of a successful partnership with HBO about Westworld, working as a creative consultant with the show and many partners to extend the brand experience of the show beyond HBO, partnering with show runners, creating a fictional character Aiden living within website, and promoting in the YouTube platform. Anggono talks about YouTube as a cultural channel inspired by culture and informing pop culture, and how it is more like a platform engaging in two-way communication.

Measuring success, Deep City, and relationship building

He reviews how to look at what Google has done creatively, and why one should always start with the user first, who would use it, how people behave, expectations, whether Google is getting into proprietary content business, measuring success, and find creative ways to provide content for brands. He touches on whether it is better to have 10M views or 5k engagement, the impact of monetization of videos, completion rate and watch time, working in tandem with other creative agencies, creating Deep City in partnership with the in-house architecture team, and the importance of relationship building and networking even within a company like Google to people who share the vision of ideas.

The risk of losing authority, robots, and reading

Anggono covers the view of content studios replacing agencies, if content goes too far, the risk of losing authority, and a new form of product placement. Plus, a round of personal questions covers getting inspired, favorite books, “The Industries of the Future” by Alex Cross, robots, reading, being very curious, having media literacy, trying to look up a footnote, and the decision on what to believe.

010 – Johanna Mayer-Jones of Dow Jones – Great Stories, Distraction, and a Valuable Use of Time

Storytelling that drive brand partnerships with the Dow Jones content studio…

Johanna Mayer-Jones, Vice President, Client Solutions at Dow Jones joins hosts Lisa Berger, Edward Hertzman and Dalia Strum at MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by 24 Seven Talent.

How great stories cut through clutter, a solutions toolbox, and the nature of genuine content

Mayer-Jones discusses how telling great stories cuts through clutter, makes the person engaging feel like it is a valuable use of time. Content Studio associated with Dow Jones. She talks storytelling, recalls a branded car driving around country capturing beautiful footage with real people doing great work, and the ability to incite change with content. She mentions how being part of the Dow Jones solutions toolbox is a way to solve consumer problems, and looking at page views vs. a better journey to useful metrics, current attention spans, video ads vs. short films, a video about N. Korea as a great example of capturing attention, and the nature of genuine content.

Integrated partnerships with brands, a talented team, and solutions vs. one-offs

She talks about the need to understand why and how audience engages, the value provided content can create in solving business problems, the desire to be a partner, how the evolution of content moves from a campaign to how can we work with you integrated as a partner, and client solutions vs. one-offs. Mayer-Jones discusses her smart team of multitalented and multi-faceted marketing experts as a flexible unit to collaborate, a new way of working from understanding business, working as a solutions toolbox, and being able to offer real talent. She reveals how Dow Jones was one of first publishers to partner with Alexa, and going to another exciting level with great stories on Alexa. She offers how being fully engaged allows people with a traditional way of working to collaborate with the next generation of smart people. And, an appearance from a special snack from a trip to Scotland.

Fake news, passion and balance, and risk as an asset

Mayer-Jones dives into the world of fake news, how The Wall Street Journal is a brand-safe environment, that security is critical, the meaning of client solutions, being a part of a revenue engine, what kind of content gets the team excited, and being passionate about doing things differently. A round of personal questions cover being inspired by mom who moved from Israel, worked hard to be successful, and became a judge in family court in the UK. The crucial nature of balance, how people are globally coming together, her journey from the UK to Hong Kong to New York, traveling for a year with a backpack, learning about cultures, stopping in Hong Kong, recently having twins, and taking risk as an asset. And she offers poignant final thoughts that “Good Ideas come form anywhere and everywhere” and to encourage everyone to engage with others to contribute idea.

009 – Kathleen Griffith of Grayce & Co – Content Relationships

Marketing and strategy specializing in the female consumer…

Kathleen Griffith, Founder/CEO of Grayce & Co (an agency working with general market brands to future-proof strategy by considering women in their narrative, and female-equity brands to go further, faster with women) joins Lisa Berger, Edward Hertzman and Dalia Strum in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by 24 Seven Talent. (Griffith’s profile)

A symbiotic relationship with big and small brands, a need for intimacy in marketing, and positioning messages as a girlfriend

Griffith shares how her strategy agency works with the entire supply chain, including content strategy, working with iconic brand like Vice and Verizon, along with a big opportunity with small, cult and emerging brands. She discusses how the agency can leverage what they learn from the smaller companies for big brand clients, and bring big brand thinking to smaller upstarts. She offers an example of Glossier, explores the focus on women entrepreneurs, creating editorial and informative media content squarely around what women need without pushing product or service, putting editorial and media first and product second, and how conversations often start with that a brand is getting something wrong with female consumers. Griffith mentions the need for greater intimacy and access into the lives of women, and how often creative misses the mark, why advertising isn’t enough, and how the solution isn’t mere not storytelling, but often instead positioning a message as a “girlfriend”.

Building a company with a specific focus and culture, choosing a meaningful name, and Build Like a Woman

She reveals what motivated the agency focus, a huge opportunity to speak to in a more nuanced way, and how she had opportunity to work with people who want to create positive messaging so she began creating a culture of people she wanted to work with. She explains the deep attention to culture within the agency, and how many things revolve around food. Plus, a snack is delivered of incredible pizzas with truffle oil from Shroomtown. And, the touching family genesis of the name of the agency Grayce & Co. Griffith dives into an initiative with Entrepreneur Magazine called Build Like a Woman, helping many female founders who are talented but not able to take an agency, how the initiative involved taking agency services and democratizing them with aspects including intelligence, growth, project management, a digital grand playbook, and a business plan, build like a woman. She discusses the goal to get these women to seven figures or beyond, for pre-seed and then so they can raise money. She also clarifies why it’s not for her agency to determine whether a woman is qualified — if the founder believes in an idea it is good enough for them. Plus, a debate about what makes a quality startup. And, how this is an amazing pipeline.

Cannes Lions, being inspired, and looking to the future

Finally, Griffith talks about working with Cannes Lions , and “See It, Be It”, the opportunity to work with the “world’s biggest festival and awards for the creative and marketing communications, entertainment, design and tech industries”, and how the industry is behind driving change, moving from 3% creative directors to more than 10% already. Personal questions are answered by Griffith, with mentions of significant inspiration from other people, being the compilation of the five people closest to you, what one would would do if one weren’t afraid, and freefalling and catching oneself.

008 – Natasha Cholerton-Brown of Bloomberg Media Group – Guts, common sense, and storytelling

Creating custom content at Bloomberg Media…

Natasha Cholerton-Brown, Custom Content Manager for Bloomberg Media Group (a global business and financial information and news leader), ensures that all integrated digital storytelling, experiential, mobile and print custom content deals/partnerships create the most compelling ads to drive growth. She joins hosts Lisa Berger, Dalia Strum and Edward Hertzman in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by 24 Seven Talent. (Cholerton-Brown’s profile)

When brand intersects with audience, valuing disruption, and data plus storytelling

Cholerton-Brown compares the process of working on custom content with one big puzzle, and discusses how the brand intersects with audience, the importance of driving a point of view, and how she is part “content geek” and a rare creative professional who puts business first. She reveals the dynamics of working with custom content creative team, how her background running visual media for Bloomberg and as a photographer, and how disruption is in the DNA at Bloomberg. Technology is freeing up industry players and creativity, and ne of Bloomberg Media’s goals is to partner with existing agencies and help brands and clients. The realities of new industry titles, paying to play, getting more creative upstream, and informing every step of the way, while combining data and storytelling.

Guts and common sense, brand presence, and social media strategy

The hosts and Cholerton-Brown enjoy British-inspired snacks of “hobnobs” (or “chalky one-siders”), and lament for tea. Cholerton-Brown talks about determining what data is telling us, the need to mix guts and common sense to create good content, maintaining journalistic integrity while making money, and creating content at scale so it can be leveraged at every point. She mentions delivering brand content, creating a brand presence, why Bloomberg may not be in for “big plays”, and why influence is more important than popularity. She says Bloomberg won’t pursue aggressive strategies on social media, but has proven the model and is aggressive in moving to build strong content creation resources including getting the right people in place.

Staying nimble, taking risks, and behaving like a startup

Cholerton-Brown explores how a budding journalist should look at what content is now, and how they should be skilled across the board, and have utility and use all platforms in play. The rate content creation is developing is accelerating within media, and publishers should be thinking about a full stack of the resources of content creation, how the cost of entry into the business is easier, and keeping up with nimble and more agile companies. She discusses how Bloomberg Media is succeeding by keeping watch, taking risks, and behaving like a startup. She also touches on the separation between personal and business life, and how it is critical that one just put oneself out there as disruptive. And personal questions cover how organization is the key to raising kids for busy professionals, Fire Island, “The Content Trap”, how Bloomberg is an entrepreneurial, merit based organization, taking risks and being bold, thinking on one’s feet, and being nimble.

007 – Katie Kim of Cadillac – The 115-Year Old Startup’s Strategy to Outwit

A luxury car brand’s relationship with content creation, brand partnerships and experiences with Cadillac…

Katie Kim (Manager of Brand Partnerships and Experiences at Cadillac) discusses consumer touchpoints in the real world and the new brand experience center in SoHo, New York City Cadillac House in a conversation presented by 24 Seven Talent, in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. With hosts Lisa Berger, Dalia Strum and Edward Hertzman.

Cadillac House, outwit vs. outspend, and quantifying success

Kim describes Cadillac’s sprawling scope of work with breadth and depth in creating content from brand partnerships and experiences, the move of the global HQ office from Detroit to New York City, and Cadillac House as a new way to experience the brand. She describes Cadillac as a nostalgic brand of accomplishment and luxury, and touches on how the brand is taking positive nostalgia and translating it into a regaining of brand relevance today. Cadillac can be thought of as a115 year old startup and underdog, which shakes up how the company does business overall.

Kim talks about the importance of New York City as the center of luxury in the US, and why Cadillac can’t just copy what other car makers are doing. Instead of playing catch up with other brands, Cadillac is striving to strategically outwit them. She covers traditional communication vs. social media planning, and explains how everything Cadillac does is designed to be shareable. Cadillac is still determining benchmarks and commercial viability for brand experiences and partnerships, but is maintaining focus on clicks vs. engagement and ROI to quantify success and paint the picture of how buzz-worthy each event they host is.

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006 – Tracy Doyle of T Brand Studio at The New York Times – Creativity Meets Integrity

Branded Content at The New York Times…

Tracy Doyle, Creative Director, Fashion & Luxury for T Brand Studio at the New York Times (Doyle’s profile), joins hosts Lisa Berger, Edward Hertzman and Dalia Strum in the MouthMedia Network Studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by 24 Seven Talent.

Telling Brand Stories with Journalistic Integrity

T Brand Studios, the New York Times Branded Content Studio, was founded about 3 years ago in New York, and is now international with companies in London, Paris, Hong Kong, and soon, Singapore. Doyle defines the company as “the idea that in its truest essence, the NY Times is a document of life being lived, and therefore the natural extension of stylistic expression of T Brand Studios is a narrative. Above all, we are storytellers.”

Doyle explains that the integrity behind the journalistic aspect of the New York Times is what motivates all areas of the company, but that branded content is different from journalism, though the lines at other companies are becoming blurred. She notes that “Media companies are starting content studios – and they’re coming in various forms.” T Brand maintains journalistic standards and stays away from what Doyle calls the “woman on a beach with a bottle of perfume” generic advertising to create stories behind each piece of content and campaign. This lures fashion and luxury clients to T Brand because they acknowledge the need to better target their audience, and know that the standards and experience of T Brand will create the different but necessary content in a timely manner with great quality.

Formal journalists are now transitioning to content creators, writers, and a staff of producers within T Brand Studios, and they are there to create revenue but also high quality content. Doyle references the “Agency of the future model” – a lot of different news companies are now laying off employees because they don’t have the skill sets needed to survive in today’s market.

How Does Story Telling Influence Content?

As a Creative Director, Doyle truly sees the art in content, and noted the need for constant materials because instead of visual, in-person artwork and ads, content is “scrolled” and can easily be missed. This is why she says that her first instinct is not a print first campaign. She says as long as they know their demographics and target audience, T Brand can do the rest and tell the story in the best medium possible. By telling a story and not flashing product in the consumer’s face, the content is received on an emotional level, inspiring a want and a need to have that lifestyle, or that item. Rather than telling the audience why they should buy something, telling a story shows the customer why they need a given product and how it will fit in their lifestyle. One example Doyle gives is a recent video series for Tiffany & Co. No one was required to have on Tiffany jewelry and there was no product placement. The only branding was a Tiffany Blue paint splat at the end of each episode. The piece was forward thinking and very successful because it played on emotion.

The conversation then goes into a timeline of how content has evolved from 2005 to 2020, from loyalty strategy to marketing tactics and marketing strategy to the current model of content strategy.

005 – Otto Bell of Courageous Studio at CNN – Making Headlines for Brands

The opportunity to be newsworthy for brands and make headlines for them…

Otto Bell, Chief Creative Officer of Courageous Studio at CNN (Turner’s first brand studio – (profile)), joins Lisa Berger, Dalia Strum and Edward Hertzman at the MouthMedia Network Studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by 24 Seven Talent.

The genesis of Courageous, stories with editorial merit, and the eclipse event

Otto Bell, Chief Creative Officer of Courageous Studio at CNN, discusses the genesis of Courageous, Turner’s first brand studio, and what it’s been like to make branded content for CNN, HLN and Great Big Story. Bell says that while embarking on creating branded content for Courageous, it’s been important to him to maintain brand credibility and he’s taken particular care to avoid eroding the audience’s trust in the brand. Bell says what sets CNN apart is the brand’s authority its history in video. CNN and Courageous offer more than 50 points of video-driven distribution, from Snapchat to airport channels and robust social channels – Courageous is a one-stop shop for a true global rollout of content campaigns. Bell also notes that Courageous has a full-time, in-house team of cinematographers, editors, photographers, graphic designers etc. and this enables the team to create the best content possible. They can recruit top talent because of the brand’s reach (they offer artists a chance to have their work seen by a tremendous audience) and because Courageous offers the opportunity to learn marketing from the ground up, to become fluent in getting ideas commissioned. He touches on how Courageous is not in the business of making “fluffy advertising”, and how they are looking for stories that have editorial merit. Bell goes into the excitement of working on the eclipse concept this past summer. His team worked with Grey and BY MindShare to bring the world access to the moment of totality. They used new technology and high dynamic range cameras with 44 incoming feeds (around 6 times more than a usual CNN day).

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004 – David Carson of The New Stand – If a Blog and a Bodega Had a Baby

Experiential hybrid of retail and media…

David Carson, Co-founder and CMO of The New Stand (a bodega with new products, new content, and new experiences for people on the go, packaged with a spirit of service, style, and modern convenience – (profile)) joins hosts Lisa Berger, Edward Hertzman and Dalia Strum in the MouthMedia Network Studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by 24 Seven Talent.

Brick and mortar and ferries, improving the commute, and the value of membership

David Carson, Co-founder and CMO of The New Stand and Berger discuss how they met. Carson shares his view on The New Stand, it’s as if you took your favorite local bodega and favorite blog and merged the two. The key is convenient access; The New Stand’s brick and mortar locations are now complimented by locations in all of the brand new New York City ferries on the East River which Carson goes on to say have been more successful than anticipated. He explains that The New Stand concept was based on the idea that people have been commuting to commute, but the experience can be upgraded with a lovely shop for things you need (including beer and wine). Carson shared the genesis of the first store in the Union Square Station, and how The New Stand has helped improve commuters’ days. He dives into the corporate partnerships including one with Havianas, offering promotions like membership cards and concerts with discounted tickets for members. , Carson goes on to explain the challenging logistics of the three underground stores, and the demand for this type of model in airports. Berger brings gifts to the hosts and producers purchased at The New Stand in Union Square that morning.

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003 – She Runs It Media Insights Breakfast – Captivating Consumers

Recently, we had the privilege of being in the room with a remarkable and distinguished panel of content leaders as part of the She Runs It Media Insights Breakfast event at the New York Times building during Ad Week. Panelists from companies such as The New York Times, Prudential, Glossier, IBM Watson, Belvedere Vodka, and HBO shared insights and important information on “how marketers use targeting, technology, and immersive experiences to drive better business results and captivate consumers on a visceral level”. We were given access to the full discussion which we are able to share with you here, on Content Is Your Business. She Runs It works to pave the way for women to lead at every level of marketing and media. The event was sponsored by Twitter, Teads, Centro, Ruble and The New York Times.

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