How an unconventional journey to the C-suite of major ad agencies led to finding personal brand purpose
I remember Mary Baglivo in our Rutgers days as fun but focused. Yup, there are stories I can tell. But the stories we focus on in this episode are how she turned her intellectual curiosity, which skewed more to classes in Art History than Business, into a career that included running three major ad agencies and earning innumerable industry accolades.
An aspiring writer trying to make it in New York, Mary took a job at an ad agency. While learning on the go she caught the advertising bug, so much so that she moved from Madison Avenue to grad school followed by an ad agency gig in the Windy City that she couldn’t refuse.
That determination, and a knack for helping develop distinctive ad campaigns and insight-based marketing strategies, was recognized pretty quickly and helped her thrive in a male-dominated industry. She ultimately held President and C-level positions at leading global advertising agencies like JWT, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Euro RSCG Chicago.
“Defining a ‘brand’ is challenging. Clarifying your own brand is super important. A brand is more than its product attributes, obviously. It’s more than what it looks like. It’s certainly more than what an influencer portrays. It’s definitely got to be emotional, and probably involve all the senses in some way, shape, or form.”
After years of developing consumer brands like credit cards and cereal, Mary found her personal brand purpose – using her marketing expertise to help universities, museums, and foundations communicate their purpose. Now, in addition to running the Baglivo Group – with a focus on key client Pace University – she is a sitting board member for multiple organizations, including the New York Women’s Foundation, and is intent on lifting up other women in business!
“The key job of a CEO is to make sure that their people are feeling good, are happy and motivated, and have the opportunities to learn.”
Mary and I dig into:
An explanation of brand purpose and how it differs from but informs brand identity
The moving target elements today of a solid brand campaign
The increased consumer mandate for purpose and ESG and the question of how/if that can be marketed
Can a person be a “brand” and how that applies to good leadership.
The best advice she received as a leader
How observing and working for people like “the most powerful woman in advertising,” Charlotte Beers, shaped her own leadership style and career
Her work with the Block and its impact on diversity messaging through art
The time and place for AI – yes, even in classrooms.
Mentioned in this episode:
Check out the Baglivo Group
Find out more about The New York Women’s Foundation and their upcoming Celebrating Women Breakfast 2023
Learn more about the Block Museum
Connect with Mary on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marybaglivo/