Category Archives: diversity

Robyn Streisand, CEO, The Mixx: DEI as Key Marketing Ingredient



When Robyn Streisand went from the client side to her own marketing agency, The Mixx, the opportunity to certify as a woman-owned or LBGT-owned business did not exist. 25 years later, she has helped both brands as well as other agency owners to leverage DEI — Diversity, Equity and Inclusion — in media and marketing. Part of that help came about through her creation of Titanium Worldwide, billed as “the world’s first collective of certified-diverse independent agencies,” to help make DEI more easily “front and center” for clients.

Given today’s times with its heightened sensibilities, she couldn’t have been a better move if she’d had a crystal ball. After all, marketing comes down to “PeoplePeople Who Need People” to buy things… And embracing people of all stripes and varieties to drive business opportunities is what Streisand does flawlessly. 

For Episode 27 of Insider Interviews with E.B. Moss, hear what this marketing maven says about:

  • The value of certifications — for business owners to the brands who are seeking diverse suppliers — from WBENC, which certifies businesses as woman-owned and operated, to NGLCC (the ‘LBGT Chamber of Commerce’), to the NMSDC, which has the largest number of certified minority-run businesses;

“Now I have a certificate that says I’m woman-owned or I’m gay owned and all of a sudden, it’s a new day. It gave us an opportunity to register our company in these portals that help diverse suppliers get found [by Fortune 1000 companies.]”

  • How the rise in both consumer demand and procurement department mandates that purpose be built into marketing created a bit of a COVID silver lining for The Mixx and Titanium

  • Examples of brands embracing DEI — and how the anniversary of Stonewall sparked the start of more and more inclusive marketing efforts around more and more groups

  • How pressure from the streets is being matched by pressure from The Street — Wall Street!

  • The added pressure to recognize the power of Gen Z which “is coming like a bat outta hell!”

  • The essential need to communicate authentic brand purpose

“The benchmarks of success around purpose “must be front and center on brand websites: ‘We see you. We appreciate you. We embrace you. We stand for gender parity, transgender, equality’…all of it. Like, now’s not the time to be living in Alabama.”

  •  Where brands are focusing their dollars — or not

  • Advice and caveats for the future, which include:

“I think it’s like ripping the band-aid off. You have to start somewhere. But this is a long game. This is about doing the right thing now for the long haul. Invest in diversity, equity and inclusion training programs. Invest in what matters to the broader audience. Talk to people in their voice, and be consistent and authentic about it. It’s not about how much you do, it’s that you do it, do it well, and do it consistently.”

  • Why Streisand describes work around sustainability as the 2.0 of DEI.

And don’t miss the answer to the big question: Will I actually dare to sing to a member of the Streisand clan?

Please listen, and follow anywhere you like to get your podcasts. And if your business needs help from THIS woman-run business, please reach out to podcasts@mossappeal.com for help building a podcast for your business!


Heidi Zak: Supporting Women with Brand Purpose



Heidi Zak has been in finance, in retail and in tech. Like most women, she’s also been in plenty of dressing rooms trying to find the right bra, leading her to build ThirdLove, one of the largest online bra and underwear companies in America.

Close encounters with the NOT ThirdLove kind of shopping experiences, meaning the universal ick-factor of cold hands and awkward measurement moments with in-store underwear salespeople, were part of Zak’s a-ha moment. So, putting all of her professional and personal experience together, she created a brand that disrupted an entire industry — to the great relief of uncomfortable women everywhere.

Her first-to-market service as a DTC bra retailer hit some, ah, curves, along the journey but Zak has been named everything from Goldman Sachs’ 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs to a Fortune “40 Under 40”, and more.

Part of the accolades stem from how Zak has embraced not just brand marketing but brand purpose. Inclusivity at ThirdLove means being the only brand to offer more than 80 bra sizes, including their unique half cup sizing – and donating over $40 million worth of products to women in need. It has also helped evolve an old school industry previously defined by a narrow concept of beauty with a focus on inclusivity.

“We didn’t want to look like any other bra brand which mostly photographed skinny, generally white women with small boobs and generally did it in a really sexy way. So, we set out to build something radically different from scratch…. Back then there were barely any plus size models.”

Further iterating on inclusivity, ThirdLove launched a new initiative during COVID-challenged 2020: The TL Effect, to support entrepreneurial women of color.

“…Brand purpose has to be authentic, true to who you are and what you stand for, and what you’re building. Otherwise it can fall flat, or a consumer sees through it.”

While Zak and I commiserated about finding a proper fitting and comfortable bra I was a bit discomfited to discover that this rock star CEO/mom of two has managed to use her homebound pandemic time to also hyper-organize her home, when I haven’t even organized my sock drawer. In a conversation perfectly apropos Women’s History Month, hear how, in addition to organizing her home, this efficient CEO/co-founder has organized her company for success through adapting to the changes of the pandemic.

Envy aside, we discussed:

  • Her path from small town Main Street to Wall Street, Herald Square to Silicon Valley
  • How an encounter with the founders of Lyft drove her to solve another consumer problem, one bra at a time

“In 2012, if you look at what had existed [for bra shopping] at that time, there were department stores, Victoria’s Secret and some big box stores. There certainly weren’t online bra brands at the time. And that was the idea: better brand, better product, better online shopping experience for women.”

  • Zak on disruption and her definition of DTC, and why it was important for ThirdLove to “have a direct way to speak to our customer, to educate her, to bring her along the journey, to make her feel really comfortable.”
  • The product evolution — from one bestselling bra to their recently launched Fit Finder — and the pivot required by pandemic-era marketing
  • Navigating manufacturing and funding, especially as a woman seeking financing from primarily men (Note: McKinsey reports women are still only 21% of the C-suite and of those are mostly white women.)
  • Early-stage ThirdLove marketing tactics and positioning
  • How their innovative “try before you buy” program along with ads that asked if women were ‘Ready to graduate from Victoria’s Secret?’ drove 1 million new customers
  • How and why they leveraged podcasting as one of their main ad vehicles in 2015, baffling some investors
  • The pros and cons of linear and OTT TV
  • How ThirdLove spans Black History Month to Women’s History Month and beyond by uplifting women, in all senses of the word

“We were trying to figure out how ThirdLove was going to help support and impact change in the broader community. The TL Effect helps give female founders of color a little more of a voice in a crowded marketplace. We launched in June and picked our first recipient, Arra Simms, founder of Kewtie Nails.”

  • How ThirdLove keeps the conversation going with unconscious bias training required for all employees
  • The value of brand purpose to the bottom line
  • Aside from having Katie Couric in the ThirdLove influencer camp, Zak describes her use of micro-influencers: “real women who act as an advocate or a friend to the people who follow them.”
We wrapped with Zak projecting which industry, just as she disrupted one, could be ripe for a revision next.  Whatever it is I am certain Zak will be first to leverage the next new thing.

For those who caught my mid-episode mention of my podcast and content marketing services please reach out for help with podcasting to grow your brand. Click here to request a copy of my Seven Steps to Setting Up a B2B Podcast.

VAB CEO Sean Cunningham on Why Video “Simply” Works



Sean Cunningham is the son of a radio personality and the husband of grammarian. That may be why he expresses himself so fluidly and works hard to offer clear explanations about the video landscape at the same time. Those personal aspects combined with deep professional experience in the ad industry and as a strategic media advisor help him helm the VAB, the source for insights-driven research and thought leadership about premium video. As its president and CEO, Sean is laser-focused on maximizing outcomes and championing the medium as a must-have for building high-value brands and driving growth.

It’s not easy in our changing environment, but the mantra at the organization is to simplify what is a very complex ecosystem and offer insights that help all those in the business of video to thrive. They’ve kept up a steady pace of conferences and reports even during trying times, even as consumers have made a steady diet of video during these at-home days.

In Episode 19 of Insider Interviews, Sean tells host E.B. Moss about the definition and best practices around marketing with premium video (spoiler alert: the VAB defines it as multi-screen content that’s professionally produced programming in any form — linear, tablet, laptop, mobile, etc.).

Sean and E.B. also discuss:

  • Our radio dads!…and what happens around Sean’s dinner table…
  • The lessons he learned on the agency side that all media sellers should know
  • The role of media in building your brand during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The power of including authentic messaging around diversity & inclusion
  • VAB and IAB – important bedfellows
  • The changes in consumer habits that marketers need to consider
  • How to put your best foot forward to advance a career in this industry.

Resources Mentioned:

Social Media Links:

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You can also reach out to be considered for an episode — or suggest questions or a guest — or to have your own bespoke podcast series produced and/or hosted by E.B. Moss. Email us at podcasts@mossappeal.com. We’re “hear” for you!


Andrea Palmer of PHM on Marketing Healthcare – with Innovation and a Conscience



Andrea Palmer, now President of Publicis Health Media (PHM) has wanted to be in Healthcare Marketing since her college days despite the field not always getting credit for being dynamic or embracing creativity. With PHM’s reputation for having their “finger on the pulse” (sorry), she’s proven those perceptions wrong and inspired many to follow or stick to the healthcare marketing path.

In Episode 18 of Insider Interviews, in which I perhaps sing again (umm, twice, I’m just sayin’) Palmer clearly demonstrates just how creative and important messaging around healthcare can and should be. It’s certainly an area that’s very top of mind with us all these days and Palmer makes it digestible. You’ll pick up on why she rose through the ranks quickly at PHM — the strategic media planning and buying agency within PHCG, and the only global media agency solely dedicated to the health and wellness space. This industry trailblazer of nearly 20 years shares what’s currently happening in the healthcare media space, along with some interesting projections from PHM’s prescient “Disruptors List.” Get the insider scoop on what inspiring innovations emerged from the “Shark Tank”-type element of their industry-convening Health Front, and what we should be concerned about.

Palmer is determined to ensure the right information is getting out there and helped drive home PHM’s mission to equip brands AND people with the tools and communications they need to make healthy decisions. We learn why it’s important to create content with conscience and why brands need to listen to other voices than their own.

What we talked about:

  • What’s happening in healthcare marketing
  • How a childhood illness put Palmer on the path to healthcare…and college led her to marketing
  • Health trends and disruptors
  • How PHM markets to consumers who’re apprehensive about embracing telehealth
  • How PHM helps its clients with being ‘the resource’ instead of Dr. Google
  • Defining the concept of Content with a Conscience
  • Facing down racism: communicating to diverse audiences and not just “to the mean”
  • How Palmer is advising her clients on approaches to ensure that health message is communicated well and heard by all cohorts and communities
  • Thinking about the bigger picture
  • Pushing for innovation in the health realm
  • The future of healthcare

And yes, I find a reason to close with a song…again.

 

Follow Andrea on Social Media

 Resources mentioned in the episode

PHM: Publicis Health Media

Health Front 2020

The Healthcare Industry’s Big Disruptors


Frito-Lay SVP Marissa Solis on Pivoting Big Brands



Marissa Solis was about six months in to a big new role at one of the biggest snack companies in the world when one of the world’s biggest crisis hit. That’s not hyperbole. As the new head of all marketing initiatives, media, sports, and partnerships for the core brands of Frito-Lay North America, including Doritos, Cheetos, Tostitos, and dips, it was definitely not hyperbole.

That was Marissa’s new reality and she had to help smoothly and quickly do the equivalent of turning a battleship. But this dynamo had previously been tapped to lead the creation of a cross-functional Hispanic Business Unit at PepsiCo and had helped double beverage sales among U.S. Hispanic consumers in a short time, so she was the right woman to face down a pandemic.

Her throughline — and recipe for success? It always has to start with the consumer.

In Episode 17 Marissa explains her whirlwind responsibilities, the massive changes facing brands today, and how those Frito-Lay brands speak to specific audiences. We also talk about how COVID-19 has impacted campaigns from a Super Bowl sponsorship to a new direct to consumer approach. This is a great reminder for brands about the need to engage with consumers where they are. And right now, that is at home…with a pro-social commitment to community. For example, a big Cinco de Mayo campaign was planned and poised to roll out to retail…and instead quickly became Salsa for Cinco benefitting the Hispanic community — which has  been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Listen to the evolution of the #AmplifyBlackVoices campaign which included letting PepsiCo ad space be used instead by Black artists to showcase their work.

There’s much to digest in this episode! So grab a bag of chips, click play, and enjoy!

What also talked about:

  • The importance of being agile in today’s marketing world
  • Pivoting to the direct to consumer space
  • The “Pantry Stock Phenomenon”
  • The different personalities of Frito-Lay brands
  • Today’s marketing renaissance
  • Details on the benefits of Salsa for Cinco and #AmplifyBlackVoices campaigns
  • PepsiCo’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace
  • Engaging consumers where they are
  • How Marissa and her family adjusted to the new normal!

Follow Marissa:

Linkedin @Marissa Solis

Resources Mentioned:

www.snacks.com

Salsa For Cinco with Mario And Courtney Lopez

Doritos Amplifies Black Voices

@mossappeal


Marketing NPR – The Insider Scoop from CMO Michael Smith



Michael Smith joined National Public Radio as chief marketing officer at a time when the nation — and the world — had just entered crisis mode. In addition to adapting to his new job he’s needed to shift the company’s marketing message, outreach and the very stance the brand has taken over the past years. Part of that shift was motivated by more digital audio listening given more at-home workers during our pandemic. The parallel motivation was to amplify more multicultural voices and drive greater diversity within the halls of the company itself. 

In Episode 15, Michael shares his observations, his approach and some insider scoop from his winged-back chair in New Jersey. For example, he explains how different audiences respond to NPR’s content. Michael tells us that “among regular users when we look at people of color versus white listeners, their satisfaction levels are actually higher. So it’s an exciting thing in the sense that if we can get more people to know that we’re there and to get us into their consideration set, when they come, I think they’re going to love it.” 

Michael had primarily been focused on network video, developing strategies to reach younger and more diverse audiences on streaming platforms for Cooking Channel, and Food Network — where he and I worked together during the last big crisis for the country, 9/11! He has quickly learned to apply his know-how to linear radio and on demand audio.

“When they start to know some of these shows where there are young, diverse hosts, a Sam Sanders or [they get to know the] hosts of Pop Culture Happy Hour, that creates so much more engagement than when they just see the three block letters, NPR.”

The fast 35-minute discussion includes suggestions all brands can appreciate from a world-class marketer like Michael Smith. We talked about:
  • The challenges most media companies are facing right now
  • How to move from linear to on demand streaming digital platforms
  • Balancing linear, podcasting and the NPR One app
  • How has Coronavirus Daily evolved as a show…and the ongoing need for that content?
  • How NPR itself has evolved since its origins in the 60s, and why its signature audio style is intentionally like a mental “exhale”
  • Working with the sponsorship team, NPM
  • Michael’s optimism — and any pessimism — for the future.

Follow Michael on LinkedIn. Follow NPR on Twitter.

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Michael’s “studio” chair