Tag Archives: Heidi Zak

Ringing out the Old with News from E.B. for 2022



For the past 44 episodes of Insider Interviews I’ve put a lot of well-known media and marketing folks in the hot seat …And today’s guest is … E.B. Moss. Me. Because as we ring out the old and ring in the new I’ve got some news for you.

This nice round number, episode 45, will be one of the last for Insider Interviews for a while, as I embrace something really new. A brand new role as Senior Vice President of Content and Community for Brand Innovators.

I’m thrilled to join this company, which has done such a great job for the past 10 years of creating a community for marketers and helping build relationships between those marketers and media folks. They’ve done it through an incredible number of events and panel discussions, fireside chats, activations, tent poles, content articles, you name it. I will help further that community and also build new products. So, stay tuned as they say. And join us!
In looking back to look forward, as I wrote in The Continuum recently, I had some wonderful conversations. After launching with programming pro, Gary Krantz, talking about audio and the evolution of radio and podcasting my very next episode was in March of 2020 was Shelly Palmer, the pundit, who accurately predicted that we all better have our tech set up well to work from home. Check.

In episode 7, Claude Silver, the Chief Heart Officer of Vayner Media, emphasized the need in our increasingly isolated environment to build relationships. And then Arra Yerganian educated us in episode 22, about the social determinants of health as we’re so impacted by our surroundings. (I hope you’re creating a safe space for yourself and finding ways to bring joy into your world, even as we have to isolate a little bit longer now.)
On the DEI front Robyn Streisand, founder of The Mixx, is doing a terrific job at educating brands on how to embrace diverse communities and market authentically. And then, hats off to KoAnn Skrzyniarz, for building Sustainable Brands and emphasizing brand purpose and the business value of embracing sustainability and purpose-driven messaging.
Talk about influencers.
That’s what Danielle Wiley of Sway did and really informed us about how to manage what’s been influential and what hasn’t. And it all kind comes together with Joe Jackman in episode 37, talking about reinvention. Because that’s what we’re all doing these days. Marc Kidd and Anna Bager each talked about the out of home ad industry and their headaches during a time when nobody was traveling. Captivate, where Marc is CEO, specialized in elevator advertising, and no one was going into office buildings! So they figured out how to pivot — or reinvent — by expanding their signage to places where people play and live like golf courses and apartment buildings. Anna Bager talked about how out of home signage really helped move public service messaging forward, especially with the healthcare messaging that is so important these days.
There were also some really impactful conversations with women in marketing. I want to thank, for example, Melissa Grady, the CMO of Cadillac, as well as Heidi Zak, the co-founder and CEO of third love, as just two examples.
And I was able to do articles on both of them for The Continuum. That’s the publication where I was editor in chief for the past year. We published some excellent articles about the need for both brand and demand marketing. That publication will continue to embrace the future. And it’s a very worthy read.
But I think as I look forward, and look back, some of Ruth Steven’s words were exactly right and underscores why my move to Brand Innovators will be so timely. Ruth is one of the foremost experts in B2B marketing.

And she said in our interview,

“Today, the ability of the salesperson to guide a purchase in the buyer’s direction and really understand the needs of that buyer has been eroded. So the marketer needs to step in and provide the educational content.”

So my friends, I’m going to keep finding lots of ways to help marketers get their message out and to help connect the seller, the buyer, the media organization and the marketer, and I look forward to being able to continue delivering you that insider scoop. Just from a different venue.
With that, I wish you all the very, very best and a happy and especially a healthy 2022, and hope to maintain my relationship with all of you through various forms of content, as well as hopefully at in-person event sooner rather than later.
I thank you so much for listening.
Post Script: If you haven’t heard it yet, I will pick up my “passion podcast” soon – about my “friends in high places” so please subscribe to It’s Quite a Living now to not miss a forthcoming moment when that relaunches in early 2022.
PPS: You can STILL follow me at @mossappeal on social media!


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.