Tag Archives: podcasts

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.

IAB’s David Cohen with the Pulse of Digital Media & Marketing



When David Cohen joined the IAB as President, the US was two weeks into stay-at-home mandates. While that may have curtailed in-person conferences the industry association is known for, it upped the focus on all things digital. Not long after, the ante was also upped for Cohen personally when he was named CEO following the 14 year run of Randall Rothenberg. Pressure? Not to hear Cohen, who has helmed major agency divisions and had $20B in media spending under his purview during his days at MAGNA and UM. But pandemic-influenced strategy changes? Definitely.

In support of its mission to “empower the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy” – let alone during a COVID economy — Cohen has “brought an unprecedented number of industry captains into their leadership councils and transformed the timeliness of their strategic initiatives.”

Those words from Rothenberg’s commendation of Cohen on his promotion sparked a song from me. Of course. No one is safe. But that didn’t curtail a compelling conversation about more serious matters, such as Cohen telling me about the advantages that came with adapting to the digital world as early as the 90’s and how he – and the IAB overall – are continuing to innovate with today’s current technologies for marketers. I also put Cohen in the same hot seat he put recent panelists in when moderating a Reach Conference talk himself, asking what he would most like to see fixed in our current digital eco-sphere.

Cohen moderating Reach Conference panel

We also discuss:

  • Cohen’s A-ha! Moment – from the Yellow Pages!
  • The lessons he learned after joining the IAB family that every marketing agency should know
  • “Pulse studies” on changes in consumer consumption trends to media buyers/seller polls
  • The IAB’s Brand Disruption Summit
  • How to navigate through your Brand and Demand goals
  • The shift in how digital engagement is being accomplished
  • How IAB is helping in pushing cross-platform forward
  • Like his friend and recent Insider Interviews guest, Carl Fremont, Cohen has a pro-social personal mission. Hear how he — and ANA’s Bill Tucker — are helping push support of disadvantaged children.

Resources Mentioned:

Social Media Links:

Insider Interviews is on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Please share the podcast and share how smart you are about media, marketing and advertising! To 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 podcasts@mossappeal.com. We’re “hear” for you!


Tom Webster with the Insider Scoop on Audio Research



Tom Webster, SVP of Edison Research, describes his job as “telling the stories of numbers.” He definitely make numbers come alive, and he’s a great storyteller overall. So you’re generally okay with Tom as your guest if you didn’t discuss podcast topics in advance.

My industry acquaintance may be self-effacing, but he has a steel trap mind for the insights Edison regularly uncovers about all things audio, and he shared quite a few in our ad hoc but fascinating conversation for  Insider Interviews.

The custom market research company helmed by Larry Rosin may be best known as the sole providers of exit polling data during U.S. elections, but Tom is best known for his big research reveals on webinars (now Zoom presentations) or at conferences. Research junkies lean in to hear which platform has the biggest “share of ear” and how differently are consumers engaging with Alexa. Basically, he’s the go-to guy for sharing and interpreting our evolving involvement with radio, podcasting, voice…even IoT and our social media habits.

As Tom describes it, “I make sure that the data that we collect on behalf of our clients is understood contextualized, put into action and valued, and that people come back for more.” Here’s what’s “more” about Tom and a topline of our discussion: Little known fact? Tom likes words as well as numbers. This former English Lit professor is also the principal author of some widely cited studies and the co-author of The Infinite Dial, America’s longest-running research series on digital media consumption, and The Mobile Commerce Revolution.

In Episode 16, Tom shares some insider scoop from Edison’s audio research – and his considered POV on the current state of radio broadcasting and the growth of podcasting (including some tips that can help you grow your own podcast).

[00:01 – 03:25] Opening Segment

  • More about Tom Webster, his role in Edison Research and a moving from academia to a marketing career

[03:26 – 17:20] The Insider Scoop on Audio Research

  • About Edison Research’s broader offerings – like that exit poll and vote count data – and Tom’s area of focus: Audio
  • More insider scoop from Tom WebsterVoice vs. Audio
    • The growth of “smart speakers.”
    • Where are we – if anywhere — with an FM chip for mobile phones?
    • The general state of radio
    • The uptake on podcasting (Joe Rogan notwithstanding)
  • Tom talks about some Edison partnerships (and E.B. held back “insider” jokes about her old boss, John Rosso of Triton Digital!)

[17:21 – 25:40] Diverse Voices

  • The diversity in podcast listeners and podcast content
  • Growing your podcast in today’s competitive market:
    • Having a distinct voice
    • Showing your unique, distinct point of view
  • How Tom is sharing HIS unique POV, via his own newsletter I Hear Things

[25:41 – 31:27] Closing Segment

  • Tom’s go-to resource gathering platforms
  • The Tom and Tamsen team: “freenoting”with his wife, Tamsen Webster
  • Final thoughts

 

 

E.B. and Tom on the first (last?) VOICE panel at CES 1/20

Resources Mentioned:

You can connect with Tom on LinkedIn and Twitter. Subscribe to his I Hear Things newsletter. Listen to The Freenoter with Tom Webster and Tamsen Webster.

Follow Edison Research on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. You can also visit their website https://www.edisonresearch.com/

Please share the podcast if you liked this episode, and Follow Insider Interviews on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

And 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, please reach out at podcasts@mossappeal.com. I’m “hear” for you!

 


Podcast Prognostications At and Around RAIN’s Global Summit – with Brad Hill: Epi 14



This episode is made up of two discussions about podcasting: A casual conversation with RAIN News president, Brad Hill around fun moments from the industry and projections for its success… and a more formal discussion — actually a few segments grabbed from RAIN’s Global Podcast Leadership Summit.

Insider Interviews host, E.B. Moss was the moderator on a panel about podcast advertising, featuring Art19’s Lex Friedman and Targetspot’s Dave Sosson — and a few of their insights were captured here.

  • You’ll learn how the summit had to pivot — and lessons for good zooming — as well as:
  • the kinds of media categories that podcasters are selling against — think paid social — and how they compare;
  • how host read ads are great, but how do they fit in to a targeted buy 
  • Interesting projections from the IAB and the new categories opening up for — and of — podcast advertisers
  • SHOULD there be a “PAB” 
  • And what is “giide”?

NOTE: Read RainNews.com to catch more takeaways from all the 8 sessions of the recent summit.

And ask E.B. about using giide.fm for your media company!

 


Lantigua-Williams with the Scoop on Launching a Podcast Company



Get the “insider scoop” on how to dive in to creating a place in the podcasting world. The talented Juleyka Lantigua-Williams, Founder/CEO of Lantigua Williams & Co., an award-winning and Peabody-nominated digital media studio, walked us through her anxiety through her achievements. While she’s humble enough to just describe herself as someone who builds teams that create podcasts, those teams have turned out hit after hit in three short years. But Lantigua-Williams has the chops, from 20 years of experience as a writer, reporter, editor, syndicated columnist, book editor/scout, lecturer, and audio producer!
The differentiator for this company? Its mission to support and amplify the creators and stories “from the margins” – which often means by and about women of color. These shows include Latina to Latina, which just passed 100 episodes, 70 Million, and Feeling My Flo. But Lantigua-Williams also does consulting and white-label production services for clients like Macmillan Podcasts (Driving the Green Book), the Phi Beta Kappa Society, WHYY, KQED, and Civil Beat.
Another secret weapon for success is Juleyka’s authenticity and generosity. She’s set a tone of sharing — which you’ll hear candidly in this conversation and can read in her posts on the company site and elsewhere, like this very guide to “centering marginalized people in your podcast.”
Listen and learn the ins and outs of producing a show and starting a company as Juleyka shares her knowledge and expertise including:
    • How Juleyka embraces her BFF, named “Insomnia”, and sidekick, Perfectionism
    • The path from intern to producer to company founder – as a “hyphenated American”
    • The first step to starting any company
    • Staying true to Juleyka’s vision for her company
    • How some shows came about (umm, conversations around astronauts menstruating in space?) and upcoming projects
    • Supporting women of color
    • Getting to “scale” and getting revenue
Follow on Social Media

 

Resources mentioned:

Lantigua Williams & Co

Podcasting Seriously

Truth be Told by Tanya Moseley

 


New Schedule for Insider Interviews Podcast!



Normally I come out with a new episode of “Insider Interviews” every Thursday, but did you know that I also have another podcast? It’s sort of my personal passion project and it’s called “It’s Quite a Living“, and it’s with “my friends in high places”. They’re really casual conversations about some high profile people who happen to be my friends. Now, that one comes out every other Tuesday.

So I’ve decided to make “Insider Interviews” — the B2B one speaking with those in media marketing and advertising — come out every other Thursday…at least through the summer.

Of course, if an eager sponsor* wants me to produce more frequently bring it on! Otherwise, you’ll hear Episode 11 NEXT Thursday.

Frankly, it’s been a LOT to create, host and post two podcasts a week, even though I love it — especially during our current times, and especially since I seem to be developing a reputation for singing to my guests. Listeners understand that…. But do stay subscribed because you won’t want to miss the CEO of Quigley Simpson, Carl Fremont, who will be my very interesting next guest!

And now you have some time in between to catch up on the past 10 episodes with amazing folks like Minjae Ormes of Visible, Claude Silver of Vayner Media, Sree Sreenivasan (don’t miss his #NYTimesReadalong on Sundays!), Rachael Henke of Dell Technologies, and guests from NYI, Tidal Wave Productions, Krantz Media and more!
I’m very, very proud of what we’ve been able to do together to bring you great content about the industry. And I really appreciate all of the great ratings you’ve given me and the subscribing and sharing. You can listen just about anywhere you like (although Pandora is still a hold out, I’m just sayin’.) Thank you for telling everyone in the industry. It means a lot to me.

*And, if you want to sponsor an episode of EITHER podcast, or suggest a guest for “Insider Interviews”, please reach out at podcasts@mossappeal.com. I’m “hear” for you!

E.B.