In 2020, Danielle Wiley was included in the revered “Top 50” list by Talking Influence. And the agency she founded, Sway Group was selected by Chief Marketer as one of just three influencer agencies of the “2020 Chief Marketer 200”. So it’s a safe bet that she has something to say about #influencermarketing. And that’s what she did, in Epi 32 of Insider Interviews.
I’d had the chance to experience Wiley’s thoughts last year when she contributed to The Continuum, a publication about brand + demand marketing, which I’m privileged to edit. In that article she explained how to look at the KPIs of influencer marketing a little bit differently, and the varied ways to determine impact and engagement. We touched on that in this conversation, but a 30-minute conversation gives you a chance to understand much more — not just about this food writer turned marketer, but things like how cause-marketing is another essential ingredient in influencing consumers. And these days, Sway has evolved to embrace that (and she shared case study examples) as well as digital advertising, both programmatic and paid social, and built what was a natural extension: a content studio.
One of my favorite discoveries about Wiley (aside from learning about our common roots working at Food Network in the early days!) was that she was a baker and a cheesemonger at one point. I believe that takes the cake for eclectic pasts among my podcast guests. Her culinary chops have served her well, though, as she can name several brands in or around the category as clients, including Igloo, Coleman, and Domino’s.
If that didn’t get you hungry to hear more, here’s what else we discussed:
Wiley’s evolution from a baker and blogger to early stage expert in social media to our common ground in marketing chefs like Emeril as “c-hunks”!
Her observation of the power of engagement with popular bloggers — and the infusion of trust vs. the singular appeal of celebrity
In its infancy influencers were treated more like journalists. Brands were just sending them product and expecting that they would get reviews out of it. That worked …for a short period of time. …Then they realized ‘if we’re just sending them a box of Mac & Cheese, we can’t have control over messaging…’. And we started paying them.
How the transition from providing product to bloggers to hiring them necessitated greater trust and authenticity in the influencer, and the path to creative content was laid
How Sway itself evolved away from the “Hollywood agent” business model to be able to scale and replicate requests — whether for moms of bedwetters or people who picnic with pizza
How brands solve for the demand for content tonnage across multiple channels — which sparked the birth of a content studio
Why the most important step in the strategic brief is a deep dive into the brand’s KPIs — impressions? engagement?
The big thing to remember is that as you increase in following the engagement rate goes down dramatically.
What’s a micro or a nano influencer and why does it matter — and the various forms of sponsorship. (Hint: Feel free to sponsor THIS podcast just by buying me a coffee!)
The shift from wanting to steer clear of influencers with a point of view, to actively seeking that out — and how the GenZ demand for brand purpose has influenced how brands use influencers!
Wiley explained the two initiatives Sway worked on for Stonyfield Farms, for example – tapping eco-conscious influencers and creating a cause-related corporate initiative
We took a deeper dive into pro-social initiatives and examples, and the confluence of content channels. (Of course I mentioned the conference I’m producing about the intersection of television and podcasting for example!) And that led to a chat about why Wiley’s family gets a little annoyed about her heavy podcast consumption habit!
KoAnn Skrzyniarz has been making a strong case for building Sustainable Brands in global conversations with some of the world’s biggest advertisers. It’s all about the business value of environmental and social purpose. And the data is on her side.
In time for Earth Month, or any time, in Epi 28 KoAnn (frequently known by just her first name) shares not just the “whys”, but some recent “hows”: how sustainability has moved the needle for leading brands and how to be resilient in a “VUCA” world. A what?
Listen; she’ll explain, and we also discuss:
The impetus for creating Sustainable Brands – and if its mission has changed more than 15 years later?
What kind of changes has she seen in the brand and media marketplace in terms of embracing brand purpose
“Twenty years ago it was not recognized that companies that understood how to innovate for environmental and social benefit were going to be the companies that survived and thrived in the 21st century.”
Is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) a good description? (Hint: KoAnn explains why it’s more a “business opportunity” and why the ANA [Association of National Advertisers] uses he notion of ‘good growth’. )
How companies should integrate their brand marketers and strategists, the product and service positioning teams AND the sustainability/procurement/diversity teams
Is our current focus on brand purpose just another trend? How does it compare to the green rush of the 2007 timeframe or rallying around Hurricane Katrina? Have companies evolved in their mission-driven work?
The data supportive of sales driven by environmental and social value propositions; What kinds of brand transformation are happening — and at which companies?
How have companies like Clorox and P&G navigated the road to sustainability? And what is a Brand Transformation Roadmap?
How has Sustainable Brands itself pivoted during the pandemic to salvage — and even grow — their world-class conferences in a VUCA world! (There it is again!)
Arra Yerganian thinks healthcare has always been a little upside down, controlled by physicians instead of the the patients. Ya think? But I misspeak – at least while speaking with Yerganian: he actually banned the word “patients” when he was CMO at both Sutter Health and One Medical. He explained that the word comes from Latin for “‘a place of suffering’ and that should be a temporary state at best.” Instead, he said, “We used the person’s name, so it wasn’t a dehumanizing experience to come into the doctor’s office.”
I liked this guy immediately. But there’s more to marketing healthcare than nomenclature. Yerganian is on a mission to raise awareness of the biggest issues impacting health for all of us: our Social Determinants of Health — or SDOH. Basically, if my zip code is wealthier than yours the overall population is likely healthier. I likely am more informed about and have better access to healthier foods or fitness facilities, I might have access to more parks for fresh air, and of course the income to afford anything from childcare to catch up on sleep and even infant mortality rates and so on. So how can we democratize health? For Yerganian, it’s awareness, it’s education, it’s communication. He also notes that, apropos our recent civic dis-ease and disease, “beyond the pandemic, the great challenge that we’ll have is the behavioral health crisis that’s affecting our country.”
He shares the details of best practices and how to get on a healthier collective path overall in this Episode 22 of Insider Interviews.(Hint: stand up more for healthy behavior in every sense of the meaning.)
NOTE: I’m proud to be Editor in Chief of The Continuum, about awareness and performance marketing. In Issue 2 posting in late January you can also read this interview along with the POVs and suggestions from other notables in the health and wellness marketing space. But, dear listeners, you get the advance insights here when you catch the full conversation with Arra Yerganian.
He and I discuss:
What are the social determinants of health, and how do they fit this into the world of marketing?
How can we track and thus help modify the exposure to environmental ills
What are some new approaches in brand marketing and health and wellness, such as driving uptake of tele-health?
How can promoting value-based programs reward healthcare providers with incentive payments?
How can products or brands, like a sleep aid or gym facility or a yoga mat or bicycle manufacturer, leverage some healthcare data and apply that to their marketing
How do you market against patients deferring to Google for diagnosing themselves?
And how do you conduct business meetings standing up?!
Here’s to a happier, HEALTHIER New Year to you all, with my sincere appreciation for listening, sharing and subscribing wherever you like to listen to Podcasts.
How do you circulate a message that even the Pope shares — and ultimately get 2 billion impressions across hundreds of countries around the world? Ask Lawrence M. Kimmel. His Rung-UP team created the #WeRemember campaign for World Jewish Congress. What marketing advice would this former Chairman of the Direct Marketing Association give politicians to help them appeal more to the public? And, what does Larry think are standout marketing tactics these days?
I asked Larry all of that – and he answered specifically and thoughtfully in Epi 13 of Insider Interviews. He also shares what led him to create Rung-UP, a strategic marketing consultancy…and why he calls it the first “C2C” agency.
You’ll immediately value Larry’s creative vision, branding and marketing expertise when you hear him discuss these elements as well:
How the current pandemic is affecting global consumer behavior
His personal experiences that impacted his evolution into a mission-driven clientele — and lessons from his father, Howard Kimmel, who put his lifeblood into building affordable housing
Rung-UP’s work with the World Jewish Congress and how he came about the campaign #WeRemember
Why a C2C approach is so important for those in the “C-Suite”
His tips on branding and marketing a politician
How advertising has changed and become more complicated throughout the years
Why both traditional and digital channels are important in advertising
Instagram stories or TikTok? And will he still embrace Facebook? Is there a place for traditional direct mail?
His predictions for consumer behavior in the future
The ripple effect of brands’ response to consumer buying habits
His recommendations for companies who need to do better in bringing more of a multicultural team — and what young entrants to a career in media should focus on.
Be informed and inspired by Larry Kimmel, who is living and working this reality:“If we can do well for the world and make a living at the same time, it’s even better.”