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 temporarily one of the last for Insider Interviews for a while, as I embrace something really new. A fractional (year long) assignment as Senior Vice President of Content and Community at Brand Innovators. They create a community for marketers and and media folks through an incredible number of events and panel discussions, fireside chats, activations, tent poles, content articles, you name it.
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!
Shelly Palmer:It was fascinating to me to see the speed with which people were willing to adopt bad lighting, accept it, bad camera, angles, bad makeup hair, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad. Everybody’s fine with it. And I think it’s fantastic because the most important thing is that we all get together.
Erica Keswin:From a brand perspective, how are you going to be remembered during this time in terms of what you did, what you said, what you supported and how you brought your human to work?
Claude Silver:Let’s not deny the fact that you and I are talking through a screen rather than in person and call it what it is, but also communicate trust, empathy and vulnerability.
Those are just some of the takeaways from three past episodes of Insider Interviews and as a special little bonus edition for Thanksgiving I am sharing back some of these words of wisdom from Shelly Palmer, Erica Keswin, and Claude Silver, who each happened to talk about how we can create connection and how that helps brands and employees thrive. Especially in tough times like this pandemic.
Highlights of the highlights:
Palmer: “People are quickly adapting to and evolving into good citizens in video chat. It’s fantastic. …And the other thing I love about what’s happening right now is formality has gone out the window.
…They’ve been willing, accepting of technical glitches that you would never have accepted before. It really reminds me dramatically reminds me of the change in video grammar in 1980, oddly enough.
…And I think what is most important thing is that we all get together; that we figure out how to be social animals in a time when, when coronavirus is making us forcing us to be less social.”
Keswin: Think about communication along a continuum: you have instant message and texts and Slack and email and picking up the phone. We used to be able to walk across the hall or visit people. …Now, from a societal perspective, many of us are defaulting to that technological end of the spectrum during this COVID-19 quarantine. How can you …pick up the phone, turn on the camera…and speak in that human voice, across all mediums of communication.
…”If you’re running the meeting make sure you say to your people, ‘you need to take some time to turn it off.’…It really is up to the leaders to model and to push people, to make sure that they’re taking care of themselves.
…From a brand perspective, how are you going to be remembered during this time in terms of, you know, what you did, what you said, what you supported and how you brought your human to work?”
Silver: I believe in people and I think that pretty much anything is accomplishable with vulnerability, with people showing up to be big and authentic and not building walls, but really finding ways to bond with one another and connect.
…You know, when you’re on a screen, everyone has the same size square. It has leveled the playing field. And I definitely think that while we have to work a little bit harder to create this connection
…On one hand, I do think that brands have a very big responsibility to be as authentic as possible today and not try to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes because we are all reading the same news. We are all in the same climate. We’re in a sea of sameness right now. We’re all in this world together. So don’t try to fluff that. … I don’t think we need to be cotton, candy and Illy gooey. But I also don’t think we need to be showing things that are not attainable today…. Let’s get real about that.
I think that there is resiliency, authenticity. I think there’s fine to have a little bit of levity, which we see in these memes on Instagram and everywhere. …like me going to the refrigerator 20 times in one hour, because it’s there. Those are things that I think are they capture human emotion and that’s what it’s about. That’s what it’s always been about.
…I would like to think every brand would be mindful of the fact that we are all in this world together. … I would show more ads connecting people together, coming together on a zoom or a squad cast or a hangout, let’s not deny the fact that you and I are talking to a screen rather than in-person but also communicate trust and vulnerability.
Again, my thanks to everyone for listening and to all of the 20 interviewees that I’ve spoken to thus far.
And if you’d like help with building your own podcast or any content marketing, please reach out to me at email@example.com.
I look forward to sharing more in the very near future.
Phrases with the word “heart” in them are too many to count; it’s our most treasured reference as it aligns with love, soul, happiness…basically anything positive (unless tied to “attack”.) But tie it to “Silver” and you have a whole added meaning for positivity, because then you’re talking about Claude Silver, Chief Heart Officer of VaynerMedia, a full service digital agency “built for the now.” It’s a fairly unique title, but trust media trend-shaper Gary Vaynerchuk (AKA Gary Vee) to assign that role to his “number two” person. And so, I couldn’t help but bookend my podcast interview with Silver with a serenade, because her actual job is to encourage “courageous conversations” to ensure the whole company works towards the goals of empathy, heart, speed, hustle, and winning.
Silver’s background in positive psychology and leadership positions in strategy at leading ad agencies in the US and UK make her uniquely qualified to inspire healthy attitudes at work, among all people, and encourage transparency. With that mindset, I braved a tune or two, but in between asked some serious questions. Here are the time codes and topics we covered, but I encourage you to hear all the parts in between, because, as the song goes, one is silver and the other’s gold:
5:50: Silver describes a day in her life as the person in charge of “people and experience”
7:20: The difference between classic “HR” and the VaynerMedia approach
10:30: How to “scale culture”
13:00: The VaynerMedia difference versus other agency holding companies
17:00: What VaynerMedia looks for in candidates
19:00: Ageism – at Vayner? In the industry overall?
21:30: Career Pivots
25:35: Silver’s suggestions for brands in a COVID-19 world – and beyond
31:30: Silver’s (s)heroes and thoughts on leadership
35:10: Personal thoughts on parenting today
And, you might want to fast-forward starting at 36:30, because that’s where I sing to Silver again….