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!
For this quick but special episode of Insider Interviews I was in the guest seat! In highlights from my appearance on Ken Kraetzer’s show, “Talking Business” for CBSI, Ken interviewed ME to get my recommendations about how businesses can get in to the world of podcasting, best ways to leverage social media — and social audio — and why it’s key to create content across all platforms.
You’ll understand in just a few minutes how it all comes together for the show I’m producing for trade association, NATPE — their first-ever conference on the intersection of TV and Podcasting! (I’m very proud of this project and working hard to create a chock-full of takeaways agenda for content creators, marketers and producers across both screens.)
Ken also got a little bit of my life story — at least my career path, as well as a story about the good-news/bad-news of tech, when I recently confused a “Zoom friend” with an “IRL” friend!
You can catch the FULL VIDEO of my interview with Ken on YouTube where we also discuss social audio and social media best practices! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6PU_IDU9iA&t=27s
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.
For Episode 21 I spoke with someone who’s been an animated head more times than he can probably count: Paul Hangesis CEO of JibJab, which is famous for its personalized e-cards and satire animations that lets your head be the star! If you haven’t heard of JibJab you may have had YOUR head in the sand; they’re the OG of digital branded content. It was born in 1999 to brothers Evan and Gregg Spiridellis, perhaps best recalled from their 2004 glory days of being featured on everything from The Tonight Show to ABC News for then viral political satire, “This Land.”
Hanges, who was promoted from COO 18 months ago, says they’re proud of being dubbed the “original online cockroach” for their longevity and survival of dot-com and economy busts. In our conversation he explains why JibJab is still hot more than 20 years since its inception. They’re even having something of a renaissance with the resurrection of their trademark Year in Review video after a six-year pause. (But how could you NOT do a recap of a year like 2020? For Chief Creative Officer Mauro Gattiand lyricist Scott Emmonsit probably almost wrote itself! And I’m proud to offer my big head/floppy jaw cut here for your amusement by way of example!)
Hanges also explains the appeal of low-tech animation and their trademark “big heads and floppy jaws,” how they survive as a subscription model and why they walk away from brand dollars if not aligned with their mission – “to make billions of people happy by allowing them to be funny, wherever they’re having that conversation.”
Here are the highlights – but do hear all Hanges has to say in this very “animated” conversation:
How it all started – yes in the proverbial garage
Why, in a world of “deep fakes and augmentation” the appeal of JibJab is the personalization and NOT to replace reality. “We want to provide utility to help people say happy birthday or anniversary or other big moments.”
How personal micro networks add up to eyeballs at scale – and 1.3 million paying subscribers;
How they’ll leverage the rights to hits like “Old Town” or Mamma Mia the musical, but why they’ll walk away from 95% ofbranded opportunities;
Why politics and JibJab do not always make good bedfellows, but why they participated in the Facebook ad boycott in July to stand up to divisiveness;
How (self-plug here) they balance “brand+demand,” — as we promote in The Continuum;
The big data opportunity they’re sitting on to be a personalized service for people and how they’ve had to be nimble and “pivot” in their production and platform access.
And of course, for the last episode of 2020 we have to offer Hanges’ words of wisdom from the past full year as CEO to other new CEOs…and how to embrace your strengths and those of others as well. “I take a step back and look and say, ‘we have a very strong operating team that’s working towards a goal of making billions of people happy.’ …And I’ve been really proud to say I can lead this company with that mission.”
Personally, I could not have wrapped up my first year of Insider Interviews podcasts (AND my “It’s Quite a Living” personal podcast) with a better message than to “head” into 2021 with the inspiration of a JibJab to find the humor and spread the joy throughout this holiday season and into 2021.
Thank you all for listening and hopefully sharing this podcast. I value your feedback and support. And if I can help you create content that spreads joy or opens revenue doors please visit Moss Appeal or write to me at email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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….