Why Gen Z Will Use Work To Change The World

In mid-2018, a whopping 61 million members of Gen Z entered the US workforce, making there five generations in the workforce at once. During a panel entitled “The Inherent Rebellion of Gen Z” at this week’s 3% Conference, Alain Sylvain—the founder and chief executive officer of strategy and design consultancy Sylvain Labs—makes the case for employers to ask how they can work with the TikTok-loving cohort, instead of asking how Gen Z will work for them.

Sylvain’s case study, which highlights how Gen Z’s tech-savviness will catalyze social progress and a workplace revolution, has important implications for brands looking to understand and appeal to Gen Z.

A little rebellious, very socially conscious and more digitally connected than any other group, Gen Z is perhaps the savviest generation when it comes to risk, creativity and invention, argues Sylvain. In the ‘50s and ‘60s, people revolted against innocence and authority, respectively. Later, Gen X would lead an anti-establishment rebellion, embracing all things alternative. For millennials, it was about shunning the conventional idea of adulthood and the milestones that came with it, such as getting married or buying a house at a certain age.

Unlike the generations before them, Gen Z—digital natives born during times of crisis spanning the 9/11 attacks, the 2008 recession and now, COVID—have a vastly different perspective than others, and therefore is not anti-anything, but rather pro-change.

“Gen Z only knows a world where things aren’t making sense or things are falling apart, and they’re looking to the rest of us to do something about it. Add to that they’re looking at it through the lens of technology,” Sylvain says.

From Gen Z’s reliance on technology was born a new humanity, one characterized by a collective connectedness, enabling Gen Z to have a greater sense of awareness thanks to information about anything being just a smartphone tap away. Because of their ability to connect with people from every corner of the globe, Gen Z feels a sense of responsibility to care for their neighbor, which Sylvain notes is inducing Gen Z-created businesses and content that simultaneously benefit society and challenge norms. 

“If millennials shunned the system in pursuit of their own personal purpose, Gen Z is hacking the system in pursuit of collective progress. For them, work is a medium used to solve their desire to change the world. Work is an extension of that pursuit.”

The truth is, Gen Z, having reimagined what rebellion can actually be, is a political force to be reckoned with, according to Sylvain. In one savvy act of rebellion, Gen Z activists in Hong Kong used Animal Crossing to stage a virtual anti-government protest, featuring characters holding torches and signs that read “Free Hong Kong.” As a result, the game was banned in China.

Gen Z’ers also have higher standards for the companies they work for. In fact, a recent study by Girls With Impact found that 45 percent of Gen Z want to work for a company that makes a positive difference in the world, while 65 percent wish to personally create something world-changing.

To reach the group not afraid to call it like it is, Sylvain recommends employers act as allies toward Gen Z by listening, and being supportive and humble in their interactions with them.

TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer Urges Competitors To Disclose Their Algorithms

This week in social media news, TikTok’s CEO urges major competitors to disclose their algorithms, Twitter says watch parties on the platform have surged during the pandemic, Snapchat releases its second annual study on Gen Z and millennial mobile behavior, Bumble sees a fivefold increase in app installs after running direct response ads on TikTok, Instagram tries luring away major TikTok creators, a Sprout Social report reveals retailers saw a 40 percent increase in social media engagement in Q2 and more.

TikTok Urges Competitors To Reveal Their Algorithms And Moderation Policies

In a company blog post, TikTok chief executive officer Kevin Mayer called on all companies to “disclose their algorithms, moderation policies, and data flow to regulators,” a step Mayer says TikTok has already taken when it launched its first Transparency Center in Los Angeles in March, with plans to open a second one in Washington D.C.

Why it matters: Mayer’s post comes as the US government considers banning TikTok over concerns the app is sharing consumer data with the Chinese, a move that would benefit TikTok competitors like Facebook and Triller.

The details: In an attempt to assuage the fears of Washington, Mayer touted TikTok as “responsible and committed members of the American community that follows US laws.”

Mayer wants major competitors like Facebook to publicly share their data practices on the basis that TikTok allows experts to observe TikTok’s algorithms in real time via its Transparency and Accountability Center.  

Mayer also directly calls out Facebook for mimicking TikTok’s short-form format via Instagram Reels:

“Facebook is even launching another copycat product, Reels (tied to Instagram), after their other copycat Lasso failed quickly. But let’s focus our energies on fair and open competition in service of our consumers, rather than maligning attacks by our competitor – namely Facebook – disguised as patriotism and designed to put an end to our very presence in the US.”

Twitter Watch Parties Balloon During COVID-19

According to new stats Twitter released this week, the terms ‘Watch party’ and ‘Netflix party’ surged over 500 percent on Twitter in Canada during the pandemic.

Why it matters: Major brands have added interactive watch parties to their mix to boost engagement around new releases. For example, Disney hosted a Twitter watch party around the launch of Hamilton on Disney+, as did Netflix for its documentary about Michael Jordan.

The details: Other noteworthy Canadian user habits include an increase in device usage in all categories–a 133 percent increase in creating videos, 91 percent growth in listening to podcasts and 66 percent rise in streaming

Gen Z And Millennials Are Watching More Mobile Content Than Before, Snapchat Study Finds

Snapchat and the National Research Group’s (NRG) second annual online study examining the mobile behavior of US Gen Z and millennials found that 73 percent are watching more video on their smartphone than they did a year ago.

Why it matters: Snapchat says its users value vertical video formats because they provide a more intimate, immersive experience. As a nationwide resurgence of COVID looms, younger generations are increasingly turning to their phones for entertainment and shopping, reflecting the importance for brands to create mobile-first content.  

The details: The results show that daily engagement with premium mobile content has grown 40 percent in 2020, with younger users’ time spent engaging with mobile media reaching 4 hours and 26 minutes a day, compared with 3 hours and 24 minutes watching television.

Eighty percent of Gen Z and millennials turn to short-form premium content for news, while 86 percent of millennials and 85 percent of Gen Z say technology allows them to express themselves and contribute to cultural conversations.

Mobile video could also serve as a valuable tool for brands looking to meaningfully connect with younger generations during COVID-19, as 86 percent of both groups say mobile video has helped them cope with new anxieties and stay in touch with loved ones during lockdowns.

Bumble Increased App Downloads By Five Times Via TikTok Direct Response Ads 

After running direct response ads and influencer campaigns on TikTok during the pandemic, Bumble saw a fivefold increase in app installs, and decreased cost-per-registration by 64 percent, as reported by Mobile Marketer.

Why it matters: Bumble’s success is a testament to TikTok’s ability to help brands reach new, and young, users during a time when Gen Z and millennials are increasingly engaging with mobile content.

The details: To diversify its marketing mix, from March to May, Bumble collaborated with mega TikTok creators David Dobrik and Brittany Broski to create native content in TikTok’s “For You” feeds. The dating app also used native in-feed videos for direct response, optimization for in-app activations and automated bidding.

Instagram Tries Luring Away Major TikTok Creators

Instagram has offered financial incentives to mega-influencers on TikTok in hopes of persuading them to use its newly launched TikTok-style feature, Reels, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: Instagram’s attempt to poach famous TikTok creators comes as ByteDance-owned TikTok is under fire from Washington over its ties to China. Given many TikTok influencers have already started deleting the app, there’s a chance Instagram’s offers could sway them.

The details: According to people familiar with the matter, Instagram is offering some TikTok creators “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” WSJ reports.  Company spokeswoman Sarissa Thrower said Instagram has “approached a diverse range of creators about Reels in several of the countries where it’s currently being tested.”

Sprout Social: Retailers Saw 40 Percent Increase In Social Media Engagement In Q2

According to a new report from Sprout Social, retailers saw a 40 percent surge in engagement in the first day they posted content on social media in Q2 from a year prior, as well as a 72 percent jump in the average number of daily inbound messages in Q2 from a year earlier.

Why it matters: Sprout Social’s findings are a reminder of the increasing importance of social media for retailers as consumers shift to online shopping amid lockdowns and a resurgence in coronavirus cases.

The details: Among the overall increase in engagement retailers experienced in Q2, mid-market retailers saw an 88 percent increase in inbound messages. Like consumers, retailers have also been more active, reposting 84 percent more pins on Pinterest and sharing 104 percent more pins.

Q2 social media posts reflected consumers’ concerns around COVID-19, as the number of posts from January 1 to June 30 that included the words “safe” or “safety” exceeded 40,000 and received over 596,000 engagements.

56 Percent Of Advertisers Paused Facebook Spend In July, Digiday Survey Finds

Fifty-six percent of agency buyers said their clients paused Facebook ad spend in July in response to the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, a Digiday survey reveals.

Why it matters: Though it’s yet to be seen if the boycott makes any difference, Coca-Cola, Verizon and REI are among the hundreds of brands that stand with civil rights groups who demand Facebook revamps its hate speech policy.

The details: According to Digiday, 40 percent of agency buyers said their clients had not paused Facebook ad spend, while four percent didn’t know.

Over half, 55 percent, of respondents said they didn’t believe the boycott would lead to Facebook implementing meaningful changes.

Forty-six percent said that their clients would spend more if Facebook had stronger values, and 59 percent said the most important action Facebook could take is removing hate speech.

App Annie: Worldwide Mobile App Downloads Reach 120 Billion In 2019

Mobile app engagement worldwide significantly increased in 2019, with a high degree of overlap among top apps, according to App Annie’s “Mobile App Evolution” report.

Why it matters: The global app economy’s competitive landscape has driven innovation, providing users with more choices. As a result, users are engaging with multiple apps within and across categories to address similar needs.

The details: App Annie’s research found that in 2019, the average global user had 93 apps downloaded on their phone and used 41 apps a month, up from 85 and 35 respectively in 2015. In addition, daily time spent per user has grown from 2.1 hours in 2015 to 3.1 hours in 2019. From 2015 to 2019, worldwide total sessions saw a 15 percent compound annual growth rate.

Fueling app downloads in 2019 were emerging economies such as India, Brazil, Indonesia and Russia.

Developed regions held the most influence over mobile penetration, with users in the US reaching 12.3 billion, in Japan reaching 2.5 billion and in the UK reaching 2.1 billion.

It’s also worth noting that in 2019, 35 of the top 100 apps were new entrants, mostly games, up from 27 in 2016.

Telemundo Promotes Mónica Gil To Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer

This week in leadership updates, Telemundo’s Mónica Gil accepts a promotion as EVP and CMO, NatWest reinstates its CMO role with Margaret Jobling, M&T Bank names Francesco Lagutaine as CMO, Charter elevates Sharon Peters to SVP of marketing, TikTok hires Sandie Hawkins as its first-ever general manager of global business solutions, Planet appoints Rosanne Saccone CMO and more.

Telemundo Appoints Mónica Gil Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer

Mónica Gil has accepted a promotion as CMO and EVP for NBCUniversal Telemundo, according to Deadline. In her new role, Gil will oversee the company’s brand and culture and corporate affairs and social responsibility.

Prior to joining Telemundo in 2017, Gil was senior vice president and general manager of multicultural, growth and strategy at Nielsen.

NatWest Hires Margaret Jobling As Chief Marketing Officer

After announcing in February it was scrapping the CMO role following David Wheldon’s retirement, NatWest has reversed its decision and brought on Margaret Jobling as CMO.  

Jobling joins from Centrica, where she started as brand and marketing director for British Gas in 2014 before being promoted to group CMO in 2018.

M&T Bank Names Francesco Lagutaine As Chief Marketing And Communications Officer

M&T Bank announced Francesco Lagutaine is joining the company as senior vice president and CMO, effective August 17.

Most recently, Lagutaine was Hong Kong-based chief marketing and experience design officer for Manulife. Prior to Manulife, he served as CMO and head of customer franchise for Citibank Asia Pacific.

Charter Elevates Sharon Peters To Senior Vice President Of Marketing

Charter group VP of marketing Sharon Peters has accepted a promotion as the company’s SVP of marketing.

Peters spent 19 years at Cablevision prior to joining Charter.

TikTok Hires Sandie Hawkins As US Advertising Chief

TikTok has named Sandie Hawkins as the company’s first-ever general manager of global business solutions, reporting to TikTok vice president of global business solutions in North America and Europe Blake Chandlee.

Hawkins, who officially began the role in late June, comes from Adobe Advertising Cloud, where she was vice president and head of the Americas region.

Planet Appoints Rosanne Saccone Chief Marketing Officer

Rosanne Saccone has joined Planet as its CMO.

Saccone joins Planet from Bluejeans Network, where she served as CMO and helped drive growth in the enterprise video conferencing segment.

Yoox Net-a-Porter Names Sheena Sauvaire Chief Marketing Officer

Yoox Net-a-Porter has hired Sheena Sauvaire as its CMO.

Sauvaire was most recently CMO for Belstaff, and prior to that, global head of marketing at Topshop.

Equitable Hires Connie Weaver As Chief Marketing Officer

Equitable has named Connie Weaver CMO. Weaver will oversee the company’s marketing, digital and analytics efforts while reporting to Equitable president Nick Lane.

Weaver joins Equitable from TIAA, where she served as senior executive vice president and CMO. Prior to TIAA, Weaver was senior VP and CMO at The Hartford, and before that, executive VP and CMO of AT&T.

What We’re Reading—Week Of July 27th

We’re searching for the most pressing marketing insights this week.

Spotify’s Ad Spend Rebounded In June


Spotify’s ad spend in April and May was down 25 percent, but picked back up to a 10 percent decline in June.

Why it matters: Despite the pandemic, Spotify’s Q2 ad-supported revenue increased 11 percent year over year to about $154 million, its premium subscription revenue grew 3 percent to about $2 billion and monthly active users increased 5 percent to 299 million.

Data, Not Digitalization, Transforms The Post-Pandemic Supply Chain

MIT Sloan Management Review

When the pandemic hit, top management’s immediate issue was data, not digitalization.

Why it matters: Decisions around data and measurement of transformational transparency fuel successful and resilient supply chains.

Walmart Is Pushing Harder Into Advertising

Business Insider

Walmart is launching a new dashboard for advertisers that shows how online ads drive in-store and ecommerce sales.

Why it matters: Akin to the technology advertisers use to buy ads on Facebook, Amazon and Google, the measurement tool will make it easier for advertisers to house all their data in one place and update it daily.

Chicago Blackhawks Will Prohibit Native Headdresses At Games


The NHL Chicago Blackhawks announced they’re prohibiting fans from wearing Native American headdresses to games and other team events, citing the symbols are sacred and shouldn’t be generalized or used as a costume.

Why it matters: Though they refuse to change their name, the Blackhawks also plan to build a platform that integrates Native American culture across its organization, social channels and staff members.

How PacSun Is Using Data To Connect During The Pandemic

Ad Age

During the pandemic, PacSun identified where its customers were spending time and remained fluid in its messaging.  

Why it matters: PacSun CMO Kristen D’Arcy says the biggest change in her role during COVID-19 has been the shift from an omnichannel focus to primarily digital, then back to omnichannel as the pandemic evolved.

These Revised Logos Show How White A Brand’s Leadership Is


Two creatives from Goodby Silverstein & Partners redesigned famous logos, like that of Nike and Lyft, to reflect the lack of diversity in the companies’ corporate leadership and boards. The Adidas logo is almost impossible to see as its leaders are 100 percent white, while Lyft is the easiest to read with 55 percent white leadership.

Why it matters: The creatives launched the Instagram side project after discovering that major companies like these are mostly run by white leaders. 

Hands Off! How Covid-19 Paves The Way For Fully Touchless Experiences

The Drum

Eighty percent of people in the UK will change the way they engage with public devices, like ATMs and self-service checkouts, and 50 percent say they prefer to use contactless payment where possible, a study conducted by Foolproof found.

Why it matters: In addition to promoting hygiene around public touch screens, businesses must implement customer-centric touchless technology on a familiar device such as mobile.

More Customers Are Shopping Online Now Than At Height Of Pandemic, Fueling Need For Digital Transformation


According to a PYMNTS survey, 36 percent of US consumers are now buying retail goods online, up from 29 percent in mid-April when most stores were closed. In addition, 21 percent of consumers are now ordering online from restaurants, up from 13 percent in mid-April.

Why it matters: The same survey revealed the average consumer doesn’t expect COVID-19 to end until February 2021, spurring digital acceleration at a slew of brands including Target, where digital sales increased 141 percent in Q1.

45% Of Consumers Have Changed Brand Preferences During Pandemic, Study Finds

Marketing Dive

Nearly half—45 percent—of consumers have changed at least one brand preference during COVID-19, and 62 percent expect their brand preferences will change permanently before the pandemic is over, a new report from Ketchum found.

Why it matters: Brands must adjust their messaging to connect with consumers in meaningful ways as the global push for diversity has made consumers value ethical and inclusive business practices.

In The Working-Remote Era, “Deepfake” Is No Fake News: It Will Change Advertising Forever


Studio closures have increased advertisers’ interest in using deepfake technology to repurpose archival footage.

Why it matters: Though it can be used to spread fake news, deepfake technology, when used in a constructive way, will afford brands the ability to place consumers in ads and enable consumers to virtually try on products.

Predictive Analytics Is Critical For Media Planning—Here’s Why

Predictive analytics, the use of real-world data and machine learning techniques to identify the likelihood of future outcomes, has become a cornerstone of media planning. Human intelligence, however, is just as important to the success of predictive analytics’ application as technology is. To understand how, we spoke with Piotr Urbanski, Ayzenberg associate director of marketing science, and Ayzenberg chief marketing officer Vincent Juarez, who both work closely to craft client strategies based on historical data and predictive analytics, or predictive modeling. The two discuss all things predictive analytics: what it is, why it’s important for marketers and why it’s critical for media planning, especially during times of uncertainty. 

What are predictive analytics?

Piotr Urbanski: There are two approaches to analyzing data—the first is predictive analytics, or predictive modeling, And the second is causal inference, which is a little bit more descriptive and aims to understand the cause and effect between the numbers. For example, if one goes up, why does the other one trend with it? Whereas predictive modeling doesn’t consider the why; you just want to be as accurate as possible. Those who use predictive modeling know it’s a very good predictor and they get very good outcomes, but they don’t measure the why.

How do predictive modeling and causal inference differ?

PU: They use the same statistical tools. The most basic predictive models can perform a regression run or trend line. As one value goes up, the other value also goes up. And then you could extrapolate, or predict, based on that trend. 

Causal inference takes it a step further to consider theoretically how A impacts B. For example, if A is temperature and B is crime rate, you see that as temperature goes up, crime rate also goes up. Temperature is a good predictor of crime. But does that mean temperature causes crime? So at that point you start digging into various different theories.

For analysts, causal inference makes our job much easier. Because part of your research is already researching the cause and effect, you get really easy, actionable insights. So in most cases, now that you’ve identified a cause, you can control that cause or influence it in some way. In a nutshell, predictive analytics and causal inference are two sides of the same coin.

Why are predictive analytics important for marketers?

PU: On the media side, predictive analytics helps predict where you should be targeting money by analyzing the behavior of consumers purchasing your product or engaging with your brand. To be really good at predictive analytics, a human element is still necessary. So on top of your findings, you’ll typically have a marketing science team that layers additional analysis to not only make sense of the data but also predict between platforms to achieve a more wide-reaching view.

At the end of the day, predictive analytics help a company’s bottom line. Let’s say you’re running a campaign that’s a million dollars. If you can become more accurate by even a fraction of a percent, you’ve saved tons and tons of money and easily added value that wouldn’t have existed before. It also makes your actions accountable because you know what isn’t working and where to stop or start paying for ads to get the biggest bang for our buck.

How do predictive analytics impact Ayzenberg’s media department and planning?

Vincent Juarez: I oversee both media groups at Ayzenberg, the media planning group and the influencer marketing group. A lot of our clients rely on us to provide them with maximum transparency in the campaign strategy that we craft for them. This is not only to validate the results of the campaign, but also to create models that predict what those results are going to be. That’s where predictive analytics become especially important for marketers, because in this day and age, we’re held to a higher standard of accountability. As a result, the agencies that work with them are held to an even higher standard of accountability to try to predict a certain amount of return on your investment.

The relationship between our media department and marketing science team is symbiotic. We provide the wealth of data that gets fed into the marketing science team’s models to try and predict outcomes based on different marketing mixes, different marketing strategies and different budget allocations by vehicles and so on.

It’s hard for Piotr and his team to do their job without the data that my team generates around the real world basis. He takes our analytics and our forecasting to a scientific level that our media planners and marketers just don’t have.

This is one of the reasons why after many years, we identified the need for a dedicated marketing science group. As a digital- and social-first business model, we found that there was a distinct need for a marketing science group to provide us with that next level of expertise to assess the health of a campaign and predict the outcomes of campaigns that we create on behalf of clients.

How has COVID-19 affected the media team’s use of predictive analytics?

VJ: Because of the pandemic, marketers are a lot more careful about their investments. There’s a lot of scrutiny in terms of making every dollar work like ten dollars. As a result, predictive analytics has become even more important during this time.

Though we don’t have control over external factors that could potentially affect our forecasts, I’d say we’re very successful in our predictions. We have made a significant investment in data science because everyone wants to go into their strategy with as much information as possible to determine the success rate. 

Predictive analytics offers a safety net for marketers and for agencies to try and understand upfront the degrees of success or the risk of running a certain type of campaign. Instead of the old style of throwing millions of dollars at a specific vehicle like TV, for instance, and watching the sales numbers and hoping for the best, it’s really about trying to predict the future of the cause and effect of an investment. And having that kind of knowledge helps us differentiate ourselves from other agencies.

For Remote Work To Thrive, Vulnerability And Experimentation Are Key

When COVID-19 thrust organizations into working from home, a new set of challenges emerged for leaders, including how to support introverts and extroverts in a virtual environment and compensate for a lack of in-person interactions.

Two leaders with opposite personalities— Publicis Sapient creative director of experience Greet Jans, an extrovert, and Publicis Sapient group experience director Eiko Kawano, an introvert—shed light on the lessons they learned while managing teams from afar, during a panel at the 3% Conference, “Rethinking Inclusivity.” Their experiences, and feedback from their teams, contradicted the assumptions they made at the onset of their teleworking journey, opening their eyes to the reality that vulnerability and experimentation beget an inclusive remote work environment, one free of Zoom fatigue and the pressure to constantly be on. 

As an extrovert, Jans, who co-leads a team of 70 people in London, believed the increased connectivity that comes with teleworking would energize her. Half way through, however, Jans’ meeting fatigue kicked in: after a long day of calls, Jans felt too drained to partake in virtual happy hours and trivia nights, sometimes asking colleagues to attend on her behalf. Her reluctance to join, and decision to enter meetings audio-only, also stemmed from the embarrassment she felt, and seeming unprofessionalism, of having her three-year-old constantly around.

“The things that made me normally go, kept me sane and energised did not do the trick in this lockdown. But when you’re very open about it, your team feels empowered to make their own choices in the moment—video on/off and only attending work vs. all fun stuff,” Jans said.

Jans suggests leaders recognize when they feel burnout, and accept it’s okay for feelings to fluctuate in lockdown. The experience, she says, made both Jans and Kawano more vulnerable, very authentic and ultimately, better leaders.

Remote work also took its toll on Kawano, who manages a team of 30 from Toronto, and whose management style embodies personal connection. To understand how her and Jans’ team members were handling this new way of working, they surveyed members and managers about where they fell on the range of introversion and extroversion, and about their managerial styles, daily schedules and how they were caring for themselves and others. Fifty-six percent of respondents identified as introverts, 15 percent as extroverts and 30 percent as both.

The results revealed teleworking was impacting everyone differently.

“Linking the new ways of working to introvert vs. extrovert was not the answer. Be mindful and inclusive to all types and mindsets, and adapt to the changing environment. You simply can’t please everybody at the same time, and that’s okay,” Kawano said.

Kawano found it harder to replicate the informal and spontaneous interactions she valued before the pandemic and noticed some of her team members started turning off their video or stopped showing up altogether. This affected presenters, who, unable to see faces and rely on digital cues, lost confidence and felt isolated.

Both agree nothing replaces the serendipitous moments and short face-to-face check-ins, and that for remote work to thrive, constant experimentation, piloting new opportunities and being willing to fail are key.

In Open Letter, 600 Black Advertising Employees Demand Action From US Agencies

The axiom that you can’t change what you can’t measure feels especially true as agencies and brands try rooting out system racism within their workforce, products and services.

On the heels advertising’s acceptance of the global Black Lives Matter movement, two black advertising professionals set out to hold ad land accountable and remind it of the importance of measurement in fulfilling racial equality when they penned an open letter to US advertising agencies calling for change.

During the “Making Racial Equity A Reality” panel at the 3% Conference this week, Nathan Young and Bennett Bennett—the founders of 600 & Rising, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the advancement of black talent in advertising for 3,500 black employees across different agencies—shared with vice president of talent, equity and inclusion at 4A’s Foundation Reema Elghossain the inspiration behind forming a coalition they hope will set a standard on the way leadership measures diversity in advertising.

The 4A’s Foundation, a nonprofit arm of 4A’s, supports a multitude of diversity initiatives to support the industry at large including its multicultural advertising intern program, or Maip, a 22-week diverse talent development program that began over 40 years ago. During Black Lives Matter protests, Maip alumni Young and Bennett sent a survey to black professionals in their network to learn more about their experiences in the industry, what would form the basis of their open letter.

Within two months, 602 black workers from different sectors of the industry, including freelancers and employees from Wieden + Kennedy, VaynerMedia, The Martin Agency, among others, signed their names to buttress Young and Bennett’s mission.

“This wasn’t expected. Bennett and I aren’t diversity, equity and inclusion experts. We’re just two black guys who have gone through a career in advertising, and it turns out when you ask 600 black folks what their experience is, it’s remarkably similar. That’s when we knew we had something. [It was] unanimous. You never see that,” Young said.

Part of the letter’s opening reads:

“As loud as these protests are, it is impossible to overstate the pain that has been felt by your Black colleagues as the still-fresh wounds from Ferguson, Baltimore and countless other flashpoints of racial violence were once again re-opened.”

Young, Bennett and the hundreds of signatories demand “urgent action” from agency leadership whose shortcomings on race stem, in part, from the flawed belief that hiring a chief diversity officer is enough. The first action includes making a specific, measurable and public commitment to improve black representation at all levels of agency staffing, especially senior and leadership roles. Others include tracking and publicly reporting workforce diversity data annually, funding employee resource groups for black employees and implementing a wage equity plan to ensure that black women, men and people of color receive fair compensation.

“The most important step is data transparency. You can’t change what you can’t measure. I want data to be at the center of everything we do from here on out. I don’t care if you commit millions of dollars–I care how much you move the needle in terms of recruiting, training and promoting diverse talent within your agency and into senior positions. That’s what matters. And the data is going to tell that story,” Young added.

Creating Human Connection In CX With Deloitte’s Tim Greulich

During this 218th episode of “Marketing Today,” I interview Tim Greulich, managing director at Deloitte and the operational customer experience practice leader.

On the show today, we talk about the latest report from Deloitte Digital called “Creating Human Connection at Enterprise Scale.” We discuss why creating a human connection is essential in today’s service economy, how companies should be thinking about it, and why it’s so hard.

In our discussion of “Creating Human Connection at Enterprise Scale,” Greulich begins by discussing the big questions that inspired the report. He provides advice for companies that want to be more human. Greulich says, “I think it’s a recognition that people are complex.” We can design for this complexity and embrace it. The report found that when companies create strong relationships with their customers, they become more forgiving and price-insensitive over time. Relating to your customer can make you more competitive, and may even provide you with more data. Greulich says, “If used the right way, relating opens up a whole new set of information for your company.” We also discuss how this approach impacts your business results and the challenges of building relationships with customers.

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • Tim’s path to Deloitte. 01:11
  • The impetus behind Deloitte’s latest report. 04:11
  • How companies can be more human. 05:39
  • The emotional component to Deloitte’s findings. 07:56
  • Designing flaws to create “wow” moments. 11:09
  • Is designing a great product or service enough? 11:32
  • How relationships affect business results. 13:53
  • Challenges in building relationships with customers. 15:10
  • Turning digital breadcrumb trails into something that comes off as more human. 17:57
  • Tim shares a defining experience. 22:00
  • Tim reflects on advice he would give to his younger self. 23:02
  • Tim shares about an impactful purchase he made in the last 6-12 months. 24:17
  • Are there any brands, companies, or causes that Tim follows that he thinks
  • other people should take notice of? 25:47
  • Tim’s take on the top opportunity and threat facing marketers today. 27:54

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Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.

Listen In: Hearing the Voices of Diverse Content Creators

(Originally aired July 28th on LinkedIn Live.)

We’re back with another episode of a.network’s weekly series Listen In, created by Ayzenberg principal and ECD Matt Bretz. This week we’re featuring a conversation between Matt and Grace Lin, product marketing manager for kids & families at Google.

Topics covered include:

  • How tech platforms are bringing diverse representations to a wider audience
  • Why it’s important to drive inclusion and diversity in the teams making content
  • Content creators vs. influencers
  • Are celebrities influencers?
  • KPIs on a campaign level vs. when choosing an influencer to work with
  • Gen Z isn’t afraid to blow up a brand
  • Avoiding unconscious bias

About Listen In: Each week on Listen In, Bretz and a rotating cast of hosts from Ayzenberg interview experts in the field of marketing and advertising to explore uncharted territory together. The goal is to provide the a.network audience with actionable insights, enabling them to excel in their field.

How International Leaders Are Rebuilding During COVID-19

For months, the industry has been busy deciphering how to COVID-proof brands, budgets and remote work. Now with a resurgence of cases across the country and the development of multiple vaccines underway, marketers must once again shift their paradigm if they’re to survive the new normal, which is anything but new at this point.

During a virtual panel at this week’s 3% Conference, three international leaders described their first-hand experience of the pandemic, including how remote work has impacted their organizations’ creativity levels and how lockdowns changed the way they expect to do business going forward. Ahead we’re sharing key takeaways from the panel, which featured chief executive officer of Havas Media Group Italy Stefano Spadini, executive creative director of Wieden + Kennedy Shanghai Vivian Yong and chief talent officer of Publicis Groupe Australia New Zealand Pauly Grant.

“Agility is the new black. As human beings, we’ve been flooded overnight with all sorts of emotions, but as business leaders, we need to remember we own our emotions, [and] it’s up to us to control them,” Havas Media Group Italy CEO Stefano Spadini says. As a result, the CEO, he argues, must now act as a “chief enabling officer,” one who acknowledges their team’s commitment to the company and ability to remain nimble during this turbulent period.

The shift to teleworking affords a host of work-life balance benefits, including increased focus, flexibility in schedule and less time lost to traffic. Still, Spadini says technology cannot replace certain pre-pandemic activities, like major client presentations, annual conventions and holiday parties, because “we’re human beings, not just a bunch of pixels.”

Safety concerns around COVID-19 have forged creative resilience in Italy, Spadini notes. “Because of COVID, public beaches took a giant leap in services. It’s now possible to book your own specific spot on the beach. You get a QR code and can access it via mobile, something that was literally impossible to foresee just a year ago.”

On the other side of the globe, Vivian Yong and her team at Wieden + Kennedy Shanghai were busy helping lift spirits through a public awareness campaign called “You Can’t Mask a Smile.” The team photoshopped pictures of their lighthearted facial gestures onto protective masks, captured in photo booth-style images that they affixed to the building to spread cheer to passersby and the adjacent hospital. #YouCantMaskASmile reached over 1 million on Chinese social media platform Weibo, and inspired local businesses to partake including GAP, Bose and Alibaba.

Yong says working from home didn’t impact her team’s creative productivity, leading her to wonder if employees would benefit from enclosed office spaces and the option to work from home.

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, Publicis Groupe ANZ CTO Pauly Grant was busy convening a task force responsible for the execution of remote production and studio projects. Publicis Groupe, she says, was equipped to make the switch to teleworking, for in 2019, it launched a flexible work program called Publicis Liberty, which 40 percent of staff accessed in the first half of 2020. Hence the reason it took the company just three days to mobilize everyone to work from home.

Part of Publicis Groupe’s success with COVID-19 lies in its artificial intelligence-driven platform Marcel, which it launched in 2017 as a place where its 80,000 employees worldwide could collaborate, find jobs and gain industry insight. Thanks to Marcel and another job security initiative called The Bench, which allows staff from different agencies to work on various projects across the company, Publicis Groupe has saved around 1,000 jobs in the US and 800 around the world amid COVID-19.