What We’re Reading—Week Of August 16th

A rundown of the marketing and advertising insights we’re reading for the week of August 16th, 2021.

Taco Bell Partners With Cashmere On All Things Culture

Marketing Dive

Winning and mature brands seeking to perform on new platforms and with new audiences employ the expertise of third-party social culture experts. That’s why Taco Bell has employed Cashmere to help develop its cultural brand strategy.

Why it matters: According to Barbara Yolles, chief executive of Ludwig+, people want to buy into something more than just a taco—they want to buy into a community. Brands that nurture this truth while continuously improving tend to perform well. Yolles notes that there are two sides to the discussion of culture: the culture that creates a company and the impact a brand has on culture. 

Four Key Areas Help Organizations Attract And Retain Talent


LinkedIn recently implemented a policy to permanently remove office expectations and let employees work remotely indefinitely. And Google may find employees are willing to accept pay cuts based on geography if it means being able to work from anywhere.

Why it matters: As employers prepare for “The Great Resignation,” the four ways brands can attract new talent and protect current talent are by: (1) prioritizing and valuing flexibility to manage life’s many challenges and uncertainties; (2) adopting an “Always Be Recruiting” mindset; (3) rethinking the 9 to 5 workday and allowing for greater flexibility and remote options for work; and, (4) offering opportunities to build or experiment on something new.

What A TikTok Creator Earns With 1 Million Followers

Business Insider

Vi Luong is a social media content creator based in California who quit her social media marketing career 10 months after creating her first TikTok. With 1.1 million TikTok followers, 94,000 Instagram followers and 7,000 YouTube subscribers, Luong’s two primary sources of income are brand partnerships and TikTok’s Creator Fund. This year, Luong is working with three brands in year-long campaigns and several others in one-off collaborations. So far this year, she’s earned about $131,000, with four to seven deals per month (including monthly posts as a part of the year-long campaigns). She also earns between $150 to $300 per month from the Creator Fund.

Why it matters: Creators with engaging content are able to earn sufficient incomes to maintain influencer lifestyles and careers; Luong is a testament to that. She advises others embarking on a similar journey to not take every brand deal presented, stating that she now has the option of prioritizing five-figure deals with brands she loves.

Kellogg’s And First-Party Data: How Large Companies Seek Ways To Deliver Online Ads With Precision


Last week, Kellogg’s introduced a dedicated Cheez-Its website where consumers can purchase Cheez-It-themed merchandise, marking a first for the 115-year-old company. The idea behind it is to collect information and test new products before offering them to the rest of the US.

Direct-to-consumer sites have also been created by PepsiCo, which launched two sites in 2020 and found that shoppers mix products in ways that the company doesn’t offer in stores. Procter & Gamble’s Olay, Pampers, Gillette and Braun have all launched DTC platforms that gather first-party data.

Why it matters: Purchasing data will become more difficult as time progresses, leading to media inefficiency and a need to acquire it through other outlets. According to Jordan Narducci, director of global direct-to-consumer ecommerce at Kellogg’s, the best focus group to test a product before offering it nationwide is the group that is “going out and paying for something.” Companies investing in data will put themselves in a more competitive position while also creating better shopping experiences for their customers.

Advice For Managers Seeking Balance Between Efficiency And Compassion

Harvard Business Review

According to experts who study motivation and compassion at work, managers seeking a balance between efficiency and compassion should focus on their interactions with their employees not as being lenient but as being flexible while creating the space for employees to be open about their mental health issues at work and encouraging employees to keep each other accountable.

Why it matters: The amount of pressure experienced by managers who often have to navigate deadlines and expectations set by upper management while maintaining the well-being and efficiency of employees can lead to burnout, low output and poor work quality. 

Excessive Use Of Facebook Linked To Envy, Depression

The Drum

Those who spend the majority of their time on Facebook experience a greater risk of suffering from depression, according to a study by Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University. The study found that those with signs of depression linked to Facebook spend more time on social networking sites. Among Singapore residents, the study could not discern a difference between passive and active Facebook use. Additionally, the effect of age and education levels on Facebook use and depression was marginal.

Why it matters: The effect of Facebook usage on depression is nothing new—it’s an ongoing issue that highlights the need for remedial action. A Facebook spokesperson responded to the study by stating that Facebook aims to “enable people to build stronger communities and more meaningful connections.” Additionally, Facebook has announced initiatives and partnerships with mental health experts and agencies to address mental health issues afflicting Facebook users.

The Democratization Of Connection With Lunchclub’s Chelsea Cain Maclin

Chelsea Cain Maclin is the CMO of Lunchclub, where she leads the company’s marketing initiatives that drive brand awareness and user growth. Before joining Lunchclub, Chelsea served as the VP of Marketing for Bumble, where she has drawn inspiration for her role at Lunchclub.

On the show, Chelsea and I talk quite a bit about her background at Bumble and what she is trying to help Lunchclub achieve. Chelsea believes they can leverage technology to unlock human potential opportunities and connections that never would have happened without it. “When you’re using AI, it’s like sorting through the haystack and finding the needle way faster than humanly possible.” 

How do AI, the disintermediation of friends, and marketing all connect? Find out on this episode.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to harness your networks and connections
  • How dating principles can inform your networking
  • Integrating the disintermediation of friends in marketing

Key Highlights:

  • [01:36] Chickens and art therapy
  • [03:27] Chelsea’s path to Lunchclub
  • [05:37] What is Lunchclub?
  • [08:30] The attraction to Lunchclub
  • [12:15] The disintermediation of friends
  • [15:45] In-person and virtual networking
  • [20:05] The perfect marketing mix
  • [23:06] An experience that defines Chelsea makes who she is today
  • [25:26] Chelsea’s advice for her younger self
  • [26:35] What marketers should learn more about
  • [28:06] The brands and organizations Chelsea follows
  • [29:15] The biggest threat and opportunity for marketers today

Resources Mentioned: 

Subscribe to the podcast:

Connect with the Guest:

Connect with Marketing Today and Alan Hart:

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.

TikTok Launches Guide To Creative Solutions

This week in social media news, TikTok shares tips on how to get the most out of its creative solutions, Facebook releases a study on effective video approaches with Analytics Partners and The Lab, YouTube announces new updates for YouTube Studio and more.

TikTok Releases A ‘Creative Solutions’ How-To Guide 

TikTok has released its latest creative guide to provide background, best practices and tips for brands seeking to fully utilize its creative solutions.

Why it matters: Brands in pursuit of building a successful presence on TikTok must understand what works with the community and its unique characteristics, while aligning creative campaigns with organic trends. 

The details: According to TikTok’s guide, capitalizing on trends, making sound a priority, communicating with the community and expressing with authenticity (especially) are some of the primary ways in which creators establish a successful presence on the platform. The guide advises on everything from messaging, budgeting and how to best utilize TikTok’s resources like its Creative Center, Creator Marketplace and Video Editor, among others.

Facebook Releases New Insights About Critical Components Of Effective Videos

Facebook commissioned Analytics Partners and The Lab to release a “social online video effectiveness report” that addresses new trends in the realm of video, how it is the pre-eminent medium for brands reaching new customers and what that means for marketers.

Why it matters: With video content’s domination over other mediums in the current arena of marketing and customer engagement, brands seeking to keep up must adopt new strategies and tactics as outlined in the new report.

The details: The report addresses the rising long-term return on investment (ROI) potential of video content with copy quality and creative—e.g., content, communication, engagement—which is driving improved performance significantly more than elements like scheduling, targeting and duration. 

Additionally, The Lab created a new measurement scorecard to rate performances of in-video elements. Best practices on the seven most important ones advise that online video creative should: (1) be built for mobile, (2) disregard sound as a necessity, (3) showcase the product or service, (4) include one primary message, (5) spotlight the message at the start of the video, (6) get to the point quickly and (7) include movement or fast edits at the start of the video to draw in attention. 

The full guide includes several more recommendations, case studies and specifics on each aspect of successful video creative.

YouTube Issues New Updates For YouTube Studio

YouTube has announced the release of several new updates for YouTube Studio including dark mode on desktop, hashtag autocomplete suggestions and more.

Why it matters: The additions, while not necessarily monumental or game-changing, aim to provide more insight and management options and can improve creators’ usage of the app.

The details: Among the updates are dark mode on desktop, a highly requested feature. Additionally, the new mobile and desktop ‘Hashtag Autocomplete Suggestions’ option within the video upload process will show the number of videos that have used each hashtag in their description or title, in addition to channels that are associated with each tag. 

Coinciding with the rise of Shorts, Youtube’s new ‘Mentions’ tab in the comments inbox will help creators track their mentions across the app on desktop and keep comments and mentions separate from each other. 

Lastly, starting next week, Youtube will be launching its updated-in-real-time channel and video insights on mobile, which transforms the app into something more akin to its desktop counterpart.

Instagram Adds New ‘Audio’ Search Tab 

Instagram’s search tab now accommodates a new audio search, making it more convenient for users to tap into music trends that are available for use within the app.

Why it matters: The update comes as Instagram attempts to quell the TikTok resettlement by maximizing Reels usage and promoting it, and related tools, to a level competitive enough to take on the music- and video-based app that boasts 130 million active users as of June 2021.

The details: A TikTok-like display of the Reels that have used samples of a specific song appears once users tap on the track they have searched for. The audio can be saved for future use while users get inspiration for how they can implement the audio into their own creations.

Interestingly, the update launches on the same day that YouTube has released its new ad campaign that promotes the exact same feature within its own TikTok-like competitor, Shorts.

As these features become more and more similar across platforms, the trend of non-TikTok apps incorporating TikTok-like features will continue as long as TikTok continues to capture younger audiences.

YouTube Introduces New Shorts Ad Campaign 

Youtube has launched a new global video ad campaign that seeks to boost Shorts usage by getting creators to embrace “the shorter side of YouTube.” YouTube’s campaign showcases how users can create their own take on popular music trends.

Why it matters: With music videos being one of the most popular uploads on the platform, YouTube is enlisting new talent and tools in order to compete with TikTok. And given the massive popularity of music videos on YouTube, it’s not as much of a stretch to assume that the new feature will be a significant opportunity for YouTube to maintain creators and engage viewers.

The details: The new campaign highlights the TikTok-like features of Shorts with musicians such as The Weeknd and Camila Cabello. With the new update, users can add their own take when viewing a music video by simply tapping the ‘Shorts’ button. 

Considering that YouTube is tracking 15 billion daily views of Shorts clips—a more than 100 percent increase over usage in April 2021—the new campaign is likely to capture the attention of those who’ve caught onto TikTok compilation videos on YouTube and those that are aware of cash payment for top-performing Shorts. Whether all of these features and incentives will prevent creators and viewers from venturing over to TikTok remains to be seen, especially given that the two platforms still seem to be serving different purposes and users.

Salesforce’s 6th Annual State Of Marketing Report Addresses Business And Marketing Recovery

Coupled with convenience, personalized messages and experiences are a top consumer demand from brands. According to the sixth edition of Salesforce’s State of Marketing report, marketers reported a 186 percent increase in artificial intelligence (AI) adoption to enhance how they source and manage data needed to deliver these types of experiences.

Salesforce surveyed nearly 7,000 senior marketing leaders from around the world to understand how they live by three critical values for recovery including a relentless focus on the customer experience, an unwavering commitment to helpfulness, relevancy and trustworthiness and the continuous pursuit of innovation.

Customer Experience

At a time when brand loyalties are easily shifted, brands endeavor on connecting and building trust through empathy and prioritizing customer experience. In 2019, Salesforce research found that 84 percent of customers believe the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services—up from 80 percent in 2018. To provide a seamless experience, marketers have shifted their priorities while facing new challenges.

Marketers who are completely satisfied with their overall marketing performance and the outcomes of their marketing investments, what Salesforce refers to as ‘high performers,’ prioritize innovation, improving the use of tools and technologies, complying with privacy regulations and engaging customers in real-time and improving marketing ROI and attribution, in that order. Among the most challenging of these are engaging customers in real-time and creating cohesive customer journeys across channels and devices. Notably, a greater percentage of high performers utilize all communication channels as compared to moderate performers and underperformers, with the exception of websites.

Moderate performers prioritize innovation and are most challenged by engaging customers in real-time, while underperformers prioritize complying with privacy regulations and are most challenged by budgetary restraints.

To ensure a positive customer experience, brands have shifted their marketing approach from a traditional focus on specific stages of the sales funnel or on solitary tactics like email or social media, to a broadened focus on every stage of the process. from branding to acquisition to advocacy. In fact, 69 percent of marketers believe that traditional marketing roles limit customer engagement, hence their shift to a collaborative and comprehensive approach.

In terms of collaboration, Salesforce found that today’s highest-performing marketers are “data-savvy collaborators.” Sixty percent of marketers rate their teams’ communication skills as advanced—a welcome figure given that brands now build helpful and cohesive experiences for customers through peer collaboration and by keeping marketers engaged through every stage of the customer’s journey. 

Commitment To Helpfulness, Relevancy And Trustworthiness

Issues involving privacy and trustworthiness in branding and marketing are nothing new, though now more than ever before, marketers are taking steps to exceed regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation given that privacy remains a crucial element of how customers choose between brands. 

According to Salesforce, 57 percent of marketers go beyond regulations and industry standards to protect and respect customer privacy—an increase of 13 percentage points since 2018. High and moderate performers rank compliance with privacy regulations as the third most important priority while underperformers rank it as the highest priority.

Another way marketers are adapting to meet customers where they are and to remain helpful is through omnichannel marketing as customers expect to be engaged across channels. With 71 percent of customers having used multiple channels to complete a single transaction, agile and adaptive marketers have increased their adoption of diverse digital touchpoints with increases of 40 percent, 35 percent and 34 percent for SEM, customer communities and mobile apps, respectively. 

Tailoring brand messages and content to a customer’s activity on other channels is one example of how multi-channel engagement can be made to be more dynamic. Marketers have made immense progress in this department where more than half of them describe their cross-channel content as dynamic—a significant rise from the less than one-third who reported the same in 2018. To further illustrate this evolution, the number of marketers with siloed cross-channel content, in which channels have no coordination, decreased from 29 percent to 15 percent between 2018 and 2020.

Continuous Pursuit Of Innovation

Under the current circumstances, a commitment to innovation is imperative to success and growth. Roughly 76 percent of high performers state they do a great job at innovating marketing technology, tactics and strategies—versus just 47 percent making that claim among underperformers.

Given the uncertainty and shifts in market behavior since the pandemic began, marketers have adapted and will continue to adapt their use of certain technologies over the next year. High performers, in particular, utilize a range of digital tools and platforms to engage customers at the perfect moment and on the right platform, according to Salesforce. 

Marketers’ use of AI, for example, has skyrocketed to 84 percent in 2020—a stark increase from 29 percent use in 2018—as they leverage it for personalized experiences in individual channels, improved customer segmentation and lookalike modeling, and surfaced insights from data. Fifty-six percent of high performers state that they will increase the use of AI in the next year, as compared to 46 percent and 41 percent of moderate performers and underperformers, respectively. Further, 70 percent of high performers claim they have a fully defined AI strategy, as compared to the 35 percent of underperformers who claim the same.

Spotify Advertising Releases Global Trends Report

According to Spotify Advertising’s annual Global Trends Report, Gen Z is eager to leave virtual events behind in light of in-person experiences, unlike their millennial counterparts who’ve more readily accepted virtual events like concerts. Titled Cultural Rebirth, Spotify’s report includes valuable insights about millennial and Gen Z’s audio consumption and how advertisers can act on their shifting tastes. It frames its findings through the lens of two generations navigating a common goal: rebuilding culture by listening, creating, discovering, and magnifying new voices.

The global pandemic placed something of a pause on Gen Z’s development, making 2021 the year that they prioritized searching for connection and meaning about themselves and the world around them. Despite reporting more feelings of loneliness through the pandemic, music and podcasts have helped, as 66 percent of the demographic reported. 

Spotify’s data also shows that Gen Z is actually taking over the platform. In May 2021, for example, there were 75 percent more ‘Gen Z’ playlists streamed than ‘millennial’ playlists. Moreover, there was a 235 percent year-over-year (YoY) increase in playlists created with Gen Z-specific keywords and a 343 percent YoY increase in streams to Gen Z-specific playlists.

Millennials have experienced a different set of challenges over the last 18 months. As they ventured into their careers and started families, expectations of work-life balance went out the window. Nevertheless, audio entertainment has become the go-to source for connection, information and self-care, with some millennials reporting a “strong emotional connection” with favorite podcast hosts.

The two age groups do, however, overlap on the goal of inclusivity. Both agreed that now more than ever, we as a culture are open to hearing from diverse voices as 53 percent of respondents report having sought content from diverse creators and podcasts in the past year.

Millennials and Gen Z recognize the importance of balance, and in particular, the importance of self-care in an increasingly cluttered world. To this aim, they’re balancing their intake of media after a year of lockdown bingeing, and are using audio as a form of enrichment rather than pure entertainment. 

Audio as a tool for stress reduction is employed by 83 percent of millennials and 69 percent of Gen Z. Luckily, the current state of audio allows for an array of genres and podcasts for any time and every mood.

As millennials and Zs incorporate audio into all areas of their day, from morning rituals and self-care routines to study sessions and workouts, brands have the opportunity to become a part of any activity, especially given that listeners are more receptive when messaging matches their mood. Brands looking to make the most impactful impression should lean into contextual targeting and create the appropriate tone and message for the moment.

Additionally, given that the more we hear something, the more we like it, brands can sponsor Spotify On Repeat playlists for listeners who can’t get enough of certain songs in order to increase positive sentiment. And in the realm of podcasts, short knowledge drops that spark curiosity tap into listeners who are already in a learning state.

In the arena of gaming, audio plays a crucial role in how satisfied a Gen Z gamer is with their experience. Spotify’s research shows that 57 percent of Gen Z gamers believe that audio can make or break the experience of a game.

When it comes to marketing, Gen Z gamers who game daily are 1.6 times as likely to pay attention to brands mentioned in a game than those who don’t play as frequently. And given that hardcore Gen Z gamers engage with the gaming community even while not playing themselves, for example via podcasts and online forums, the opportunity for increased brand exposure is present. In Spotify’s most popular gaming podcasts among Gen Z, hosts discuss gaming experiences and which tech brand took their craft to the next level—a welcome opportunity for brands in this space.

According to the report, “collaborations are changing the sound of culture.” With 34 percent of Gen Z Spotify users claiming to have searched for a song on the app after hearing it on social media, interconnectedness in the modern era has facilitated the discovery of new content with ease. Spotify has capitalized on this by promoting playlists of emerging artists that fit within a certain user’s tastes and that align with a brand’s campaign theme, e.g., exercise playlists for a sneaker retailer or GRWM (Get Ready With Me) playlists for a beauty brand. These playlists automatically update to adapt to shifting campaign themes and seasons in part, to ensure that a brand’s message is never out of place.

According to Spotify, “audio has become the ‘it’ source of information and entertainment for a new generation,” which is evinced, in part, by the fact that Gen Z influencers are creating their own multi-platform podcasts more frequently than ever before. Globally, millennial’s and Zs’ trust in traditional societal institutions is lower than ever. Nevertheless, they want to remain engaged and informed, so they’ve turned to a medium they feel brings them closer to the truth: namely, podcasts.

In this context, host-read ads produce notable increases in emotional connection as compared to Voice Talent ads. This is no surprise given how intimately associated with podcasts hosts their listeners are. As long as the Voice Talent ads are under 30 seconds and the Host-Read ads remain conversational, brands can expect to penetrate a new subset of listeners here.

Given that both millennials and Zs seek greater inclusivity, Spotify has committed itself to keep up with the social climate by allowing for activist creators to magnify the viewpoints of traditionally underrepresented peoples. The majority of Gen Z audio creators believe that the current climate is more open to hearing diverse voices than ever before. Brands engaged in film and media can convey their support for marginalized communities and other social issues through audio spots that explain how a certain film or filmmaker addresses a meaningful topic. Other brands may choose to sponsor forward-thinking creators and podcasts to represent to listeners how forward-thinking the brand is itself.

With 50 percent of Zs having sought content from more diverse creators and podcasts in 2021, there is one more way they’re exposed to varying viewpoints and experiences—through what Spotify calls ‘Scene & Heard.’ Here, roaming vagabond audio creators have the opportunity to take listeners on audio tours of the places and experiences that have shaped the creator’s social identity, creating a more intimate connection and more trust.

Cultural curation has become a critical pillar of artistic expression among millennials and Zs, and is a crucial element of where culture, in general, is headed. While millennials create to keep audiences interested, Zs curate as a way of developing artistic identities, with 64 percent reporting that digital tech has made it easier to be a cultural curator.

And despite the prevalence of playlists over the last 20+ years, they’ve only recently become a medium for artistic expression. Millennial creators, in particular, have used playlist curation as a way to ensure cultural relevance and support their own art, with 67 percent citing more pressure than ever to be a cultural curator.

This area is ripe for brand engagement through branded playlists, editorial playlists and user-generated playlists. Brands may choose to pair a product or service with a related playlist, or target Zs in their user-generated playlists to engage with a certain mood or activity and with a message to match the moment, for example, something upbeat during an exercise-inducing electronic playlist or something relaxed during a playlist full of binaural beats and lo-fi hip-hop. For larger endeavors, brands can even have their own talent create playlists while offering fans exclusive content recorded by the talent themselves.

The report cites one phenomenon that all successful brands have likely incorporated into their strategies by now—aligned passions and stances on social issues. Audio is ripe for reaching those who believe that this medium has shaped their exposure to the world, with 73 percent of millennials and 57 percent of Zs reporting streaming platforms have significantly shaped how they discover and connect with the broader culture. In this context, collaborations, in particular, stand to expose more listeners to different cultures in a way that appears natural. 

Here, brands have the opportunity to align with listeners in a setting in which minds are already receptive to new ideas. Brands should lean into some of the less-known microgenres or genre-less playlists that Zs, in particular, engage closely with by sponsoring a playlist or creating an audio spot in the same musical style as the one at hand. 

Further, as all are aware at this point, millennials and Zs don’t take kindly to being boxed into certain roles or expectations—misconceptions of what a male or female should or shouldn’t engage with are antiquated. This new normal has created the perfect opportunity for brands to showcase their forward-thinking, socially aligned and barrier-breaking identities to potential consumers who value these elements in a brand.

The pandemic radically shifted millennials’ lifestyles. Work-life balance, parenting strategies, family planning and self-care habits have all changed. Home is still the center of everyone’s lives as opposed to one place of many where we spend our time; as a result, audio listening on home-based devices has increased in the U.S. by as much as 82 percent on TV and 30 percent on smart speakers. Notably, in-car listening on Spotify has increased by 124 percent. And in a time when 68 percent of US millennials and 56 percent of Zs report smaller communities or fewer—the need for connection is at an all-time high. 

Brands can seize this moment by reaching listeners wherever and whenever they are, making up for lost opportunities to engage in public spaces. And given that listeners using smart speakers, game consoles or desktop computers are likely listening while partaking in other activities, brands can tailor their message or call-to-action according to the type of activity likely matched with the playlist or genre. 

As social circles and engagements dwindled during the pandemic, podcast popularity increased—creating the perfect opportunity to reach listeners who trust their hosts as though they were “friends” through unscripted endorsements. The fact that there is no image accompanying the message is of no consequence, as 62 percent of millennials reported using their imagination to picture audio adverts.

To capitalize on these recent developments and trends, brands can utilize Spotify’s Ad Studio, where creative services are free and performance can be measured through real-time reporting on ad delivery, performance and audience. Given the relatively recent boom in podcast popularity, podcasts remain an unsaturated area for advertising, especially given that globally 66 percent of millennials and Zs report listening to a podcast weekly. Spotify’s Audience Network allows brands access to targeting tools in order to reach listeners based on demographics, audience segment, genre targeting and contextual targeting.

LA Rams Appoint Kathryn Kai-ling Frederick As Chief Marketing Officer

This week in leadership updates, the LA Rams appoint Kathryn Kai-ling Frederick as chief marketing officer, Hard Rock International names Kimberly Manna as SVP of retail and licensing, Lionsgate Film Group taps Marisa Liston as president of worldwide marketing while Mutual of America hires Brian Q. Severin for EVP and CMO.

LA Rams Hire Kathryn Kai-ling Frederick As Chief Marketing Officer

The LA Rams named Kathryn Kai-ling Frederick as chief marketing officer, according to Adweek.

Frederick joins the LA Rams from Live Nation Entertainment, where she was chief marketing officer. Previously, she served as chief marketing officer at Ticketmaster.

Hard Rock International Taps Kimberly Manna As Senior Vice President Of Retail And Licensing

Hard Rock International named Kimberly Manna as senior vice president of retail and licensing.

Prior, Manna held leadership roles at Panama Jack, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Saban Entertainment and Warner Bros.

Lionsgate Film Group Promotes Marisa Liston To President Of Worldwide Marketing

Lionsgate elevated Marisa Liston to the position of worldwide marketing head of their motion picture group after former CMO Damon Wolf stepped down.

Liston previously served as Lionsgate’s executive vice president after having worked at Sony Pictures Entertainment for 17 years.

Mutual of America Hires Brian Q. Severin As Executive Vice President And Chief Marketing Officer 

Mutual of America Financial Group appointed Brian Q. Severin executive vice president and chief marketing officer.

Severin has held several marketing leadership roles at Mutual of America.

Equiti Group Taps Chantelle Johnson As Chief Marketing Officer

Equiti Group has recruited Chantelle Johnson as their chief marketing officer.

Previously, Johnson held the role of global chief marketing officer at OANDA.

NBCUniversal’s Boston TV Stations and Regional Cable Network Names Laura Gremelsbacker As Vice President Of Marketing And Branding

NBC10 Boston/WBTS, NECN, Telemundo Boston/WNEU and NBC Sports Boston appointed Laura Gremelsbacker as vice president of marketing and branding. 

Gremelsbacker joins the team after working at NBC CT & Telemundo CT’s as creative services director. 

SoundExchange Makes Two Marketing Leadership Appointments

SoundExchange appointed Stephanie Werner as vice president of brand marketing and industry engagement, according to a press release

Prior to her current role, Werner served as Global Citizen’s vice president, head of global marketing.

SoundExchange has also hired Barry LeVine as vice president of marketing and entertainment partnerships.

Levine has previously held roles at Gibson Guitar, ShoutCrowd Media, and Sony BMG Music Entertainment.

Topgolf Entertainment Appoints Geoff Cottrill Chief Marketing Officer

Topgolf hired Geoff Cottrill as chief marketing officer, according to D Magazine.

Cottrill joins Topgolf from Coca-Cola North America, where he was senior vice president of strategic marketing.

Cottrill currently sits on the board of five companies including Giving Kitchen, Unitea and FEED.FM.

Cinemark Elevates Wanda Gierhart Fearing To Global Chief Marketing And Content Officer

Cinemark promoted Wanda Gierhart Fearing to chief marketing and content officer.

Gierhart Fearing previously held the role of executive vice president, global chief marketing officer. She began her career at Cinemark in January 2018.

VisitPittsburgh Chief Marketing Officer Tom Loftus Exits

Tom Loftus, VisitPittsburgh chief marketing officer, stepped down after his six-year tenure at the organization.

Shannon Wolfgang, VisitPittsburgh director of marketing communications, confirmed that the company has kicked off a national search for Loftus’ replacement.

Underlining Names Amanda Johnson As Chief Marketing Officer

Underlining hired Amanda Johnson as chief marketing officer, reports Adweek

Johnson joins Underlining from Mented, which she co-founded and where she served as chief operating officer.

Glow Hires Matt Houltham As Chief Marketing Officer

Glow named Matt Houltham chief marketing officer, according to Research Live.

Houltham has been a member of Glow’s advisory board for the past two years and served as Glow’s acting chief marketing officer.

Houltham previously served as chief executive officer at Havas Media Aunz and Havas Melbourne.

General Mills Chief Brand Officer Brad Hiranaga Steps Down

Amid a major restructuring launched in June, General Mills chief brand officer Brad Hiranaga has stepped down. Hiranaga spent two decades at General Mills, according to Adweek.

Doug Martin, General Mills’ disruptive growth officer, has taken on Hiranaga’s duties. Martin was most recently president of the company’s dairy operating unit.

EMarketer: Privacy Is A Key Opportunity For Differentiation

Nearly 90 percent of consumers care about data privacy, yet only about 30 percent worldwide have actually switched providers over data policies, suggesting there’s a market for privacy. 

To understand how marketers can increase their share of the market, eMarketer’s latest report about privacy as a competitive advantage unpacks case studies on how Apple, Amazon’s Alexa, WhatsApp and Facebook’s Reality Lab are creating, maintaining and in some cases, losing consumers’ trust with their strategic data practices and privacy-centric approach to product development.

In 2018, Europe enacted its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Shortly thereafter, the US adopted the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the subsequent California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), which was signed in 2020.

Though helpful frameworks, this patchwork approach to data privacy rules is a leading privacy compliance challenge, according to 37 percent of US marketers, as Treasure Data found. Consumers, on the other hand, are struggling to feel empowered when it comes to controlling their data. As Cisco’s June 2020 worldwide survey found, just under half of consumers didn’t feel they were able to effectively protect their personal data, primarily because it’s too difficult to figure out what companies are actually doing with it.

At the same time, consumer trust in technology is waning. Edelman’s 2021 Trust Barometer found that trust in the technology industry declined 6 percentage points between 2020 and 2021.

In response to these shifts in consumer opinion on privacy, tech giants like Facebook are exploring product designs that gather and process data on the device rather than in the cloud. With 50 percent of executives worldwide saying that cybersecurity and privacy are now baked into every business decision or plan, it’s safe to say that privacy and trust are evolving beyond a compliance concern and into a strategic initiative.  

Amazon Alexa

Despite rapid adoption rates, voice assistants and smart speakers still suffer from trust issues. Most US internet users who don’t own a smart speaker are wary of devices that are always listening and stated that they don’t trust companies to keep information secure, according to a 2020 NPR and Edison survey.

According to eMarketer’s forecasts, 27.2 percent of the US population will have smart speakers in their homes this year, and about 67 percent of smart speakers will be Amazon devices. Gaining the trust of its users required a steep learning curve for Alexa. To maintain consumer privacy and trust, Alexa has launched several commands that help provide users with transparency. For example, a user can ask Alexa to repeat back what it has heard, or ask “Alexa, why did you do that?”

In addition, Amazon recently added the ability to ask Alexa to “delete everything I’ve ever said,” which wipes out the audio history of processed interactions. To maintain consumer trust in Alexa, Amazon also has an entire team called Alexa Trust dedicated to consumer perceptions of its smart assistant.

As eMarketer suggests, Alexa could do more to guide new users through privacy preferences from the get-go as well as be transparent about how Alexa is using transaction data to customize and target experiences.


Apple has established itself as a privacy-friendly company, but the company is poised to set the privacy protection bar even higher as Apple CEO Tim Cook said that “business built on data exploitation without consumer choice deserves reform.”

To this aim, Apple has implemented a multi-faceted strategy that includes privacy-focused ad campaigns, allowing users to easily opt-out of location tracking by apps in iOS 13, privacy “nutrition labels” and App Tracking Transparency requisites in iOS14.5. 

Apple’s privacy nutrition labels translate policies into layman’s terms, requiring that app publishers detail what data is being collected and for what purpose. This tool has already seen success as 72 percent of US iPhone and iPad owners were aware of the labels’ introduction, according to a January 2021 SunCell survey. The labels can also function as a comparison tool as users compare one app to another in hopes of choosing the more privacy-centered one.

App Tracking Transparency, on the other hand, mandates that apps ask users for permission to track activities across other apps and websites. This tool is the platform’s inceptive attempt at preempting shifts in policy by deploying a tangible, opt-in consent option for advertisers utilizing Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA).

It seems Apple’s efforts around privacy are paying off. Of those who switched to an iPhone from Android in the last five years, 24 percent believed Apple was safer, 18 percent did so for better privacy protections and 15 percent did so for apps that have been vetted for privacy and security, according to Consumer Reports’ research.

While 31 percent of US smartphone owners would allow app-tracking to avoid paying a subscription for them—according to an AppsFlyer/MMA global survey—Apple’s IDFA changes have had a devastating impact. Last month, Venture Beat reported that iOS advertisers are experiencing a 15 percent to 20 percent revenue drop and inflation in unattributed organic traffic.

In light of Apple’s new policies and tools, Google has announced that it will require app developers in the Google Play app marketplace to offer details on data collection and use. Contrarily, Facebook has opposed Apple’s measures by indicating that such changes would “severely impact” social media’s ad business. WhatsApp has similarly denounced the new privacy requirements as unfairly advancing the iOS iMessage app only.

Despite Apple’s shifts being scrutinized as gatekeeping, the company has led the way on privacy. As eMarketer notes, its first-party data experiments may cause users to question how Apple intends on using personal data, forcing the tech giant to proceed with caution in order to preserve the trust it has garnered over the last couple of years. 


After WhatsApp users received a push notification requiring that they must accept new terms and privacy policies to continue using the app, their data began to be shared with Facebook, and the messaging app’s reputation for “privacy as a priority” was tarnished.

Shortly after purchasing the privacy-friendly messaging app for $19 billion, Facebook prioritized a monetization strategy and began sharing data for personalization and ad-targeting features, sparking an EU investigation, fine and data integration “EU pause” pending GDPR compliance.

Given that the ultimatum to accept the new terms or stop using the app wasn’t explicit about what data would be collected, shared and with whom, WhatsApp users interpreted the new terms to mean that Facebook could access encrypted messages. WhatsApp sent countless clarifying messages educating users on the terms, which delayed the rollout almost three months. The app went on to announce that rejection of the new terms would result in a gradual loss of functionality.

As a result, Signal and Telegram downloads soared with 7.5 million downloads and 5.6 million downloads, respectively, between January 6 and January 10, according to Apptopia.

Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp diminished the trust that had been built throughout roughly five years of service. The rollout was further hindered by misinformation and a sense of betrayal. As eMarketer notes, when a company builds its reputation on trust and privacy, it must continue to meet and exceed user expectations of those principles. 

Facebook Reality Labs

Facebook Reality Labs is on a mission to help people feel connected anytime, anywhere, which is why roughly one-fifth of the company’s workforce is working in Reality Labs.

The challenge here is winning back users’ trust in order to harness the full potential it envisions for Reality Labs given that trust and privacy are indispensable for introducing a new computing interface. In eMarketer’s June 2020 Digital Trust ranking of the largest social media platforms, Facebook came in dead last, as only 3.4 percent of US adults trust the tech giant with personal information, according to a June 2020 eMarketer/Bizrate survey.

Dubbed “The Big Shift,” Facebook’s new approach stresses data minimization and bakes privacy into its entire design process. According to Andrew Bosworth, head of Reality Labs, Facebook will be starting with the assumption that they cannot “collect, use, or store any data” and that they will maintain the burden of informing why certain data is required to produce a workable product. 

Reality Lab’s integral principles for responsible innovation include 1) never surprise people, 2) provide controls that matter, 3) consider everyone and 4) put people first. These principles, along with internal teams focused on privacy, trust, responsible innovation and a privacy review process, aim to redeem Facebook in the eyes of consumers.

It’s still too early in Facebook’s roll-out of new privacy changes to determine how they will manifest in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences. Although only 8.5 percent of Americans own a VR headset, in 2020 Facebook’s Oculus accounted for 53.5 percent of global headset shipments, according to Counterpoint Technology Market Research. 

Bosworth, with his optimistic and privacy-centric approach to Reality Labs, has said that he will focus on technology development and product experience before worrying about the business model. Unfortunately, Facebook’s history has shown that developing the tech before the business model has manifested with, as eMarketer puts it, “significant risk and potentially perverse incentives.” Additionally, Bosworth’s own history running Facebook’s News Feed has shown that despite his contentions, his remarks don’t set policy. In short, the company’s data minimization stance is long overdue.

Seeing The Whole Picture Of A Marketing Transformation With Philips’ Lorraine Barber-Miller

Lorraine Barber-Miller is the chief marketing and e-commerce officer at Philips, a 130-year-old company in the middle of a large marketing transformation.

In this episode, Lorraine and I discuss what makes Philips unique and her background at IBM and ADP before joining Philips. We also discuss Philips’s B2B and B2C complexities as a business and the global marketing transformation she’s leading.

Lorraine says, “We are transforming the function at Philips to build world-class capabilities to position Philips as the leading health tech partner to our customers and consumers.” Both marketing and e-commerce play a significant role in making this positioning a reality, and they do it by executing five strategic priorities: strengthening and protecting their brand leadership, focusing on customer-centricity, meeting the customer where and how they want to be engaged, leading with data-driven marketing, and recruiting and retaining top talent.

Listen to the full conversation to hear how each of these factors influences the transformation.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The complexity of having both B2B and B2C business
  • What it means to transform to digital-first
  • The importance of individual contribution

Key Highlights:

  • [01:19] Living on a man-made island in Dubai
  • [02:06] Lorraine’s career motivations
  • [05:25] Joining Philips during the pandemic
  • [07:37] Navigating both B2B and B2C business
  • [09:45] Driving a marketing transformation
  • [15:05] Engaging a 3,000-member team 
  • [16:34] Where e-commerce fits into the transformation process
  • [20:15] Consolidation agency relationships worldwide
  • [22:22] Lorraine’s advice for marketers leading a transformation journey
  • [27:05] Stepping back and seeing the whole picture
  • [29:25] A moment that defines Lorraine, made her who she is today
  • [30:21] Lorraine’s advice to her younger self 
  • [31:18] What marketers should be learning more about
  • [33:13] The brands and organizations Lorraine follows
  • [34:00] The biggest threat and opportunity for marketers today

Resources Mentioned: 

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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.

TikTok Launches Stories Pilot

This week in social media news, TikTok tests stories and inks a partnership with Publicis Groupe, Instagram highlights top creative in a new section under its Professional Dashboard, Facebook advertisers shift to Amazon after Apple updates and more.

TikTok Pilots Stories As Twitter Terminates Fleets

TikTok has launched a pilot of TikTok Stories, as spotted by social media expert Matt Navarra and reported by TechCrunch. During the pilot, TikTok plans to gather insight before deciding whether it will expand it to all users.

Why it matters: The new feature allows TikTok users who don’t post regularly a more streamlined approach to begin engaging with the platform, an approach they’re likely familiar with if they’ve used a similar feature on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest or Twitter’s newly axed Fleets. The option also allows regular users to engage with the community in a more laid-back fashion without having to be on LIVE. For brands, Stories allows for expanded opportunities to advertise.

The details: TikTok Stories resembles its counterparts on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, for example in duration, the ability to record or upload and more; though it differs in one key respect – users’ ability to comment publicly. Users can view the number of people who have viewed a TikTok Story and whether they’re following those viewers. They can also tap a button via the new navigation bar on the left side of their screen before adding text, stickers, sounds or effects.

TikTok Announces Partnership With Publicis Groupe To Expand Access To Commerce Tools

TikTok is expanding its reach into commerce through a global partnership with Publicis Groupe. The partnership will provide Publicis clients with access to TikTok’s commerce tools and give TikTok more opportunities to help brands and creators maximize potential on the platform.

Why it matters: According to a press release, brands utilizing TikTok to engage with potential consumers will benefit from “unique learning opportunities, insights, and strategic counsel centered around driving product discovery and purchase intent….” The move is a part of TikTok’s ongoing monetization strategy as it attempts to keep creators happy (and paid) and struggles to find ways to monetize short-form video – an admittedly difficult task.

The details: Through the partnership, Publicis will reveal TikTok’s new commerce products, capabilities and creative solutions to an array of markets and clients. Additionally, in Publicis’ multi-week “Community Commerce Sprint’ program, a dedicated TikTok team will provide cross-functional support and coach brands on how to create and develop impactful commerce campaigns ahead of the holidays. 

TikTok will also gain new insights into consumer behavior through these campaigns, further bolstering its analytics offerings and monetization strategy and the ability to refine its commerce tools.

Instagram Highlights Top Examples Of Creative Via Professional Dashboard

Instagram is helping brands improve their presence on the platform by featuring examples of exceptional organic and promoted posts under a new section on the Professional Dashboard of business profiles.

Why it matters: The addition provides brands and creators with fresh ideas on how to expand their profitability on the commerce side of Instagram. Access to this selection of hand-picked posts and ads by Instagram’s creative team will also help businesses in developing their own vision and understand how to promote their own campaigns.

The details: To those who have Business and Creator accounts, Instagram’s Professional Dashboard now features the new “See How Other Businesses Connect With People” and, “See How Other Businesses Are Growing” sections. 

In its ongoing efforts to help businesses of all sizes, these new options enhance Instagram’s Professional Dashboard tool by imploring users of the Dashboard to take note of what makes a “top” post or ad stand out, what about it captures the business’ voice and vision and how those elements can be applied elsewhere.

Advertisers Shift To Amazon After Apple Privacy Shift

Ever since Apple rolled out its iPhone privacy changes in June, Facebook advertising has become less effective as brands seek alternatives such as Amazon, according to Bloomberg.

Why it matters: Amazon holds 10.7 percent of the US digital ad market. However, with iPhone’s privacy update, the retail giant stands to take hold of a larger share of the ad market as the inability to track internet activity has left Facebook with less to offer businesses advertising through its platform.

The details: With consumers bypassing Google to search for products directly on Amazon, and with Facebook’s effectiveness having dwindled, brands are beginning to recognize the value in advertising on Amazon to its 153 million US Prime members. 

The new phenomenon is in its early stages, meaning nothing can be said for certain about its future, though there are several examples of companies shifting significant portions of their Facebook ad budgets into Amazon or keeping Facebook marketing budgets flat while increasing their presence on Amazon. There still remain hurdles to advertising on the world’s largest online marketplace, such as the fear of losing a direct connection with consumers. Still, advertising represents one of Amazon’s fastest-growing and most profitable resources.

Instagram Tests Ads In The Shop Tab

Instagram has launched the ability for brands with product listings to promote them as sponsored posts on the Shop tab front page. The platform says its goal is to “make shopping a habitual response in the app.”

Why it matters: Instagram is endeavoring to make its app more ecommerce-centric with an array of new tools and features, including its newest promotional addition, which allows for more exposure for brands and a more streamlined shopping experience for users.

The details: With this new update, users can tap a sponsored post, which will direct the user to the Product Details section for more details and images, with the possibility of exploring more of a brand’s products and website. Instagram’s new Shop tab ads will be tested with select US advertisers including Away, Clairepaint and Donny Davy, before it makes the feature available to all brands.

Nielsen: The Baseline For Convenience Is Higher Than Ever

After 16 months of consumers relying on connectivity and omnichannel shopping experiences, the baseline for convenience is higher than ever. Now as the world reopens, retailers will be tasked with meeting people where they are. According to new Nielsen data, that will require a seamless blending of on- and offline strategies rather than an emphasis on one over the other. 

According to the firm’s June 2021 online survey, among all the ways consumers purchased goods, click-and-collect saw the highest increase since before the pandemic. In-store pickup, for example, increased from 25 percent pre-pandemic to 38 percent in June while curbside pickup rose from 16 percent pre-pandemic to 36 percent in June. 

Still, click-and-collect won’t be replacing traditional forms of shopping anytime soon, according to Nielsen. The act of ordering from a local store and having it delivered grew from 22 percent to 32 percent, in-store shopping increased from 78 percent to 82 percent and online ordering and shipping on sites like Amazon grew from 70 percent to 77 percent. These figures suggest that retailers will have to remain flexible and nimble in order to meet consumers’ heightened demand for convenience.

Nielsen’s data also show that aggregate in-store shopping behavior in the US changed very little between the second half of 2019 and the second half of 2020. Aggregate in-store grocery shopping trends changed even less, Nielsen notes, even as online grocery shopping activity increased. 

Nielsen found that 98.5 percent of US households had gone grocery shopping in-store in the week prior to responding to the survey in the second half of 2019. That figure remained largely unchanged through the second half of 2020. 

Mall shopping, on the other hand, has been decreasing steadily since the survey was released, from 83.6 percent of US households having gone mall shopping within three months of responding to the survey in the second half of 2019, to 75.6 percent in the second half of 2020. 

Online shopping at any store and for any service within three months, however, grew from 71.9 percent to 76.2 percent while online grocery shopping done within the past seven days grew from 1.7 percent to 2.1 percent during the same periods.

Retailers should continue to focus on delivering convenience especially as more people start to leave their homes. A study conducted by Nielsen Audio found that in June, 90 percent of respondents said they’re ready to resume pre-COVID activities, and several indicated that they’re increasing their weekly activities.

For example, grocery store shopping went from 70 percent in April 2020 to 84 percent in June 2021 while driving went from 67 percent to 77 percent. Hanging out with others and dining out witnessed the most drastic increases of 41 percentage points for each, while spending time indoors and ordering take-out remained roughly the same. Non-grocery shopping jumped from 27 percent to 48 percent and clothing shopping went from 6 percent to 30 percent. Café visits and planning or booking a vacation rose from 7 percent to 25 percent and 3 percent to 15 percent, respectively.

Essential retailers that have had frequent interactions with consumers will likely remain top-of-mind among consumers. But as Nielsen notes, now is the time for many retailers to re-engage with consumers, especially those that pulled back on their marketing and ad spend last year. These retailers should think about ways to re-introduce themselves and build brand awareness.