Tressie Lieberman, CMO at Yahoo, and Jae Goodman, Founder of Superconnector Studios, and Board Chair of Effie, recently joined us on the MTM Visionaries podcast to share how they think about the worlds of media and influence. While Tressie and Jae work from different industry seats, they share a passion for attracting consumers and driving brand and business results through ingenious strategies that work. Below, they share eight pillars that have led to their success.
8 Pillars of Media and Influence
- Reach the unreachable consumer
- Ignite the community
- Work with trusted partners to create entertainment-based content
- Go slow to go fast
- Brand over time, sales overnight
- Look for bespoke KPIs to prove entertainment works
- Show the value of marketing to stakeholders
- Engage and convert consumers
Reach the unreachable consumer
Tressie Lieberman: Yahoo has hundreds of millions of users who wake up every day to check email or the news on various topics ranging from finance to sports information. Our users find great value in our services, but the Yahoo brand has lost some relevance. People don’t wake up every day thinking about Yahoo. We need to find a way to create a tighter connection with our users and bring along the next generation. This is something I have been passionate about throughout my career, whether it was engaging millennials or tapping into Gen Z at Taco Bell and Chipotle. I am excited to introduce Yahoo to Gen A and Z.
Jae Goodman: I founded Superconnector Studios, not to compete with the entertainment or advertising ecosystem, but to help all aspects of these ecosystems to create innovative and effective ways of interacting with each other–ultimately attracting consumers and driving brand and business results. The studio’s goal is to facilitate the collaborative efforts of everyone involved in these industries, especially at a time when consumers are more disconnected from advertising than ever before.
Ignite the community
Tressie Lieberman: To make the greatest impact in the world of media and influence, it all starts with strategy and doing the unexpected. For example, when I worked for the Chipotle brand, it was clear that the strategy was to supercharge the super fans. People love the brand and are really excited about it, so we kept giving them new reasons to share their passion and connection. My favorite example of this was when we turned the ingredient line into an eyeshadow palette through a partnership with e.l.f. Beauty, which became part of pop culture and earned a lot (four billion impressions in 72 hours) of media attention.
The other important approach I use is asking the same question repeatedly to think about what would ignite the community: “Why would I care? Why would I share?” If you can get the community to talk about something and make it happen, instead of telling people it’s cool, you will win every time.
Work with trusted partners to create entertainment-based content
Jae Goodman: To leapfrog the typical advertising campaign mentality, we recommend adding subject matter experts and media-type experts to the existing team rather than asking the same team to reinvent a playbook. For instance, if a brand wants to create a 3-minute film with an excellent piece of music, a documentary film, or a podcast, it is a tall order to ask your interruptive advertising agency, media agency, or social agency to handle it. It’s more effective to work alongside Academy Award-winning documentarians, a podcaster who gets 10M listens a week, or someone who consumers have already chosen to interact with.
This approach creates a new team environment, but there are two parts to it. The first part is building a culture of trust internally and among the partners. The second part is to put them in the room early and often enough to work out the strategy and creative together.
Go slow to go fast
Tressie Lieberman: Marketing is like being a human. You need to understand what makes you unique, what your values are, and how you present yourself to the world. This foundational work is essential to feel confident in making choices that you feel good about.
“Marketing is like being human. You need to understand what makes you unique, what your values are, and how you present yourself to the world. “—Tressie Liberman
For Yahoo, we need to go back to basics and figure out who we are, what we stand for, and what our legacy is. As a pioneer of the internet, it’s exciting to look at our heritage as a brand that’s almost 30 years old, which might seem young, but in the tech industry, it can feel old. We need to dig into our history and heritage before moving forward.
Once we’ve figured out our brand positioning, we need to have the right team and structure in place to move quickly and efficiently, approaching it in a more unconventional way to truly make an impact.
Brand over time, sales overnight
Tressie Lieberman: Whatever you create, it doesn’t have to be a choice between a sales overnight initiative and a big brand initiative that takes months to perfect. The reality is that everything you put out should build a brand and hopefully drive traffic, too. If you go through that lens of deepening the connection with the brand, you can really do unexpected work.
For instance, Chipotle won a Cannes Lion earlier this year for an email campaign. That was one of the most exciting things for me because we took an email, which is typically transactional, and built the brand into it. So, if you keep going through that lens, it creates a culture that people want to be a part of. This attracts all the right talent to want to be a part of the work that you’re doing, which levels everything up.
Look for bespoke KPIs to prove entertainment works
Jae Goodman: The fundamentals matter–the marketing funnel has not changed. If your brand proposition doesn’t fit on one page, you have some serious work to do. You need to be able to answer the basic questions about what your brand is, who it’s for, what you make, and why you make it. When you step into a new environment, you are measuring it against the same exact questions. This is a subjective measurement since every other aspect of your marketing is objective, but it’s really hard at the upper funnel.
Therefore, you really need to look for bespoke KPIs in the absence of standard measurement. This is why I became the board chair of Effie. I became obsessed with measurement because people would say, “How can you prove that entertainment works?” I would say, “Look at Transformers.” The results don’t lie. Unfortunately, those results become available to you in the rearview mirror; this requires serious patience.
Patience is a big part of measurement when you are trying to leapfrog incrementality and trying to do something innovative. You tend to be in a hurry, and our bosses–whether they are CFOs or CEOs–tend to be in a hurry to see demonstrable results. Counseling patience is as fundamental as knowing who the brand is.
“Look for bespoke KPIs in the absence of standard measurement. The results don’t lie; this requires serious patience.“— Jae Goodman
Show the value of marketing to stakeholders
Tressie Lieberman: My focus is on building relationships and being transparent about the problems we’re working on, as well as the opportunities we have. It’s important to establish connections with the team, whether it’s within the organization or with external agency partners. We need to communicate how we operate and how we can work together. I want people to acknowledge that marketing has a seat at the table. Therefore, relationship building is the most crucial aspect for me.
However, I also consider myself a salesperson, and I always strive to be the most passionate person in the room. I talk about the value that marketing can provide and share examples of how the landscape is changing. I also emphasize the importance of respecting our audience and like to share tweets from the community. It all comes down to communication.
Engage and convert consumers
Jae Goodman: At Superconnector Studios, we often get asked to create premium content strategies that need to coexist with an overall brand content strategy. To address this, we have created the programming pyramid, which sits alongside the marketing funnel.
At the top of the programming pyramid is premium content. This could be entertainment, such as a short film, TV show, podcast, feature documentary, celebrity live-stream, or commercial, that requires a significant investment and takes a long time to produce. This content maps to the top of the funnel.
Next is periodic content, which can be interruptive or engaging and maps to the mid-funnel, where we are looking to generate interest and move people toward conversion.
At the bottom of the funnel, where we need consumers to make a purchase, we have the always-on click in the app. This ecosystem can exist entirely on the phone or in various locations around the world, depending on the brand.
Understanding what the programming pyramid looks like and how we communicate with modern consumers is crucial to creating effective content strategies that engage and convert consumers.
Meet the Visionaries
Jae Goodman, Founder of Superconnector Studios, Board Chair of Effie: Jae Goodman is the Founder and CEO of Superconnector Studios, a Management Consultancy, Brand Entertainment Producer, and Talent-Led-Consumer-Product Accelerator. Prior to Superconnector Studios, Jae was the Founder of Observatory, one of Fast Company’s “World’s Most Innovative Companies” in 2020, 2021, and 2022; initially formed in 2006 when Goodman joined Creative Artists Agency as first-ever Chief Creative Officer and Co-Head of CAA Marketing. Goodman has earned four Cannes Lions Grand Prix in four different categories (Film, Cyber, PR, Entertainment), thirty-three Cannes Lions in total, seventeen Webby awards, four Emmys from twelve Emmy nominations, and four Gold Effies, including the coveted David vs. Goliath. Jae is also responsible for the first and second brand films ever accepted to the Sundance Film Festival, 2018 YouTube Ad of the Year, “That Rewrites the Rules,” and AdWeek Media Plan of the Year 2020. Goodman has been named to Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business 1000, AdWeek’s Creative 100, Ad Age’s Creativity 50, Campaign’s 40 over 40, and PR Week’s Hot List. Goodman is a two-time Cannes Lions Jury President and is currently serving a three-year term as Board Chair of Effie Worldwide.
Tressie Lieberman, CMO at Yahoo: Tressie is responsible for global marketing strategy, brand positioning, and customer engagement at Yahoo! She was most recently Vice President of Digital Marketing and Off-Premise for Chipotle, where she drove customer engagement and growth of digital ordering. Chipotle is now one of the most buzzed-about brands from activations such as the TikTok creator-led menu, being the first restaurant brand on Roblox, and dropping fan-inspired collabs like a bespoke product kit with e.l.f. Cosmetics. Chipotle was recently named to Time100’s Most Influential Companies for being a social media maven. Lieberman also held leadership positions at Snap Kitchen and Taco Bell. At Snap Kitchen, she served as CMO, leading retail partnerships and overseeing a full brand and menu redesign. During her Taco Bell tenure, Lieberman created an incubator that focused on rapid prototyping, e-commerce, and delivery. She also designed and drove the social media and influencer strategy that positioned Taco Bell to win in youth culture.
Visionaries, hosted by Nadine Dietz, airs every week and is brought to you in partnership with The Wall Street Journal. Each week, two new visionaries share their game plan and how that impacts today’s teams, talent, and hybrid work environment.
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