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Meet Paloma Azulay, VP of Brand Marketing, Hulu, The Walt Disney Company. Paloma spent the past 20 years working in different brand and creative roles, including 14 years at Coca-Cola and 3.5 years at RBI (Burger King, Popeyes, Tim Hortons), based in places as varied as Rio de Janeiro, Vienna, Toronto, and Miami. She recently moved to Los Angeles to join The Walt Disney Company and now leads brand marketing for Hulu. Read on to learn what she has to say about the brand vs. performance debate and how she’s breaking through the streaming noise by dialing up what makes Hulu unique.

Every marketer should listen to…Pivot with Scott Galloway and Kara Swisher. They are hilarious and have a great point of view about what’s happening in media and culture.

What gives me energy outside of work… “playing with my two boys! And watching Hulu.

A life experience that has made me better at my job… “I am originally from Brazil and grew up in a creative environment—my dad was an artist—which greatly influenced my love for storytelling, brands, and entertainment.

Future of Marketing

Q: What’s something you see evolving in Media Marketing within the next five years? 

How we express our brand purpose and point of view increasingly relies on more concrete actions and social-first formats. It was easier in the past when we developed positioning and created a 30-second manifesto ad to run on television. Consumers are not paying attention to these tactics now, so the creative must work harder than ever. Our branded content must become more insightful and impactful every day to stand out.   

Q: What’s a widely accepted “marketing truth” you wish marketers could do away with?

Every attempt to polarize tactics is worthless. There is no brand vs. performance; there is only brand and performance, brand and growth, marketing and sales, marketing and product. Consumers interact with products, experiences, and social media posts as one; therefore, every touchpoint matters and plays an important role. The most iconic brands in the world took decades to build in the same way it takes years to build a solid relationship with another person. We need to evolve from the mentality that solely searches for immediate growth, fame, and virality.

Marketing at Hulu

Q: What’s something innovative or exciting you’re currently working on?  

I am excited to work on the Hulu integration as part of the Disney Bundle. The Walt Disney Company has an unmatched portfolio of content brands, and the fact that consumers can get them all from one parent brand is a big competitive advantage. Secondly, last year, we successfully launched an adult animation and anime sub-brand called Hulu Animayhem, and I can’t wait to take it to the next level among fans next year. Hulu is the number one destination for anime and adult animation fans, and tapping into this engaged audience is both fun and a consistent challenge to advance.

Q: What’s the most pressing business challenge you’ve faced within the last year and how have tried to solve it?  

The challenge for streaming in the United States is the growing number of competitors and the immense amount of entertainment options consumers have at their fingertips, from TikTok to YouTube and from theaters to streaming.

Our solution is to dial up what makes Hulu distinct from other brands and make our campaigns more impactful and consistent, especially given our recent 15th-anniversary celebration.   

We continue to own a voice that is both transparent and funny, and embrace the distinct Hulu green brand as our biggest asset. Spotlighting our unique original content (The Kardashians, FX’s The Bear, Only Murders in the Building, Abbott Elementary) and so many libraries and all-time favorites in an ownable way are all ways we bolster and enhance the brand and its presence.

Embracing our Live offering as a key differentiator, from Live sports to Live Music festivals, is also a distinct aspect of our product. It is not an accident that research shows that Hulu is the 2nd most preferred streaming brand in the industry. 

Career and Leadership Advice

Q: What’s the most game-changing career advice you’ve ever received?

If you don’t believe in it, don’t do it. I got this advice almost ten years ago, and it helped me fight with even more passion for the ideas I believed in. It helped me embrace brand purposes and brand stories more and, in turn, inspire others. When you genuinely and ultimately believe in what you’re doing, you can make others think and buy into your product, idea, or service; that’s the essence of marketing. 

Q: What’s one new leadership muscle you see as the most important for marketers to exercise?

The essential leadership muscle we must always exercise is the ability to listen to the consumer. It’s become easier than ever to get lost in a lot of data, but nothing replaces a deep and true understanding of consumer behavior: What are their tensions? What are they looking for? How can we best respond to that in real-time?   

Marketers to Watch is a recognition series to spotlight highly innovative and forward-thinking marketing leaders in the community. If you have someone you’d like to nominate for the series, click here.