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Guest Q&A: Stephanie Rudnick

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For this month’s Guest Column, we sat down with Stephanie Rudnick, MKTG INC’s new SVP, Marketing Communications. An almost 20-year industry veteran, Stephanie shares her thoughts and expertise on the world of PR and experiential marketing, MKTG and the best advice she’s ever received.

What will your role be here at MKTG INC?
I’ll be developing and managing all aspects of the company’s communication strategy and practice, including media and industry relations, external communications and brand management.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Carpe diem” –  Live each day as if it were your last. It’s something I’ve lived by since learning about it in elementary school from my favorite English teacher.

How did you get into PR?
When I decided on my major, it was WAY before PR was as widely understood as it is today. I spent a lot of time working with non-profits in high school in Chicago and loved when the media would come to our events and publicize our causes. When I learned that I could study journalism with a PR focus, it just felt right. I went to college at USC in Los Angeles because I wanted to study in a major city where my teachers were working professionals in my field, but also because the location would offer me access to a wide array of internships. I was lucky enough to have internships every semester – from beauty to music to technology to entertainment and celebrity publicity – which helped expose me to how different PR can be depending on the client. Since then, I’ve done pretty much every kind of PR across a ton of verticals, both agency and in-house. Now that I’m older, one of my favorite things is to mentor young people who are interested learning how to navigate the business and continue to help them along throughout their careers.

What publications or websites do you find most relevant to your career?
It’s part of my job to read, read, read and do my best to stay on top of what’s going on in our industry and in general. So, I start my day with a scan of Twitter, which helps me get a handle quickly on the news of the day. Then, first thing at work, I go old-school and get my hands dirty tearing through the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.  I also read the hard copy of the Sports Business Journal and the SBJ’s three daily e-newsletters, as well as MediaPost, EM, Adweek and AdAge. The list goes on and on.

What are some of your favorite work experiences?
I’m so grateful that my job has afforded me so many amazing experiences. I’ve been able to travel around the globe, working, and experiencing working in other cultures. One of the craziest experiences was in Beijing, when just hours before a press conference I was organizing, a friend tipped me off that if I wanted the media to actually publish/broadcast something, I had to give them a gift and CASH. For real. That was fun to have to explain to finance why the company owed me thousands of CNYs in cash and for T-shirts from the hotel gift shop! I also have to share that one of my all-time favorite nights at work was in 2012 at the NFL Draft when my client, Andrew Luck, was drafted first. It was so crazy and exciting and anxiety-inducing being backstage with Andrew and his family and all of the other draftees and their families, waiting for “the call” from the teams. Not sure that will ever happen again, unless my son decides that’s the route he wants to take…urgh.

Who have been your favorite clients?
That’s a hard one but I would say that working with the totally courageous and amazing NBA center Jason Collins was a highlight of my career.

What are your favorite apps?
Amazon, Uber, Starbucks, SportsCenter, Swarm, American Airlines, Diapers.com, Fitbit, WeatherBug, WhatsApp, FlightTracker, OpenTable, Seamless, Timehop and Tile.

What are three things you can’t travel without?
Earplugs, a flat-iron and my Philips Sonicare toothbrush

When not at the office, where are we most likely to find you? (Not that we’ll be looking, of course.)
At home in Battery Park or running around downtown Manhattan with my husband Duncan, and kids Charlie (2 1/2) and Matilda (5 months). And probably reading.

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New Faces: COO Peter Office

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FullSizeRender[2]For this month’s Guest Column, we sat down with Peter Office, who has joined MKTG INC as Chief Operating Officer. A 25-year industry veteran, Peter shares his thoughts on experiential marketing, MKTG and the best advice he’s ever received.

Welcome to MKTG INC! Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve been in the experiential marketing industry for a long time, watching the industry go from unsophisticated one-off programs to fully integrated experiences. I started my career in brand management at Pepsi and then moved into the experiential space working for several agencies… from producing B2B meetings to building and managing hospitality villages at Super Bowls, PGA Championships, Ryder Cups and U.S. Open events. I moved to the B2C side by producing marketing and entertainment tours, pop-up retail, location-based experiences and promotional events around the world.

I spent 10 years at Momentum leading the Live Events teams and had a stint as Chief People Officer. Most recently, I have been consulting for a variety of marketing agencies.

What will your role be here at MKTG INC?
As Chief Operations Officer, I will be working with all departments to figure out methods to streamline operations and become more efficient so our teams can spend more time focusing on providing great marketing solutions for our clients while improving margins.

As an industry veteran, how would you say MKTG stands out in the marketplace?
MKTG has the nimble approach of a small boutique with the resources of a large agency. The size of the agency makes it feel personal. The energy and enthusiasm of so many smart people working together is a great environment.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Two pieces of advice stand out: (1) “Make every decision as if you owned the business.” If you think like an owner, you are always working to do the right thing. (2) “Always hire people smarter than you are.” Smart people make you and the company better – never be scared to have them around.

MKTG was recently acquired by Dentsu Aegis. What does this mean for MKTG staff and clients?
Being part of a global agency provides opportunity. Opportunity for us to provide smarter integrated solutions for our clients. And personal opportunity for individuals to learn new disciplines and to develop new expertise.

What are your predictions for the event marketing industry in 2015?
A continued blurring of the lines between social and experiential. The creation of content for social amplification will require live experience as more people look for authenticity. The importance of the human connection will continue to grow as consumers tire of the always-connected world. The tangible experience our industry provides will be welcome as people want to touch, taste and feel brands. Live interaction will be appreciated as a “tech timeout.”

Technology will continue to play a greater role in events but content and the experience will be personalized. Personalization, tailored conversations and immersive experiences will make each interaction unique.

Experiential marketing will continue to evolve from tactical/executional projects to larger strategic platforms. We will continue to see greater integration and closer working relationships with other marketing disciplines as experiential provides the platform for sponsorships, PR and digital.

What publications/websites do you find most relevant to your career?

I start the day with the NY Times and then run through a variety of news, blogs and RSS feeds (Trend Hunter, Springwise, PSFK, Mashable, Seth Goodin, HBR.org, Wired and others) using the Feedly reader. I keep up with the industry news reading Crains, Advertising Age, MediaPost, Adweek and Event Marketer. LinkedIn is my go-to site for gathering intelligence about people and companies and finding networking contacts.

What are your favorite apps?
I use many apps regularly but a few daily use apps include: Keeper, Evernote, ScannerPro, IFly Pro, HopStop, Uber, The Weather Channel, Urbanspoon and BizXpense Trkr.

As a frequent flyer, what are three things you always pack?

A water bottle, granola bars and a phone charger.

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Brands and the Audience Evolution

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Frank Bruni wrote an interesting piece in the New York Times about what Princeton prof. Daniel Rodgers calls the “Age of Fracture.

The idea is, as our knowledge has gotten more specialized, there is less common ground that draws us together. Everyone is taking in content with their own customized feeds. Even at Princeton, in a room full of geniuses, the average teacher struggles to find common cultural references.

In the mid-70’s, America’s top rated show, All in the Family, drew 23% of all Americans. That means that almost 1 in 4 Americans were reacting to the same thing at the exact same time. Today, America’s top-rated show, NCIS, draws 1/16th of all Americans (7%), including those who DVR it.

Sure, there are a few cultural events (like the Super Bowl) that draw up to 35% of us, but on a regular basis, there is no MASS AUDIENCE anymore. Everything is going niche and finding a very specific following. Some of us are watching HBO and Netflix Original Series, some are watching cable and network series, and some of us simply watch videos through our social feeds.

The same is true of social networks.

Parents and brands joined Facebook, so influencers switched to Instagram. Then they moved to Instagram, so influencers migrated to Snapchat. Fred Wilson, the legendary investor who wisely invested in Twitter, Tumblr, Zynga, Etsy & Kickstarter, recently commented on this on a fascinating profile in Business Insider.

On Instagram, he says:

“A lot of the stuff that was on Instagram has now moved to Snapchat. It doesn’t mean that people are not using Instagram, but if I go back and look at my Instagram feed a year ago versus today, there’s a lot of people who were in my Instagram feed a year ago who aren’t there today. They’ve been replaced by brands.

So now my Instagram feed is full of things like the New York Knicks and restaurants posting amazing photos of food. The young Facebook user base who left Facebook to go to Instagram has now seemingly moved mostly to Snapchat and my generation (baby boomers) plus brands are what’s on Instagram now.”

So…what is the NEXT BIG Social network once all the brands and parents get to Snapchat? Maybe nothing! In an era of niches, there’s no next big network that has attained critical mass. Instead, there are a bunch of small communities forming that cater to specific interests with very devout followings. Here are a few of the communities that are developing:

There are communities for Musicians:  40 million musicians share their music with 200,000 listeners;

Communities for Students: a network of 34.2 MM students and teachers around the world that is dedicated to helping everyone become more educated;

…and even communities for Storytellers: 25 million people around the world writing and reading 40 million stories.

The landscape has changed, but there are still a lot of great ways to reach an audience. In fact, brands may have an easier job targeting their core consumers because these communities have done such a good job of singling out very specific demographics.

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Hemingway’s Bait & Switch

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Are you using the right bait? And what about the line? The New York Times Book Review has an interesting essay this week – “How Writers Build the Brand” by Tony Perrottet – on the strategies and tactics that authors use to promote their books and themselves.

The article calls out Ernest Hemingway, who so mastered the craft that he was able to extend his author aura to a range of products, including Pan Am, Parker Pens and Ballantine Ale.

Image: Advertisement From P. Ballantine & Sons, Newark (1951) via The New York Times

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Written by Admin
Admin

May 2nd, 2011 at 4:33 pm