On Monday Arianna Huffington was joined by Uber’s SVP of Leadership and Strategy Frances Frei and Bill Koenigsberg of Horizon Media at Advertising Week to discuss workplace culture, diversity and inclusivity. Frances and Arianna reflected on how they worked together to reform Uber’s culture, starting with their “no brilliant jerks” policy saying that no one will get a pass on company culture just because they are a top performer. When Frances joined Uber she was most surprised by the lack of cross communication that occurred even in top boardroom meetings where she would have colleagues texting each other as if they were sixth graders passing notes. Arianna drove this point home by saying companies need to be a more hospitable environment for women, “If a company has mothers pumping in the bathroom but space for ping pong tables there is a problem.”
Yesterday Jessica Alba of The Honest Company joined Neil Blumenthal, co-founder & co-CEO of Warby Parker, and Harry Kargman of Kargo to give attendees at Advertising Week insights into what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur and how to use your brand to become a household name. Alba and Blumenthal both wanted to create brands that gave simple solutions to real consumer problems by breaking through, at the time, an entirely new and unexplored market and delivering straight to the consumer online. They both built their brands by highlighting the truthful and unique messaging points that truly make them different.
Bethenny Frankel joined Maria Mandel Dunsche, VP and head of Marketing for AT&T AdWorks, Jeff Goodby, co-chairman & partner of GS&P, and others to discuss the state of the industry and how industry professionals are responding to the ever-changing environment of a more digital and cluttered marketplace. Frank Cooper, CMO of BlackRock, reflected on how consumers are smarter than ever, so brands need to be more careful as to not interrupt them. Shooting a flare into the sky to say “here I am!” or having a celebrity hold a product and smile doesn’t seem authentic to consumers anymore.
Cosmopolitan’s Laura Brounstein moderated a panel with Gretchen Carlson and Emily Steel (Fierce, Fearless, & Female) at Advertising Week New York to discuss the importance of perseverance, bravery and doing what’s right in the workplace. NYT’s Emily Steel spoke about the importance of diligent reporting and how it can support investigative reporting. She shared a story about finally getting a former O’Reilly guest to go on-the-record through trust, relationship-building and … a Pilates class. Touching upon why advertisers pulled ads from Bill O’ Reilly’s show, the women discussed the snowball effect caused by online and social protests and the trend of social issues impacting the way advertisers and marketers talk to audiences today. Gretchen noted the importance of having men and women alike involved in the fight against sexual harassment as well as educating our children on these tough situations. She commented on the importance of having men involved, since so few of the F500 companies are run by women.
Elizabeth Banks and Andrew Strickman of Realtor.com gave guests an in-depth and hilarious history of Banks’ career to show how humor can be a powerful and impactful tool in marketing and storytelling. Banks reflected on how she began her career acting in commercials and how she owned the digital space by taking control of her public persona on social media and personal website. Through her work with the American Heart Association, Banks learned that brand’s messages stick with consumers when they can be furthered enhanced by a relatable script that highlights humor, much like what you see in Realtor.com’s commercials