Thought Leaders - guest commentary from our community of industry leaders

Planning is dead. Long live brand planning.
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Planning is dead. Long live brand planning.

The discipline must fundamentally change to continue to be essential, says Hill Holliday's chief strategy officer.

Think outside your vertical

Think outside your vertical

Intentionally borrowing and adapting elements from other industries can help you lead and transform your own, says Fine's managing partner.

Building a brand with purpose

Building a brand with purpose

Users require a brand that aligns with their values and sparks a personal connection, says Blackbaud's svp of global marketing.

Branding in chaos

Branding in chaos

Inspiration, collaboration and innovation are more important than the old standbys of value, trustworthiness and consistency, says Mechanica's CEO.

Robot overlords or perfect partners?
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Robot overlords or perfect partners?

AI could be the secret to happy, healthy brand relationships, says Phenomenon's strategy director.

How podcasts became the new soap opera (and what brands should do about it)
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How podcasts became the new soap opera (and what brands should do about it)

Marketers are looking for new channels to more deeply connect with consumers, says Day One Agency's CEO.

One giant leap for Shonda Rhimes is a small step for ad-kind
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One giant leap for Shonda Rhimes is a small step for ad-kind

Why doesn't the ad-supported world represent the world we actually live in, asks Vitro's CEO.

Elon Musk is worried about AI. Should you be?
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Elon Musk is worried about AI. Should you be?

Aside from preventing Armageddon, the creative and marketing industry is responsible for shaping AI in a way that supports the greater good, says Critical Mass' CSO.

The new playing field for sports fans and advertisers
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The new playing field for sports fans and advertisers

Here's how brands can capture the attention and hearts of sports fans and turn them into loyal customers, says Oath's head of US field sales.

Taking stock of earned media in the 'fake news' era
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Taking stock of earned media in the 'fake news' era

Fake news is more than a new catch phrase. It's changing the way journalists are reporting stories today, says a new survey by Ogilvy Media Influence.

The remarkable influence of millennial men
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The remarkable influence of millennial men

Young men are recommending beauty, apparel and household products. They defy stereotyping, says Engagement Labs' CEO.

The secret to great creative is...account people?
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The secret to great creative is...account people?

You can hire the best creative talent, but without a strong partnership with the account team, the venture won't succeed, says JWT Atlanta's CCO.

Your career is a collective effort
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Your career is a collective effort

Arnold Worldwide's new U.S. CCO gives credit where credit is due.

Can agencies compete on creativity alone?
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Can agencies compete on creativity alone?

All industries are going through digital transformation, including creative agencies, says Mirum's CMO.

Middle America is emerging as a startup powerhouse
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Middle America is emerging as a startup powerhouse

Far from emulating the excesses of Silicon Valley, these companies thrive on caution, collaboration and community beliefs, says sparks & honey's CEO.

Why we still need the big idea and how to get there
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Why we still need the big idea and how to get there

Ditching the creative foundation in favor of metrics? Think again, says Quigley-Simpson VP.

The B2B consumer: marketing innovation to the millennial generation
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The B2B consumer: marketing innovation to the millennial generation

Younger generations want to feel as if their interest, and not just their money, is genuinely valued, says Elsevier's senior strategic marketing manager.

Why marketers should bet on influencers over programmatic
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Why marketers should bet on influencers over programmatic

Programmatic isn't quite the silver bullet it was supposed to be, says CLEVER's founder.

Brands

Building an inclusive brand: lessons from Charlottesville
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Building an inclusive brand: lessons from Charlottesville

Brands are using their platforms and capital to support greater inclusion and diversity, says a strategist at Siegel+Gale.

A brand's one purpose is to provide purpose to its employees
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A brand's one purpose is to provide purpose to its employees

To build a strong core, a brand's highest priority should be instilling its employees with a larger sense of purpose, says Brand Union's senior manager of development.

How to design your brand for disruption
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How to design your brand for disruption

Achieving the clear articulation of a simple purpose is anything but simple, says Mono's CMO.

Creativity

The value of crossover storytellers in a media agnostic world
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The value of crossover storytellers in a media agnostic world

When advertisers engage crossover talent, they harness the power of formidable storytellers, says the founder of Independent Media.

Are campaigns like 'Real Beauty' real empowerment?
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Are campaigns like 'Real Beauty' real empowerment?

Self-esteem isn't as effective as self-efficacy, says Burns Group's director of strategy.

Modernizing Madison Avenue: The importance of agency diversity
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Modernizing Madison Avenue: The importance of agency diversity

As technology and globalization continue to change the corporate landscape, the pursuit of diversity in the agency world is more important than ever to drive creativity and innovation.

Culture

Let's not take ourselves too seriously
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Let's not take ourselves too seriously

Key learnings from a 6-year-old at 'bring your kids to work' day

Preventing agency burnout is a team effort
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Preventing agency burnout is a team effort

Companies need to build a supportive, purpose-driven workplace culture says GYK Antler's COO.

When A-List celebrities become unpaid spokespeople for the tobacco industry
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When A-List celebrities become unpaid spokespeople for the tobacco industry

The fashion and entertainment industries seem stubbornly and dangerously stuck in the past as they fall back on old stereotypes, says Truth Initiative's CEO.

Media

Using data to find the unexpected audience
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Using data to find the unexpected audience

Data at its most granular gives brands deep insights into their customers

The 6-step cure for senioritis
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The 6-step cure for senioritis

A former creative director and associate professor of advertising design shares strategies to shake off the doubt and land that first job.

Upfronts 2017: Deciphering the spin
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Upfronts 2017: Deciphering the spin

There was a lot of positive broadcast news coming out of the pitches last week, but there were also many warning signs too.

People

No, let's not take a step back
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No, let's not take a step back

Hey, "Big Picture Guy," your timing stinks.

What marketers can learn from Lavar Ball
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What marketers can learn from Lavar Ball

The retired football player and founder of Big Baller Brand is proof that you don't need an MBA to be a successful marketer, writes mono's creative director.

Why innovation stalls without diversity
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Why innovation stalls without diversity

Leaders who want to drive innovation through diversity need to be willing to expose themselves to some discomfort and awkwardness, writes Mirum's head of client services.

Technology

App marketers, stand up to the duopoly! it is time for attribution standards.
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App marketers, stand up to the duopoly! it is time for attribution standards.

Because no one wants to take on the industry giants, their attribution approaches go undisputed, says AppLift's Managing Director & CRO.

Getting a piece of the over-the-top action
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Getting a piece of the over-the-top action

Organizations and niche video creators are embracing OTT to deliver highly specific content on a global scale, says Accedo's SVP of business development.

Will Amazon devour brands?
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Will Amazon devour brands?

Retail is being eaten alive by Amazon and brands could be next, writes the director at Furthr.