CMO 50: Tesa Aragones

Chief marketing officer, Discord

Discord has been around since 2015, mostly popular among younger audiences and gamers. That changed this year. The app doubled its user base in 2020 to 150 million monthly active users, raised over $100 million in funding and is valued at more than $3.5 billion.

Tesa Aragones joined Discord in September 2020, when the pandemic had reshaped consumer media habits. A 10-year Nike veteran, and, prior to that, at Volkswagen for eight years, Aragones has a deep understanding of pop culture and brand marketing. She also has a background in digital and building communities, having served as chief marketing officer of VSCO and building out Nike’s app and digital training community. She led Discord’s first brand campaign, Imagine a Place, in May, which aimed to position the app amongst broader audiences as it gains more widespread appeal. 

Discord, on which users gather on “servers” to discuss topics of interest, has potential for brand integrations across cooking, beauty, music, fashion and more. It doesn’t have an advertising offering yet, but with nearly 70% awareness among 18- to 34-year-olds, it’s likely to become a key part of any brand’s Gen Z strategy. 

But like all social platforms, Discord isn’t perfect. The company came under scrutiny after white supremicist groups used the platform to organize protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2018, and has been called out for multiple instances of abuse and hate speech. Discord releases a transparency report and has a growing team focused on safety and security.

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