July 24, 2023

Strategy: Don’t think of your customers as a ‘target’ to acquire (podcast episode #65)


Jennifer Kim, Executive Strategy Director and Partner, TwentyFirstCenturyBrand, reflected back on the lessons she has learned from her career in episode #65 of the How I Made It In Marketing podcast.

Listen now to hear Kim discuss gaining valuable insights about customer behavior and perceptions to develop effective strategies and campaigns. She highlights different instances where insights played a crucial role in shaping the approach to branding and marketing.

by Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute

Strategy: Don’t think of your customers as a ‘target’ to acquire (podcast episode #65)

The How I Made It In Marketing podcast is underwritten by MECLABS Institute, the parent organization of MarketingSherpa. Join us for an AI Guild session Wednesdays at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. Learn more at MECLABS.com/AI-Briefing

When you listen to How I Made It In Marketing, you often hear me challenge a guest. Not because I necessarily disagree with them or think they are wrong, but because you must wrestle with an idea, and challenge it, to truly understand it. And that is what I try to bring you in every episode – not just a surface level, go-along-to-get-along soundbite.

We truly dive into the careers of marketing leaders, and unpack how they learned these lessons and, most importantly, how you can apply them in your own career.

I never stopped to think about where I got this approach, until I read the following lesson in a podcast guest application – “Don’t shy away from a good (respectful!) fight.”

I realize, I was raised (career wise) in the advertising agency world, where the mantra was ‘beat it up internally before the client ever sees it.’ And when you listen to How I Made It In Marketing, you are hearing that wrestling with ideas that is often hidden behind ad agency walls before you see the flashy presentation.

“Don’t shy away from a good (respectful!) fight” is a lesson from this episode’s guest – Jennifer Kim, Executive Strategy Director and Partner, TwentyFirstCenturyBrand.

Kim has managed teams as big as 220 people in her career, and right now she helps run the US office at 21stCenturyBrand.

In the most recent year 21stCenturyBrand publicly shared its revenue, 2019, the company had $8 million in revenue.

Listen to our conversation using this embedded player or click through to your preferred audio streaming service using the links below it.

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify | Listen on Google Podcasts

Stories (with lessons) about what she made in marketing

Some lessons from Kim that emerged in our discussion:

Insights about what people DO are just as powerful as insights about what people THINK

Kim learned a valuable lesson when working on Jergens, an American body lotion brand with a long heritage. They’d been tasked with coming up with a new brand positioning and brand campaign.

At the time, Jergens was perceived as a ‘bottom shelf of the drugstore’ body lotion, but they had ambitions to grow from a value brand into a beauty brand. But primary research around perceptions of Jergens was relatively unfulfilling – many of the fans had a nostalgic connection to the scent (“my grandmother’s lotion”), which wasn’t an insight they could activate for new, younger customers.

Instead, they identified a powerful insight around customer behavior. They saw that most people kept their body lotion out of sight with other functional hygiene products (deodorant, dental floss, etc.) whereas products associated with their beauty routine were more prominently displayed (perfume, makeup, etc.). The opportunity was to elevate Jergens from ‘below the sink’ and reposition body skin as the foundation of a woman’s beauty ritual.

Having beautiful body skin is often the ‘je ne sais quoi’ of a woman’s beauty – it isn’t just about having moisturized skin; it’s about giving your skin a glow that serves as the foundation for your overall look.

Don’t think of your customers as a ‘target’ to acquire, think of how you want to invite them to participate in something with you

Back in 2010, Kim worked on the strategy for the U.S. launch of BMW’s first-ever electric vehicle. From a business perspective, the launch of the electric BMW 1 Series was going to be a tall order as the cars would be expected to break down and have battery problems and generally put the drivers through a lot. Plus, the car wasn’t available for outright sale, only leasing, and customers had to be willing to share their data with BMW to improve the car.

For this reason, the marketing strategy had to make customers feel like they were BMW partners, not just targets they were convincing to buy a product.

So, they instead chose to make customers feel like they were being invited to join a special club on a special mission. They called customers ‘electronauts’ who would be helping BMW ‘activate the future’ and made the campaign about the future of mobility, not about test-driving a high-maintenance and as-yet-unproven experimental vehicle.

Thinking of your customers as an external audience you need to convince into believing/doing something different creates distance between you and your community. Instead, look for ways to identify values and beliefs that bring you together as a shared community. Even the language ‘target’ can draw an unnecessary wedge, which is why at 21CB they often talk about brand communities instead of brand targets.

 Be aware of the biases, baggage and blind spots you may bring to a project

This is a story about Walmart, one of Kim’s early projects with 21CB. Her first reaction to working on the account was equal parts intrigue about working on a brand with such large scale and reach as well as a decent amount of uncertainty about whether Walmart was ‘cool.’ As uncomfortable as it was, she had to spend some time with the second half of her reaction to understand it better – and ensure it wouldn’t color her work negatively.

Having spent most of her adult life living in large coastal cities, she hadn’t spent a lot of her time shopping at Walmart. She had a skewed perception of the brand that was rooted in her own blind spots and biases instead of being rooted in actual data. Over the course of the project, she really put those misperceptions aside and grew to know and appreciate Walmart on a whole separate level – a respect that she thinks showed up in the thoughtful strategy she ended up presenting.

We’ll always have our own perceptions as consumers – and to be an effective strategist, you can’t just pretend they don’t exist. You must confront them head-on and work through in order to do your work effectively.

Lessons (with stories) from people she collaborated with

Kim also shared lessons she learned from the people she collaborated with.

Don’t shy away from a good (respectful!) fight 

via Rebecca Pollock, now the head of brand at Logitech

Kim distinctly remembers a disagreement she had with her account counterpart very early in her days at Butler Shine Stern & Partners back in 2012. Pollock was brand new to the agency and still getting to know this team and she wanted to push on a brief Kim had written. Kim didn’t agree at first and they ended up going back and forth about it. In the end, Pollock was right, and they found a solution they both felt good about.

Even though it may have been an uncomfortable moment, the resulting work was stronger for it, and she has carried that with her throughout her career. 

Managing people isn’t just about teaching the craft of strategy, it’s about helping people grow

via Jasmine Dadlani, now Chief Strategy Officer at McKinney, and Mick McCabe, now global CSO at Ogilvy

Kim learned this critical lesson early in her career and has re-learned it many times over the past 20 years. She had a manager at the very beginning of her career who helped push her thinking while still being incredibly supportive of her personally. She still remembers her first review with Dadlani, which was the most critical review she’d encountered at that point in her career (keep in mind, she was probably 23 or 24 years old).

Dadlani gently acknowledged that if she only gave Kim positive feedback Kim would never learn and grow. It was a difficult lesson to learn at the time, but it has stuck with her ever since.

Years later, in her New York days, this came up again as she was learning to run accounts for the first time as a Planning Director at KBS. As a newly minted Planning Director, she was learning how to find her leadership voice, how to build relationships with internal teams and clients. McCabe, her boss, pulled her aside and told her that he would always be “very personally supportive of you, but very hard on the work” because that’s how she’d learn and grow and do her best work.

That exact language has stayed with her all these years because she thinks that’s a big part of a manager’s job – to support your team members personally while also pushing the work forward. 

Who you surround yourself with matters

via Colin Chow / Global Managing Partner of 21CB and Neil Barrie / CEO of 21CB

Over the years Kim has been reminded again and again that you must trust your gut intuition when it comes to the people you work with – and that life is too short to surround yourself with people who make you feel anything but smart, strong, good about yourself. She has seen this work in both ways.

 On the not-so-great side she has multiple stories of feeling othered as a woman, as a minority and as a working parent. A lot of those not-so-great stories are why she left agency life and spent five years as an independent contractor. But on the positive side, Chow and Barrie, the leaders of 21CB, have shown her that having high ethical standards and high strategic standards do not have to be mutually exclusive.

The reality is that nothing is truly accomplished on your own – and you can choose to work with people who bring out the best in you, which brings out your best work – or you can choose to work with people who make you feel less than.

Related content discussed in this episode

Creative Leadership Ideas: A behind-the-scenes look at how 9 companies run their marketing departments and agencies

The MarketingExperiments Quarterly Research Journal

Marketing Operations: Process is the foundation for success (podcast episode #58)

Product Management & Marketing: Surround yourself with the right people (podcast episode #38)

About this podcast

This podcast is not about marketing – it is about the marketer. It draws its inspiration from the Flint McGlaughlin quote, “The key to transformative marketing is a transformed marketer” from the Become a Marketer-Philosopher: Create and optimize high-converting webpages free digital marketing course.

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Not ready for a listen yet? Interested in searching the conversation? No problem. Below is a rough transcript of our discussion.

Daniel Burstein: When you listen to How I Made It In Marketing, you often hear me challenging guests not because I necessarily disagree with them or think they're wrong, but because you have to wrestle with an idea and challenge it to truly understand it. And that is what I try to bring you in every episode, not just a surface level. Go along to get along.

We are truly diving into the careers of marketing leaders and understanding how they learn these lessons, what they really mean, and most importantly, how you can apply them in your own career. I never stopped to think about where I got this approach until I read the following lesson in a podcast. Guest Application. Don't shy away from a good, respectful fight.

I realize I was raised career wise in the advertising agency world where the mantra was beating it up internally before the client ever sees it. And when you listen to how I made it marketing, you are hearing that wrestling with ideas that is often hidden behind ad agency or consultancy walls. Before you see the flashy presentation, don't shy away from a good, respectful fight is a lesson for my next guest, someone with a deep well of agency and consulting experience from which she's wrong.

Insights that she will share with you in this episode. Joining me now is Jennifer Kim, Executive Strategy Director and partner at 21st Century Brand. Thanks for joining us, Jennifer.

Jennifer Kim: Thanks so much for having me. I'm so happy to be here.

Daniel Burstein: So let's take a quick look at your background. Just cherry picking a bit. We see you were an Assistant Account Executive, Earl Palmer Brown, Brand Planner and Arnold Worldwide Senior Planner at GSD and AM, Planning Director at Kirshenbaum Bond. Cynical and Partners, Executive Director of Strategy at Butler Shine Stern and Partners. And now you're the Executive Strategy Director and Partner at 21st Century Brand.

There you go. I got it right the second time. Jennifer has managed teams of 220 in her career, and right now she helps run the US office at 21st Century Brand in the most recent year, released public information and Odds revenue was $8 million in 2019. So give us a sense, Jennifer, what is your day like as Executive Strategy Director and Partner at 21st Century?

Jennifer Kim: There is the truth that no two days are the same. So that's absolutely true. I would say the majority of my time is spent working with clients. So whatever client projects we happen to be working on, that takes up the majority of my time. But then intentionally, I'm also helping spend time growing our business. So spending time with our teams, meeting with our leadership team, thinking about what kind of company we want to be, what kind of culture we want to have.

That's really the macro balance of it. And then in Evan, in any given day, it's trying to just get ahead of things like everybody else and and try and react to what's happening and plan for what's happening next. It's a pretty broad answer. I'm happy to get more specific, but that's the overall view.

Daniel Burstein: No, I like that. React to what's happening and plan for what's happening next. I we all got to try to do the same.

Jennifer Kim: It's the balance, right? Yeah, absolutely.

Daniel Burstein: So let's take a look at some lessons from the things you made in your career. I love that about our jobs as marketers. Like I like to say, I've never been anything else like a podiatrist or an actuary, but I don't think they get to make things. We get to make things, we make brands, we make campaigns, we make some cool stuff.

So let's see what we learn from the things that you made. Your first lesson is insights about what people do are just as powerful as insights about what people think. So how did you learn this lesson?

Jennifer Kim: Yeah, and I think this lesson is really about being open to the unexpected and insight. I think so often as marketers, we're trained to look for insights and people say, Blank about your products or people say blank about your brand. And that's where we go hunting. This lesson is really about learning to look for them in more unexpected places.

So this is a story when I was working with Jergens, a body lotion brand for anyone who may not be familiar with Jergens, and at that time Jergens had been around for a really long time of over 100 years. It's like an American heritage brand, but it had really become relegated to value bottom of the drugstore shelf lotion, inexpensive body lotion.

And they really had aspirations to become more of a beauty brand. So the task to the agency team was help us come up with a new brand positioning that gets us more into this beauty space and help us come up with the brand campaign that will bring that to life. So being good marketers, we went off looking for insights and we did all this research talking to Jergens users about their body lotion and really we weren't getting anything.

Honestly, it was a lot of I like Jergens because it's inexpensive or I like Jergens because my grandmother used it and it has a nostalgic connection for me. And neither of those findings were particularly useful, frankly, for what they wanted to become, which was like a growing, more aspirational beauty brand. So we tried to dig a little deeper, to look for things in more unexpected places.

We spent time in people's bathrooms, which sounds as interesting as it sounds. And the unexpected finding was that body lotion. Jergens Body lotion for a lot of the women was something that they tended to keep out of sight, hidden behind a medicine cabinet stashed underneath the bathroom sink, along with, like, you know, dental floss and deodorant and things.

The way they talked about that routine, it was really more hygiene. Whereas beauty products, perfume, cosmetics, hair, things like these were displayed with a bit more pride because these were things that they did as part of their beauty routine to feel more beautiful. But when we talked to people about like, Well, what makes you feel beautiful? Or what do you envision when you envision someone who's beautiful?

Body skin actually does have a part in it? A lot of them that talked about someone having glowing skin and it's kind of the whole package. And so really I think the aha moment for our teens was okay, the big opportunity for Jergens is to come out from underneath the sink and join the arsenal of beauty products. And so the positioning was all around how beautiful skin is really the foundation of a woman's beauty routine.

And so Jergens had this opportunity to be sort of where your beauty routine began. And I think in that story, the unexpectedness of there was all this stuff people said, but it wasn't until when we actually looked at their behavior and looked at their bathroom shelf and understood what role Jergens could play is when it all really came together.

Daniel Burstein: Okay, So going into people's bathrooms. I got out.

Jennifer Kim: Into people's bathrooms, yes.

Daniel Burstein: Do you have any tips for people on how to do that? I mean, because we're talking about Anthropologie at this point. I think a lot of people listening when they think, okay, I'm going to like, figure out what my customers want. It's like pulling up an analytics dashboard and looking at, you know, where they're clicking from. But like that insight, it sounds like, I'm guessing at first was maybe focus groups for an interview or something like that.

And then it went to actually going into the house and bathrooms. I am an extreme introvert. That sounds kind of scary to me. So do you have any advice for like how do you kind of get to that level of getting to that understanding of maybe B2B? It's in the office, B2C, it's in the home, getting to that level, and then how to behave in that level and actually learn something?

Jennifer Kim: Yeah, it's such a great question. And I think the thing is that all of those sources can be valuable, right? Like the the analytical data that we have that can be valuable, the focus groups that can be valuable. In this case, it's because we've exhausted all those other sources and we didn't have anything. And the ask was so big that we really needed to think a bit differently about the challenge that we were up against.

In this case. I've done some, you know, qual research moderating in my life. I went to the experts. I did not solo just wander into people's bathrooms. I worked with very qualified and trained research experts to do this. But it is a little bit about being creative, right? So a lot of times, for example, to take it totally out of the Jergens and beauty space, I have worked with B-to-B clients and they'll say, Well, here's all our data on how so-and-so is using my software platform or whatever that may be.

And a lot of times we have to gently push clients and say, What's the unexpected place? What about, you know, how is this person, this IT decision maker incentivized? How can you understand their job performance? How can you understand their self view of their their job role, not just how you're using they're using your product, for example. So whether it's B2B, someone's bathroom, someone's office, it's really about trying to look in as many places as possible to really come up with the richest insights that you can then put together with all the more expected sources and really get.

I think, a rich portrait of how these people think, behave, act. Where does your products live in their life that's really giving you that full picture that I think as a marketer then gives you the tools that you need to have a full understanding of, you know, not just this person's behavior but who they are as a person.

Daniel Burstein: I think that who they are as a person is so important because a lot of times we can ask people why they do certain things and they do not know, just as we don't know ourselves. Right. And someone much wiser than me. I wish I could attribute the quote correctly. One said, You know, people make decisions based on emotion and back fill it with logic.

And a lot of times they don't realize why they're making these decisions. And so going into the home and seeing that or with the B2B organization like you said, a lot of times they don't buy the software, whatever it is, because of the feeds and speeds and whatever, it's because, oh, they want to get that promotion or Oh, they're scared of getting fired or something like that.

So that's great. Let's talk about another lesson here. Don't think of your customers as a target to acquire. Think of how you want to invite them to participate in something with you. So I love that. How have you invited customers to participate in something with a brand?

Jennifer Kim: It's interesting. Target is a word that marketers it's it's an entirely understandable shorthand and it's one that I have used many a time. But if you really think about it, so much of the language of business, of marketing, of strategy, it's war language. I mean, your target audience. Yeah, campaigns and strategy and and target and all those sorts of things.

And I think over the years working in on the branding side, you realize that like your target is not really a target. It's a person. And as a brand you want to have a relationship with the person, not just it person's wallet or whatever, or person's eyeballs or whatever that may be. It's an entire person. So this is really a lesson that I learned when I worked with BMW.

This was a while ago now over ten years, and we were working on the U.S. launch of BMW s first electric vehicle, which was an Electric One series. It was a really unusual launch. It wasn't just, Hey, we're bringing the electric one to the U.S., please go buy it. It was a it was a car that could only be leased so you couldn't purchase the car even if you want to.

It was really just a giant field test. We were asking people to lease this car to drive it around, Tell us how it was doing. They were going to have to send back battery performance and range. And like all this, details back to the company. It wasn't just, here's your BMW, go have a great time. And so looking at the situation and realizing this was not a traditional car launch, we were going to be asking a lot and they had to give the car back.

All the more reason to not just think of them as a target, that we needed to do something. We really needed to think of ways to invite them in to something that we were both equally passionate about. So in this case, it was all about BMW inviting you to help design the future of mobility. At this time, as a 2009 ish electric vehicles were not as mainstream as they are now.

And so you were really taking a risk. And if you were the kind of person who wanted to be part of this experiment, BMW wanted to share this with you and wanted to invite you to participate too. We called them Electro nuts. You're like an astronaut determining the future of electric vehicles. And we had all these things around how you're joining this mission and you're joining this movement that we we need, your participation, etc..

And so really, I think the lesson here is not just what do you need them to do, but how can you, as a brand, look for ways that you find a value that you guys share and really invite you to participate in expressing those values together as opposed to I want you to buy product X because that's what matters to me.

It's actually we both care about a future of mobility where we're not so reliant on gas powered cars. Let's participate this in this together is really what that story was all about.

Daniel Burstein: That's great. And so let me ask you, I don't like the word target either, but I do like the word ideal customer. And I wonder, do you have any tactics used to find that ideal customer? Because I can imagine getting presented with that first job starter or whatever in the agency and being with maybe some of the more negative folks and they'd say, this is impossible.

How would you do this? This is ridiculous. Who would want this? You know, But and there's many products like that, not just a launch like that, as many products where it's like, wow, there's there's a lot of downsides there. But like you said, when you can find that ideal customer, there's a value proposition. So I wonder for you, like we don't want to call them target, but ideal customer, are there steps you take to identify who that ideal customer is?

Who can get value from this product or maybe others can't?

Jennifer Kim: Yeah, I love that question. And to your point about the like dirty truth of how things are made in terms of the process of.

Daniel Burstein: Marketing the store.

Jennifer Kim: Sometimes you have to get that those initial cynical reactions out of your system. So it's like, say it all, get all the questions out and get all the confusion out. Because sometimes as you're expressing some of that frustration that leads you to the questions that you need to then go answer. So it's like this is going to be impossible.

We're asking people to do the impossible. How are we going to overcome this? Then that gives me the clue. Okay, because this seems so impossible. I need to look elsewhere and I need to figure out how can I figure out something that lives above the actual things of what we're asking people to do, something a little bit higher order.

So to your point about ideal customer, a lot of time when we think about whether it's your ideal customer or you're like, you know, kind of your aspirational brand community, we use the language a lot, a lot of like at its best, we're all human brands are also not perfect. We all have good days and bad days. We all make mistakes.

But aspirationally, as individual humans, as brands, there is this sense of who we aspire to be and how we aspire to show up. And that's a lot of times where we start like, okay, at our best as a brand, who are we? How do we aspire to show up? What do we believe in? So then if you look at then at our ideal customer, at their best, how do they aspire to show up and how can you look for really the overlaps and the intersections between how your brand aspires to show up and what you value as a brand, and how that then maps back to your ideal customer, how they aspire to show up,

what do they value as an individual? And if you find something like in the BMW example of like I'm an experimental person, I'm happy to put up with a bit of failure because I like to think of myself as something whose willing to do the tough work to figure out these tough questions of how are we going to move around in cities without gas cars?

Like if you're willing to be that kind of person, that we are the kind of brand for you, and this is the kind of car for you. And it's when you find those moments of connection that you start to build, hopefully what is like a really meaningful and powerful connection with your ideal customer.

Daniel Burstein: And I do think it is the brave and effective brand who's willing to say what their value proposition. We're for you. We're not for them, but we're for you and saying, Hey, we're not going to try to serve this entire total addressable market. Here's the people we serve best.

Jennifer Kim: Yeah, the ten is so tricky, right? Because the yeah, it's such a seductive concept. Like my ten is this big and menu and that's helpful. It's good to understand, but then that's not super helpful to a marketer to just say, Here's my TAM, because if you just as a marketer think about the TAM, then you will try to be everything to everyone and you will be nothing to no one, right?

So it's like, yes, there is the TAM, there is the business, but from a marketing perspective, like I have to have something a bit more concrete than just this huge steaming pie that doesn't really mean anything.

Daniel Burstein: Well, I'll tell you, one of my biggest pet peeves in seeing a pitch from an early startup or something like that is the whole total addressable market. Like there are 5 billion people in the world that eggs make eggs. And so or possibly millions like, you know.

Jennifer Kim: Yeah.

Daniel Burstein: Did $200 billion in revenue. It's like, well there's like you know, 8 billion other egg companies. So I guess we're going to get that. I love what you talked about that the get rid of that negative reaction for us because that might tie into our next lesson here. You said be aware of the biases, baggage and blindspots you may bring to a project.

And this was a brand that came, you guys where you realized yourself, which sometimes we don't realize. You realize yourself, Hey, maybe I have a bit of a bias here. So tell us how you figured that out.

Jennifer Kim: Yeah, it's a really what's the word? It's humbling to realize this, and I think but there is power in acknowledging that we are all human and you bring your own lived experiences to every project because it's just the sort of the reality of that we're not robots, we're doing this as human beings. And so for me, this lesson was learned when I was working with Wal-Mart.

And as someone who spent most of my adult life living in big coastal cities, I grew up near a big coastal city. I didn't really have a lot of personal experience with Walmart, shopping at Walmart, whatever that may be. And so when we started working with them, I had two initial reactions, and this is me just being completely honest.

IT reactions. One was, Wow, this is a huge company, this is a huge brand. It impacts millions of people. It's really exciting to work on brand strategy with a brand of this massive reach. The other reaction was, Oh, I don't know if this is a cool breath, which is so silly to say, but that's an honest reaction I had.

I thought, okay, yeah, this is is this a cool brand? And then just spending time with that uncomfortable reaction of like, well, what does that even mean? And do I care? And what does that mean about the biases that I might be bringing to this to this project that I need to be aware of so that frankly, so that they don't get in my way?

And so I think just really for me, I'm working with Walmart and we spent a while working with them. It was such a great experience actually. And over time, by the end of the project, I had such a different perception of the company, of the brand of the business than what I the more I started and for me was really about being open minded, honest about sort of some of my biases and baggage and really open minded to all of the data and things that I was learning.

And so throughout that process, by the end of that project, I came out with such a different understanding of and respect for that brand that I did not have going in. And I feel like maybe this is a, you know, Monday morning quarterbacking, but I genuinely feel like if I had not acknowledged that, I had a slightly unusual reaction going in, I might not have been so open to everything that I learned when I was actually working with that brand.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah, it was funny. I live in Jacksonville, Florida, which is a medium sized city, but it's very probably representative of most of America. Remember, we worked with this agency in New York. They just got Red Lobster as a client, and they were telling us about Cheddar Bay Biscuits. I'm like, they had just experienced I'd never seen before, you know, it's kind of a common thing in the rest of America.

There's even like comedians telling big jokes about their songs about it. There's all these things and it's very funny talking with them. We're like, Yeah, it's Red Lobster. It's like, you know, on every stop. Yeah, I know. What you say is so important is that that is one thing that makes marketing hard, right? We have these biases and a lot of times the bias could be our paycheck, for example, right?

Like, if we sell a lot of these things, we will do well. And that's the bias we have to overcome. But I want to ask you about it. Know, this is just a really tricky one lately, and you might not have the perfect answer. Good answer for it. So I don't want to put you on the spot if you don't.

But you mentioned something that's a fairly innocuous bias. Right. And I think what brands are wading into now as they're getting into politics or having viewpoints or some of these things, there are these other biases that are less innocuous. And like so, for example, I did an article before about creative leadership ideas and really great leadership idea. There was this agency they were working on like deck staining and wood staining, and so they built like a deck in their office in midtown Manhattan, and they were doing the different stains.

And they're really trying to get into the people's heads who might be using the stains. We're talking about these some of these other more political identity oriented things. I mean, it gets so much harder to get into that person's head, number one. And number two, we may just disagree with it. Even if we don't want to have it, we may just we disagree with what that brand is doing.

So I wonder, from your experience, if you have any leadership experience and, you know, leading a team in an agency or consultancy, having to work with a brand where, you know, maybe they they don't agree with what the brand is trying to like. Have you ever come across that or you have any lessons from that? I know this is a super tricky, difficult thing we're dealing with lately, so you may not and that's fair as well.

Jennifer Kim: It's tricky. There is. I'm not going to give you a pat answer because there isn't one. And Pat answer would frankly give me pause, because what you're what you're describing is a really sticky thing. I think for me, you know, as we've looked into this, there's so many layers to what you're describing, right? There's like the polarization, there's the identity, there's the politics, there's the business.

It's all the generational divide, like how that's all coming together. And so it would be unfair to say there's an easy answer. I think the things that I go back to, though, when you run into these things with clients or with teams or you're reading about it or you're talking about it, is this idea of there's two things I think I go back to.

One is this idea is of no human is perfect and no brand is perfect. We are not one. No, you know, the same every single day. And this idea of like having that flexible viewpoint of trying to see people at their best and trying to see brands at their best, and yet acknowledging when you make a mistake or you misstep or whatever that may be.

I think just that eye bucket that perhaps is like open mindedness and giving brands and humans grace is like one thing that I, I always go back to of, well, no one is perfect. And so how do you give people the room to make mistakes and learn from them and grow from them? That's one sort of thing. I think the other thing for me, from a more of a brand marketing perspective, it's a little bit of what I was talking about before this idea of like, how does your brand aspire to show up?

What are those things that are important to you and really sticking to sort of bigger idea, bigger idea, bigger ideas and values of things that you care about and that your brand feels like it has permission to engage in versus trying to just engage in whatever is the hot topic of the day. I think that often comes across as a bit inauthentic and like a brand, just trying to capitalize on something that's being talked about that may not have anything to do with their core business, may not matter to their core customer.

And so I think it's a little bit of like, go back to your basics. What do you as a brand actually stand for? What do your ideal customers, your communities actually care about? Is this something that's that's something that is germane to you then? Yes, let's figure out how we want to engage in this and if it's right.

And if not, then just because everyone's talking about it doesn't mean that you need to be involved too. And so, again, not a pat answer because you're not asking a question with an easy answer. But I think those are the two things that I go back to the truth that no brand and no human is perfect. We're all going to make mistakes.

And how do you learn from it and like sort of keep an open space around that. And then on the other hand, always going back to like as a brand for your community, what are the values that are that are authentic to you? And if it's not something that's authentic to you, then it probably shouldn't be something you're engaging on now.

Daniel Burstein: Very, very good. And so in fairness, I got to give you a softball now, because that was a rough one, right? So.

Jennifer Kim: So, yeah, let's see the softball I can tell you about I whether or something. Yeah, exactly. Well.

Daniel Burstein: Here's a position I'm going to take. And if you agree or disagree, it will be controversial. Be great. So you mentioned something. I like what you said, uncool brands. And here's something I remember hearing back when I was in school building my portfolio. We were told, you pick the uncool brands for your portfolio. Anyone could have Porsche or Harley and portfolio, you pick the uncle's brand.

And I know in my career the concepts I've always been most proud about were just that the worst BBC brand or the B-to-B brands. I remember a software company with this complex software and it was just a water bottle that they were like giving out at events and I was able to communicate how the water bottle was a perfect analogy for how the software work.

Minor Not not getting a cans line or a gold pencil for that. But I was just so proud of that because I'm like, If you could take this boring B2B software and communicate on water bottles, I just want to ask you, like, aren't those uncool breath? Aren't those where you make your bones in the industry right.

Jennifer Kim: I love that question. First of all, I think anyone could get anywhere to do a Harley. Come on. Yeah, I can honestly say that I worked on brands. Cool and uncool and everywhere in between on the spectrum. I honestly think there's something to be learned on every single brand, and sometimes it comes from places you don't expect. And I think a lot of the times the quote unquote, cool brands, the tricky things with those is that there's so many people with so many opinions on this cool brands.

There's not a lot of space for fresh thinking. And a lot of times that's the quote unquote uncool brands with the smaller budgets or the less sexy categories or whatever that may be, that your work can have so much more impact because there's just more space. There's more space to come in with thinking and help shape that thinking and help craft things and have a bigger impact.

And yeah, I actually I purposely don't lean toward one or the other because I think having that mix of different if you look at my background, I've worked in almost every vertical and I've intentionally not specialized in anything. And I think that keeps your brain open to everything. And so I agree with you too. I do agree that sometimes the uncool brand, you know, you can come in and have more impact.

But I think it's the mix because it's really the what you take from each and often the lesson from the cool brands and the lessons from the uncool brands are not the ones that you thought they would be.

Daniel Burstein: Very nice. Well, we learned from brands, but we also learned from the people we work with In the first half of the podcast, we talk about lessons we learn from the things we made in the second half. We talk about the lesson with the people we collaborate with. That's such an important element of what we do. But first, let me say before we get into those stories, how I made It and Marketing podcast is underwritten by McLeod's Institute, the parent organization of marketing Sherpa, to learn how McLeod's services can help you get better business results from deeper customer understanding.

Does it? Michelob E-commerce results. That's m e c LRB ESPN.com slash results. Okay. Let's talk about some lessons now from the people you've collaborated with in your career. I your first lesson references in the beginning of the episode. I love this. Don't shy away from a good, respectful fight. And this was you learn this from Rebecca Pollock, now the Head of Brand at Logitech.

So tell us, how did you and Rebecca get into it and what did you take away from it?

Jennifer Kim: This was when I first moved to California, so I'd come from New York. And I think that downtown Manhattan and edit ad agency culture was still very present in me. I moved to California. I started working for an independent creative agency up in Sausalito, California, and I brought all my East Coast Manhattan swagger with me. And I joined this agency and I was brand new, brand new to the states.

Bring you to the company, brand new to this team. Rebecca and I were partners on a project and we were going back and forth on a brief and actually of all the lessons, I think for all these lessons get quite personal because for me, the the don't shy away from a fight. I think my own personality, my own wiring, whatever you want to chalk it up to you, I tend to be non-confrontational and I think and in building relationships over the years, I don't really pick I don't I won't really pick a fight as an opportunity to get close to someone.

It's actually probably going to be the opposite. I'm going to look for a way to connect with you and worked with you and get along and all those sorts of things. So being new, I actually was really aware of like I want to make sure I'm building positive relationships. These are going to be my colleagues. We're going to be working really closely together.

But frankly, we just disagreed. We were working on a brief together. She had one viewpoint, I had the other. The details of it now, frankly, escape me, although I do remember how it all happened. And we just went back and forth and she would have hung down and I would impact on it. And it never got obviously, it was obviously a respectful disagreement, but it definitely was a disagreement.

And the way it ended up working out, I actually thought she was right, made the change we wanted, you know, that all got wrapped up neatly and then looking back on it, the work was better for it. The work was better for the disagreement. And frankly, our relationship was better for the disagreement because I think there was sort of a meeting of the minds of I see that you've done your heels in and you care passionately about this.

And I have dug my heels in. I care passionately about this. And so I think there's a respect in we are equally committed to what we think is the best answer and the best way to do this work. And I think that was really ironically and sort of a surprisingly that disagreement was the start of a really productive relationship because there was a mutual respect there fast, where all all these years later, she's actually one of my closest friends.

So it's funny how things begin, but yeah, you really taught me this lesson of as someone who's been, I think, wired to avoid those sort of confrontations and avoid those sort of moments, sometimes leaning into that and going back and forth is actually the start of not only a really great relationship, but also work that stronger when you have lots of different viewpoints at the table, you create a space where all those viewpoints matter.

You hash it out in a respectful way and in in the end result of it is that the work is actually stronger.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah, I love that. Now, as I mentioned at the beginning episode, and that's what kind of try to do on the podcast as well. I didn't even realize why I was doing it. And then I realized, Oh, well, that's kind of where I learned it from ABC. But it also got me thinking, you know, working at an agency with a bunch of creatives often talking about ideas, concepts, these things like it's rare that it goes smoothly, you know, I mean, there's always like bumps, There's always people disagree.

And I got thinking, like in my career and like in your career, have there been ever times where you presented something that just kind of sailed through? And for me, it was something called the Market Experiments Quarterly Research Journal So just real quick, while you're thinking of your own, your own example, I remember we, you know, publish all this information online and I kind of got this idea, well, what if we take everything we publish?

Because when you see it on a website, it just, you know, just comes out every day. Doesn't seems impressive. We actually packaged it up, printed it out, which is kind of moving in reverse. Right? And when we did that and then we like, you know, give it away at events and send it to the right people. And even people who download the PDF kind of has more of an ooh, you see like wow, in three months they did all of this and we presented it.

I, you know, I had never had a idea goes, well it's kind of early in my career but and I and I kind of thought back, well, why did that go so well? And I realized, oh, I think I did a better job than I had earlier in my career. In my career, I was so focused on the idea and the concept and I'm going to hammered home.

And if you miss it, like, I'm going to, you know, knock it through your skull. And I realize like, okay, here are all the different players that are important in the decision, you know, what's going on with them and why would this be appealing to them? What's essentially the value proposition internally, not just externally. And I think that that was really key.

And so I wonder for you, like, have you ever had that time where you've just had like an idea sail through and you realize, wow, like, you know, this is this is why that sailed through. It's because I realized this or this or that. And I think, you know, I don't want to use the word political right, But but that was, I think, you know, earlier my creative but at the time I had a better idea of like, okay, wait a minute, these aren't just wrong or right black and white decisions.

These are different people who, to your point, are bringing their own biases and baggage. And how can I speak to that? So there you have that just beautiful sail right on through.

Jennifer Kim: It's a great question. I don't have an example of an unexpected home run necessarily. I'm thinking that I mean, I've spent most of my career agency side, and I think for me, it's not one story that stands out necessarily. But to me, I think looking back, part of my own personal success is the ability to build those trusted relationships, because especially when you're working with a more creative audience, they're trusting you with their ideas and and you have to have that mutual trust of we're all trying to accomplish the same thing.

And it's like the same team mentality, like don't fight over the ball if you're on the same is me, me using a sports analogy and I'm not a sports person. So let's all again, right? But it's this idea of like we're all on the same team. Let's make sure that like we're playing different roles on the team. And I think one of the keys that I've gone back to over the years that has really served me well is building those one on one relationship where as opposed to like in the official setting where eight of us are sitting around the table, it's like, let's one on one, what are you working on?

What's the one that you really think is right? Talk me through it and they'll talk me through it. Okay. Based on what I'm seeing, here's how I would pitch it. Here's how I would support it, here's how I would bring that up. And like, really trying to give that one on one value to people as opposed to just being in a big room and saying lots of smart things, trying to build those trusted one on one relationships, I think is a large part of why I did well agency side, because there is a trust that gets established.

And I think for a lot of times when I was on the creative side of the creative agency side, a lot of the teams would come to me and say, Can you help me sell this idea? Because I think you can help me sell it in a way that I can't. And that to me was the ultimate sign of trust that they're trusting me to help sell in this idea that they were been working on.

Because we know that we have different perspectives. We had different skill sets but were ultimately trying to accomplish the same thing. And that trust was really built via lots of more one on one moments versus yeah, I agree. It's not really political, but it's like really building those relationships on more unofficial ways, like not just in the big meetings, but really in the smaller moments so that once you get to the big meeting, that trust is really established and you can really work together as a team to like get whatever it is that you're trying to communicate, really get that across.

Daniel Burstein: The I mean, I've heard that called the meeting before the meeting sometimes. Yeah, right.

Jennifer Kim: Yeah, that's a good way to put it.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah. Sometimes in that back meeting I think there's sometimes that problem too big meetings that groupthink happens. It's like you know things start to flow in one direction or another and once they start to flow in one direction and people start piling up, or maybe some more of the influential people say certain things, it's really hard to reverse that flow at times.

So it is good not to just drop this on people boom in that meeting, but to kind of build your allies and have people get an understanding and and get a sense to of to your point, what someone was asking you, what might some of the objections be for even get in there so you're kind of prepared to address that and you knew how to kind of angle it there.

So here's another lesson you mentioned managing people isn't just about teaching the craft of strategy, it's about helping people grow. And you learned this from Jasmine Dadlani, now the Chief Strategy Officer at McKinney, and Mick McCabe, now Global CISO at Ogilvy. So how did you learn this lesson?

Jennifer Kim: That's something I learned early on, and I've frankly relearned it many times over the last two decades where in the case of Jasmine, she was one of my earlier managers. And I think when you're at the very beginning of your career, you're so close to your school days that you were just looking for that grade, so to speak.

And and I think that's that's a transition that needs to happen as you get more established in your career where in this case, before I had started working with Jasmine, I'd gotten a lot of quote unquote A's. I was doing really well, getting tons of positive feedback. And when I was working with Jasmine, she was very she helped me push my thinking and she helped me really push my work.

But she was actually more critical, which was new to me. And it was jarring to me at first. And I think she really helped me realize that if all I give you is gold stars and A's, so to speak, you're never going to grow. And it's only until I gently pushed you of Here's the places. This is great.

This is how it could be stronger. This is great. This is how good stronger You did it this way. This is great. Here's another way that you could do it. It really, frankly, was a difficult lesson to learn at the time because I didn't think I needed to learn it. But now with a lot of hindsight, it was incredibly valuable, really learning that it's not just about teaching me how to do my job, but understanding really what that job is.

It's not just about quote unquote turning in the work and getting a good grade. It's really about how do you grow, how do you grow your skill set, how do you grow your role? Like that's really how it started. And then fast forward many years when I was working with MC in New York and I was really stepping into a leadership role for the first time as a planning director and learning how to run my own accounts and that sort of thing without a team above me.

And for me it was really a time to find my leadership voice and what he said to me because I'll never really, I'll never forget is he said, I will always be very supportive of you personally, but I'll be tough on work because that's how you grow. And he really stuck by that, where I always felt like I could check in with him.

He had my back, all those sorts of things, but he and he was always really pushing me on the work because that's what would help me really reach that next level. And so that language has really stayed with me. I think a lot of the manager's job is not just to teach the craft of whether it's brand or brand strategy or marketing or creative strategy, whatever that may be.

It's also to be supportive of that individual person's career. And there's a reason those people stay with you because it wasn't just about a skill that you learned, but how they really helped you feel supported. And I think that's a lot. You know, this is almost like an industry agnostic lesson, but a little bit of like how they viewed management, like the sorry the managers role and how I think I see it today.

Daniel Burstein: Well, so let's kind of dive in there. Yeah. Now that you're a leader, how do you help people grow? Like one of the great lessons I have learned on how I made it Marketing podcast interviewed Shruti Joshi. She's a CEO of Facet. What of her lessons was There will never be a good time to do this, just get it done in the way she learned.

This is she had worked at Verizon and they kind of enticed her to come back to Verizon by saying, Hey, will pay for your MBA. Then she was in charge of launching the fire's rollout, which was this huge multibillion dollar rollout. And she was telling her boss like, oh, it's just not good time to get the MBA. And that was his what he told her there will never be a good time, just get it done.

I thought like, wow, what leadership to grow the people on your team or you're prioritizing them growing themselves and not just this huge role that you have. So I wonder if you like, are there any tactics used, anything you've learned to help grow your team? I mean, agencies are so many deadlines. Like you could be so focused that like an immediate deadline and you know, that next pitch.

Jennifer Kim: It's it's honestly something that I tried to remind myself because I do think as someone who I tend to fast, I tend to be able to handle a lot of things on my plate. My natural wiring is like, what needs to happen, what needs to get done, what's the priority, what's the thing of the day? It's actually taking that time to pause and check in with people.

And I think for when when in managing people, I do sit down and say, What's important to you? Forget what we need you to do here. What are you trying to do? What are some of your personal goals, whether it's here or some day, you know, hopefully far away when you're not here, what are some of the things that you really want to grow and how can I support you in that?

So I think a lot of the times, one of the things I try to do is understand what's important to them. So in this case that you you mentioned getting an MBA was important to this person. It's not something probably that they obviously were willing to pay, which is great, it sounds, but it's not something that they said you have to go and do.

She wanted to do it. And so I think it's that kind of example of it's there's it's it is part of my job as your manager to say, here's what we need from you, here's what the expectations are. But it's not up to me to say, here's your goals, like those are yours are yours to own, and it's my job to help you get there.

So really starting with them and understanding what their goals are as opposed to just really putting my own goals on them is one thing that I've learned to do. And then the other piece is just knowing myself, making sure that I take time to pause and prioritize that, because otherwise I'll just hands down and get into the work and lose track of things.

So it's something that I have to keep an eye on as well.

Daniel Burstein: And that very sounds very parallel to how you deal with customers, to learning about what their goals are and trying to address that. Yeah, one way that's who you surround yourself with matters. You said you learned this from Colin Chow, Global Managing Partner at 21st Century Brand and Neil Barrie, the CEO of 21st Century brand. So why do you surround yourself with Colin and Neil and how did you learn this lesson?

Jennifer Kim: Yeah, I would say this is probably the most personal of all the lessons that I included as I was thinking about this, as I was thinking about the lessons I've learned, I think over the years I have just been reminded again and again that you really have to trust your gut, your your intuition when it comes to the people that you work with.

I've been doing brand strategy now for over 20 years. Lots of different settings, creative settings, you know, consultancy settings, etc., etc. I was on my own as an independent contractor, but that you can do this work anywhere. So who you do it with really matters, frankly. And you know, life is frankly too short to surround yourself with people, anyone else except for people who make you feel like a really good version of yourself.

And I've seen that work in not so great ways, where I have been in situations where I felt very not seen and not welcome. And so when I find myself in a situation with people who make me see, feel seen and make me feel welcome and make me feel valued, that's massive and that's massive. And I think that without getting to California about it, that that has an impact on your work.

It's not just it doesn't just feel nice from a human perspective. When you're in a setting, you're surrounded by people who bring out your best work, who bring out your best self in a setting where you're trusted and you're valued, that has an impact on your work. So it's not just sort of a morality thing of it's a nice thing to do or it's a good thing to do that, frankly, has a business impact.

When you're creating a setting in a space where people feel supported and people feel valued and people feel seen as they are, that creates a more impactful business because I think people are really bringing their best work and that really has that trickle down effect and so I think, you know, all these years later I was solo for about four or five years and I was an independent contractor.

And part of the reason I joined this group is like, this is a wolf pack that I'd want to be a part of because I was I was a lone wolf for a bit, and that was fine for that period of time. But I did not I'm not wired that way. And I wanted to find sort of the right wolf pack to be a part of it after having been a lone wolf for a few years.

And I so I think it is really about who you surround yourself with, matters not just like the quality of how you spend your time, but the quality of the actual work that you together.

Daniel Burstein: I want to ask you to do. But I would love to hear Wolf, Howlin Wolf help.

Jennifer Kim: I know. Where's my kids books when I need them all? They're like animals, sound effects. They told me that my well, Sound effect is not one of my better ones. I'll spare you that. I'll spare you that indignity right now. But yeah, yeah, I it's it's really your own biases and baggage. We talked about this like knowing yourself and just I know that I'm better as part of a group, but I.

It has to be the right group. And not just from the satisfaction of how you spend your days, but the quality of what you actually produce, who you surround yourself with, really matters.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah. No, I mean, it makes sense. Other industries have factories or locations or physical products or all these things. But, you know, marketing, advertising, branding, it's people, I mean, we're we're the factory is like, yeah, there is more tech and there's AI now. And so we'll see what happens to that. But we're we're the factory, so. Well, let me ask you how this affects you, where the rubber meets the road.

So when you are hiring, when you are recruiting, like how does this affect how you decide to how to recruit and how to hire? And quick example, I interviewed Michelle Huff, the CMO of user testing, on how I made it in marketing. One of her lessons was Surround yourself with the right people. And she says, You know one specific thing when she's hiring, she's looking at strengths and weaknesses and she's looking at like, okay, who is this person that we could bring in and how do they balance, you know, the weaknesses that I personally have and my team has and, you know, how do they lead to our strengths?

So it's kind of like her framework. She uses. So I wonder for you, you know, as you mentioned, about who you're strong yourself with matters, how does that affect, you know, how you hire, how you recruit, who you bring in to your growing consultancy?

Jennifer Kim: It's a great question, and I think a lot of it, one of the first things we look forward to your point is people who don't just match everybody else. I think it's honestly a it's whether it's a good human tendency or it's a bad human tendency without any assigning any value to it. People tend to pattern match. It's it's just like a natural tendency of like, oh, we went to similar schools or we had similar backgrounds.

We were we know the same people, we worked for the same companies. And there's like a mental shortcut that happens which you have to force yourself out of and look for people with different backgrounds, with different experiences, with different, whatever that may be. So I think that's one of the things that we look for is an intentional diversity of experiences and background and all those sorts of things.

And then really having a very human perspective on that and trying to look for people who bring that same, I think, humanity and perspective to the work that they do. Those are some of the I guess more what's the word, I guess, non strategy related things that I think I look for when we're looking when we're hiring is someone who has interesting experience, can really own what experience they have and how that has shaped how they think and how they do their jobs.

I think that having that awareness of here's what I've gone through and here's how it's shaped, how I do what I do, and then really trying to create that that really rich mix of people who don't have all the same lived experiences. Definitely something that we look for when it comes to outside of the core strategy skills. That's something that we definitely try to create.

Daniel Burstein: It's funny you mentioned the pattern matching thing. I did that with you before we did the report. We're talking about working at the same agency network at different, you know, agencies in the same network. That's I didn't realize I was doing it. That's really funny.

Jennifer Kim: But it's a it's an understandable thing. It's a way of creating connection. Hey, we actually have something in common and it's like a very natural thing. But I think in a hiring setting, it can be tricky because then you have all sort of variations on the same flavor. And if you have variations of the same flavor, the recipes not going to change.

And so really trying to be sort of actively aware of that tendency and work around it again, I don't think it's a negative tendency. It's a way to create connection. But then you have to look beyond the obvious places to try and make connections.

Daniel Burstein: Well, let me ask you last, who comes to hiring by the work itself? Like you get a portfolio, you get a book, you're looking at it, and what are you looking for? What advice would you give to someone now in portfolio school, starting a new career? What should be in that portfolio which would be in that book? What are you going to open?

It's going to wow you and it's really going to pull you in and you're going to say, Oh, hey, I want to I want to bring this person onto the team. I want to I want them to come into the Wolfpack. They can hell with the hell alone.

Jennifer Kim: Great question. Let me think about that for a moment.

Daniel Burstein: So I'll tell you for me real quick while. Yeah, the thing that I always I always loved going to interview and what I loved when I was interviewing is I and this is kind of what the podcast is, I guess I love the story behind it. So it wasn't so much seeing the work in the portfolio because you also you never know like, All right, would you like a junior writer and you weren't that involved, you know, is going on.

It was I would love to unpack and hear the stories and I love to tell the stories too. And I always share in my book. I, I used to call it, you know, here are my babies, you know, And you and I have a story for each baby, like look at the photo album and oh, my God, you know, the story of how they came up.

So I always want to hear the story and to hear like, how people fought and, you know, because whether they work on a very small brand or a very small opportunity or a big one, what how do they think and how do they identify that concept and that creative opportunity? But does anything strike you when you're like, okay, when I get a book, here's you know what, I'm looking at it and I'm like, I want here's what I want to know.

Jennifer Kim: Yeah, I love that. I definitely agree with you. Your story response really resonates with me. That and I think the two layers I would add to that is there is an intentionality behind the work. Like there's a thoughtfulness like and a kind of goes with your story thing, but like, why, why did you do this? And I don't want to just hear because it was cool or because I like this color.

Like that's, you know, what was the reason behind it? Someone can have a really thoughtful, intentional approach. I think that's one thing that I really look for, because that to me says that you're really thinking critically about all the pieces and finding a way to put all those pieces together. That's one thing. And and along with that, a little bit of like a P.O.V., like an ambitious P.O.V., it's not just because this is what they asked for, but because, like, this is the ambition that was behind it.

This is the POV that was behind it. That's, I think, another thing that I look for, like something with whether it's a world POV or it has something to say, like it's a little bit of it's similar to the intentionality thing, but I think it's a little bit different of like, what are you trying to accomplish with this work and what does it say about how you, how you look at things or how you think product X should be a part of the world or whatever that may be?

I think those are two of the things that I look for when I look at someone's work.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah, I love that intentionality because all creativity is choices whether you're writing something, whatever you're doing, it all choices, it's you're making this choice and that choice and knowing. That's why they say, I love that, you know, learn from the master's first. You got to learn from the masters before you break the rules And so any time if I see a concept banana or brand or whatever it is, knowing like someone thought through.

Yes. So there was this choice. This was the obvious choice. Here's why I didn't go with that. There was this choice. Here's why I didn't go with that one. Definitely. Then you see, okay, there's that quality in their work versus like, Oh, I didn't even know about these other things. Right, Right. No. Study, study. Those direct marketing masters.

Yeah, the Ogilvy study, all that stuff. So, you know, you know, so you can actually break the rules, right? Well, I told you about so many questions about what it means to be a marketer. So if you had to break it down, what are the key qualities of an effective marketer in your opinion?

Jennifer Kim: Jennifer There are many. I think the unifying theme for me is this ability to balance and flex. And what I mean by that is I think being a modern marketer, there are so many things to balance, right? So there's there's data, there's cultural context, there's the business reality, there's the competitive set, there's all these changing consumer behaviors and perception.

There's so much out there that you could frankly get buried under. And so I think it's this this idea of balance and flex as being a really defining characteristics of a modern marketer is like you are able to flex and take that all in. But you have this sense of like at your core, what is it you're trying to achieve?

And you can balance everything and not get lost in it. I think this sense of like it's perhaps a better way to say it is like it's, it's, it's the ability to flex and bounce, but it's like that same sense of core, like that ability to go back to your core of what is it that I'm trying to achieve the clarity of really your purpose and the clarity of your ambition is I really is, I think, a really critical piece because otherwise you can frankly just get so distracted.

There's so much to be distracted by now. And whether you're an agency side marketer or you're a company side marketer, there are so many things on any given day that if you don't have that clarity of conviction of what it is you're trying to achieve or why it is that you're trying to achieve, that you can get lost in the sea of all the things.

So yes, you need the flexibility and balance to be able to look at all those things, but you need to really marry that with the clarity of conviction about what it is that you're trying to do in order to really be able to make progress or else you'll just kind of stay there and be distracted by other things forever.

Daniel Burstein: Well, thank you so much for sharing all your stories and lessons, Jennifer. Hopefully give our audience a little bit more clarity and more ideas on how they should run their career and their campaign. Love you so much for being on.

Jennifer Kim: Yeah, it is so fun. Thank you for having me.

Daniel Burstein: Thanks to everyone for listening.

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