How to Succeed at Branded Content with Dana Droppo

 

Dana Droppo has seen and done it all. She has been a blogger, marketer, producer and a creative director. She's worked at Super Deluxe, Complex and is now VP, Creative Director Brand Partnerships at Billboard. If you want to know what it takes be an expert in all things content, Dana's got you covered.  

On this episode, we talked with Dana about what it takes to consistently produce high level branded content and what brands should be doing to provide value to their followers as well as their sponsors.

Here are the highlights:

[12:41]: How do you monetize in an organic way that’s not too much in your face?

 
 

Organic works the best. I don't have to tell you that. Everyone who is in this business or interested in this business knows that. But its really hard to make that all come together. So I feel like if there is not an opportunity that's like OMG this is so perfect how did this land in our lap? You want to create synergies that are going to be unexpected.

So when I talk about home depot as a potential partner for hot ones not that one to one. But everything that you need to build out the set from Hot Ones you can buy at home depot. Right? You can naturally integrate the product in that way.

So I am a really firm believer in sort of creating connections where they don't naturally exist to the naked eye. I think that its more about what is the similarity of what this target consumer cares about? And what this audience cares about and thinks is funny. And how can we bring those things together.

[37:29]: What are some different ways you handle sponsored posts?

 
 

That is why I think that hiring is so important. Right? Because, if I came to a social manager and said were gonna do 16 tweets for Papa Johns every month and they said oh my god... thats awful how do i ever do this? I'm just gonna tweet about pizza deals. I would be like... why do you have this job?

There are so many ways that we can do this that are funny. Lets meme it, make custom gifs out of it, lets do a sweeps where we surprise someone with 16 of the pizzas in the same day. That can be one month. Lets do some AB testing with different types of animations ...

Everything is a tool and there is always a creative solution. For something that is either heart felt, or funny, or thought provoking or at least pretty. There is value in that. 


Full Transcripts

Ep 24- How to Succeed at Branded Content with Dana Droppo

 

 

[00:00:15.16] David:  All right, she is the vice-president, creative director at brand partnerships at Billboard, Dana Dropo joins us on the show. Dana, what's going on?

 

[00:00:22.32] Dana:  Hey, what's up? Thanks so much for having me.

 

[00:00:25.04] David:  All right, thank you as well. I always started off with a completely random question, so since you've lived on both New York and LA, West Coast best coast, East Coast best coast, where are you headed here?

 

[00:00:35.34] Dana:  Tough, really, really tough. It's an age old rivalry. New York is more fun, and LA is much better for you.

 

[00:00:49.40] David:  I feel like New Yorkers drink a lot more, because it's so cold, they have to do more happy hours than maybe the LA people do.

 

[00:00:55.47] Dana:  Also your apartment is so small.

 

[00:00:57.55] David:  You don't want to hang out, that's true, it's a good point.

 

[00:01:00.06] Dana:  Spend a lot of time, but in LA everybody's got a beautiful house, and everybody's stacked, and everybody's got a backyard and you spend your life and your time differently.

 

[00:01:08.06] David:  The only problem is it takes two hours like anywhere, so that's going to be ... pros and cons.

 

[00:01:13.09] Dana:  You only need three friends, right?

 

[00:01:15.09] David:  Yeah, exactly. That'll be in the same city. So if you're based in LA, I don't know if you're a basketball fan or not, but if you went to a basketball game are you going to a Clippers game or Laker game?

 

[00:01:23.19] Dana:  Lakers.

 

[00:01:23.43] David:  Thank you. All right, we're best friends now. So I want to get into your story and kind of going ... I know you're currently at Billboard as the VP, a creative director, but you also spend some time at Complex, and then Super Deluxe, so kind of walk me through your career path so far and kind of where you've been and where you're going.

 

[00:01:40.34] Dana:  Yeah, for sure. I mean, I started when I was young before Complex, jumping around different sort of creative jobs. I worked at B&B Italia for a little while in the luxury design space. I was at a small agency for a while. I was an in-house publicist for a minute at a surf brand called Saturdays, which some people will be familiar with. But I was writing, I was always writing, and I was always really interested in media and how do you keep specifically cultural media afloat.

 

I kind of started doing this agency type work in-house at publishers because I had a magazine. And my magazine, Hearty Magazine, was tough to keep in business, like we had to figure out these different revenue streams, and we didn't have a ton of people coming to the site every month, we had like 300,000 unique, and it was solid for the time that we'd put into it. But at the end of the day we just need more paper, and we wanted to do all these cool things, we wanted to throw parties, we were in touch with some of the most talented musicians, we're working with Florence and the Machine, and we're working with ... I mean, we just didn't have the money to do what we wanted to do.

 

So I started working the brands, and we started doing these sort of like brand collaborations, pseudo-branded content, and I kind of got in the early wave of branding.

 

[00:03:08.25] David:  So at that point branding content was this like back in 2012/2013? And are we talking more like blog partnerships?

 

[00:03:15.54] Dana:  Yeah, exactly. And so at the time it was this thing that was really looked down on by journalists, right? And blogging was like the most embarrassing thing you could ever do.

 

[00:03:30.17] David:  I was a blacklisted by the Lakers; I wasn't allowed to cover them, so that's my ... Yeah, because I was a blogger.

 

[00:03:36.26] Dana:  Right, like everybody shooted on bloggers. Everybody. And also like working with brands was still something that people considered I think to be selling out or to be sort of de passe, or whatever it was. And to the credit of the journalism industry there is a really important division between church and state, but I think we were also sort of at the beginning of the content industry, and we know that there's a separation there as long as you're really upfront with your audience about why you're saying what you're saying and who might be paying for it. Readers, watchers, viewers, people are intelligent enough to sort of engage with and consume all different kinds of things.

 

So at that time I was just sort of like chipping away, trying to figure out what I wanted to do, how do you keep a business going. And then I started at Complex, and I started as a freelance writer.

 

[00:04:30.09] David:  And if you want to work in like about culture and the intersection of all that, I mean, that's a good place to go to.

 

[00:04:35.53] Dana:  Yeah, at the time Complex has been growing like so rapidly, had shifted from sort of this street-wear, based, men's buyers guide into really a formidable voice in music, culture, and in hip-hop culture specifically. And only last year did hip-hop become the most popular genre of music, but obviously this was started ... this was starting since 50 Cent and Kanye West were feuding over which album was going to sell more.

 

So it was a great time to get in there, and it was also interesting because they had an audience that was interested in brands, right? This was an audience that cares about street-wear, they care about Supreme, they care about Nike. This is an audience that remembers buying their first pair of Jordans, this is an audience that was hyped on the new Apple releases, right? So there wasn't such a sense of ... just like that stigma was a little bit different for them.

 

And over the course of being at Complex, I was there for five years, the industry also shifted, right? And we all got better at how do you integrate working with a brand and maybe their business problems, into making stuff that's really funny and smart, and maybe is radical or maybe is really feel good or whatever you want to make. And so I got really lucky with timing, really lucky. And all those things were happening kind of around me as I was sharpening my skills as a writer, as a content creator, interviewer, marketer, event planner, or whatever it called for, for any given campaign or anything.

 

[00:06:07.19] David:  Yeah, but you say you're lucky, but to pat yourself on the back a little bit I think you found a way to continue to evolve yourself it sounds like. Because you're blogging, and then even being in the creative space you're willing to interview, you're willing to event plan, you're willing to wear a lot of hats, and a lot of people I interview, a lot of people that I respect in the industry it seems like starting back like in the 2012 era, whoever was kind of down to kind of go with the flow and wear a bunch of hats ended up being successful at the end of the day.

 

[00:06:31.02] Dana:  Yeah, and I mean, for me it was so dope and exciting, because I would on a Tuesday sit down and interview Lana Del Rey for the cover of Complex, and then on a Thursday I would fly out to New York and go to White Plains to the Pepsi headquarters and meet with their CMO. And for me as a young person trying to figure out how am I going to hustle the media, having to balance those things while I was still really young and figuring it out, I think really helped me be open-minded about that, and not get stuck, it's sort of a disciplinary track that's I'm a writer and I'm not going to do anything else, I'm a blogger I'm not going to do anything else, I'm a marketer and that's all I am. Those lines never really made sense to me.

 

[00:07:13.15] David:  Well, and let's talk about Complex a little bit, because I mean they've done some amazing things like first we feast and a lot of these originals that they've kind of incubated internally, and it's turned into ... I mean, if you're Kevin Hart, you're The Rock, if you're on a movie tour you're going to Ellen, you're going to Good Morning America, but you're also stopping by 20 million views on first we feast type deals. So can you talk about some of the branding content that you've worked on or some of the things you were proud of when you were there?

 

[00:07:39.28] Dana:  Yeah, I mean, hot ones in particular is really ... it's a near and dear project to my heart, because when Sean Evans who is the David of hot ones ...

 

[00:07:50.59] David:  How does he eat that all the time? I'm like afraid for this health that he's doing that. It's can't be healthy.

 

[00:07:56.02] Dana:  He's in really good shape. And I think maybe he's just like optimistic, I think the positivity helped people [unclear 08:05]

 

[00:08:06.04] David:  Maybe you build a tolerance up to it. I don't know, it doesn't work for me though.

 

[00:08:09.23] Dana:  I couldn't do it. I couldn't do it. But he was always like that, because when Sean started, and Sean started working with Chris Shoenberger who's the creator of the show, he's the editor and chief of first week feast. And at that time first week feast was a baby, it was brand new, they had had an amazing first year. They were a blog, like a food blog that had really good taste and a really, really developed palate, but also wanted to listen to rap and wanted this stuff to be accessible to anybody, not just people who are going to go out and sit at a white tablecloth dinner and spend $500, right?

 

So the idea was cool but Sean and Chris were starting out. And Sean started by doing this challenge, he would do these different challenges to see basically if he could make it through a day in the life of somebody else. And one of the first ones he ever did was with The Rock.

 

[00:08:58.55] David:  I saw that, that's amazing, yeah.

 

[00:09:00.42] Dana:  And this is kind of how we started ...

 

[00:09:02.42] David:  And he's like going to meetings, he's like eating rice and chicken, it's like nine meals in one day, yeah, that's ...

 

[00:09:08.13] Dana:  And at the time I was also like, "Okay, guys, like we got to do some brand new content for first week feast, who we're going to talk to, maybe the Home Depot come through," like going through these different RFPs and trying to figure out what could work, and then Sean has to like get up really quickly and go puke in the bathroom because he just ate three pounds of salmon, like it's so disgusting. But he did it.

 

And things like that started to go viral, so he found this amazing way to sort of motivate talent that's tough to get to, talent that doesn't want to sit down, go through a press junket, to talk to him because it was sort of this fun gimmick. You get to come here; you get to eat these spicy wings.

 

But what really makes the show work is that Chris Schoenberger and Sarah Honda who also works on that show are fantastic journalists, and do ...

 

[00:10:00.10] David:  Yeah, I know the research too, like the questions they prep up is pretty, pretty good.

 

[00:10:05.05] Dana:  I mean, so that's like the magic formula, and I think everybody loves to say make sure your idea is dumb, take an idea and make it dumber, make it dumber, sit on it, make it dumber, and then put it out there, and that's what catches fire. And I think that that is really, really, really true, but it has to be backed by a ton of other smart stuff that goes into it.

 

[00:10:28.36] David:  I'm looking at their top most popular videos right now. Kevin Hart 18 million, post Malone 16 million, Key & Peele 12 million, Terry Crews 12 million, like it's ... That's insane. I mean, to get that type of reach. How does that start internally? When you guys are thinking those types of ... are you creating the content first and then package that up for sponsors in the future? Do you kind of have to again prove the model first before you start to deck it out and pitch it to potential partners?

 

[00:10:56.17] Dana:  Yeah, I mean, I think it sort of depends on the product, but I find that the best ideas happen with a small group of cooks in the kitchen. And the people who are in that room, they can be from a brand and also a filmmaker or a writer. And sometimes the best projects that happen have a brand in the room at the beginning. But I think that's really the key, is to have a small focus group. So if you have a partner who's a brand who is getting ready to launch something really incredible, and they want to come on for a show, that can work. But it's not that often that you have a brand partner that has the time and resources to sort of test a solution for a business problem that they're trying to solve on something that's not proven, right? That's asking a lot from a brand partner.

 

[00:11:46.23] David:  Yeah, I mean, and if it's American Express they want to sit down with small business owners and talk about how they've used loans to their advantage, like that's not ... It's not going to get the 18 million views that a more organic genuine way to talk with Kevin Hart would type deal.

 

[00:12:01.00] Dana:  Yeah, and I mean, like that's our job, right? It's their job to go out and sell whatever it is that they're selling to get to a place where they have a marketing budget that can help them extend their business and achieve their goals. But it's our job to figure out what people like, what they want to watch, and what they will listen to. So I think it works the best when we do that first, and then we have an opportunity to say, "All right, we figured it out, we got the formula. Now come over, let's figure out how we can add either a message or product or a theme or something that will really make this resonate with your audience," and then you compete for it and then everybody wins.

 

[00:12:39.58] David:  So let's get into the like the branded element of that, so I've noticed that they've now created their own hot sauce and it's kind of been something that they've been able to incubate. But was that also where the different hot sauces that are there who are potentially paying for placement, like how do you monetize in an organic way that's not too much in your face, like hey, two-for-one Apple B special, like it just seems kind of out of place? So it seemed like they've done it pretty well there, that it's been organic.

 

[00:13:06.30] Dana:  Yeah, I mean, organic works the best. I don't have to tell you that. Everybody who is in this business or interested in this business knows that. But it's really hard to make that all come together, so I feel like if there's not an opportunity that's like, oh, my God, this is so perfect, how did this land in our lab? Then you want to create synergies that are going to be unexpected, right?

 

So when I talk about Home Depot as a potential partner for hot ones, not that one-to-one, right? But everything that you need to build out the set for hot ones you can buy at Home Depot. You can naturally sort of integrate the product in that way. So I'm a really firm believer in sort of creating connections where they don't necessarily exist to the naked eye, right? And I think that it's more about what is the similarity between what this target consumer cares about and what this audience cares about or thinks is funny, and how can we bring those two things together?

 

[00:14:08.54] David:  Well, I bring up this example a lot, taking a buy at a late night TV you have mean tweets with Jimmy Kimmel, you have carpool karaoke with James Corden, and that's where I really see where we're going with social. I think to your point you're absolutely right, but you've probably seen this as well, it's tough to get people, decision-makers, to make that original investment to say, "Hey, let's drop a couple hundred K or let's even drop 20K on a pilot for this hot ones, and we're pretty confident that over time ..." So have you ran into that a lot through your career too where it's like you know it's a great idea, but getting that initial investment, because you have to make the investment first usually before you start making money on the backend?

 

[00:14:46.58] Dana:  Yeah, I mean, yes, that is literally the day to day of it, right? You believe in something well before you have a ton of people who are there. As Lady Gaga loves to say, "It only takes one person," but that's not true, right?

 

[00:15:01.32] David:  Have you seen that montage of her where she says that like 47 times, it's crazy?

 

[00:15:06.22] Dana:  [Unclear] what she's doing. You have to like decide what your script is, and you have to get out there, and you have to say it, and you have to believe in it. And sometimes it's going to look weird. And maybe you don't see it like literally the exact same [unclear] every time.

 

[00:15:20.17] David:  I watch Jamie Foxx promoted a movie recently, and I saw him on a bunch different talk shows and he told the same story, which they've been doing that for years, but now that it's on YouTube you kind of see how they use the same stories.

 

[00:15:31.20] Dana:  I mean, I feel like that's what made the last episode of Nathan For You so amazing. For anybody who hasn't seen it, spoilers, but he sort of breaks down the anatomy of why telling a story about getting arrested works so well in late night for a celebrity who's got more like of a squeaky-clean image, and you see everyone through as the celebrity telling the same story.

 

And like formulas exist for a reason, formulas work to get people to retain a David name or a shows concept or an idea. We know that repetition is really important, and that's a really important piece of any marketing campaign, whether it's in print or it's in the most technologically advanced VR, AI, branded content experience. It doesn't matter, like repetition is part of it. And I think that's fine.

 

[00:16:21.30] David:  Yeah, I was watching on YouTube, like Jimmy Kimmel or something, and it was like Kevin Hart talks about the first time he met Michael Jordan. Charles Barkley talks about Michael Jordan trash-talking. Tiger Woods talks about first time he met Michael ... you know through the algorithm they saw Michael Jordan, the title, doing really well. So at late night they made it sure to ask a question or two to anybody relevant about Michael Jordan, but it's funny how once they see something working they're going to attack it for sure.

 

[00:16:46.19] Dana:  Yeah, it's true; I think it's really true.

 

[00:16:49.09] David:  All right, so let's talk about your current role at Billboard. So I like to actually back up a little bit just from an ROI standpoint, Billboard starting off as a magazine on the shelf and now with its digital presence and obviously the ... I'm not sure if you work with Dick Clark Productions on your side too, so you probably know Maddy and the whole team over there.

 

[00:17:07.51] Dana:  Yeah, I have.

 

[00:17:08.51] David:  But great people, she's been on the podcast too, so good company. But yeah, I mean, as far as ROI or what you guys are looking at in terms of initiatives going in the next year - what are you guys looking at as far as metrics and at the end of day making money and being a profitable business?

 

[00:17:23.01] Dana:  Yeah, I mean, it's interesting because Billboard has gone through all these different iterations, but right now Billboard is one publisher within this broader parent company Valence. And Valence was launched in January of this year. Valence is now Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Vibe, Spin, Stereogum, Dick Clark Productions. For anybody who doesn't know what that is or know Maddy on a homey basis is the production company behind the Golden Globes, the American Music Awards, the Billboard Music Awards. So an amazing suite of massive TV moments that happen there. New Year's Rocking Eve is next, so check it out, once that ball drop. And then it's also MRC, so Media Rights Capital, film studio behind Baby Driver, House of Cards, Ozark, Mortal Engines coming up, and then Full While 73 which does carpool karaoke.

 

So Valence is an opportunity for all these different companies that have specializations in entertainment and music in different ways to work together, to basically keep their businesses flowing, right? So the idea is that a brand partner can come to us and let's say ... Historically in media buying you've got a budget over here for digital, you've got a budget over here for TVC, you've got a budget over here for experiential, and maybe you have some programmatic broken up where it is, and then it takes you three months to figure out who the right partners are and how you're going to spend and what are your KPIs. Valance's business proposition is that you can come here and we'll take care of all it.

 

[00:19:03.47] David:  Yeah, so Spotify go straight the Valence and they could be like put you in The Hollywood Reporter, put you on Billboard, gets you mentioned on Billboard Music Awards. That's a nice suite to offer.

 

[00:19:11.43] Dana:  It is, yeah. So the result of that means we don't have one particular KPI or metric that we're super focused on. I think that for where we're at in the industry, we are looking at video views, we're looking at completion rates, we're looking at engagement. For us we also really want to have a deep understanding of our audiences, so we're looking at sentiment, we're looking at affinity, and we're looking at also very particular ways to attribute those shifts in those metrics to content that we're creating in partnership with our brands, right?

Attribution I think is so important for any marketer, especially when we're coming to them and we're saying, "All right, we want to make this show where you like eat hot ones, and we just need like a million dollars. Promise it's going to be really good."

 

We got to be able to like show the result of what we're doing. And sometimes you don't have 50 million views on every single episode, but that doesn't mean that that idea can't get you to every episode getting 50 million views. And it takes partners who are sort of willing to look through these deep metrics, to sit with us and say, "All right, we'll place the bet on this, and we trust you."

 

[00:20:23.10] David:  I've used this, I guess this theory when it comes to social, like being a social media marketing agency, if somebody doesn't understand the value of social or understand the value of paid media on social, I'm not going to convince them, I'm not going to waste my time trying to convince you that. I'm sure you've been in that situation too where you guys might probably focus more on partners that understand the importance of being on hot ones rather than talking to your blue in the face saying, "I promise you this is amazing, this will be great for your brand."

 

[00:20:51.06] Dana:  Yeah, I think that's true. I mean, with Billboards specifically, how it went down is a show that breaks down the anatomy of a song. And partners that are endemic are going to be partners that don't need a primer on why Cardi B is so interesting, don't necessarily need a primer on what music audiences are into, but have already done that work themselves and want to come on to be a part of something that has this great guaranteed audience, that hits on these really topical funny anecdotes from big celebrities about song production.

 

But on the flip side of that I think that any business that's doing well in 2019 understands social media, right? Like, if they don't you're [unclear] ... Shout out to you, I don't know if I can help you because you figure something else out.

 

[00:21:38.17] David:  Well, there's a lot of businesses going bankrupt and there's a lot of TV networks that will go belly-up because they never made that switch, so they don't understand, they're still kind of in the old school way of like, hey, we made this money for the last 25 years, why stop now? And it's like, well, you can keep on going but that's not going to be a very sustainable business model long term. It doesn't matter if we're talking about Complex or Billboard, is there a favorite campaign when it comes to branding content that you've part of that just like the numbers were great, the idea was amazing, the partner was thrilled, like anything, that number one story that come to mind when you think of that?

 

[00:22:11.32] Dana:  Yeah, I have two. So at Complex we had an opportunity to work with Netflix, the person's kind of heavy, the second one is smart one, their opportunity to work with Netflix to support Ava Duvernay's documentary 13th. And that is a documentary that breaks down the 13th Amendment, and really, really attacks the prison industrial complex and racism that is written into that law.

 

So heavy, deep material that has really, really tangible effects on so many people's lives. And it was our job to sort of take that and get people to watch it, right? So that meant that we got to go and speak to all these different people who either had spoken out about breaking down the prison industrial complex or had a particular perspective on it and have them share some of those stories. We did a five-part feature series that broke down questions like how do you break down an imagination that is based in fear of the other, right? Basically how do you unlearn racism or walking through actual laws that exist in this country that send people to prison for things that seemingly could never happen to you, like letting your kids stay home from school. Crazy, right?

 

So that was amazing because it was something that our audience really cares about. We had an opportunity to work with content that we created, but it was supporting a piece of film that really mattered to people. And it was also the first custom campaign that we've done with Netflix, so it was big ones all across ...

 

[00:23:47.01] David:  And it feels like you felt kind of impactful doing this partnership, right?

 

[00:23:51.17] Dana:  Yeah, and I think that it also speaks to the fact that a lot of these things that you see on Complex, Sneakers, Hip-hop, pop culture, people love them because they can connect around ideas that are a lot more core than that, right? So I love that, and that one was heavy but something I'm super proud of.

 

And then another campaign that we just finished in I guess September, it was a partnership with Nissan for Billboard around Nissan's new Nissan Kicks model. And Nissan was dropping this car, the car's a sort of like a cool, personalizable, colorful machine. And so we worked with Strangelet Studios and we worked with Toki Monsta, and created an in-car experience, so you could be at this festival, you could go get in this car, and the car would basically turn into this crazy strange looping universe that you got ... you'd ride through. And then at the end of the weekend Toki played a headlining set, and that same visual that anybody who got in the car was the backing for this headline performance. That was massive, it was synced up to wristbands that everybody in the crowd wore, [unclear] and it was colorful and synced up to the music, and that was really, really fun, and really bomb.

 

[00:25:13.05] David:  Was it ... Have you seen Travis Scott with this rollercoaster concert he has?

 

[00:25:17.13] Dana:  Yeah.

 

[00:25:18.22] David:  These concerts are becoming a must-see TV, man. I'm telling you, it's not just a stage anymore, it has to be an experience for sure.

 

[00:25:24.17] Dana:  For sure.

 

[00:25:25.14] David:  I love it. So in terms of what you're seeing out in space right now, like I'm sure you look at feeds sometimes, you look at branded content, and you might roll your eyes or just maybe like, oh, my God, I'd do things so much differently. So as an industry, as we stand right now what do you think we're doing wrong when it comes to branded content?

 

[00:25:44.45] Dana:  I mean, I think that doing branded content is something that has to have an intention. And I think that's the same for anybody who's creating content. But I feel like right now it can be easy to get lost in the feed of, "We're just making this because like we have a schedule and we have to put out a post every four hours." So I'm not really into that.

 

But what I am into is branded content that does more than just putting messaging out into a blog post or a video, right? So I'm really into what's happening in the live space right now, not just with live video but different ways to tackle a live event, right? So as someone who's going to go to Astro World how do you showcase that entire experience to somebody who can't make it there, right? And maybe that's a live stream and maybe that's a sweep, and maybe that's social that happens in the early stages, maybe it's a wild merch drop so people can have a piece of that.

 

But the entities that are doing all of those things at the same time, that are really bringing a live experience into the forefront I think is amazing. And my last roll at Super Deluxe, I got to do a ton of work with interactive live video, and to me it's the same basis as HQ trivia, which I love HQ trivia and I'm so sorry for that for you right now. But that's amazing, you know? People love it because you have this thing that's happening in real-time and you're watching this video and you can also be a part of it.

 

[00:27:19.08] David:  And they may have been like a little early to the game in a way, because I really think as we go forward five, ten years from now that's completely where everything's going. Like, I said it before and my listeners are probably annoyed by this analogy, but it's really bringing back appointment television back to the digital mobile device, and like I just think when it comes to sports, when it comes to gamifying different things, it just it makes so much sense I think. Every TV network, every brand's going to have some type of HQ trivia model.

 

[00:27:45.00] Dana:  Yeah, I mean, I think that we see it bringing this crazy world of e-sports gaming to life, that's also marrying the kind of like live TV moment like you said with what people get out of social, which is like instant gratification.

 

[00:28:00.28] David:  I love it.

 

[00:28:00.53] Dana:  Instantly seeing themselves reflected on screen, and it's funny that you say bringing back the live TV moment because at Super Deluxe the shows that did the best we're sort of like retooled 90s and early 2000 kind of like game show ideas, like the dating games. We did a version of the dating game with Tinder, did a version of the dating game where Joanne the scammer was live matching with people on Tinder, we got that at Super Deluxe, and so like you can't really replicate that kind of exchange, if I publish this urban or a creator where someone says like, "Oh, my God, I want to take you to Italy, Joanne, like let's go," and then watching them get shitted on about love.

 

[00:28:42.37] David:  I love those. I don't know if you followed those Twitter threads that got like 90,000 retweets of like two people meeting on a plane and somebody's like play by playing it. That ends up being super engaging almost, and people are worried about what's going to happen, and it's just ... I mean, it's crazy how that stuff can go viral.

 

[00:29:00.31] Dana:  I mean, I also think there's that [unclear] all that stuff and paying attention to how that rolls out, because this is how we have to productize - just stay relevant, right? So if you're offering paid Facebook posts, paid Twitter posts, I can see why brands are going to roll their eyes at you, it's like, "Why would I buy that?" But if you're coming in with, "All right, you want to come through Astro World, let's do an activation around Travis' concert and we're going to give you a live Twitter thread tweeted by two of the top journalists in music right now trading bars back and forth." We're going to skew an interactive live experience where you can dictate where the roller coaster goes inside the stadium, right? Like, it's not going to happen for Travis' upcoming LA shows, but all things that are totally possible and totally doable if you’re productizing the right way.

 

[00:29:47.15] David:  I love it. So talk about your I guess the relationships with the artists. I'm sure Billboard has a strong relationship with artists, maybe than others, and how that correlates into the different types of content you guys can produce with these different artists.

 

[00:30:00.44] Dana:  Yeah, I mean, I think that Billboard is incredible because Billboard is sort of like the chart standard that predates Apple and predates Spotify, and so Billboard has been in the data game since before anybody said data in board meetings, right? And it gives us the opportunity to have something that's really meaningful for artists, right? It's still the desire of anybody who's young and is putting out their first record or putting out their first album to go number one on Billboard. And when it happens, and you're close to these different artists, and you see them experience it, I mean, there's nothing like it.

 

It does give us this unique possibility to sort of collaborate with different people who whether or not they're on the charts sort of have a love for you, and there's that like brand sentiment that I think is really great. And being on the cover of a magazine or being up there, it just allows us to have conversations that are a little more real, because in meetings you can talk about, oh, you really want to do this thing, like you wanted to chart forever? All right, well, like working with us on a story or a brand campaign isn't a way to do that, but let's have a conversation, and let's figure out where you're going.

 

[00:31:15.16] David:  Right, figure out the relationship, yeah.

 

[00:31:16.38] Dana:  And now I think that brand partnerships and doing that kind of stuff is really like a vital building block for any musician's career. And I think that understanding how to work with these commercial entities, understanding as an artist what the limits of that look like for you, and also how you operationalize it is something that's going to keep you as a business, as an artist moving forward. So we've had the opportunity to work with people who are at the peak right now, like we just had women in music last week. Ariana Grande was presented woman of the year by Patti LaBelle, and you can see Ariana Grande like freaking out because Patti LaBelle is going to come here and present this award to her, and that's really incredible.

 

Or after the show you're sitting there, Sisa our one rule-breaker for this year, and just see Sisa get to meet a fan who works at Billboard and is a journalist, but has been wanting to meet her forever and say, "Look, your album really meant a lot to me, and also what you said about being an outcast or maybe not always believing yourself through the journey really resonated." Those kinds of things also spark ideas for like what should we do later. What's meaningful to this person, what makes sense to them, what's funny to them, and how can we turn that into a project that will let their fans see a little bit more of who they are, and maybe even fall deeper in love, maybe buy another Spotify account or buy another Sisa album either way. It sort of contributes to the goals that everybody has.

 

[00:32:42.28] David:  So I want to get granular for a second in terms of how some of these deals come to life, and we can just use a hypothetical example, but let's use Home Depot because you brought it up earlier. How often of that or how much of it is like we have an idea, we have a concept that we're pitching to you, and how often is it, hey, Home Depot has $400,000, they want do something cool with Billboard and kind of tap into your audience, and then just like here's a blank canvas, like how does it usually come across your desk at that point?

 

[00:33:10.17] Dana:  Yeah, I mean, we work with partners in every different capacity. So we respond to RFPs every single day in multiple ways for sure, that's a big piece for our business. We send out proactives all the time.

 

[00:33:21.07] David:  So meaning Home Depot's looking to partner with some type of brand that is ... Okay, got you.

 

[00:33:25.29] Dana:  Yeah, so like similar to the way that an ad agency functions, Home Depot will say either agency or publication partner, we really want to sell hammers in Q4, nobody's behind hammers anymore. And this is who we want to sell them to, this is how much money we have.

 

[00:33:44.00] David:  25 to 50-year-old males, whatever, yeah.

 

[00:33:46.12] Dana:  What can we do? All right, let's figure out some ideas for Home Depot and get it popping. So lots of brainstorming and lots of sort of response to requests for specific things.

 

[00:33:58.26] David:  So it's either ready camera and like smash stuff in super slow-mo, and I like it, let's do it.

 

[00:34:03.17] Dana:  I love that. I love that idea. And I think I could dig up some really great metrics for you about how there's a niche audience for that on YouTube.

 

[00:34:10.38] David:  Okay, there you go.

 

[00:34:12.10] Dana:  Yeah, I think proactives are a big one too for us. Billboard, Dick Clark, MRC, Hollywood Reporter, we are constantly ahead of the game. We have the smartest reporters in-house, we have access to the most information about what's coming out, what's going to do well. And I think that really puts us in a unique perspective to approach brands and ...

 

[00:34:35.42] David:  I'm guessing record companies are big brands that want to be a part of you, right?

 

[00:34:39.14] Dana:  Absolutely, and I mean, studios, all the way up to every consumer brand you can think. So we have partnerships with American Express, Uber, Honda, the Honda stage program is a completely music endemic program that's basically just music documentaries, all the way down to the Spotifies and the Netflixes and the who's and the Amazons of the world as you would expect.

 

But for us similar to the way that we think about our audience, like if you have ears or you have eyes, you probably like some kind of music or you probably like some kind of film or TV. Like, we do not discriminate, we work with all different brands, plus we have such a vast offering, it really allows us to sort of target specific campaigns to specific audiences in a way that is smart, that doesn't feel like a show, and do it without having to actually spend too, too much, because the audience is just there for us.

 

[00:35:34.17] David:  Right, so how much of it is using your organic audience and how much of it is targeting a specific audience through paid to make sure ... let's just ... if they're trying to target 25 to 50-year-old males, let's make sure that the majority of the views are to that target demo.

 

[00:35:48.05] Dana:  Yeah, I mean, I think that no matter what you create for your organic audience, and paid is just a tool just like any of the other tools that we have at our disposal. Social media is a tool, platforms are a tool, and there have been many different tools over the course of human history to get people to pay attention. It used to be a church, right? That was your tool to get people to listen to your music.

 

So I think that our strategy 100% is to speak to our organic audience, and then it's about developing a distribution strategy that works for them, right? So it's not just about a targeted campaign for people who are 13 to 25 for a Spotify campaign that's promoting some kind of student (deal?), it's like so where do they actually spend their time? Are we going to go have you on Snapchat there? For sure. Are we going to go heavy on Instagram there? For sure. Are we going to create 40-minute documentaries about the inner workings of Spotify that are going to live on YouTube? Probably not, right?

 

[00:36:45.45] David:  Well, can you ... maybe you don't to be specific, but was there a ... something that came across your desk that you just said absolutely not, like even though the partner was down and maybe your bosses were down, you're like, "Guys, this is not going to work with our audience. We're going to get trolled. It's going to be awful." Because I know a lot of people on your shoes have had to kind of fight for what's right for your audience more times than not.

 

[00:37:06.21] Dana:  Yeah, I don't really think about it in that way, because I think there is always a creative solution to a problem. And I think there's a difference between saying no and saying not that, but this, right? So anybody who's really good at this business is never going to say, no, I'm good. They're going to say, "Okay, I see you. L et's work together to turn this into something that's really going to work, and here's why."

 

[00:37:28.55] David:  Well, and I think what used to happen a lot especially we work a lot with sports teams that ad sales would say, "Hey, we'll give you 16 tweets a month." And that's like in the contract for like the in arena board, and then that lands on the social media's desks like, "What am I supposed to do other than like buy a pizza at Papa John's, 16 times a month, like that's just a nightmare?" But to your point can we get that request in and find a way to organically hit our audience in a fun way?

 

[00:37:55.44] Dana:  But that's why I think hiring is so important, right? Because if I came to a social manager and I said, "We're going to do 16 tweets for Papa John's every month," and they said, "Oh, my God, that's awful. How do I ever do this? If I'm just talking about pizza deals I would be like, why do you have this job?" There are so many ways for us to do this that are funny, let's meme it, let's make custom gifts out of it, let's do a sweep where we surprised somebody with 16-order pizzas in one day and that could be one month. Let's do some A/B testing with different kinds of animation, or it just like everything is a tool, and there's always a creative solution for something that's either heartfelt or funny or thought-provoking or at least like pretty. There's value in that. If all it is ...

 

[00:38:38.17] David:  There's value in pretty, I agree. Not enough people realize that, but ...

 

[00:38:40.58] Dana:  For three seconds that you're like, "Oh, that's pretty," and then you keep it moving, like ... right? Cool, that doesn't have to be a whole marketing strategy, but it can be a small piece of it too.

 

[00:38:52.14] David:  All right, so from a branded content standpoint, the best example you've already talked about, but is there one thing you wish you could do more of? Like, you mentioned a little bit the live element, may be more interactive, but anything maybe you've done that you've loved that you just wish that you can do more of that opportunity?

 

[00:39:11.19] Dana:  I mean, I think for me the best work happens when you build consistent relationships, because that's where you develop enough trust between ...

 

[00:39:22.07] David:  And you can build upon those ideas over and over again, got you.

 

[00:39:25.10] Dana:  And that's where you get to a place where, "All right, you know my work is good, I know your work is good, we have trust here. And now it's time to really push. Can we do something that maybe feels too edgy? Like, a live dating show with Joanne the scammer where you don't really know what she's going to say, but we're do it because it's going to be amazing." That's kind of where the magic happens.

 

And I think that right now that business ... sort of the business proposition of being a one-stop shop is what will help us get there, and is what will help us work with the same people over the course of years in campaigns to really figure out, "All right, how can we make this the biggest moment ever with the biggest talent or the smartest talent or the best filmmakers or the best writers in the world? And do something that's not just great for advertising or great for journalism or great for movies, but something that's great in the context of pop culture." That's the goal.

 

[00:40:23.17] David:  So you look at like a TV network, let's say 90% of the revenue is coming from TV commercials, 30-second ads. Billboard obviously used to have or still does like a magazine that had a lot of their revenue, used to be from that said magazine, do you think that we can switch the model in a clean way where, all right, we're not making as much money on television commercials, but our branded that content has kind of been able to counterbalance that, how do you see that next three to five years going when people are losing money on the traditional way but gaining money on the new way?

 

[00:40:56.41] Dana:  Yeah, I mean, I think that there is a way to switch that business model. I think that any business model that's based on one particular kind of media is always going to fail. I think that ... like I said I'm an interdisciplinary thinker, and doing more than one thing seems like the most basic common piece of advice that anybody has for you, right? So I think that it's really important to invest in and be open to new media.

 

[00:41:23.22] David:  Diversify your assets, everybody.

 

[00:41:25.12] Dana:  I mean, that's some horse shit.

 

[00:41:26.56] David:  Warren Buffet, come on.

 

[00:41:29.18] Dana:  But I do think that it's really important to be brave. I think it's important to invest in innovation. I think that right now there's a massive gap in terms of technical knowledge, right? So you have a lot of people who maybe they're stalwarts in marketing or advertising, but they're not as familiar with digital metrics. Creating workspaces that have the culture and workflows that allow people with those different specialties to communicate with one another in a one-to-one.

 

[00:41:57.39] David:  Yeah, you're not competing, we're all on the same team here type deal.

 

[00:42:00.15] Dana:  Exactly. And also we all have to be uncomfortable, all of us. There is not a reality where the internet kids know better than the TV Titans who have been through decades of dealing with talent or dealing with stock market crashes or whatever it is. And there's no world where those TV Titans understand the world better than the people who have seen the fastest growth literally in history.

 

[00:42:23.38] David:  Yeah, and I think that's what's kind of frustrating to me, because I feel like ... I mean, content works regardless of platform. And we just talked about carpool karaoke and these different things, it works on CBS and late night, and it works on YouTube the day after, and it works on Instagram a week later. But for some reason there's this disconnect where people think that content can't live in multiple places, where I think like you said the game show, newlywed game has been around for what 40 years or something, family feud. And I think in 20, 30 years it's still going to be ... HQ trivia was just another iteration of a family feud type of style.

 

[00:42:57.47] Dana:  Yeah, exactly. I think the hardest part is like talking to each other, and hashing it out, right?

 

[00:43:04.45] David:  Basic human instincts, yeah.

 

[00:43:06.59] Dana:  Having agenda, you want to get through ten things, but somebody's used to talking, somebody else is only used to talking in spreadsheets or whatever it is. I think that this idea of having sort of teams that are meant to work interdepartmental in a media company is something that is taken for granted. And that's why I say hiring is so important, right? You've got a hire people who aren't going to be sarcastic about the other side. You want people who have strong specialties, you want rock stars who have built crazy followings online, and yes, you want titans that have every single agent in they're rolodex.

 

But how do you develop staff to be able to sit down and talk to each other? And not just talk to each other on some like here's my role and here's my team and here's how we work, but like, "All right, we're three weeks into a campaign, and it's not working. And like what are we going to do? And what are we going to do in the next 48 hours?" And putting everybody on that level playing field, and sort of creating these little start-up pockets within these massive organizations.

 

And Facebook does it with our sales org, selling pods, and I think there are a ton of different ways to do it. But that really, really basic fundamental hard work is what's going to get companies through this massive shift in media.

 

[00:44:24.22] David:  Yeah, and I have been using an example, we started six years ago and we were literally doing infographics on .coms for sports teams. And as of late we've done 20 person red carpet live stream purely on Facebook and YouTube live type deal, and that's just like in a few years. So I think to your point another element of it is the ability to be flexible and constantly move and evolve and shift and tweak things, every six months really. I mean, you look at Facebook Live and then now IGTV is a thing, and that's what we always talk about in this show, like being able to be flexible. And if you don't want to be flexible it's just not the right industry for you, that's all. I mean, fine, be a lawyer, I don't know.

 

[00:45:02.50] Dana:  That's right, that's true. And I think us media and at the end of the day it's still about what is this thing that people care about, why do they care about it, and where are they talking about it, right? And how can we be there in a way that's meaningful? How do we participate in that.

 

[00:45:17.52] David:  And back to just content works wherever it is, back in the day when we were kids watching TRL, we'd have a TV on and we would just watch the TV. Now kids are on their couch and they're scrolling on Instagram for two hours. So it's a little bit of a different way that they're consuming the content, but there's still an ability, probably more than ever you would agree, the eyeballs are there. The ability to consume content is better, it's just a matter of shifting with the flow.

 

[00:45:41.25] Dana:  Yeah, I mean, I think a lot of things I said had been really big picture, I think there are some really tactical things that are important too like you have to have shared project management software that everybody knows how to use and using.

 

[00:45:52.30] David:  What do you use?

 

[00:45:53.33] Dana:  We love Asana at our house, we also use JIRA. And I think also Slack, HipChat, Gchat, whatever names your chat of choice. It's important; you guys need to be able to stay in touch with each other. You need tools that are accessible from your mobile phone, right? You can't be expected to be tethered to your desk working in email all day or working in software that's clunky. And those are some of the benefits of this young generation who would never spend three hours manually inputting data into software. You know that there's a way to do it way more quickly, right?

 

[00:46:32.22] David:  And to your point, yeah, an Instagram story can take four days, but if you use Asana and you're efficient, maybe it only takes two hours, like just that change and the ability to shift and move quicker. You need to be organized in this industry too is a big, big key.

 

[00:46:45.44] Dana:  Yeah, so that kind of software, having great project managers, using all the technology that makes your jobs quicker and more efficient, so that you can spend your time thinking about the big hard problems I think is really, really important. I think you have to do video. If anybody is thinking that video is not important, like, hello, it is. Video is amazing; you can communicate so much more information in a 5-second video.

 

[00:47:11.09] David:  It's like we're in the same room right now, it's amazing, what is going on?

 

[00:47:14.01] Dana:  Right, like I learn so much about you right now. I see can in the background, you've got ...

 

[00:47:19.45] David:  Books, I'm very well-read.

 

[00:47:21.23] Dana:  Yeah, well, is that cat grass? Like are you a cat person?

 

[00:47:24.33] David:  Yes, that is cat grass. I don't know, let me see. Here we go. I mean, it's just ... you got to have some type of greenery in the background, so there's that.

 

[00:47:37.14] Dana:  My background is not too telling, but I do have this pencil.

 

[00:47:39.51] David:  You have an accent wall, you got a great wall, you got a pencil.

 

[00:47:42.34] Dana:  Yeah, I mean, I have this really nice view here.

 

[00:47:45.33] David:  Oh, okay. That's awesome.

 

[00:47:49.52] Dana:  Video is really important.

 

[00:47:51.04] David:  Yeah, exactly. You could see stuff.

 

[00:47:52.36] Dana:  You may get a lot of information, that's just efficiency, right?

 

[00:47:55.21] David:  I totally agree. So why don't we get into a little bit of rapid-fire, because I want to get a little more granular into some of those tools you were talking about? What's the one social marketing tool that you could not live without?

 

[00:48:06.12] Dana:  Shareably.

 

[00:48:07.28] David:  Okay, from a business perspective what social platforms seem to be working the best right now for Billboard?

 

[00:48:12.50] Dana:  Instagram.

 

[00:48:18.09] David:  I think that's everybody's answer. So rank in order for me - Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat in order of importance for you guys in terms of resources.

 

[00:48:26.49] Dana:  Instagram, Facebook ... Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat.

 

[00:48:32.30] David:  So Snapchat has had a large fall from grace over the last year. What do you ... I mean, do you think they can rebound? What do they need to do for that platform in order to succeed?

 

[00:48:42.37] Dana:  I think Snapchat can rebound, I think Discover is a great product; I think that Snapchat was so visionary. I think that it's a matter of staying ahead of the game, like we know in this business that when you find something that works everybody else is going to figure it out, so it's a matter of always putting your resources into that new thing. But right now we're seeing a lot of backlash against this sort of like public quantification of popularity, and I think that there is a really interesting opportunity there for Snapchat. They were the pioneers of post and disappear; they were really, really early pioneers in the group chat and text. I mean, vertical is like no-brainer. Talk about productization, like we sell vertical video as a branded content product that you can buy. And Snapchat was one of the pioneers of that. So I think I'm a Snapchat believer, go for it, I think they have some work to do to get back on top. But I think they can do it.

 

[00:49:40.32] David:  So to your point Instagram pretty much saw Snapchat succeeding, they come out with Instagram stories, they pretty much steal the model but in this industry like you said if anything works, we've seen that through media, through history, it's kind of become almost more of a one-on-one chat to at least for a lot of people that I speak to. Do you think they should go more that chat router or do you think they just try to get back into ... I don't know, just the the mainstream of what social networking is?

 

[00:50:04.37] Dana:  I think you need both, but I think that one-to-one shot or that group chat that has sort of like a limited number of people is really important. We know that, right? Like Instagram just launched the opportunity for you to only broadcast your stories to your close friends, so like people want an option that doesn't put them on blast to everybody.

 

[00:50:21.00] David:  Yeah, that's true.

 

[00:50:21.30] Dana:  Everybody's got fake accounts so [unclear], right? Do you have one?

 

[00:50:26.20] David:  I don't not have a fake account, do you?

 

[00:50:27.46] Dana:  ...

 

[00:50:29.19] David:  I'll take that as a no I guess. So in our industry I always say this FOMO is a huge thing, right? So it moves so quickly. How do you personally stay in touch? What do you read on a daily basis? What do you recommend marketers stay on top of?

 

[00:50:44.03] Dana:  Yeah, I mean, I think don't read marketing blogs. I think watch TV, listen to big albums, understand why things are getting attention whether it comes from a place of positivity or negativity. Like, every single day I'm checking obviously Billboard, I still read Complex, Pitchfork, Fader, Genius, I still read blogs like Lyrical Lemonade, I love this magazine.

 

[00:51:08.54] David:  In a way to stay on top of pop culture and these references and everything like that, yep.

 

[00:51:12.16] Dana:  And I mean, of course I'm checking what's being bubbled to the top of the playlist that are super popular on Spotify. I'm listening to a lot of beats one shows on Apple music still, I think that programming is awesome, but I think there's a lot of streaming radio that is as high quality or better. And I think NTS is one to watch, I think Red Bull Radio is awesome. And then in terms of film and TV obviously I'm reading The Hollywood Reporter, I love Vulture, I Love New York Mag. I think that for news I follow the Shade Room, I follow Boeing Boeing, and I also read the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal.

 

[00:51:46.06] David:  I think that's the key. I mean, obviously you just rattled off like 13 or probably 23 of them, but I mean, you just got a read. I mean, that just goes back to any industry, but just continue to educate yourself, continue to stay on top of it. Because I feel personally if I go a couple days without like reading articles and staying on top of stuff, I feel like I've taken four weeks back type deal.

 

[00:52:04.27] Dana:  Yeah, I mean, I think that you can check all of those things and figure out what's interesting to you in nine minutes in the morning. It sounds like a lot but it's not like I read all of them end to end every single time.

 

[00:52:15.57] David:  Exactly, just got to follow them. So what are your thoughts on the transition to mumble rappers? I'd like to get your thoughts on that.

 

[00:52:27.29] Dana:  I think that it's a pretty broad genre at this point, right? So the idea of like mumble rap, backpack rap, Soundcloud rap, cloud rap, there's a micro genre in there for anybody. I think that hip hop is in a really interesting place right now, because to think that we are seeing sort of a resurgence of this really dark figure, and you have names of people who I'm not going to promote here because I'm not a personal fan, but that doesn't necessarily mean that their music does not have value for different people for different reasons.

 

I also think that you have this amazing new wave of rap talent that is sort of in ... only the second we have seen people become icons, right? So we watched Kanye and Drake become icons, love him or hate them, they did it and they did it in a way that really only people like Jay-Z and Diddy can say, "Came before them." And even then we have no idea what the heights are now, right? No idea.

 

[00:53:26.53] David:  That's what I'm wondering, like I'm 31 now, and I'm wonder if I'm becoming that old man like, "This isn't music. Back in my day Jay-Z would ..." And probably it's true.

 

[00:53:34.41] Dana:  We're old. We're old now.

 

[00:53:36.10] David:  Yeah, I know.

 

[00:53:36.52] Dana:  What do we know, right? Like, the idea that somebody like Lil Baby could come out and hit the numbers that he's hitting with three songs, like we didn't think that was possible, we genuinely didn't. And so I'm really excited about it. And I think that hip-hop has always been the genre that pushes for innovation.

 

[00:53:53.51] David:  But like our parents when they saw Little Wayne and they saw and they were thinking the same thing like, "What does this dude doing?" 50 Cent, big timers.

 

[00:54:01.06] Dana:  I think the thing that's really different right now, and that has happened so quickly it must be so hard for people who didn't grow up in the age of social media to see and understand these tweets or even feel them, is like you have the creation of these shock based personas which has always been a thing, right? You click back to any gangsta rap, any ... It's been an incredibly useful tactic even for the most beloved groups of all time, NWA.

 

But right now you have it in the era of fake news, and you have it in the era of these sort of marketing strategies ... marketing strategies, I mean, they're content strategies, they're branding strategies for people that we know work. And I think that this idea that you can become a larger-than-life personality online ...

 

[00:54:45.36] David:  Dr. Phil.

 

[00:54:47.48] Dana:  Uh-hmm, Bhad Bhabie. Dude, people love Bhad Bhabie.

 

[00:54:51.14] David:  She has like 14 million on Instagram or something crazy.

 

[00:54:54.08] Dana:  I mean, she understands, right? And then on the flip side of that you have somebody like Cardi B who also really, really understands how to play that game and how to connect with people. And I say on the flip side because I ... my personal preference would be to always listen to Cardi and to never listen to Bhad Bhabie.

 

[00:55:10.38] David:  Yes.

 

[00:55:12.16] Dana:  Even though like Bhad Bhabie's powerful, Bhad Bhabie found something that ...

 

[00:55:16.14] David:  You got to give her credit for just playing the game right.

 

[00:55:19.32] Dana:  I mean, you have to look at it, right? Anything that has that kind of weight behind it, you have to look at it and you can't ignore it or pretend that it's ...

 

[00:55:26.33] David:  Yeah, and then Fit T is going to give her $150,000 for a post, and it's like you got to pay attention.

 

[00:55:30.57] Dana:  You got to pay attention.

 

[00:55:32.07] David:  Got to pay attention. All right, so on that note, should Cardi B take back Offset? I mean, what are your thoughts here?

 

[00:55:38.51] Dana:  Hell no. Cardi B should do whatever Cardi B.

 

[00:55:43.06] David:  What inspires you and how do you stay on the cutting edge?

 

[00:55:47.32] Dana:  What inspires me? Well, I think ... What inspires me? Nature. Yeah, well, what inspires me is conversations, especially conversations with teenagers and kids and people who are young writers who are on the come-up, who work with me and push me every day to think differently about ideas that maybe I write off.

 

I'm also inspired by people who ... like I said TV Titans who have been in the game forever and are still out here trying to understand, trying to fight for their voice and their knowledge in a landscape that feels like it's constantly trying to devour them, like I'm impressed by longevity. That's a goal for me. I want my career to last for years and years and years, and I want to reach new heights every year. And I think that you have to pay attention to the people's perspectives that stay in the game, right? And that's why I say like I'm not really a no person; I'm like a no-but.

 

[00:56:39.12] David:  Well, and it goes to your point, like it goes in a circle, like if you read any type of education on this industry what CAA did back in the 80s is the same thing that Zuckerberg is doing now. You know what I mean? So like if you can respect that you understand that it's always going to kind of continue to evolve type deal.

 

What's your guilty social follow?

 

[00:56:59.27] Dana:  Guilty social follow.

 

[00:57:03.25] David:  Bhad Bhabie.

 

[00:57:04.56] Dana:  Britney Spears.

 

[00:57:06.41] David:  Is that guilty? Okay, all right.

 

[00:57:08.54] Dana:  I think so, yeah. There's a lot of like keep calm and carry on. But I love her.

 

[00:57:16.22] David:  Right on, so I'll let you kind of leave on this one, any advice for people in our industry that wants to do more branded content, that wants to be more genuine to their audience, like what is the main thing you would tell a kid come out of college or maybe someone that is just trying to be better at what they do?

 

[00:57:33.15] Dana:  Yeah, I think that take it seriously but don't take yourself seriously. I think that the idea that all branded content is a shill is wrong. I think that if you make something great - you make something great. I think that it's really important to pay as much attention to the creative side as the business side if you want to work in branded content in a serious way. I don't think that you can come in with an MBA and do it the way that it needs to be done. And I also don't think that you can come in just with a background in journalism and really understand how to work with clients in a way that makes them feel respected or like you're solving their problems for them.

 

So take both sides seriously, but like on the day to day just have fun, have fun with it.

 

[00:58:19.33] David:  Yeah, if not, just get out of it. It's okay, like do something else. But if you're not having fun you're not going to be able to last. I just try and tell people.

 

[00:58:25.48] Dana:  Come back in 30 years, right? Everything's cyclical.

 

[00:58:27.57] David:  Exactly. All right, well, here's my question to you - if you could recommend anybody in your network that you think could provide value to this podcast and could talk with me? Anybody that comes in mind, a person that can drop some knowledge on me?

 

[00:58:40.53] Dana:  Yeah, you should talk to Molly Mitchell, from Netflix. Molly's a comedian and an actress and a marketer and a strategist. And she's working smart. And she's way funnier than me.

 

[00:58:55.11] David:  Right on. Well, cool, that's the show right there. I appreciate you so much. We'll have to ... I'm in LA a lot, we'll have to meet up and grab some lunch or something.

 

[00:59:04.42] Dana:  Sounds good.

 

[00:59:05.37] David:  Sounds good. There she is, Dana, she is the VP, creative director, vice-president and a creative director of Brand Partnerships at Billboard. Thank so much, Dana.

 

[00:59:14.21] Dana:  Thanks for having me.

 

[00:59:19.48] David:  Another great episode, man. This is a little bit of a selfish endeavor, I think I learned something every single show, it's the original reason that I started this podcast and also seeing that niche in the industry of how we can all learn from each other. But she ... man, that was some really great stuff on branded content. I loved how she talked about always finding a way, whether that 14 tweet order lands on your desk for Papa John's, how can we take that, what seems to be a terrible idea and turn it into something that can be fun. I love her positivity in that. Just always being genuine. And really at the end of the day having fun, we talk about that a lot.

 

And also like what she said about all the different blogs she read, all the different pop-culture things she stays on top of, and just talking to teenagers, listening to music, understanding these pop culture things that are coming out on an almost daily basis, so I had a lot of fun with her. So once again, thank you so much to Dana for joining us on the show. That'll do it.

I want to thank a lot of people in the house today, we got Sam Howard, Will Kelly, David Frerker. As always thank you for all your help and support, this has been another edition of the business of social podcast, episode 24, powered by STN Digital.