Jenna Young, Executive Creative Director for Weber Shandwick

Posted in: InterviewsLast update: 08/04/15

Jenna Young is Executive Creative Director for Weber Shandwick’s New York Consumer practice. During her four years at the firm, Jenna has partnered with a range of clients, American Airlines to American Girl, Hellmann’s to Hanes, Nespresso to Novartis. In the last year, she developed one of Diet Pepsi’s most successful digital videos; created a global social campaign for Electrolux’s clean water efforts, led the Cannes Lion winning #Unapologetic campaign for Barbie or founded the first-ever Prom at Monster High. Jenna likes to experiment and build things. She was a founding member of Y&R2.1 (Young & Rubicam¹s earliest exploration into online advertising), helped open EuroRSCG MVBMS’ Amsterdam office and the NY operations for Swedish creative powerhouse Great Works, ran new business at two MDC agencies, and explored branded content opportunities for The Martin Agency.

  • 1. When did your interest in internet marketing start?
    Back when the internet was referred to as an information super highway- I was lucky enough to get tapped by Ford, who saw the moniker as a potential to explore becoming a portal themselves- and I was able to travel to the world’s “e-commerce” centers and talk to people about their use of and expectations for the internet. It was clear that business and marketing was about to change in a big way. That was almost 20 years ago.
  • 2. What recent activities have you of your company initiated in internet marketing, particularly through social media? What initiative are you most proud of?
    We manage the social media platforms for over 250 brands – the initiative I am most proud of this week is a program we launched for Hellmann’s in the US where we partnered with illustrators to find and bring to life great tweets from our fans expressing their love for our mayonnaise- and created and shared artwork in response under the hashtag “BringOuttheBest”. Also loved a project we did at the start of the year for Qtips- a brand without a big marketing budget that wanted to tell the story of their precision tip Qtips in the beauty space. We partnered with Instagram influencer Paper Fashion and created content- including time lapse video- as she painted the Oscar contenders red carpet looks in real time as they appeared on the runway. The idea caught the media’s attention and Style Bistro tweeted that it was the coolest thing they’d seen related to Oscars 2015. It proved that a great idea doesn’t have to cost a fortune- it just needs to be timely and tap into the culture.
  • 3. In terms of good social media marketing strategy, who do you think is doing it right? Why?
    The folks who are doing it right are the ones who understand the role of each platform and who customize their content to leverage what each platform does best versus simply repurposing assets that weren’t designed for the medium. Those who think about what the consumers are coming to the social media platform for will do better than those who only think about what their own brand wants to say or do there. Often there is a gap- and the best programs are those that provide utility or entertainment or currency to the consumer within the purpose and voice of the brand. And be realistic about what a brand can do – many brands wanted their own “Ice Bucket” challenge- not understanding that part of the dynamic that made it so powerful was the authentic origins of the effort.

The rise of photography and imagery to tell a story- and the birth of platforms from Pinterest to Instagram in response- is a great indication of the increased importance of visual influence in the past 5 years.

  • 4. What social media platform do you use most in your role? How has this changed over the last 5 years?
    I have seen Facebook grow as a “soft” newsfeed – it’s a great barometer for what’s capturing people’s imagination and interest online as the “Blue Black / Gold White” dress discussion proved when a simple blog post jumped onto the platform and quickly become a world-wide debate. The rise of photography and imagery to tell a story -and the birth of platforms from Pinterest to Instagram in response- is a great indication of the increased importance of visual influence in the past 5 years. If your brand is still entirely reliant on stock or communicating simply with words- you may be at a disadvantage.
  • 5. What do you foresee as the next “big thing” in internet/social media marketing?
    I caution against chasing the next big thing as marketers- Meerkats will rise and only to have a Periscope eclipse them- investing quickly and before the audiences are there or the models are proven is a risky proposition. Four Square was a great example of a big thing that fizzled. I would think that investment and energy should first and foremost be in making sure you have best in class practices on the platforms that have emerged, that are part of your consumers daily life and rituals. If we are consistently meeting or exceeding those platforms benchmarks- earmark a little to experiment on emerging media. But make sure you’ve got the core done right first.

Digital and mobile are the primary media for most consumers and that the brand’s quality and image and reputation is expected to hold up on line as consistently as it does offline.

  • 6. What is your greatest challenge when marketing online and via social media platforms?
    Investment. Clients have a legacy predisposition that digital should not be costly- what they fail to understand is that digital and mobile are the primary media for most consumers and that the brand’s quality and image and reputation is expected to hold up on line as consistently as it does offline. We have clients who ask us for best in class performance but have not budgeted to create content for the channels. Under investment in quality video is a great example of this, as is the reliance of too many brands on stock imagery.
  • 7. What advice would you give companies that might be considering an internet marketing and/or social media strategy for the first time?
    Invest in measurement and analytics. You need to understand what is working and why and close the feedback loop with anyone creating content for you- you’ll quickly be able to see what what works, and what doesn’t and adjust accordingly. The great advantage of internet marketing is that it is clearer results than any amount of testing- the consumes let you know very quickly if your work is working- you just need to be able to understand the information coming back to you and adjust accordingly.

Silvia Marti Ferrer

Marketing and Customer care Easypromos’ team

Publication date: 2015-04-08