Welcome to Ufront Media Insights;
Today, I had the pleasure of interviewing Allison Arden the VP President & Publisher of Advertising Age.
Ms. Allison Arden serves as Vice President Publisher of Advertising Age. Ms. Arden has been Publisher of Advertising Age of Crain Communications, Inc. since December 2007 and serves as its Vice President. Ms. Arden oversees all operations for Advertising Age and Creativity magazines in print, online and at events domestically and internationally.
She served as an Associate Publisher of Advertising Age and Creativity, a subsidiary of The Ad Age Group since FebruarySo enjoy my interview with Allison Arden on Ufront Media Insights.
Roger- How did you get your start in the advertising/publishing business which led you to Advertising Age?
Allison– I had no idea what I wanted to do when I went to college and I needed to declare a major. My mom pointed out to me that I loved magazine advertising. I used to hang it on my walls as art when I was in college and at camp. I didn’t know I could make a career out of it. Once I found my way to Advertising Age it was the perfect blend for me, a great magazine all about a subject that I adored. Since coming to Ad Age, I’ve had eight different roles, always getting to be apart of the new areas we were looking to build. Ultimately taking this brand into so many different areas has been a gratifying experience.
Roger- Can you talk about some of the things or ideas that allow Advertising Age to grow as a brand?
Allison– Advertising Age, at its core, helps people gets smarter about the ever-changing business of marketing and media, rather than being about any specific platform. Once we embraced that idea, it allowed us to really evolve the brand in so many different ways. We have done that through the website and our conferences, video, research and much more. The more we explore the different ways we can be packaging the content and using our expertise to help people get smarter, the more confident we become about the work we are doing.
We recently launched our membership program and what the membership program allows us to do is serve people up content that is specific to their needs on an ongoing basis. We’re building a product called LOOKBOOK. The market is so overwhelming and there are so many different areas that people need to get their arms around and so many companies in each of those areas. We created LOOK BOOK as a way of helping people understand the ecosystem and assess all the different partners they could be working with as they charter new areas. And we keep making the products we have better. Next month we’re relaunching Ad Age’s DataCenter. It’s been a great resource that was originally digitized versions of print first charts, but now it will be so much easier to navigate with data visualization tools to make the data easier to understand. We’re constantly looking for ways to leverage our brand to serve the community while also growing our business.
Roger- What was your inspiration for writing your Book “The Book of Doing”?
Allison– The Book of Doing was born out of my own exploration of my passion and what made me happy. We talk about purpose and passion but when you ask someone what they love to do often times they don’t have an answer. I spent the better part of a year exploring that for myself and exploring the world as if it was my favorite arts and craft project, my favorite activity when I was young. I did this without fear or expectation, just for exploration, learning and fun. It led me to begin questioning which of my responsibilities I was doing out of obligation and which I did because I truly enjoyed them. I started to test things that I have never tested before and found that some things that I thought were impossible were actually quite possible if I simply tried them or attempted a different approach.
I didn’t set out to write a book, but ultimately this act of exploring the world and myself in a new way led me to writing a book and the book led me to an agent and to various publishing companies. There were a bunch of rejections but it also led me to one publisher at Penguin Books who was excited about my message and from there The Book Of Doing was born. The book is filled with different activities that helped me and others find my way to my own happiness, my creativity and a greater sense of my own purpose. I hope people take it as a way to explore their own lives and find their own joy which in turn will help them to spread joy to others.
Roger- What are some of the brands you think are doing it right?
Allison- Apple is the easy answer, constantly developing new, beautifully designed products that we don’t realize we need and then suddenly can’t live without. Lady Gaga has done a nice job as a brand, always changing her look and pushing the boundaries, while also using her platform to help young girls build self esteem. Amazon has done an excellent job of making themselves a daily habit with the Prime membership, and Starbucks has done a phenomenal job of diversifying their product offering, globalizing their brand and creating brand loyalists (I am one!). They are a great comeback story considering where they were about five short years ago. I was also personally delighted over the holidays by the Salvation Army, bell-ringers were dancing and having fun in a way that was a departure from their traditional brand image. It made people smile and get attention at a time when so many organizations are fund raising.
Roger- What advice do you have for women who want to work in the advertising field?
Allison– For women trying to get into this business or any business, I definitely encourage you to take chances, be prepared to work hard, explore your creativity and be yourself because we all have something we bring to the table. I recently saw the movie Cinderella with my children and Cinderella’s mother told her to always be kind and have courage. This is a simple, but guiding principle. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do something everyday that scares you”. I find when I’m following this advice I’m pushing myself to be better and grow, and while that can be uncomfortable, it is necessary to breakthrough my own barriers of how far I can go. We often hold ourselves back more than anyone else. Success doesn’t happen without perseverance.
Roger – Who are some of the leaders that you admire?
Allison– The historical leaders that inspire me are figures like Winston Churchill, a brilliant and amazing leader who did so much good for so many. I also love that he took naps, scheduling them into his day and he used painting as a way to de-stress himself. Especially today, we can learn so much from that.
Eleanor Roosevelt who was born into a life a privilege and had her own struggles but took her position in this world to do good for others. She always encouraged people to step out of their comfort zone and give their greatest gifts to the world.
I am also fascinated by Albert Einstein. He seems to have had a great appreciation for the importance of both scientists and artists and the idea that you could be both. If there was one person I would like to sit next to at a dinner party, I think he’d be at the top of my list.
The leaders I admire most today are the ones that understand their responsibility to both run and grow a business, but also take care of the people within that business. This will become even more important as technology continually inserts itself into our lives leaving less time for people to step away, decompress and restore themselves for their own well being and to reenergize themselves to bring their best to their work and everyone around them. This will be key to leadership as we move forward.
Roger Maloney- Thank you for the interview. If you want the latest news in advertising and marketing news please go to www.adage.com, and if you want to read and buy The Book of Doing you can find it on Amazon.com just click on the link below to purchase:
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