Walt Disney World. I worked for two years (1999-2001) for General Motors at EPCOT center. The juxtaposition, balance, partnership, and beneficial business relationships that Disney built between not just GM, but also (at the time) McDonalds, FedEx, AT&T, Nestle, Exxon, etc. were fascinating to me. I was an eager sponge, absorbing it all around me, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
May 13, 2016. Walking out of ‘Hamilton’ into Times Square through teary eyes. What was I doing with my life? After successfully creating almost ten years of business partnerships and extensions of ‘American Idol’, I spent three years bouncing around YouTube networks trying to make millennials internet famous through smokey eye pallets. It sounds so cliché, but ‘Hamilton’ made me realize that I needed to use my skillset and passion to focus on one thing: making the world a better place for my kids (my boys were 7 & 5 at the time). In August 2016, I was lucky enough to become the CMO of DoSomething.org, an organization with over 5 million young people who volunteer regularly and are committed to social change. I met a lot of ridiculously great people and learned a ridiculous amount about my ridiculous self, and then started my own business helping companies with their purpose-driven content strategies.
My kids. Becoming a parent is like riding a roller-coaster: exciting and terrifying at the same time. Now that my boys are 11 and 9 years old, the phrase ‘work-life balance’ has an entirely new meaning. At first, it was, “What do you mean I can’t go out for ‘work drinks’ 5-6 nights a week?” and “Which media agency in NYC can I stop and breastpump in?” Now, it’s “I am producing a piece of digital/social content on TikTok that MY kids will see” and “If my brand reacts (or doesn’t react) to the events at the Capitol Building on Jan 6th, my kids will ask ‘Why’ or ‘Why not?’” The privilege of getting to teach and learn with your own kids is very powerful.
The most important site you can place your content on is NOT your own BRAND website! Why spend 5 weeks (or 5 months…) and $50K (or $500K…) producing content, and then place it only on your own brand website so all 11 people on the brand team can see it? (“If a tree falls in a forest …”).
You have to place content on places where PEOPLE ARE (and, yes you will have to pay for that). Allow yourself the opportunity for brand awareness and (gasp..!) brand conversation on a site where people are already getting their news, entertainment, recipes, etc.
It is better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.
Michele Fino is a Mom on the UES of NYC and a consultant with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society helping drive their innovative digital content strategy. She currently operates as an internal consultant and negotiation executive, piecing together content, product, social, digital media, fundraising, brand and the “socially native user experience” for growth markets. Over the last 22 years, Michele has been the CMO at DoSomething.org, the VP of Branded Entertainment for FremantleMedia (the production company behind American Idol, America’s Got Talent and The Price is Right), the driver of the Red Bull car, and a marketing associate at Walt Disney World.