BrandVerge '5 for 5' – Resolute Digital (A Weber Shandwick Company) Spotlight

We had the pleasure of talking with Peggy Lin, the SVP Paid Media Planning and Buying for Resolute Digital (A Weber Shandwick Company) for our latest 5 for 5. Resolute Digital, recently acquired by Weber Shandwick, is a data-driven digital marketing firm.

In this 5 for 5, Lin talks about the creativity she has seen behind many out-of-home ads and the benefits of OTT. Read more to learn about how working for both the agency side and the publisher side has helped her to better navigate the media industry.

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1. Introduction

Industry influencer: Peggy Lin, SVP of Media Planning and Buying

Please tell us about your role at Resolute Digital and what makes your agency unique:

In my role at Resolute I run the paid media team for all of North America with the exception of Weber Shandwick DC. Weber bought Resolute Digital about two years ago. As part of the integration our paid media team is now the paid media arm of Weber Shandwick, and I oversee all of North America with the exception of D.C., and Baltimore because they have a big, robust team already.

I think that a big part of the reason Weber Shandwick acquired us is because of our paid media capabilities. They’re known in the industry as one of the largest global PR communications firms, so they already pride themselves in doing owned and earned [media] very well for clients. Now with us fully integrated into the agency, our advantage is that we can do paid, owned and earned very well together under one roof and be able to think of a brand marketing plan as a collective whole. This holistic approach is also a benefit as we think about measurement and attribution, versus other agencies where their specialty is one versus the other.

2. How do you make sure you're embracing disruption to push your company and counterparts forward in the industry? 
I would say - one, we always keep ourselves up-to-date with trends and what’s going on out there because the digital landscape is always changing. Everyone on my team specializes in one thing or another and then we do a very good job of sharing that knowledge and expertise. We then obviously share that with our clients, so we’re always going to our clients with new ideas, proactively, as much as possible.

Two - when we talk about campaign activations, Resolute has always prided itself on being a performance agency, and that can be confused with an agency that does a lot of DR and affiliates. That’s actually not what we do. We call ourselves a performance agency because everything that we do is tied to hard-core KPIs, even if it’s more of a branding or engagement campaign. We are very results-oriented, and that’s kind of what I think matters these days most. Even for a branded piece of content, we care about what is the performance the client will get out of it?

3. What brands, in your category of not, do you believe are activating break-through and exciting work with media/advertising? What separates good brands from great?

Lately I have been seeing a lot of interesting out-of-home advertising for Oatly - I’m sure you know, it’s all the rage - the oat milk. I think they have built a very, very smart platform around what they do with creative in out-of-home and social. They even use their own cartons as a canvas for advertising. Everything is connected, and it captures your attention. It’s light-hearted. I think they’re mostly just focusing their efforts on the large, metropolitan areas probably because that is where the highest popularity of this milk alternative is. I really love what they’ve been doing. They went through this period where they were completely out-of-stock because they didn’t anticipate the demand that was coming in from the United States, and they actually wrote about that in one of their ads, which again, ended up on one of their cartons. They wrote ‘We had no idea that this was going to be so popular. So we really bucked up our production and staff to supply all of the demand that’s been coming in.” So they’re definitely killing it.

If we think about content specifically, I think that SquareSpace, is a U.S.-based company, breaking the mold. They do a lot of long form, very engaging, beautiful content. So while they probably invest heavily in performance media because they are a subscription service, they do quite a bit of amazing branding around owned content, which is great.

4. What channels/partners do you think are most exciting for the future of media and why?

I do love out-of-home and I feel like there are a lot of opportunities to continue to innovate, especially in digital out-of-home, and the ability for technology to wrap things that are currently not being wrapped today at more efficient costs. For example, wrapping a table or a cup or anything like that, so I always try to keep my eye on what’s going on in the out-of-home space. 

I think OTT is really important, because it’s TV advertising but not to the cost that’s associated and also the measurement is just so much better when it comes to OTT. And we’re still making sure that all of the content is running in a premium brand space environment, so I think OTT is a really, really good channel for us.

And of course, everybody is dipping their toes in podcasts. We’re not spending a ton of money in podcasts yet, but I see that changing. It’s also interesting to see audio make a come-back, which is nice. It’s like whatever’s old is new again and what’s new is old. They look different, but they’re the same thing. 

5. If you could travel back in time, what advice would you give to yourself when you started in media? 

I feel like I kind of did what I would have advised myself to do, so I don’t know if that’s fair, but I definitely encourage people that are on my team when I have heart-to-hearts with them that one should have a wide variety of experience - don’t pigeon-hole yourself on the agency side or on the publisher side. It’s nice to work on both sides because you get to see the same things through a different lens. I personally found that to be beneficial for my career path.

If I were to tell myself one thing specific to the agency side - be very, very picky about the clients that you are going to be servicing because we often times will want to get a job, work for a nice agency, put ourselves forward don’t ask enough questions about which client am I actually going to be working for. Often that can make or break your career. An agency can be really awesome, and I’ve worked for agencies that are really awesome, but the clients are just such difficult clients to work with, and it’s kind of just ruins your entire experience there. 

Lynn Browne