Anna Arvidsson, Head of Bonnier News Brand Studio, was named Native Advertising Marketer of the Year at the Native Advertising Awards 2019 in Berlin. Native Advertising Institute caught up with her for a chat right after the prize ceremony at the Estrel Hotel Berlin.
However, in the moments after the award show, she hadn’t really had the time to process that she’d just been named Native Advertising Marketer of the Year.
“I don’t think it has dawned on me yet because it’s such a huge award. I’m really proud, and I hope that I’ve done something good throughout the years that people can learn from. I’m really humbled, and I hope that I’ll be around for six more years and inspire innovation in others,” said Anna Arvidsson.
6 to 60 in 6 years
It can be difficult to answer a question like: Why do you think you deserve this award? But Arvidsson had an answer for that readily on hand. Said answer is twofold.
“The first thing. I’ve been visiting many other brand studios. And I’ve noticed that they hire editorial staff or designers first. What I did was to hire salespeople because if you don’t have your own revenue budget, then you don’t exist. And that’s what gave me access to build a department from 6 to 60 people in 6 years. I showed the money.”
“The second thing is that we’re always challenging things. I’m lucky to have a strong relationship with the editorial chiefs, which means that I have the opportunity to truly show them and get them to understand the power of native. It’s strange to have a discussion with the editor-in-chief about this premium format and he’s like: ‘I don’t want it.’ Especially because then they’re forced to use display ads with clickbait headlines. That’s weird! And I can have that conversation with them,” said Arvidsson.
Arvidssson is now a part of an exclusive group that can pride themselves with being named Native Advertising Marketer of the Year. The list includes Michael Monroe, VP of Marketing & Head of Atlantic Re:think, Ana Plisic, Creative Director at C3 and David Beebe, then Founder, Marriott Content Studio, VP, Global Creative & Content Marketing.
Arvidsson is very clear about what she thinks it takes to be a good marketer nowadays: Creative empathy.
“It’s a common thing to be creative in our business, but to have empathy is a whole new level. Isn’t it funny that many managers sit in meetings and give copywriters or designers prompts on what to do, when to do it, and how to do it? What happens if you don’t give them the ‘how to do it?’ Let your employees tell you how. Have empathy and build your artists,” said Arvidsson.
When Arvidsson is hiring new employees for Bonnier News Brand Studio, she is always looking for people with empathy.
“We have a different kind of recruitment process. We ask different questions. Which character from the tv-series Friends are you? If you had a billboard on Times Square for one day, what would you write on it? On a scale from 1 to 10, how weird are you? The funny thing is that people can’t prepare for these questions because they don’t know them in advance. Therefore you get quite honest answers. And no answer is wrong or right. There are different people. There are Rosses and Chandlers. And we need them both.”
Arvidsson’s 3 tips for marketers in the business
1: Don’t give a f**k, because people don’t care. If you don’t give a f**k, you’ll be brave.
2: Reinvent yourself, every day, every hour. Ask yourself: What can you be better? And then do it.
3: Stop blaming others, blame yourself. Everything is my fault. It’s my fault that my employees don’t do the things I want them to do because it’s my fault that I hired them. It’s my fault that I don’t give them the right information.