Vice President of Brand Communications - Atlanta Hawks & State Farm Arena • Atlanta
With extensive experience in entertainment and experiential marketing, Janet Smith’s career has seen stints at Jive Records, Red Bull and Habitat for Humanity International. In her current role, Smith creates unique ways to tell the Atlanta Hawks brand story and engage basketball fans.
Janet discusses the impact of the pandemic on the sports industry, leading to the amplification of social injustice issues around the globe. She speaks to the importance of brand purpose and the complexities and emotions involved in marketing a sports team.
CMO at IAG • Sydney
As CMO at IAG Insurance and ex-CEO at Saatchi & Saatchi New York, Brent Smart knows how to change the fortunes of businesses from the inside out.
CMO Unilever International & CEO Unilever Korea • Singapore
Aseem leads marketing, innovation and digital communications for Unilever International, responsible for managing brand building for a billion dollar portfolio.
Start-up advisor and ex-CMO Virgin America • San Francisco
Luanne Calvert has decades of experience shaping some of the world’s leading brands. She was Google’s first Creative Director, and served as CMO at Virgin America for 6 years.
Board Member, Advisor & Internet pioneer • São Paulo
An internet pioneer in the 80s and ex-CEO of Walmart.com in Brazil, Paulo Silva has over 25 years experience leading high performance teams across Latin America. He’s currently the founder and managing partner of RockOn Advisors.
General Manager - Australia, Tourism New Zealand • Sydney
Andrew heads up Tourism New Zealand's marketing and business operations in Australia. His 20 year career has seen him work on iconic brands such as Red Bull, Stella Artois and Beck’s.
Senior Marketer in Multicultural Beauty • New York
Lamar has helped some of the world's most iconic brands tell their stories through digital channels, including L’Oréal, Pepsi, Oreo and Nike, and is currently focussing on multicultural beauty.
Senior VP, Def Jam Recordings • New York
A music industry veteran, Jeff’s illustrious career has seen him hold senior positions at Columbia Records, Bad Boy Recordings and Syco Entertainment.
General Manager - Digital, Media & Marketing, AFL • Melbourne
With almost 20 years global experience specialising in the digital media and advertising technology sector, Sarah is currently overseeing the core news, content, creative and production teams of the AFL.
Co-Founder of Been There Done That • London
An ex-Grey veteran, David’s career has also spanned stints at Mojo, BBDO and Bates. He set up Been There Done That in 2014 to provide a new model for brands to access creative strategy.
Marketing Consultant & ex-Global Brand Director, Hiscox • London
Annabel currently runs a marketing consultancy after an impressive marketing career, including 11 years at Hiscox Insurance and 9 years at Coca-Cola.
Marketing Consultant • Sydney
With extensive experience working for global brands like Virgin Mobile, eBay and GoDaddy, Tracy is currently consulting for some of Australia’s fastest growing tech companies.
My name is Janet Smith, I’m the Vice President of Brand Communications for Atlantic Hawks Basketball and State Farm Arena.
My role covers public relations, communications and amplification of all the work that the organisation does for off-court activities, so that includes marketing, corporate partnerships, corporate social responsibility and even influencer and celebrity engagement.
Previously I’ve served in marketing and event production roles with RedBull, Habitat for Humanity International and Jive records.
I would have to say that the most recent disruption to the sports and marketing industry would have to be the pandemic and then an offshoot of that would be the amplification of social injustice issues around the globe.
This is the first time that I've seen it, and probably most people in their lifetimes have seen sports and live entertainment industries come to a complete stand still. And so for a year and a half, there were no games, no concerts, which basically meant that there was this void, this vacuum that was able to amplify issues of social injustice that had come to the forefront from Breonna Taylor to George Floyd. We’ve seen racism against various athletes, whether they were in soccer or Nascar or football or basketball. All of these issues were able to be amplified by the fact that there was this global silence that allowed it to be heard at the same time around the world.
Authenticity has always been extremely important in terms of working for some of the brands that I've been associated with. I think it just becomes even more so, given the climate that we’re in today. There’s a saying that says, if you stay ready you don't have to get ready, and I think that's extremely important in understanding as a brand who you are, what your commitment is to the community, what makes up your DNA, and if you understand that from day 1, when things like this happen, when unexpected turn of events happen, you don't necessarily need to reinvent the wheel in order to make sure that you are addressing the community, addressing your customer or fanbase in a very authentic way.
So with marketing a sports team, you have to think about the fact that these are people, they are human, they are not without fault and they’re sometimes unpredictable and uncontrollable. As marketers, we have way more control over a product than we do over a person. And so as we look at how we create connection and keep connection with our fanbase, we understand that it’s our job to make sure that we’re constantly fostering hope and belief, whether the team is winning or is losing.
We also know that we need to focus on the things that we can control, whether that's game experience, whether that's the advertising we see, those things that we know that will provide a gold standard and a gold experience, whether or not the team wins or loses.
I think social media has helped us tell our story. It has helped us connect with fans and let them know where we see ourselves, what we believe in, and help us spread the story of the team that we want to be and the world that we want to live in. We understand that whereever our fans are, we have to be ready to adjust and meet them where they are. So if there's a new online platform, we have to be ready to engage and meet them there. We were one of the first teams to move into the social audio space, jumping onto Clubhouse very early on as it started to explode with audiences.
So as I look at the future of marketing, my hope would be that diversity, equality and inclusion doesn’t become just a buzzword, and it is more than a department of one. I think we have to understand that we need that work to be integrated throughout the entire organization, it isn't just one person. Pushing forward, I think we have to look at that in all areas of business. How are we represented in our different areas, how are our different areas represented in our C Suite? How are they represented in our workforce? How are they represented in our supplier diversity? It is more than just one person doing the work, but it has to be a commitment across the organisation.