The world's largest marketing association is urging every marketer around the world to stop what they're doing and connect for a day (and night) of learning. This unprecedented, industry-wide event -- called Reset, Reboot, Reopen -- will take place on Tuesday September 14, 2021, and is being billed as Marketing's Global Day of Learning. MediaVillage recently spoke with Nick Primola, Executive Vice President of the ANA (the Association of National Advertisers), and Rahul Malhotra, ANA member and Head of Brand Strategy & Stewardship at Shell, to hear about how the idea for this day began, how it became a reality and what they hope it will achieve for the worldwide marketing industry.
The event is being described as the first time ever that when the entire marketing world will pause together to reinvest in the people who fuel its growth. This Global Day of Learning will take place during a 24-hour period, will happen virtually, and will be accessible to anyone in the industry, including professionals and students, at no cost.
You better have a good reason to ask marketing professionals to notwork for a day -- and the ANA does. It's talent development, which ultimately means business growth. "It all started during a meeting of the ANA's Global CMO Growth Council two years ago at Cannes Lions, when talent development was being talked about as one of the top priorities to help marketers, and specifically CMOs, drive more growth at their organizations," Primola said.
With the pandemic providing more time and impetus, this effort has turned into a bigger reality than any of the group could have envisioned. "As we were coming out of COVID, this was a good time to reset and restart," Primola continued. He remembers ANA CEO Bob Liodice "simplifying" the task by saying that all they needed to do was "train the world".
"The initial reaction from the group was sort of 'yeah, right,'" he recalls. But it quickly became clear that "not only do we have a responsibility to do that, but now, we actually NEED to do that." Primola remembers one of the leaders on the call saying, "This is great as a moment, but it really needs to be a movement. It needs to be a complete recommitment to our people."
What happened next could be seen as the perfect proof of concept. The ANA Global CMO Growth's Talent team, which is chaired by Julia Golden, CMO at Lego, and Elizabeth Rutledge, CMO at American Express, and is made up of a dozen or so other leaders, started to talk openly about what they were doing at their companies. This open and honest exchange was exactly what they were tasked with creating.
Malhotra was in that meeting and remembers how exhilarated he felt when it was over. "Setting up the Day of Learning within a few hours, if not less, without waiting for any minutes of the meeting or anything … I just said 'Let's go. Let's do this,'" he recalls.
Primola is excited by the possibilities. "By bringing together today's marketing, business and academic leaders to share best practices, powerful case studies, practical solutions and research, the ANA and the Global CMO Growth Council will help the entire industry address the challenge of today's recovery together," he declares.
Malhotra sees this as "another example of that culture of collaboration filtering through to corporations" and believes that many of the world's toughest problems can be solved with this kind of open collaboration.
While the event is global, it's also intended to be personal. Primola said that the event is for people to "improve performance, develop skill sets, and get current." But he is quick to add that this event is "not just about skill sets, but where people are; from managing burnout and anxiety, to really caring about people's minds, spirit and capabilities."
When asked about how this day will be different from a day of training, Malhotra said, "I think the fact that everyone's coming together on a day, across companies, across geographies and across continents shows a couple of things: that learning matters, that you matter, and … that we're all in this together. The fact that all these companies are taking the time to do it … people will notice."
Primola could not help but marvel at how the idea has taken off, and how everyone they reached out to replied with an enthusiastic "yes." "We will be presenting excellence from around the world with respect to the folks that we're working with like Cannes Lions, Raja Rajamannar from Mastercard, former global CMO at P&G Jim Stengel … Facebook, Google, Twitter, MediaLink, Microsoft and Verizon Media, among many others," he said.
Both Malhotra and Primola wanted to make it clear that this is a day for everyone: students, professors, CMOs, agencies, consultants, entrepreneurs and everyone in between. Primola sums it up as "anyone who hangs up a shingle, has a desire to be a part of this industry, and wants to get a real sense of what's happening."
People have already signed up from over 55 countries, including China, India, the U.S., the U.K., the Netherlands, Germany, Africa and literally everywhere else around the globe. The event is essentially a virtual stage that anyone in marketing can walk into and participate. "Just imagine the impact this is going to have on a designer, a small company, a small agency or a small brand that doesn't normally have access like this," Primola said.
Malhotra sees it in a similar way "This is unprecedented," he declared. "It's an outpouring of assets and resources that have typically been guarded and fenced in, and in some way, it's an opportunity for the entire industry to get on the same page."
To find out more about the Global Day of Learning, and to reserve your spot, clickhere.
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