Fast Chat: Media Storm’s Andrea Kerr Redniss

New chief activation officer talks small agencies, social, Newfronts, YouTube

Andrea Kerr Redniss has been named to the newly created position of executive director, chief activation officer at Media Storm. The fast-rising Redniss, who joined the Norwalk, Conn.-based media agency in 2011 after serving as managing director, digital at Optimedia, will report directly to Media Storm’s co-founders and co-managing partners, Tim Williams and Craig Woerz. She spoke to Adweek about earned media, the Newfronts, working for a small agency and her new gig.


So what’s the new job all about? What’s so different about Media Storm? The biggest thing will be delivering on the Media Storm model, which is more about the idea that you can’t buy your way to success anymore. I don't know if you ever could, but media today is less about how you spend your dollars. It’s about who curates the conversation. This whole idea of moving from awareness to activation.


What does that mean? We’re really acknowledging that in today’s environment, digital is a much larger part of the conversation. That’s not necessary just digital media. You still may spend more of your budget in traditional media. That’s still the largest megaphone out there. But that message now echoes all over the Web and social media. So you want to try and curate that and moderate it. We’ve always known that word of mouth can move the needle, but engineering word of mouth was very difficult. Now we can curate that conversation and turn it into what we need it to be.


How is working at a small agency different? In a number of ways. We’re less focused on just spending money. We’re not about clout and rates and turning one dollar into two. We’re looking at our clients brands, and getting them to use all their assets. Our hope is to turn one dollar into five. Most agencies really focus on efficiency. We focus on people.


What was your take on the Newfronts this year? Well, I personally loved the chaos and disruption that was behind that. There was a great energy out there. And in the media space, they started to get traditional agency people looking and thinking about being content agnostic. There’s definitely more video content than ever in the digital space, and millions of ways to monetize it. And it’s great that digital is being seen as bigger player than ever.


But did you actually move money? I don’t know that an industry event can cause clients to move money. For the most part, in digital, you don’t need to move when everyone else does. So we did transfer some dollars, but we are always in market. It’s hard to say that we moved money out of TV. But it did open up perceptions.


What do you think of YouTube’s channel strategy? We’re starting to think of YouTube as a broadcast network. To a large extent, they are one. We can’t think of them as just a viral channel. But to be fair, we’re extremely involved in the video space. We have a lot of entertainment clients and a big part of our job is seeding content, surrounding content.


What do you think of all the post-IPO Facebook talk regarding its ad strength (or lack thereof)? Facebook has a lot of opportunites. But for us, it’s really our data center [rather than an ad platform]. It’s all about extracting data points, and how we can seed the conversations.