I first met Tina Walsh, the new Chief Brand Officer at Tongal, when she was at Hasbro working in sunny California. I remember walking into her office with action figures and TVs everywhere and then sitting outside enjoying a Ramsey-worthy food truck lunch, listening to her describe all the new ways she was bringing Hasbro to life. I was inspired by her innovative work then, so when I learned she was at platform Tongal – a global community of up-and-coming filmmakers developing content for brands like Macy’s, Disney, and National Geographic – I just had to find out more. Check out what Tina’s working on with this “new wave of talent for a new wave of channels.”
Why did you choose to join Tongal?
Tongal is all about connecting the world’s creative talent to the world’s creative work. The fact is, creative people live everywhere, not just in Hollywood or off Madison Avenue. 53% of creators on Tongal are female. In stark contrast, from 2007 – 2017, women directed just 4% of Hollywood’s top-grossing 1,100 films. So, while underrepresented voices are finding fewer career opportunities in Hollywood, they are winning on Tongal.
The business of content consumption and distribution has been radically disrupted and little has been done to address the content creation side of the equation. I joined because I was excited to help lead a company that is disrupting the legacy model and that’s in the business of giving up-and-coming talent a shot.
What’s happening in marketing right now that excites you most and how will it affect the future?
I’m excited to see more companies choosing to lead with purpose. Whether you’re National Geographic or Nike, organizations are realizing that you need more than a good product and advertising to win over consumers. If you can authentically connect with an audience through human emotion, and focus on the things that matter to them, they’ll believe in you and become ambassadors of your message. We’re seeing more and more companies take this a step further by empowering their audience to help tell their story. When you connect your consumers to your content early in the process and give them a hand in developing it, your message is inclusive and organic in a way that can’t be manufactured and in a way that can help evolve a conversation, drive change, and build lasting affinity for your company.
The thing is, people don’t want to talk to a corporation. People want to talk to other people. And it’s great to see companies starting to understand this and using it to inspire meaningful conversation. I think you’re going to see a lot more companies aiming for greater self-awareness by getting out of the way, embracing the democratization of content creation and letting their audience help shape their narrative.
What are you working on now that is innovative?
We recently premiered a series of six short films inspired by Alien for the film’s 40th anniversary. When 20th Century Fox was planning the celebration, they wanted to do something that honored the fans that made the franchise what it is today.By tapping into our community of up-and-coming filmmakers, we found talented fan creators to extend the franchise narrative with original short films inspired by the Alien universe. The creators poured their passion into their films and other Alien fans took note. One fan loved the shorts so much, he asked, “Can you just make this an HBO series… THX in advance!” When the fans ask for more, you know you’re doing something right.
Another Tongal initiative I’m really passionate about is Macy’s Style Crew, a program we built with Macy’s to empower their employees to be influencers by giving them a platform to create shoppable content and share products they love. By partnering with our global community of filmmakers and editors, we were able to pioneer a program that has exponential reach, while maintaining authenticity. We’re about to enter year two of this program and I’m really excited to watch it continue to grow and exceed expectations.