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NativeAdVantage 10-Q2BA:

(10 Questions 2B Answered)

What do you do best?
What makes you the best?
Biggest success?
What are your aspirations?
Most challenging moment?
Favorite Motto?
Favorite People?
Favorite Places?
Favorite Products?
Current Passions?


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Andy Weir: Author of "The Martian"

John Philipson: VP, Six Senses Resorts

Tom Sito: Chair of Animation, USC Film School

Elizabeth Wynn: Broker, Sotheby's RE

Leonard Greenhalgh: Professor, Tuck-Darmouth)

Ryan Blair: NY Times Best Selling Author/Entrepreneur

 

Featured NativeAdVice:

Shai Reshef: Founder of University of the People

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Susan Hatje: GM of Mandarin Oriental, NY

Dan Laufer: Co-Founder of RentLingo

Hilary Laney: President of Tri-Digital

Greg Marsh: Co-Founder of onefinestay

Omar Qari: Co-Founder of Abacus

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Stacy Rauen: E-I-C of Hospitality Design Mag

Jon Gray: CRO of HomeAway

Joe Speiser: Co-Founder of LittleThings.com

Ben McKean: Co-Founder of HungryRoot

John Boiler: Founder/CEO of 72andSunny

Wayne Pacelle: CEO of The Humane Society of the US

Tom Guay: GM at The Sagamore Resort

Dr. Alejandro Junger: Founder of The Clean Program

Rob Flaherty: CEO of Ketchum

Neil Thanedar: Founder/CEO of LabDoor

Andy Grinsfelder: VP of Sales/Marketing, Delaware North Resorts

Laura Frerer-Schmidt: VP/Publisher of Women's Health

Avi Steinlauf: CEO of Edmunds.com

Kathy Bloomgarden: CEO of Ruder Finn

Gabriel Flateman: Co-Founder/CTO of Casper

Mark Bartels: CEO of StumbleUpon

Bill Hagelstein: President/CEO of RPA

Adam Singolda: Founder/CEO of Taboola

Jonathan Plutzik: Proprietor of The Betsy-South Beach

Jessica Scorpio: Founder/VP of Marketing at GetAround

Ralph McRae: CEO of Leading Brands

Warren Berger: Bestselling Author

Liz Kaplow: Founder/CEO of Kaplow Communications

Dave Girouard: Founder/CEO of UpStart

Dave Asprey: Founder of BullectProof Executive

Douglas C. Smith: President of EDSA

Val Difebo: CEO of Deutsch NY

Guido Polito: CEO of Baglioni Hotels

Doyle Graham, Jr.: CEO of Valencia Group

Oscar Farinetti: Founder of Eataly

Angelo Sotira: CEO of DeviantART

Ali Khwaja: CFO of Safecharge

Zach Erdem: Proprietor of 75 Main

Jim Beley: GM of The Umstead Hotel

Alexis Gelburd-Kimler: Proprietor of West Bridge

Elie Georges: Proprietor of Hotel San Regis

Kalen Caughey: Founder o VOKE Tab

Michael Friedenberg: CEO of IDG

Donna Karan: Founder of DKNY

Edward Nardoza: Editor-in-Chief of WWD

Scott Dadich: Editor-in-Chief of Wired

Rhona Murphy: Former CEO of The Daily Beast

David J. Pecker: CEO of American Media

Lilian Roten: VP of Swissotel Hotels

Kenny Dichter: Founder/CEO of Wheels Up

Joshua Tetrick: Founder/CEO of Hampton Creek

Paul James: Global Brand Leader of The Luxury Collection

Dr. James Wagner: President of Emory University

Amy Thompson: President of ATM Artists & Management

Neil Gillis: President of Round Hill Music

Brett Matteson: President of Columbia Hospitality

Jonathan Reckford: CEO of Habitat For Humanity

Phil Harrison: President/CEO of Perkins+Will

Chef Bill Telepan

Tony Horton: Founder of P90X

Beth Weissenberger: Co-Founder of The Handel Group

Michael Fertik: Founder/CEO of Reputation.com

Dana Cowin: Editor-in-Chief of Food & Wine

Bob Proctor: Chairman of Proctor/Gallagher Institute

Dennis Turcinovic: Owner of Delmonicos

Vittorio Assaf: Co-Founder of Serafina Restaurant Group

Shafqat Islam: Co-Founder of Newscred

Matt Williams: CEO of The Martin Agency

Bruce Rogers: Executive Chef at Hale & Hearty

Caleb Merkl: Co-Founder of Maple

Candy Argondizza: VP of Culinary at ICC

Neil Sazant: President of The Sagamore

Matt Straz: Founder/CEO of Namely

Terry Couglin: Managing Partner of Marta/Maialino

Andrei Cherny: Co-Founder/CEO of Aspiration

Ronen Nissenbaum: Managing Director of Waldorf Astoria NY

Patrick Godfrey: President of Godfrey Q

Sarah Berman: Founder/President of The Berman Group

Michael Schwartz: Owner of Genuine Hospitality Group

Stephan Aarstol: Founder/CEO of Tower Paddle Boards

Peter Shaindlin: COO of Halekulani Corp.

August Cardona: Founder/CEO of Epicurean Group

Nick Kenner: Co-Founder of Just Salad

Friday
Apr152016

Malinda Sanna: Founder & CEO, Spark Ideas

My NativeAdVice:

Bio:

Malinda Sanna is one of the most sought-after strategic planners in the world of consumer research, advertising development and marketing strategy. She cut her teeth at The Coca-Cola Company in brand management straight out of business school in the New Products department, and then worked for a decade as an independent strategist following tenures at both Fallon and Merkley Newman Harty in New York.

HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE INDUSTRY?

I started my career at The Coca-Cola Company on the marketing side in New Product Development.  My favorite part of the work was consumer research, so I transitioned into account planning. I moved to New York to work in advertising, and learned to conduct qualitative research with some great mentors like Jane Newman of Merkley Newman Harty and at Fallon. In 2009, I incorporated SPARK IDEAS because I saw an opportunity to bring more creativity into market research.

TELL US ABOUT SPARK IDEAS.  HOW DID IT COME TO BE AND WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE COMPANY?

I developed some projective techniques using symbols and artwork when I was working with corporate executives as a consultant, and finally started using it with consumers. It worked better than I could have ever imagined.  I named it The Sensory Safari, trademarked it, and we were off and running.  We found that there were a lot of marketers who wanted new ways of talking to people about their ideas, their creative campaigns, and their brands.

As someone who gets bored very easily, I wanted to make market research more fun for everyone involved. My motto has always been “no boring focus groups!” Talking to one’s customers is always going to be important for successful businesses - but with so many exciting ways to engage with people, the possibilities are endless… There’s no reason to sit around a table behind a one-way mirror.  There should always be new techniques, technologies, and platforms that keep marketing research exciting and fun.  We create research projects that people want to join, not just for the money.

WHAT STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS / MARKETING STRATEGIES HAVE YOU IMPLEMENTED THAT HAVE LED TO SPARK’S SUCCESS?

Our clients want maximum bang for their buck, so we keep costs down by staying very lean.  We don’t pay rent; instead we work at Neuehouse, which is a cool, collaborative workspace in the Flatiron district in New York City that’s devoted to creative industry entrepreneurs.  It is an awesome place to work, network, and conduct most of our research events.

Also, we’re organized differently, which allows us to stay flexible. The best talent in our industry are now freelancing, so we create custom teams.  We hire moderators, designers, stylists, photographers, videographers, editors, and writers and cast them like a movie studio would by project.  Every project is a custom configuration, which also reduces our overhead.

We hold research events at places like art galleries, hotels, and even wellness spas.  We don’t use traditional focus group facilities with the one-way mirrors.  We believe in total transparency and creating a space where our clients are up close and personal with the study participants because it’s much more interesting for them.  And it’s more engaging for the participants, too.

WHAT INDUSTRY TRENDS ARE YOU NOTICING AND HOW ARE YOU CAPITALIZING ON THEM?

The fact that everyone’s smartphone is practically embedded into their arm makes for some pretty great ways to talk to people while they’re living their actual lives, rather than getting them to drop everything and come to a physical place.  We created an app called LookLook™ that is designed to be a fusion of Instagram, texting, and a camera. It allows us to talk to people in real time about how they are shopping, what they are consuming, and the lives they are living. It goes beyond regular mobile ethnography as a way of getting answers to survey questions; we’re actually having conversations with people.

Social media has also led to new avenues of growth for us.  We use it in recruiting, and building it into LookLook™ as a way of using social listening in qualitative research.

LIFE MOTTO?

Learn from everything.

GREATEST SUCCESS AS FOUNDER/CEO OF SPARK?

I’ve been most successful when I trust my experience, intuition, and take risks. These days, everyone is so risk-averse, especially at big companies.  I think with so much change going on in the world, you have to try new ways of doing things.  It’s riskier to keep doing things the same old way because you’ll get railroaded.  And nothing gives me more satisfaction than when I encourage clients to take a risk or even people that work for me – I can watch them stretch, grow and feel powerful because of it.

MOST DIFFICULT MOMENT?

Definitely the most challenging part of my business has been creating our own technology.  It was way out of my comfort zone and when things would go wrong in the early days, there were several times when I wanted to give up.  Finally, we took coding classes and learned some of the language, which really helped us find the right people to build it and make it amazing.

ADVICE TO AN ASPIRING ENTREPRENEUR / PROFESSIONALS IN THE INDUSTRY?

Get ready for your life and your work to get very blurred. I work every day, but I love it. I think you sort of have to embrace that when you’re an entrepreneur.  But when you’re a social researcher, you also can’t ever turn it off completely because you’re naturally curious. Maybe it’s a cliché, but if you’re passionate about what you do, it doesn’t feel like work, it feels like what you want to do.  Not that work doesn’t suck sometimes, but at least when it does, it sucks on your own terms, and only you can change it.

DESCRIBE THE IDEAL EXPERIENCE FOR A CLIENT WHO PARTNERS WITH SPARK.

The ideal experience starts with letting us surprise you with some new research design ideas.  If you come to us with a clear objective or challenge, we’ll give you multiple ways we can uncover the insights and get the learning.  We want to help our clients look at their challenge from a number of different lenses.  We will often combine methodologies in a research design so that we can keep it from being too linear. We are fast and responsive. We are grown-ups with a lot of experience.  Our clients feel very well taken care of.  We are only happy when are clients are very happy. And happy means inspired.  They leave us with new energy to move forward with their goals and their projects.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR SPARK?

We are looking at ways to create a hybrid of qualitative/quantitative that can satisfy clients’ needs for bigger samples without having to go the wholescale online survey route. Our database of research participants is now enormous, and it includes some pretty hard to reach segments, like high-net-worth individuals and professionals.  We’re exploring ways of being able to get quick reads on questions for our clients or perhaps starting syndicated trend reports and future casting.