7 Questions with Gabriella Mirabelli

by The Campaign Workshop

Gabriella Mirabelli

7 Questions for Gabriella Mirabelli

Gabriella Mirabelli is the CEO and Co-Owner of Anatomy Media, an Emmy Award winning creative marketing agency, which offers premium creative and research consulting services for world-class television and media brands. Gabriella Mirabelli also hosts the Up Next Podcast, which features new ideas in the media industry with innovative leaders in entertainment and business.

1. How have you seen the media industry evolve since you started your company in 2000? There isn’t enough room! My goodness. It’s changed … entirely. It’s gone from the niche field – yet still mass market - world of cable television to the portable, social, interactive, world of MY media. Millions of viewers are ‘networks of one’ and ruthlessly program what they want to see. If you want to be on their ‘channel’ you better give them a great experience and deliver what they’re looking for. Facebook started in 2004. YouTube started in 2005. Instagram started in 2010. I’m in the business of content discovery. These are the content discovery portals today. They didn’t exist when we opened our business.

2. What kind of films/documentaries sparked your directorial ambition? I love stories - all stories, fiction and non-fiction. I think that people understand their world through story – so it was really a matter of the stories that I thought needed to be told. I came late to the party for my documentary. It had stalled out. I actually never met the subject. I listened to the interviews and thought, “this man was dying and thought this film would be a record of his life and art. It’s unacceptable for it to just be in a box in a closet. His story needs to be told. The story of his art. The story of his life. The story of AIDS and what it did to the creative community. All of this needs to be told.” So my directorial ambition was sparked by necessity, as much as anything.

3. What common mistakes do organizations make in brand marketing? Broadly? Inconsistency. Failure to think about context. In the weeds? Failure to proofread. Failure to check facts. Failure to understand hashtags and pay attention to the fluid nature of social media.

4. What advice do you have for companies and organizations struggling to make their brand stand out in a crowded field? Understand what their brand is – and what it isn’t. A brand is simple and clear and must stand for something. Once a brand knows it’s voice, it needs to see the context in which it operates. Today, with digital platforms, it’s important to experiment, but do so in a thoughtful way. Measure what you do. Pursue what is successful and shed those things that don’t work.

5. What advice do you have for young people looking to work in the media industry? Oh boy. That’s a tough one. I think the first thing I say to anyone who wants to work in media is ask them WHY they want to work in the field. It’s a field that sometimes people think is glamorous and they like it for the cachet they think it will bring them or they think it’s “creative” and that rules don’t apply. Those people should not be heading into media because it will chew them up and spit them out. Working in media is a team sport and when you start out, you’re not the quarterback. So, if you’re going to succeed, it’s important to enjoy the work and to get on with doing your part of the job. You can’t be precious or a diva.

6. What can non-profit organizations and advocacy groups learn from media campaigns? Design matters. Language matters. People are influenced by design and by tone. How you say it is just as important (sometimes even more important) as what you’re saying. You can’t get people to hear you if they reject you from the get go. Media campaigns have always been about stealing your time and attention for something that you don’t think you need – so it’s always been important to slide into that welcoming space. Type and color can make someone feel friendly about a cause, or not. As the tools of design are democratized, there is a lot of bad design out there. I wouldn’t skimp on design.

7. What have you learned from your foray into podcasting? It’s been a wonderful experience. One of the most interesting things is seeing the ways in which skills or approaches in one field might have application in another. I love to bring new ideas to my clients – and while they aren’t new ideas, per se, they are new to their segment of the industry. I also really enjoy connecting invariably interesting people who are engaged in what they are doing with people they don’t know who have overlapping interests. It’s really shown me the power of weak ties - - which is something I always knew - - but it’s operationalized it.

Bonus question: What’s the best film/television show you have watched as of recent? I’m in love with Electric Dreams on Amazon. It’s Amazon’s answer to Black Mirror. I love it.

Thank you Gabriella Mirabelli for answering our questions. Have ideas for a future 7 questions post? Drop us a note.