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The 2016 Women’s Leadership Forum organized by the Ad Club could be summed up by its hashtag: No Filter. 1,100 women gathered together to listen to empowering speakers discuss how they paved their way to success in male-dominated fields and got “shit done”. It was a forum to reflect on the challenges that we face as career women as well as a platform to discuss the implications of a cultural landscape that has been shaped by men and, thus, caters to men. It was an event to inspire women to act now— to run for office, to learn how to code, to speak up in general— because with men outnumbering women in the boardrooms, in tech, and in the government, the decisions that will shape our futures and the next generation’s futures will not be reflective of the other half of the population unless women support one another and rise to the occasion.

Below are three takeaways from the event in addition to insights that I’ve uncovered based on my own experiences as a woman pursuing a career in advertising. These are lessons we, as both businessmen and businesswomen, should begin to implement in our own workspace, so that we may (1) live with no filter and (2) get shit done.

  1. Not just hoping for – but demanding a seat at the table.

"As women, as leaders, we need to start telling it like it is." - Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General

"The world does not need another quiet, complicit daughter."- Kelly Carlin, Performer / Storyteller

One of the challenges that was most often addressed during the forum was how women are pressured to conform to gender roles and expectations. Whether it was Sasha Digiulian being condescended by male climbers who told her that "little girls don't climb the Eiger" or Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General, being doubted by her peers even though she was more qualified than her male rival, women in business are subjected to the kind of criticism that doesn't focus on what they can bring to the table, but rather on whether they should even be at the table in the first place.

#NoFilter, in this case, means that women don't just have the ability to stand up for themselves, they have an obligation to. As Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code, stated, "We have socialized our girls to be perfect and our boys to be brave." This particular quote struck a chord with me. I’ve always striven to be perfect: perfect grades, perfect appearance, and perfect career--everything laid out just so like a cropped and filtered Instagram photo. I was too afraid to take a chance and assert myself or else risk people possibly seeing me fail. But that's just the thing... Saujani said in her speech that women need to risk failure more often, not just to be more authentic, but to accomplish great things. As someone working in a field where no day is truly the same, this piece of advice is important as I face new challenges.

  1. Embracing leading female characters not as a rarity, but the norm.

"You cannot be what you cannot see." - Reshma Saujani, Founder, CEO of Girls Who Code

As we grow up, our perspectives are often shaped by what we see on the screen. Saujani explained that women in tech are heavily outnumbered by men, a number that has actually decreased since the 70s. She believes it could very well be because girls literally don't see themselves in tech— they only see men. TV shows and films depicting the tech industry don't seem to be writing parts for females in tech that are playing pivotal roles. She explained how the number of women in professions such as medicine and law has increased perhaps because of TV shows and films that showcase bad-ass female characters with no filter.

When I think about how women are represented in the media, I’m struck by how limited they are by the roles they play. As a feminist, I am sometimes questioned as to why I even decided to take a job in advertising, an industry that is notorious for objectifying women and reinforcing gender stereotypes. I think, firstly, we've been seeing quite a few brands that have been embracing a more progressive stance in representing women in ads, from Always to Dove to Wells Fargo. There's more work to be done, but I want to be a part of the movement that shapes the industry and ultimately rejects the idea of sexualizing and objectifying women. Likewise, I think that there have been more empowering roles for women in television and film, but I want to start living in a world that stops questioning why strong female characters exist in the first place.

There needs to be more of an effort on our marketers, our advertisers, our filmmakers, and our TV producers to create compelling female characters in roles that have typically been filled by men. Though gender stereotypes in the media are fortunately being called out more and more, I hope that as marketers, we can work together against reinforcing damaging heteronormative ideas.

  1. Support one another as women unwaveringly

“Believe in the power of community and support other women.” – Robin and Andrea McBride, Founders of Truvee Wines

Women, who have been too often viewed through a masculine lens in business, are frequently subjected to criticism not just by their male peers, but by their female peers as well. Maura Healey explained that even women would question her choice to run as attorney general in addition to her style choices. As you can imagine, women cutting down other women is one of the least beneficial ways to represent ourselves, to respect ourselves, and to change the gender disparity in our respect professions.

Women like Linda Boff, the Chief Marketing Officer of GE, will actually set up networking events specifically for talented women to connect with other talented women. Reshma Saujani’s company Girls Who Code is based on the very idea of sisterhood and building a common bond through learning a new skill. Maura Healey will make an effort to reach out to other women at work events that are heavily outnumbered by men. I, myself, have experienced the power of women helping women when I joined a sorority, which connected me with women across the nation who gave me career advice and put me in touch with the right people. I continue to support my sisters to this day when they reach out to me and ask for my help. These are just a few examples of how we can foster that community of strong women and help each other succeed. It’s so incredibly important.

However, I feel that one thing missing from the forum was a discussion on how we, as women, can't do this alone. As strong, intelligent, and independent as we might be, we need to work with men to get them to change their perspectives on working women. The cultural landscape cannot be shifted just on one side. We need to work together to change the ideas that women should look a certain way and act a certain way to pursue their careers.

The Women’s Leadership Forum left me feeling inspired to say the very least. I felt a rush of you-can-do-anything-ness, and as soon as I got home, I started writing down my goals and ideas— and the risks I am willing to take to achieve them. I loved this event, and I hope that there are more like it in the future.

So how do you think you can implement these lessons from the forum in your workspace and industry?

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In our continuing series of examining Google Search Trends to gain insights into the top keywords queried in the USA, we present our findings for October 2021. Every day, we capture the top three keyword phrases in terms of search volume as reported by Google Trends (US Only). Each term has an estimated query volume attached to it, which we also record. The number scale tops out at 10,000,000+ with a lower limit of 200,000+. After the conclusion of the month, we look at the phrases we collected along with their volumes to get an understanding of what drove queries for the month. What Did We See In October 2021 Examining the queries we collected from last month, we see the month had an inauspicious start with a few important websites and services having outages. News about Facebook bookend the month with the Frances Haugen report released during the first week and the corporate rename happening in the last week. People searched for information about holidays and the latest cryptocurrency along with the latest movies and TV shows. Lastly, the NFL and Major League Baseball drove a lot of interest in their teams, so we’ll explore what are the most popular ones. Here’s our take on the top search activity of October 2021.   Top Queried Phrases of the Month There were three phrases that topped the upper limit of reported query volume.  Two of them were attached to Google Doodles and sadly one was attached to a tragedy on a film set. Alec Baldwin - 10/21/2021 - 10,000,000+ queries Claude Cahun - 10/24/2021 - 10,000,000+ queries Day of the Dead - 10/31/2021 - 10,000,000+ queries The shock of the incident on the Rust movie set involving actor Alec Baldwin drove a large number of queries on the 21st.  The updated Google logo (Doodle) created for French photographer Claude Cahun and the Day of the Dead holiday stoked clicks for queries, which made them the top searched queries of their respective days. The Doodle counting discrepancy that we covered in the September 2021 article seems to have cleared up.   The Holidays Holidays tend to be big query drivers. From shopping deals to what’s open, people need to know information about these special days. Columbus Day - 10/10/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Halloween - 10/30/2021 - 5,000,000+ queries With Columbus Day making the daily top 3, we conducted a comparison with the holiday that is taking its place. It appears that Indigenous Peoples’ Day still has some ways to go in terms of search popularity. Also, it was reported that spending on Halloween this year was record breaking.  We pulled the chart from Google Trends to see if that report translated into more query volume. According to Google Trends, keywords related to the celebration of Halloween 2021 were queried more than last year but it was not the biggest year ever. That award goes to Halloween 2006!   People Love Movies, TV Shows, and Movie Trailers Too We find that people want to know more about entertainment.  Now, it’s been widely reported that “Squid Game” is being searched for in large volumes, especially in the month of October 2021.  Curiously, it never made the daily top 3 of Google Trends.  Here are the TV shows and movies that did last month. The Many Saints of Newark - 10/1/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries The Guilty - 10/1/2021 - 200,000+ queries Halloween Kills - 10/14/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries You Season 3 - 10/15/2021 - 500,000+ queries Dune - 10/21/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries The above list all had anticipated release dates. We believe that having this element tied to your film or TV show is what gets your title into the daily top 3.  Squid Game has more of a slow burn as people learn more about it. The search interest is large but just spread out.  Anticipation certainly drives people to search for official movie trailers.  Take a look at the two that made the cut in October 2021: The Batman - 10/16/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Lightyear - 10/27/2021 - 500,000+ queries Does search interest in a film’s trailer equate to future financial success?  Possibly.   Outages and Hacks As stated in the summary above, the month started off ominously as major websites and services had their troubles. Bank of America - 10/1/2021 - 500,000+ queries WhatsApp - 10/4/2021 - 500,000+ queries Twitch - 10/6/2021 - 500,000+ queries BoA’s site had a major outage on the 1st as did WhatsApp on the 4th, along with all of Facebook’s properties.  There was a report of a hack on Twitch on the 6th that drove people to learn more about it.   The Searches For Shiba Inu Coin  Powered by rumors of a decentralized exchange and a tweet by Elon Musk, the search volume behind this cryptocurrency made the daily Top 3 twice last month. Shiba Inu coin - 10/23/2021 - 500,000+ queries Shiba Inu coin - 10/27/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries As we have learned throughout this year, meme stocks and coins drive search interest. Someday, there will be a case study on how word of these financial assets gets spread.   How Was Your October, Facebook? Sorry, we meant Meta.  Here are the two phrases that made our list last month. Facebook whistleblower - 10/4/2021 - 1,000,000+ queries Meta - 10/28/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries These two keywords along with outages that happened on the 4th made for an eventful month for the social media giant.  Time will tell of the lasting effect it had on the organization.    2 Million Queries or More for Sports October, with the Major League Baseball playoffs and the NFL regular season in full swing, stirs up a lot of search volume for sports. Noting that 62% of the phrases we collected last month were related to sports, we decided to focus on the top searched phrases. Baseball team names get queried a lot.  Let’s take a look at which ones got searched the most. Yankees - 10/5/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Dodgers - 10/6/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Dodgers - 10/14/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Red Sox - 10/15/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Braves - 10/23/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries World Series - 10/26/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries World Series - 10/29/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Along with the team names, the World Series got attention this year.  Conspicuously absent from this list is the Astros.  We guess they aren’t as popular as the other playoff teams.   Moving on to the NFL, here are all the team names that also made the 2 million or more query list: Patriots - 10/3/2021 - 5,000,000+ queries Dallas Cowboys - 10/3/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Raiders - 10/4/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Seahawks - 10/7/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Chiefs - 10/10/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Ravens - 10/11/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 10/14/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Steelers - 10/17/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Buffalo Bills - 10/18/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Browns - 10/21/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Seahawks - 10/25/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Packers - 10/27/2021 - 2,000,000+ queries Dallas Cowboys - 10/31/2021 - 5,000,000+ queries Did your favorite team make the list? The dates on which these queries occurred align with when the teams played. When there’s an event to know more about, acute surges in queries happen.  Thanks for reading. If you liked this article, we utilize search trends data for all of our clients and we invite you to learn more about our SEO services. Until next month.

Michael Mish, President of AMP Agency, recently chatted with Adweek about the importance of DE&I and the value in creating purposeful work. " First came a DEI board of advisors headed by parent company Advantage Solutions, and then the formation of employee resource groups (ERGs) for women, working parents and others for members of the Black, Latinx, Asian and LGBTQ+ communities. The agency also developed a training program to tackle unconscious bias across all levels." (Source: Adweek)   Read the news:  https://www.adweek.com/agencies/what-will-it-take-for-agencies-to-retain-diverse-talent/

In the Era of “Finstagram”, Snapchat Remains a Haven for Authentic Social Sharing  As marketers and brand strategists, we get a lot of questions about specific channels and how best to use them. Recently, we’ve been hearing the same set of questions quite frequently: “What’s the deal with Snapchat?”  “Is Snapchat dead?” “Why are they still around – who is even using them?!”   Surprisingly, Snapchat is not dead.  Yes, you heard that right – the app is still alive and thriving.  53% of all internet users aged between 15 and 25 years still actively use Snapchat. More fascinatingly, among this population, Snapchat is their most popular app, closely followed by Instagram. The average daily active user opens the app’s camera more than 30 times a day, spending at least 30 minutes on the app.  Users turn to the app for playful and silly content with their friends. 95% of Snapchatters say the app makes them feel happy, more than any other app tested.  This begs the question: How are so many people (in a coveted target demographic) using this platform and yet, so many people keep asking if it’s dead? The Answer: The reason people think it’s dead is actually the reason people like using it. It’s relatively free from advertisements and brands, it’s harder to track people and it offers a more authentic place to be yourself with your friends.    So, Why Snap? Think about the last time you were scrolling through Instagram. You see a post from your cousin, then one from your college friend, and then an ad about the shirt you were browsing 30 minutes ago. Nowadays, it seems like scrolling through social media has become a new form of never-ending advertising.  Now, enter Snapchat. Unlike other social platforms, Snapchat allows users an escape or ability to hide from targeted media, which is attractive to a subsection of consumers and, in our opinion, is the reason Snapchat is still very relevant for Gen Z and younger Millennials.  With Snapchat, users are able to directly share videos and images with their closest friends and choose how and when to share moments to a wider friends list. (Yes, we know Instragram added the close friends function in stories but it’s somehow not the same). Unlike Instagram or Tiktok, Snapchat users don’t appear to feel the pressure to look a certain way or feel a certain way about the amount of content they receive or share. Users are more likely to express their authentic self, not constantly comparing themselves to others based on post engagements or feed aesthetics. Snapchat also eliminates the surrounding influencer persona which surfaces on other platforms and removes the constant barrage of paid media. In other words, on Snapchat you don’t feel like you’re constantly being sold something. A Refinery 29 article points out “A big part of Snapchat’s appeal is the lack of commitment it takes to enjoy it: Stories fade after 24 hours, messages disappear, and, even if you leave Snapchat, you can always connect with people via at least three other platforms”- users do not have to feel pressured by the living content aspect of other platforms.  Essentially, Snap is a “cleaner” more authentic experience free from influencers and brands and that’s exactly why people like it.    Does this mean brands should avoid Snap all together!? By no means is Snapchat an untouched platform by brands. Brands do have targeted ads on Snapchat however, these don’t interrupt the way users engage with the app. Users only see sponsored content when looking through the wider audience stories and they know that’s the only place they’ll see ads.  Brands that use Snapchat well have become skilled at hiding their ads amongst other organic stories so much so that users sometimes don’t know they’ve clicked through a paid placement. TEVA, Sam Edelman and The New York Times are all currently running promotional campaigns on Snapchat in which users would briefly tap through the ad as if the brand had its own Snap story.                                       Additionally, through its filter feature, brands have been able to promote new products or promotions, however these filters can be seen as “tired” for Snap's core consumers.    What Should a Brand Do? How Should They Think About Snapchat? Be Purposeful & Authentic - Snap requires a lot of attention, strategy and dedication to do it well. Think About One to One - Snap is all about direct interaction. Think about adjusting your brand voice to be personified - help people feel like they’re talking to the people behind the brand, not a nameless faceless logo.  Don’t Copy & Paste Other Social Strategies - If you’re thinking about getting involved with a Snapchat presence - be prepared for a slow, long road. You can’t reuse your Instagram or TikTok strategy on this platform. Get to know how it works and then act accordingly.  Community before Mass Reach: “Going Viral” isn’t so much of a thing on Snapchat so it’s less about mass appeal and more about relationship building with a passionate group of friends and fans.  When in Doubt, Don’t - If you’re on the fence about jumping into Snapchat or reigniting your Snap presence, it’s better to be smart than be fast. No one is going to fault you for not having a Snap presence but there could be negative consequences if you do Snap poorly.    A Parting Thought From an advertising standpoint, brands can capitalize on the fast FOMO opportunities that Snap creates to promote new products or campaigns. At the same time, brands should strategically think about how to speak to consumers on the platform, especially when knowing most users turn to the app for playful and silly conversations with their closest friends. As both a user and a strategist,  Snap allows me to feel free of the social pressure felt across other platforms. However, if I were to advise a client interested in Snap, I would advise to proceed with caution as authentic social sharing seems to be harder and harder to replicate as for brands these days.  Brands are always welcomed to create a presence on Snapchat, although enticing to try to reach target audiences, the level of attention, dedicated resources, content curation and focus required to authentically join that space remains high.  Brands looking to engage may need to weigh the risks vs the possible rewards before launching campaigns on the platform or face potential blowback as consumers feel their “brand neutral space” becomes invaded.