IPG Mediabrands’ UM has promoted Deidre Smalls-Landau to U.S. chief marketing officer, effective immediately. She will retain her current position as global head of culture while adding oversight of UM’s strategic branding, platforms and initiatives to her remit.
Since joining IPG Mediabrands in 2011 as managing director of multicultural agency Identity, Smalls-Landau says she’s been focused on “connecting the dots” of the organization. (Smalls-Landau, who spent time in group management at Publicis and WPP’s Grey Group as well, was named global chief cross-cultural officer of UM Worldwide in 2017.)
“It’s not a departure from that,” she explains. “It’s an amplification of building [cultural] expertise into the many other facets of the agency. ... I will really be focusing on the intersection of advertising, media, technology and culture."
Smalls-Landau will continue to be based out of New York and report to UM U.S. CEO Lynn Lewis.
“In her expanded role as CMO, she will continue to champion under-represented segments, ensuring cultural data and insights are at the core of our business and branding,” Lewis said in a statement.
Under Smalls-Landau’s leadership, UM began publishing Remix Culture, the first culturally focused iteration of its annual Wave X study for tracking global social and digital media usage and motivations. Smalls-Landau says navigating the trends Remix Culture has uncovered will be key to her responsibilities as chief marketing officer. She adds that one of the most significant findings of its research so far has been in its confirmation of “intersectionality.”
A recent Remix Culture study, she explains, found that the average U.S. consumer identifies himself or herself 9.3 different ways, while Hispanic respondents placed into 10.3 different segments and black audiences into 10 segments. Part of her role as CMO will be helping clients understand intersectionality and how it relates to them being able to market authentically to consumers “across a lot of different markets where we connect with them.”
Smalls-Landau also led the launch of Unity 20/40, UM’s commitment to increase diverse representation within the agency by mirroring the projected U.S. ethnic population of 2040—by the end of 2020. She declines to provide detail on what specific targets UM aims to hit by 2020 or how it’s progressing on its goal. The Census Bureau has predicted that minorities will make up the majority of the U.S. population by 2044, reaching 56 percent of the population by 2060.
“We’re not sharing any information yet,” Smalls-Landau says. “We’re looking at setting millstones to help us get there but we’re still tracking them.”
She notes, UM laid out an “aggressive” target which will be “difficult” to reach.
“It’s a challenge that the industry has been facing for decades so being very aggressive with the target was important,” Smalls-Landau says.
She says in her new dual role she is looking forward to collaborating across UM's various departments, including corporate communications, new business, insights and research “to advance UM’s vision of better science, art and outcomes.” Smalls-Landau says she will also work closely with Jeff Marshall, the vice president and head of diversity and belonging at UM Worldwide, to drive diversity and inclusion, “not just in the workplace but the marketplace where we show up for clients.”
Smalls-Landau was a 2018 Cannes Glass Lion jury member as well as the Global Festival of Media juror that same year. She is IPG's representative for Time's Up Advertising and a member of the 4A's Media Leadership Council.