Career Conversations: Michelle Pierre
With the Career Conversations Series, we create a positive image for Black girls to refer to, by having conversations with different business owners, entrepreneurs and creators. Michelle Pierre started her career in media, working for companies like Channel 4 and now is currently working at Google YouTube.
The Future Edition is Out Now
Studied: BA Communications and Information Technology
When did you decide you wanted to work in the media sector?
When I was younger, I fell in love with advertising, mainly TV ads. I’ve always been interested in how brands could produce such imaginative and thought provoking creative to sell a product or influence an audience. I wanted to be a part of that world, being able to work with the likes of a large advertising agency or media owner partnering with global brands to help them promote a product and reach audiences in both a strategic and creative way. Including the psychology of advertising and how people had the power to influence others. I also wanted to be part of that industry so I could ensure that more people who looked like me were both on screen, in the ads, but also in boardrooms, deciding to ensure brands were communicating with consumers like myself authentically.
Through forging my career in media, I came across the world of content solutions, an area of media which saddles between advertising and sales, editorial and programming.
Content Solutions is a type of advertising. It’s a subtle way to sell and promote a company’s products to consumers that are already engaged with a piece of content or platform. Throughout my career, I’ve worked across most if a few media, including broadcast (TV and radio) print and digital.
In the past I have worked for media owners who owned brands such as Kiss Fm, Magic, Heat, Now, NME and before being at Google I was at Channel 4. Media buying and creative agencies who look after consumer brands you see in your everyday lives, would approach media owners who owned a range of content platforms in order to help amplify their marketing campaigns. Media owners would work together with these agencies on behalf of their client to find a fitting creative strategy and mechanic which aligned with their client’s brand objectives and the audiences they were trying to reach. The output could be anything from an advertorial, sponsorship, a piece of branded content, a film, or website. The advertising campaign would carry the look, feel and tone of the media owner’s brand but the messaging and key objectives of the (client) advertisers brand.
As a Content Solutions Lead, what is your typical day?
My role as a Content Solutions Lead is to wear many hats, including being a strategist, product specialist, a project manager, budget owner, a storyteller and marketeer. I act as a brand guardian, helping to market and amplify the amazing video content which sits on YouTube. I work with external media agencies, marketing, product and sales teams to help activate and support in developing advertising solutions across the platform. Ultimately, helping to deliver key marketing objectives for our advertisers, ad revenue for the company and digital influencers who host their content on the platform.
If you weren’t a Content Solutions Lead, what would you be?
I would still work in marketing and advertising, but probably more on the client side as a Marketing Lead or at a creative agency on the production side, as these areas have always been my passion. Finding different and exciting ways to communicate and illustrate a message which a person can connect to and that a variety of audiences can enjoy. Being able to tap into the hearts and minds of a consumer, taking them on a journey to either purchase or think differently, is definitely powerful.
What do you find most enjoyable about your role?
Now in the world of technology, I genuinely enjoy being able to combine my passions of creating engaging content, advertising, data and insights. It's still about connecting with consumers emotionally but as we engage more and more with social media platforms, influencers and the digital space, it’s fascinating to see how the power of the content creators / influencers, our individual passions and algorithmic tools can make a person to feel more connected to a particular brand, for some it's like being part of a community.
There is now much more ability to measure the success of an advertising or marketing campaign than ever before. With video sharing and social platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, TickTok, SnapChat, you can now be your own content creator and build your own brand. Also, the world of influencer marketing is growing. Advertisers are now seeing the power of connecting with real life people who create content audiences want to see. It’s not just about a traditional broadcaster commissioning a show or a brand by running a huge TV or outdoor ad campaign - with these social and video platforms, you can now become your own commissioner and director. There’s power, (money), more diversity and overall better representation in this space than ever before.
Is there a quote that inspires you?
Do what you have to do, to do what you want to do! A quote mentioned before by actor Denzel Washington and TV host Oprah Winfrey. It’s definitely been a journey finding the right path which suited my skills and passions. Sometimes you have to try a few different routes to get to your goal. It can feel quite arduous, but when you deliver a brilliant campaign, win an award, get that YES, it then feels like it’s totally worth all the hard work and effort. Motivation for me is that I want to see more women, more people of colour moving up the ranks as there is so much talent out there. I have always believed that having diversity at the heart of what you do definitely brings an enriched perspective and more authenticity to what people purchase and consume.
Do you have some key advice to give someone who has an interest in working in the media sector?
Don’t give up, stick with it! If you want to get into media, start doing your research, build your network, and continuously upskill. Over the years, I have taken a few professional qualifications since passing my degree. Many big companies, including the likes of Google, now run amazing apprenticeship schemes as well. It’s now not just the University paths available, there are many other options if you want to break into the industry. There is also a huge drive to get more women into the world of tech, so look at programmes and courses; anything from coding to digital marketing that may enhance your knowledge and skills.
3 Facts about your role
- Having both traditional and non-traditional media knowledge and experience is a great asset.
- Digital marketing and advertising are here to stay, so jump in
- It can be hard work, but it can also be a lot of fun!
YouTube Fun Facts
- Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim created YouTube. This trio were ex-employees of PayPal. Google bought YouTube for a whopping $1.65 billion, since then Google has expanded beyond the website into mobile apps, including having many video categories.
- YouTube is immensely popular all over the world. Over 1 billion people around the globe use YouTube. That means YouTubers, on average, watch 6 billion hours of videos every month, 4 billion videos every single day, and 300 hours of video every minute.
- The first video to be uploaded on YouTube was a video of Jawed Karim visiting a zoo in San Diego. Filmed by Yakov Lapitsky, which gained 4,282,497 views when it went online in April 2005.
- Most YouTube views come from Saudi Arabia.. With 90 million daily views. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, which are banned in Saudi Arabia - YouTube is unrestricted.
- The most searched topic is music. YouTube, for most musicians and composers, is the best way to showcase their music, events, and music videos.
- Other than searching for music, there are a lot of interesting facts on YouTube. The most searched is “how to tie a tie”.
Here are some of our favorite Black YouTubers
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Mike makes science-inspired music videos. This channel is perfect for a math enthusiast, or budding coder. If you are in your teens and have doubts about math or science, mike has done a video for that.
Episode to watch: Black Scientists in History (Music Video)