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Rising Star Awards: We speak to Town & Country’s Laura Wilson, a winner in 2015

Laura Wilson is account manager, jewellery, bridal and travel at Hearst’s Town & Country Magazine and one of the FIPP and UPM Rising Stars in Global Media Award winners in 2015 (entries for 2017 are open until 16 June). Laura tells us how things are going, what she loves about media today and why she loved being a Rising Star winner.

FIPP and UPM’s Rising Stars in Global Media Awards celebrate exceptional young talent within the international media industry, in any discipline. Read more about who can enter the 2017 Awards, and how to enter, here (entries are free!). Entries are open until 16 June.

The top 3 winners will be invited to speak at the 41st FIPP World Congress, taking place from 9-11 October in London, the UK.

When Laura was awarded the 2015 FIPP Rising Stars Award, she was recognised for her work on the Town & Countrymarketing team in the US. At the time, her work focused largely on two major annual events – the Town & Country Philanthropy Summit and Town & Country polo. We catch up with her below.

Laura Wilson, FIPP and UPM Rising Stars winner 2015 ()

What are you doing now?

Today, I am on the ad sales team for Town & Country. I shifted over to the sales team about two years ago, and I’m loving the work. The partnerships, campaigns, client management – all of it have just been a fantastic experience. Taking on an entirely new role is also an opportunity I would encourage anyone to take within their organisations to learn as much as possible about all facets of the business. In order to be successful at sales, you must understand marketing and vice versa! On the sales team I oversee Jewelry, Watch, Travel & Bridal business.

How is business going?

Business is going very well. Town & Country celebrated its 170th Anniversary in October – the longest standing magazine in America, by the way! – and the tremendous efforts put into revitalising and honouring this incredible heritage brand continues to pay off. We are seeing our strategic partnerships, such as the T&C Philanthropy Summit, continue to garner new business and increase our existing partnerships. Our business, of course, is also expanding in the digital space – as everyone’s is! – which allows us to think in new ways to bring the brand to life on an even larger scale.  

Biggest changes in media since you were a Rising Stars winner in 2015?

I would say one of the biggest changes is how brands are investing. The international climate shifts from day to day; the retail landscape is ever-changing, and no one is entirely sure of the next step. That is why is it crucial for the media world to have a deliberate plan and to keep moving forward.

Change is always a challenge, but change is good and we see so much innovation come from it. If we are too narrow minded, we would not win as partners. Working with our clients to allocate their budgets in ways that will further their business is our top priority, so we must always be on top of the shifting landscape in order to best advise our partners on a daily basis. It’s tough, but it is a challenge we are up for!

 Top trends that excite you for the future?

  • I’m loving the integration of technology on every level – from Snapchat to Amazon Alexa – we are evermore connected and constantly sharing and inquiring. This allows us to broaden our horisons when thinking about how to reach certain audiences as well as gives us the tools to highly curate any audience we aim to reach through appropriate data.
  • I also will always love developing well-crafted, highly curated experiences – every time. People still want the in-person experience just as much as they love a new and exciting virtual reality experience. And in terms of sales, we find that they work beautifully and the return on investment is there for our clients.
  • Custom content is the other trend I am really excited about these days. Our partners look to us to be the experts to creatively and smartly position their brands in the marketplace. Creating custom content for our partners allows us to not only take the brand messaging and alignment to the next level, but also to enhance our readers’ experience! Whether it is a guide to the world’s most exquisite pearls or a guide on how to explore the top cities in America…aligning with custom editorial content is always going to put your brand at our consumer’s top of mind.

Any concerns?

There are always concerns, but most are born out of the unknown – which every industry experiences. Having the privilege of working at one of America’s most coveted brands allows me to focus on the unparalleled product we have here at T&C. From the perspective of editorial excellence and business innovation – I have no concerns and look forward to the continued upward trajectory. For Town & Country and for Hearst.

Advice to others starting to make their mark in media?

Have patience, be yourself, work hard, collaborate with an open mind, and don’t be afraid to take some risks!

Why should they enter FIPP and UPM’s 2017 Rising Stars Awards?

FIPP is an incredible organisation with a network filled of our industry’s leading minds. Entering to win instantly gives you the chance to get out there and meet some remarkable people who have tremendous energy and great ideas. You might meet fabulous people every single day, but this is an experience unlike any other I had had so far in my career, both networking and educational perspectives! Go for it!

*The three 2015 Rising Stars winners took part in a panel discussion at the 40th FIPP World Congress in Toronto, Canada. Watch their conversation here.

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