What: Leonor Palao (Assistant VP of Brand Marketing and Advertising, Oppenheimer Funds) and Annie Granatstein (Head of the Washington Post’s BrandStudio) had a conversation about branded content partnerships and data-driven content at the Portada Data & Content Marketing Forum in NYC. 
Why it matters: According to a study by McKenzie, data-driven organizations are more likely to acquire and retain customers.

By Dane C. Rogers

Leonor Palao (left) and Annie Granatstein (right)

Leonor Palao, Assistant VP of Brand Marketing and Advertising at Oppenheimer Funds sat down with Annie Granatstein, head of the Washington Post’s BrandStudio, to discuss the branded content partnership that exists between the organizations and how data is used to drive content creation.

A research study by McKenzie showed that data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, 6 times as likely to retain customers and 19 times as likely to be profitable. Leonor’s team at Oppenheimer Funds took note of this report, and in an effort to reach the niche financial advisor audience, partnered with the Washington Post.

Being an asset management company, certain data hurdles exist for Oppenheimer that caused it to lean heavily on its partners to drive growth. Fortunately, the Washington Post has the AI and data capabilities that can help Oppenheimer reach new potential customers.

Armed with the knowledge that 58% of marketers say that original written content is their most important digital asset, above video. Being viewed as a “thought leader” on relevant topics is at the core of their digital strategy.

With a talented in-house team of content creators that is capable of producing industry-leading pieces on finance and asset management, Oppenheimer had a goal to cut back on the quantity of articles (from 37 in 2017 to 7 in 2018) and focus its marketing strategy on understanding the types of articles that were most engaging and focused on creating great content and getting it on the proper platform.

Leonor mentioned the partnership Oppenheimer has with Nudge Analytics, an analytics company dedicated to standardizing the engagement metrics across the different media publication sites. Thanks to Nudge, Oppenheimer’s marketing team was able to overcome the rampant inconsistency of engagement metrics to determine the true “winners” of the 37 articles written in 2017.

With this more targeted approach, Oppenheimer has determined that year over year, custom content has had the biggest increase in effectiveness (over audio, display, social, videos, indicated content, and dedicated emails).

Oppenheimer’s branded content sees the Washington Post as the gold-standard in using data to drive content decisions. Annie runs the WP BrandStudio, which created branded content for advertisers. The content studio is a completely separate branch of the Post that has no overlap of personnel or reporting with the editorial staff.

Why is working with WP’s BrandStudio more effective than partnering with a standalone content creation agency? Because they are so much closer to the audience than any agency could hope to be. The level of interaction that a publisher has with its active users allows for a deeper understanding of their preferences.

The BrandStudio has segmented its audience into three subgroups: individual consumers, B2B (financial advisers like Oppenheimer) and thought leaders/influencers. Each segment has a separate list of the most engaging topics that they spend time on.

For example, the business client segment engages most with content related to cybersecurity, AI, and business transformation. They prefer to consume content on mobile and tablets and spend the most time on content with dynamic visuals and infographics. (Influencers, on the other hand, gravitate towards the environment, healthcare and smart cities, and visit websites on their computer browsers.)

The BrandStudio uses its internal “Clavis-targeting” algorithms (similar to Amazon’s search recommendations) to push its consumers to the content that each particular client is most likely to engage with. It does this through on-site, in-app, and external (paid social media and Apple News) recommendations.

Oppenheimer’s usage of partners like Nudge and the WP’s BrandStudio has helped it determine the most effective marketing to help it formulate a successful strategy that has show its best-recorded growth this past year.

What: Portada talked with Kevin Thompson, Chief Marketing Officer Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC about the global firm’s recent triumphs in digital marketing.
Why it matters: The “digital first” approach to marketing by the Sotheby’s International Realty brand is winning the firm kudos for its groundbreaking use of video, virtual and augmented reality and will be featured at Portada’s Data & Content Marketing Forum April 3.

Kevin Thompson is on a roll, and Sotheby’s International Realty is reaping the benefits of his “digital first” approach to the venerable firm’s marketing, raising the bar in the industry and connecting with consumers in new and highly personalized ways.

Last year, Sotheby’s International Realty achieved the Silver Creator Award for its YouTube channel that has more than 179,000 subscribers. The channel is the most subscribed YouTube channel in the real estate industry, but Thompson’s digital-first vision hasn’t stopped there. Under his leadership, Sotheby’s International Realty has launched new and powerful ways for connecting with consumers, leveraging AR and VR technology to make home purchasing more personalized than ever before.

Portada: What do you mean by a “digital first” approach to marketing and how has it evolved at Sotheby’s International Realty under your leadership?

Thompson: Prior marketing campaigns at Sotheby’s International Realty had been print first. Our affiliates designed mostly for print. But today, in the modern marketing landscape, if you’re not creating video, if you are not creating digital assets, you are really not marketing anymore. We have a digital approach first now, so when we are creating a new advertising campaign, the first assets we create are digital. One example is a digital search banner we use that is geographically targeted with drop-down menus. Those run on our partner websites, such as Architectural Digest, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, etc. We also have templates for social media for our entire network and we use a cloud-based ad building tool called Design Vault. We have created 1,500 templates which we’ve uploaded to Design Vault where agencies and affiliates can customize them.

Sotheby’s International Realty’s Kevin Thompson will be a featured speaker at #PortadaNYData on April 3 when he will provide insights into how brand marketers are unlocking new data and content opportunities.

The big crowning achievement for us in terms of digital assets for our agents was the launch of Curate. We were tapped by Google to build an AR virtual staging app that would be part of the relaunch of Google’s AR core. So, we worked with a phenomenal partner to create an AR virtual staging application for agents. The application allows any users, and not just agents, to scan a home’s interior and then place items, like furniture and décor accessories, into the scan and them see how they appear in the home in 3D reality. Curate can be downloaded at the Google Play and Apple app stores. Tens of thousands of people have downloaded and are using the Curate virtual staging app on their own which is amazing for us to have that level of brand interaction with consumers. It’s a phenomenal experience that we find deeply engaging for agents and consumers and allows us to engage consumers in a lifestyle conversation that other real estate brands can’t really do. Sotheby’s International Realty is the first real estate brand to launch an augmented reality application for a brand of our caliber. With virtual and augmented reality, we can create this 360-degree experience for consumers where they get a sense of what it’s going to feel like to live in the space.

With virtual and augmented reality, we can create this 360-degree experience for consumers where they get a sense of what it’s going to feel like to live in the space.

Portada: How have the cutting-edge virtual augmented reality tools being used by Sotheby’s International Realty actually increased your connection with both clients and potential clients?

Thompson: We have over 30,000 downloads of Curate so far, and we have agent testimonials saying they were able to secure the listing by using the application. Curate is available for the public to use as its wants. If someone wants to use the best virtual staging app out there, they can download Curate. We are interested in creating a brand connection with consumers even before they are thinking about selling a home.

We are interested in creating a brand connection with consumers even before they are thinking about selling a home.

Portada: How is Sotheby’s International Realty leveraging AR and VR to get better data on consumers?

Thompson: We’ve established partnerships with home furnishing and décor brands whose merchandise can be used with the Curate to place in the home for consumers to see what the home would look like with their lifestyle, design and accessory choices. We can then tell how many times specific room sets get used, the most popular furnishing brands with users, and the application is even shoppable. Users can click through on Curate to actually make purchases of the furniture or décor items they staged their rooms with.

Portada: Has Sotheby’s International Realty’s cutting-edge use of digital technology to connect with consumers actually improved sales?

Thompson: Yes. 1000%!

What: We talked to Juan Carlos Samper, co-founder and CEO of WeAreContent, in order to find out why every company should have an adequate content marketing strategy.
Why it matters: By the end of 2017, the global content marketing industry was projected to grow 16% a year, reaching a value of more than US $400 billion by 2021.

Content Marketing CompanyAs we’ve seen the previous years, content marketing has speedily become a go-to marketing strategy. Companies everywhere are more aware of the importance of building audiences through the creation of innovative content. According to the Content Marketing Institute, brands that have put in place a successful content strategy have decided to increase the budget up to 55%.

Content has become the core of our communication, particularly digital. Thus, according to reporting by Social Media Today, it is the main link between brands and consumers, which is why it should be used to connect with a built audience in an authentic, emotional way. The sale itself should come naturally as a consequence.

Experts in Content Marketing

For all of the above, it is important to hear from experts like Juan Carlos Samper, who co-founded and is CEO of WeAreContent, a company specialized in content marketing targeted to Hispanics. Portada conducted an exclusive interview with him in order to find out more about what makes his company unique, and his perspective on how content marketing can help open conversations and build meaningful relationships with audiences.

Portada: How have WeAreContent’s objectives changed with the latest emerging technologies?

Juan Carlos Samper: When we started, we had the idea to be a self-service platform with a lot of content suppliers for the Hispanic market (right now we have near 3.500), but the reality is that the market has a misconception of what content marketing is (vs branded content and storytelling) and now we are using the platform to create original content for brands. Normally the companies don’t have people prepared to be content leaders. We are also using our platform to create and develop content strategies for brands.

Portada: What makes WeAreContent unique?

J.C.S.: At this time, we are the only company in the Hispanic market that develops strategies, creates and distributes content for brands. We have a methodology to guarantee success. Moreover, we have a community of more than 3000 content providers to guarantee the quality of the content we produce.

We launched WeAreNative Ads, the native advertising platform for the distribution of content for the Hispanic market.

What the Future Holds

Portada: What are your predictions for the role of content marketing in 2019?

J.C.S.: The Content Marketing Institute has a few points that I would like to highlight as a way of answering:

  • 56% of the companies reported that the area of greatest growth has been the creation of content.
  • 93% of companies reported that they now have a serious commitment to content marketing.
  • 96% of companies consider that due to their content marketing strategy, they are companies that generate more confidence vs companies that do not.

To finish, those most successful brands in their content marketing strategies plan to increase their budgets at levels close to 55%. This clearly shows the importance of content marketing in today’s digital world.

The market has a misconception of what content marketing is. […] Normally, the companies don’t have people prepared to be content leaders.

Content for Multicultural Audiences

Portada: What’s the situation of Spanish-language content in the U.S. and how will it change in the near future?

J.C.S.: If we bear in mind that in the USA we can find near 40 million Hispanic speakers (17.8% of the population), it means that we should have near 17% of websites in Spanish, but the reality is that only 5% of total websites in the US are in Spanish.

As you can see on the chart of the Captura Group Study, there is an important gap for Spanish-speakers. 40% of the Spanish speakers prefer content in Spanish, but there is a lack of Spanish content and they only consume 24%. There is not enough content in Spanish around the globe.

Content Marketing about language consumption online

Portada: How does WeAreContent address the needs of multicultural audiences?

J.C.S.: We are focused on people who speak Spanish and we want to continue in the same way in the near future. We have experience in content strategies for brands that want to target Hispanics. We are working with agencies, media companies, and advertisers through a process that ensures success in their content strategies. The next step will be Portuguese.

Why You Need to Do Content Marketing

Portada: What are the benefits of an effective content marketing strategy?

J.C.S.: A good content marketing strategy helps brands in 4 aspects:

  1. Brings quality traffic to websites up to 99% cheaper than with paid campaigns.
  2. Achieves leads on average 62% cheaper than with paid campaigns (we have 99% cheaper cases).
  3. Generates real assets for brands. Each time you make a piece of content, you are developing an asset that will never die in time and never stop generating traffic. That does not happen with paid campaigns.
  4. It allows you to create your own audiences so you do not depend on the media to communicate your message.

Portada: How do you measure the effectiveness of content marketing?

J.C.S.: Once you start with your content marketing strategy, you’ll see an increase in organic traffic (based on SEO) and an increase in potential customers (if you develop content formats for potential customers such as e-books, guides, etc.). You can see all this on the google search console.

A digital marketing strategy without a content marketing strategy is incomplete. Brands should start thinking as media if they want to have their own audiences.

How You Should Proceed

Portada: What are the best ways to build an audience with content?

J.C.S.: Clearly work with WeAreContent… but there is a methodology that you can consider:

  1. First, define the buyer.
  2. Then, define your goals.
  3. Use SEO techniques in the creation process.
  4. Distribute the content through social networks, native advertising (that’s why we launched www.wearenativeads.com), and those channels that serve you to reach your target.
  5. Finally, measure and analyze the results.

Portada: Anything else you’d like to add?

J.C.S.: A digital marketing strategy without a content marketing strategy is incomplete. Brands should start thinking as media if they want to have their own audiences. It is the greatest benefit they can have in the short, medium and long term. Cases like www.babycenter.comwww.quericavida.com show the importance of building your own audience.


What: Portada will host five major events in 2019 to spur knowledge-sharing and networking between brand marketers.
Why it matters: Portada’s unique six unit Council System will analyze growth drivers for marketing innovation and passion point marketing in multicultural America. Best-in-class networking and branding solutions are available for marketing services vendors.

This morning, Portada announced preliminary agendas for its five main 2019 events, to take place throughout the year in key markets: Los Angeles (March 15), Miami (April 12) and New York (on April 3 and September 12), as well as in Mexico City (October 17).

Each Portada event will host brilliant brand innovators who will delve deep into topics related to marketing innovation and passion-point marketing, while providing the setting for the closed-door meetings of the six units of Portada’s exclusive Council System: the Americas Board, Agency Star Committee, Brand Star Committee, Brand Star Committee Latam, Sports Marketing Board, and Travel Marketing Board.

“I think it’s a great thing that Portada has put together, it’s given me a chance to really interact with some folks that I’ve known in the industry but maybe we hadn’t gotten together around the specific unique targeted approach like multicultural Hispanic marketing through the lens of sports and sports marketing, so it’s been very engaging for me,” says Dan Keats, Director Consumer Marketing-Sponsorships, Allstate Insurance and a member of the Sports Marketing Board.



In addition, brand and agency executives who are Portada Council System members, as well as other brand marketers belonging to the Portada network, will be available for one-on-one meetings with pre-screened Portada partners.

The 2019 Portada Events will take place as follows:

March 15, 2019: Portada Los Angeles, Hotel Loews Santa Monica, Los Angeles

#PortadaLA will provide a unique setting for brand marketers to explore the enormous opportunities sports, music, and entertainment content offer to engage consumers in multicultural America. Register at https://www.portada-online.com/events/portadalosangeles19/


April 3, 2019: Data and Content Marketing Forum, New York City

At #PortadaNYData we will be sitting down with leaders who will explain how content influences commerce and analyze how data determines their content strategies. Register at https://www.portada-online.com/events/marketingforum/


April 12, 2019: Portada Miami: Hotel EAST, Miami
The twelfth annual edition of #PortadaMIA will focus on how technological innovation is reshaping the Latin American and U.S. marketing space. The top-notch agenda will particularly place strong emphasis on panregional marketing as well e-commerce and direct to consumer trends and their implications for brand marketers. Register at https://www.portada-online.com/events/portadamiami19/


September 12, 2019: Portada New York, Yotel New York, New York City
Retailers and direct-to-consumer brands are having the thrill of their lives. Flux is the new business as usual and data and content play a pivotal role. At #PortadaNY we will be sitting down with leaders who will explain how content influences commerce and analyze how data determines their content strategies. Register at https://www.portada-online.com/events/portadanewyork19/ and check out this year’s highlights here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yW_Q3tgtpIY


October 17, 2019: Portada Mexico, Casa Lamm, Mexico City
#PortadaMX will dive deep into how technological innovations are reshaping the Mexican and Latin American marketing space. AI, virtual reality, machine-based learning, and programmatic marketing will have an important place in the agenda. Register at https://www.portada-online.com/events/portadamexico19/ and check out this year’s highlights here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGEzYc00I4Y


Pablo Chiozza, Senior VP US, Canada, Asia & Caribbean, Latam Airlines Group, and a member of the Travel Marketing Board says that the board is a “very good opportunity to share different visions among different industries; we are airlines, car rentals, hotels… and it’s amazing how, even though it’s the same industry, it’s different pillars, and it’s amazing how we all share the same challenges and it’s interesting to see how everything is related.”


Networking and marketing solutions for marketing services providers: 

Portada provides best-in-class networking and branding solutions to marketing service vendors, including marketing agencies, tech-platforms, media properties and other suppliers of marketing services. These solutions can include:

  • Council System integrations
  • A guaranteed amount of one-on-one meetings with pre-selected brand and agency executives
  • Event integrations
  • Content Marketing Solutions
  • Branding at Portada events, websites, e-letters, and print properties.


To find out more about the above-cited services, please contact Sales Coordinator Michelle Lopez.

Follow us on social media: Youtube | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

Get our e-letters packed with news and intelligence!