Q&A With Lisa Unsworth and Pam Hamlin of Arnold Worldwide

Headquartered in Boston, Arnold Worldwide is a global creative agency responsible for delivering creative services across a variety of communication channels. With clients that include Progressive Insurance, Jack Daniels, Ocean Spray and Volvo, they use creativity to gain a business advantage. At the recent Communications@Syracuse Immersion, Lisa Unsworth, who is the CMO and Managing Partner at Arnold and a Newhouse alum, spoke with her colleague Pam Hamlin, Global President at Arnold, about media leadership and branding. We caught up with them after their presentation to talk more about how the industry is changing.

How has the field of communications evolved since you started in the industry?

Lisa Unsworth: The biggest driver of the evolution has been the digital landscape. It has created such a profound proliferation of ways to reach consumers. There have never been more ways to reach consumers and consumers have never been harder to reach. And so it has created a whole new puzzle for brands, advertisers and marketers. It keeps things interesting for sure!

Pam Hamlin: When I got into the business there were only nine paid media channels. So there were really only nine ways for a brand to get its message out to its consumers. Today the possibilities are limitless. The only thing that gets in the way is a limited imagination. I think that is incredibly significant.

The other thing I’d say, it’s an obvious statement, but it’s this notion of one-way communication to two-way communication. Today marketing is all about brand engagement. And I think that has really significant implications to what your go-to-market model looks like.

What other challenges do you see in the field?

Unsworth: Beyond technology the other thing that we wrestle with is this idea of context in communication and how the unbundling of media companies and creative companies has created a challenge for marketers. In this landscape there are an infinite number of channels that are all interruptible. I think that’s one of the biggest challenges. But also it’s a fun time.

Hamlin: It is so fun! For someone like me who has been in the business for 30 years, it’s like a whole new business. It’s really interesting.

What’s next for the Arnold as the media landscape evolves?

Hamlin: Building on what was said before about the profound impact technology has on how we engage with consumers, our company, too, is being much more strategic about how we build in the people and capabilities with the right technical expertise to power creative ideas. How do you wrap technology around a creative idea? How does technology inspire a creative idea in order to be able to communicate in fresh, unexpected ways?

What do you look for when hiring someone?

Hamlin: The most important thing for me is curiosity. Because I think in an industry that is undergoing such significant change—and there’s no sign of that stopping—you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable not knowing all of the answers. But then you have to be able to take the initiative to go find them, to learn more and continue to push.

How has being a Newhouse alum impacted your career?

Unsworth: Being a Newhouse alum has given me a set of credentials and also a set of skills that have been invaluable to me every step of the way. It made it easy for me to get my first job, it helped me be successful in all of my jobs, and it created a network of people that I am in touch with for friendship and professional development. It provided me with a vast amount of opportunity.

Professionally, when I run into Syracuse graduates, we always want to help each other. There’s just a relationship that exists. And that carries forward in all of the interactions I have when I come to the school. I know that people who leave here have a really quality education and so I’m happy to be an ambassador, an advocate, a door opener or a soundboard as much as I can.