BrightHouse welcomes Cristina Lilly as a Managing Director and the first BrightHouse New York employee. Cristina comes to us with 20+ years in marketing and advertising working for top global agencies like Ogilvy & Mather, Leo Burnett and J. Walter Thompson, and top global brands like Ralph Lauren and Steinway & Sons. We asked her five questions to get to know a little more about her background:
You have both client side and agency side experience in Marketing and Advertising, how will these two perspectives help you as a Managing Director?
My experience in advertising taught me a lot about client service and about working with creative teams to ensure they have what they need in order to do their best work. I was fortunate enough to learn from some of the best in the advertising business and to this day I take those lessons with me wherever I go. One in particular that stuck with me is that the creative process is not a linear one and that it takes time to develop an idea that goes beyond good to one that is truly moving, inspiring and has lasting impact. Working in marketing gives me the client’s perspective. I have been in their shoes, have experienced their frustrations, and understand first-hand what they are trying to accomplish. In both advertising and marketing, creating an environment of trust, understanding and collaboration was critical to success and this is what I will strive to create at BrightHouse with both my clients as well as with the creative and strategy teams.
What’s your favorite place to grab a bite in New York city?
This is such a tough question because NYC has countless restaurants that are fantastic. One of the best parts of living in NYC is that we have so many cultures living in one place which makes it hard to choose just one. I could probably name my favorite place for each type of food, whether it is Indian, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Mexican, Vietnamese, etc. That said, one of my favorite places at the moment is ABC Kitchen in Union Square. The atmosphere is casual and relaxed, and the food is outstanding. Everything is made with fresh ingredients; the menu is inventive, inspiring and utterly delicious, and on any given night you will find yourself seated next to actors, CEOs, politicians and struggling artists. I have yet to find something on the menu that I haven’t loved.
How do you want to change the world?
I have always believed that it takes large groups of like-minded people to create meaningful movements. I also believe that there is real strength that exists already within companies and brands that can and should be harnessed to help make the world a better place. For me, that is why BrightHouse was the perfect place. I get to be a part of a team helping to inspire those organizations to uncover, articulate and live their purpose is a way to harness their strengths and teams to not only increase their bottom line but to also leave behind a world that is better than how we found it. The more organizations we can touch, the greater the impact we can have on the world and on tackling some of the important social and environmental issues in the world today.
You and your family are very active. What are your favorite active pastimes?
Yes, we are quite an active family! We have two children who are teenagers now and who are involved in sports which was the impetus behind a lot of our activity. We live in Manhattan where spaces are small and as such, you tend to look for activities that allow you to spend time outside of your apartment. One of those activities for us is skiing. Both my husband and I grew up skiing and when our children were little we decided it would be fun for them to learn. Little did we know that they would take to it so quickly and end up on the ski-racing team at our local mountain. We enjoy being outside and even when it’s 10 degrees, we are together doing something we all love. In the summers, we spend time in Spain where my family is from so we maintain strong ties to our roots, culture and language. When we are there, we are at the beach surfing, sailing and in general not sitting still. I guess you could say that we all have a lot of energy and sitting still is not something we do well!
You have 20+ years marketing global brands, how has marketing’s perspective toward purpose changed in that time?
I have seen a lot change over the years and much of that change has been driven by changes in culture, in technology and the effect this has had on human behavior. I believe that being a good marketer starts with having a deep understanding of your brand, of your consumers, and of what is happening in their lives and in culture. It is knowing who you are as a brand, knowing why you exist and knowing and caring about why people behave the way they do. That is always easier said than done, particularly given the speed of change driven by technology and access to information. There are more brands today than ever before in every industry, consumers have access to more information and are bombarded with marketing messages at every turn making it more and more difficult to differentiate and stand out. It is no coincidence that in this fast paced, crowded, and ever-changing environment, that the most successful companies and brands are those that know and live their purpose. It is because of those successful brands and companies that the topic of purpose is in the spotlight. The secret is out and now others are looking to define their purpose and use purpose as a catalyst for their own positive transformation and growth. Purpose has been there all along and I am thrilled to see the topic take center stage as it has always been a passion of mine to help companies and brands discover and articulate theirs.