As Great Big Story continues to grow its high-quality, video storytelling business around the world, Christine Cook has been appointed to the newly-developed role of senior vice president of Global Sales & Brand Strategy. In this position, she will lead global sales for Great Big Story with a focus on strengthening revenue strategies, while identifying opportunities for advertiser growth in line with the brand’s mission to serve as an always-on network for a global generation.
Based in New York, Cook dually reports to Katrina Cukaj, executive vice president of portfolio sales and client partnerships for Turner Ad Sales and Rani Raad, president of CNN International Commercial.
“Over the past two years, Great Big Story has traveled the world to bring a growing community of fans untold and inspiring stories, while forging innovative content partnerships rooted in the same commitment for marketers,” said Cukaj. “We’re thrilled to have Christine onboard to lead this next chapter in Great Big Story’s global sales expansion.”
“Great Big Story is central to our multi-platform strategy and has already had considerable success internationally with over 15 brand partnerships from EMEA, APAC and Latin America and a local version launched in the Nordics,” said Raad. “As Great Big Story prepares for further expansion, I am delighted to add to our firepower someone of Christine’s calibre to work with our global teams and take brand integrations to the next level.”
Previously with Flipboard as senior vice president and global head of advertising partnerships, Cook oversaw the company’s global sales force and mobile-led revenue strategy over her six years with the company. As an advisor, and then founding member of the advertising business team, she built the partnerships unit from the ground up, which was responsible for publisher partnerships, advertising sales, operations and creative brand marketing strategy.
Prior to joining Flipboard, Cook served as the founding senior vice president of sales and advertising operations of The Daily, the first purpose-built tablet media publication. She has also held leadership roles in sales at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, IAC/InterActiveCorp, Financial Times, and New York Times Digital, where she was part of the founding sales leadership and launched the company’s first international sales office in London.
Cook has been an active member of the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), Advertising Women of New York/She Runs It, and New York Women in Communications. A graduate of Louisiana State University, she lives in New York City.
To learn more about Christine Cook and the industry trends that spark her curiosity, read on in the Q&A: “6 Things to Know About Great Big Story’s New Ad Sales Lead.”
1. Coming from Flipboard, what attracted you to Great Big Story?
Great Big Story’s production of positive global stories made for distribution. Global consumers want to learn and feel good about the world around them. Great Big Story provides that.
The opportunity to help bring this digital first brand built on the evolution of consumer media consumption to the next level and further shape a scalable business model that supports it was also very attractive. We have an opportunity to develop spaces for advertisers that create a positive sentiment and additive experience, rather than disrupting this unique emotional connection.
2. Let’s talk global. How does a story transcend borders, and what does that mean for advertisers?
Stories that focus on human emotions and inspiration transcend language and culture. Those shared human traits are powerful, and when we can show how the world is more alike through wonderful connections and shared experiences, we can inspire a more aligned place.
Advertising is about making an emotional connection for someone to want and need your product. At the same time, advertisers are craving meaningful moments to connect with consumers. Creating desire or inspiration by sponsoring or being a part of these type of stories is a very compelling opportunity for brands.
3. When in your career did you first realize that digital was transforming the media landscape? What’s the next big disruptor in consumption?
October 1995 in Las Vegas at the National Association of Convenience Store (NACS) conference. At the time, I worked for Convenience Store News trade magazines and realized that the major brand manufacturers paying field reps to drive store to store and announce new products were becoming something of the past. Scanners at checkout were new (along with the entrance of blue drinks) and powering real-time inventory management. CSNews.com had an opportunity to help brands connect more quickly with the store owners via digital.
The waves of digital transformation have been many since then. The current wave focuses more on the consumer desire for entertainment and information of high-quality on their time. They want personalization, but not personalization alone. They want curated information and entertainment from professionals to help make sense of the overwhelming amount of options available today.
4. What was the last show that you’ve binge-watched?
Stranger Things – one day, while home sick. I powered through it. Now, I have to commit to doing the same for Stranger Things 2 – without being sick.
5. In your opinion, what is the sleeper trend that will drive the evolution of brand storytelling in 2018 that no one is talking about, but should be.
The persuasive power of underwriting and measuring positive impact from exposure.
What’s old is new again. Brands underwriting and supporting great journalism (entertainment and information) by stating that they are proud to support the presentation of said content shows a brand’s belief system in the programming or event.
6. What advice would you give a newcomer working in the advertising industry today?
A successful career in advertising starts with mastering the foundations of the business and learning as many of these underlying functions as possible. If you want to build a successful profession, it’s best not to rush titles and promotions, but gain a depth of experience for your long career. Most people will work well past their “retirement” age. We work because we want to stay engaged. So there is much more gained by mastering each level of your career path rather than rushing through.
About Great Big Story
Great Big Story is a global media company devoted to cinematic storytelling. Headquartered in New York, with bureaus in London and Stockholm, its studios create and distribute micro docs and short films, as well as series for digital, social, TV and theatrical release. Since launching in October 2015, Great Big Story’s producers have traveled to more than 80 countries to discover the untold, the overlooked and the flat-out amazing. Great Big Story is available on more than a dozen platforms including Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, Apple News + Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV and through third party distributors such as Comcast Watchable, XUMO TV, MSN, Yahoo! and Pluto TV. For more information visit http://www.greatbig.com/.