THE STATE OF THE STORY  —  STRATEGIC INSIGHTS
THE STATE OF THE STORY  —  STRATEGIC INSIGHTS

Mastering the Playbook: A Conversation with Lauren Maillian, CEO of digitalundivided

Mastering the Playbook: A Conversation with Lauren Maillian, CEO of digitalundivided

Mastering the Playbook: A Conversation with Lauren Maillian, CEO of digitalundivided

Mastering the Playbook: A Conversation with Lauren Maillian, CEO of digitalundivided

Mastering the Playbook: A Conversation with Lauren Maillian, CEO of digitalundivided

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In 2020, during the height of civil unrest and racial reckoning, Lauren Maillian was unanimously appointed CEO of digitalundivided, a social startup that seeks to advance Black and Latinx opportunities for entrepreneurship and economic growth among women. She had already served on the board for 10 years, and had dedicated her life to helping women and people of color. But this new role felt particularly breathtaking.

“I wear this title as a badge of honor,” Maillian says during a car ride into New York City from the airport. “To lead and help women of color and people of color has long been my life's work. I spend a lot of free time supporting and equipping future leaders who don’t have information and intel that many non-minority leaders have. There is a playbook for entrepreneurial success and leadership. And many don’t have access to it.” Maillian sees broadcasting that playbook to minority communities as a professional and personal duty. “Especially now, as we see the wealth gap increasingly widen between women and men, and especially women of color."

A savvy investor and the founder of LMB Group, her own marketing company, Maillian has clearly mastered the playbook herself. At the age of 19, she founded a winery. She went on to start an early-stage venture capital fund—the first Black woman to do so, become an advisor and investor in over 40 startups, host a CNBC special, and win numerous awards for her marketing and philanthropy. 

One way that Mailian expertly promotes her projects and passions is through her electric and authentic persona. We spoke with her about her social media strategy and habits, and how she decides which brands and influencers fit her admirable mission. 

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"There is a playbook for entrepreneurial success and leadership. And many don’t have access to it."

"There is a playbook for entrepreneurial success and leadership. And many don’t have access to it."

"There is a playbook for entrepreneurial success and leadership. And many don’t have access to it."

"There is a playbook for entrepreneurial success and leadership. And many don’t have access to it."

"There is a playbook for entrepreneurial success and leadership. And many don’t have access to it."

As a diversity expert and spokesperson, how do you decide to partner with certain brands? What assures you that they'll live up to your values and objectives?

Years ago, when I got into business and became repped by WME, they asked me for a list of brands and companies that I naturally used and had an affinity toward. That’s the approach I take now. I only partner with brands I sincerely love and use, and sometimes new brands that I test out and that I align with what they stand for and their mission. When that isn’t there, that’s when I respectfully pass. I’ve been lucky that most of the brands that choose to work with me are interested in women, leadership, empowerment, motherhood, and entrepreneurship. Those are the brands that I’m thrilled to work with. Those are the brands that are making what I stand for relevant in popular culture and in positive ways trying to find an outlet in the new normal that we’re all figuring out.

Years ago, when I got into business and became repped by WME, they asked me for a list of brands and companies that I naturally used and had an affinity toward. That’s the approach I take now. I only partner with brands I sincerely love and use, and sometimes new brands that I test out and that I align with what they stand for and their mission. When that isn’t there, that’s when I respectfully pass. I’ve been lucky that most of the brands that choose to work with me are interested in women, leadership, empowerment, motherhood, and entrepreneurship. Those are the brands that I’m thrilled to work with. Those are the brands that are making what I stand for relevant in popular culture and in positive ways trying to find an outlet in the new normal that we’re all figuring out.

Conversely, how do you select certain influencers for your partnerships?

Whenever we’re looking at influencers, I prefer to work with micro-influencers and those that are closely aligning their work to the businesses we’re working with rather than those who are looking for the largest lift or biggest payout. Influencers that are living up to an authentic embodiment of the brand’s ethos and mission. There needs to be real alignment, not just the checking off of demo boxes. Authenticity, sincerity, and the ethos and mission of the client are paramount.

Whenever we’re looking at influencers, I prefer to work with micro-influencers and those that are closely aligning their work to the businesses we’re working with rather than those who are looking for the largest lift or biggest payout. Influencers that are living up to an authentic embodiment of the brand’s ethos and mission. There needs to be real alignment, not just the checking off of demo boxes. Authenticity, sincerity, and the ethos and mission of the client are paramount.

Whenever we’re looking at influencers, I prefer to work with micro-influencers and those that are closely aligning their work to the businesses we’re working with rather than those who are looking for the largest lift or biggest payout. Influencers that are living up to an authentic embodiment of the brand’s ethos and mission. There needs to be real alignment, not just the checking off of demo boxes. Authenticity, sincerity, and the ethos and mission of the client are paramount.

What’s essential when building a social media brand?

I try to post about things that really matter, or events throughout my day and week that create a story arc. Context is always important but I don’t think it needs to exist in 30-40 posts a day. We’re really confronting oversaturation. Know your lane and stay in it, or stack the lanes so they make sense to you. My following knows I work. They know I’m a mother, I travel, and I’m an investor. They don’t expect me to be posting all day. I’m not on the ‘gram all damn day—I’m investing and working and busy! Anyone who follows me expects that.

I try to post about things that really matter, or events throughout my day and week that create a story arc. Context is always important but I don’t think it needs to exist in 30-40 posts a day. We’re really confronting oversaturation. Know your lane and stay in it, or stack the lanes so they make sense to you. My following knows I work. They know I’m a mother, I travel, and I’m an investor. They don’t expect me to be posting all day. I’m not on the ‘gram all damn day—I’m investing and working and busy! Anyone who follows me expects that.

I try to post about things that really matter, or events throughout my day and week that create a story arc. Context is always important but I don’t think it needs to exist in 30-40 posts a day. We’re really confronting oversaturation. Know your lane and stay in it, or stack the lanes so they make sense to you. My following knows I work. They know I’m a mother, I travel, and I’m an investor. They don’t expect me to be posting all day. I’m not on the ‘gram all damn day—I’m investing and working and busy! Anyone who follows me expects that.

"I try to post about things that really matter, or events throughout my day and week that create a story arc. Context is always important but I don’t think it needs to exist in 30-40 posts a day.

"I try to post about things that really matter, or events throughout my day and week that create a story arc. Context is always important but I don’t think it needs to exist in 30-40 posts a day."

"I try to post about things that really matter, or events throughout my day and week that create a story arc. Context is always important but I don’t think it needs to exist in 30-40 posts a day."

"I try to post about things that really matter, or events throughout my day and week that create a story arc. Context is always important but I don’t think it needs to exist in 30-40 posts a day."

How do you see your personal brand intersecting with your business's?

I don’t separate who I am. I am the same person every day online. But I do separate church and state—work that is digitalundivided and then those things that are mine, as an individual. Luckily, I found easy ways to draw a line. But I am the same person every day—a speaker, board member, CEO. And I’m known for that, and I think that attracts opportunities. Which is why brands that aren’t authentic don’t approach me.

How do you really feel about how corporations do history months, like Black History Month or Women's History Month? This year there was a lot of acknowledgement that these efforts shouldn't end on the final day of February or March.

Look, I’m the kind of person that believes that Mother’s Day should be every day, not just fanfare once a year. I take that kind of approach to all these acknowledgments. However, if you want to look at these things, they should be a part of the way we live life, and there should be mutual respect for the differences that make us valuable and important. If we frame it in those ways, it will be genuine.

I live in Puerto Rico where they honor their culture every day, by way of food, drink, family, major holidays, and traditions. There is a constant celebration. I think that is the way we need to be more like a world. We need to broaden the aperture of acceptability. Especially in this country, there is a mix of the performative, meets gaslighting, meets undermining. Then we dabble in celebration. It doesn’t make up for the rest of the year when we’re not making these acknowledgments.

Who is a company that is doing these kinds of acknowledgments particularly well?

Who is a company that is doing these kinds of acknowledgments particularly well?

Recently I was in Dubai with Cartier for International Women’s Day and also the World’s Fair Expo, where they were the sponsor of the Women’s Pavilion. It was the most incredibly curated and thoughtful event. They had given such consideration to bringing in people from all over the world. It was very intentional, about the artists, chefs, designers, everything was very carefully curated by women and celebrated women from around the world.

What types of content does your community particularly interact with?

Working mom content, empowering content for women. I don’t believe in balance. My Dubai content did get a lot of engagement. I brought my kids along to Dubai, and it was a real pinch me moment. That meant something to women and working women and women of color who thought, “Oh my god, what dream.” People who have been on the journey with me know this has not always been my life, and they appreciate that growth and evolution. And those that just started following me feel inspired by this life and the possibility. They see the mistakes, too. I got married and had kids early, and there have been some challenges. But they seem typical, and people appreciate seeing them.

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For more conversations on telling your story through social media, join us at The State of the Story: The Future of Influencer Brand Storytelling, Tuesday, June 14, for a robust virtual discussion on the emerging trends and best practices for the latest social content. RSVP →

For more conversations on telling your story through social media, join us at The State of the Story: The Future of Influencer Brand Storytelling, Tuesday, June 14, for a robust virtual discussion on the emerging trends and best practices for the latest social content. RSVP →

For more conversations on telling your story through social media, join us at The State of the Story: The Future of Influencer Brand Storytelling, Tuesday, June 14, for a robust virtual discussion on the emerging trends and best practices for the latest social content. RSVP →

For more conversations on telling your story through social media, join us at The State of the Story: The Future of Influencer Brand Storytelling, Tuesday, June 14, for a robust virtual discussion on the emerging trends and best practices for the latest social content. RSVP →

Magnet Media is a global brand studio that uses storytelling and data to drive measurable business results. Our team is made up of world-class strategists and creative thinkers who use our THINK / MAKE / REACH process to develop a marketing strategy, world-class content, and go-to-market distribution strategies for our clients. Much of our work starts with video storytelling and is distributed across all platforms—appearing in the top media outlets, shared by influential community members, and rising to the top of the search rankings. Recently we've produced award-winning campaigns for clients like Google, Adobe, Chase, Goldman Sachs, Airbnb, IBM, CitiGroup, Carbon, The TED Talks, Politico, Blackrock, TIAA, YouTube, MIT Tech Press, and more.

Magnet Media is a global brand studio that uses storytelling and data to drive measurable business results. Our team is made up of world-class strategists and creative thinkers who use our THINK / MAKE / REACH process to develop a marketing strategy, world-class content, and go-to-market distribution strategies for our clients. Much of our work starts with video storytelling and is distributed across all platforms—appearing in the top media outlets, shared by influential community members, and rising to the top of the search rankings. Recently we've produced award-winning campaigns for clients like Google, Adobe, Chase, Goldman Sachs, Airbnb, IBM, CitiGroup, Carbon, The TED Talks, Politico, Blackrock, TIAA, YouTube, MIT Tech Press, and more.

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