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Mapping The Trails: Carat’s Shannon Pruitt Discusses Elevate's 'Support' Trail

Pictured: Shannon Pruitt, Kate Santore, Eric Korsh and Chip Russo as they lead the 'Setting the Scene' Trail at Elevate 2017. This trail examined what, how and why brands pursue and invest in the creation and distribution of original content.

Week by week, Brand Storytelling will be bringing you exclusive insight into each of the Elevate “trails” (our clever name for the panels at our summer event), featuring input from our esteemed trail guides.

This week we’re taking a closer look at the 'Support' trail with the help of our highly qualified trail guide Shannon Pruitt, newly appointed Chief Content Officer at Carat USA. We connected with Shannon to discuss the ins and outs of Elevate’s second trail:


Hey there Shannon! What can you tell us about the ‘Support’ Trail?

We will explore and discuss the new(ish) frontier of organization around content and creativity and how brand stories are planned for and produced in the new world of people, platforms and technology. The way brands define, create, and co-create their stories in a world where breaking through the clutter and engaging people is more challenging than ever before. In Support, we will go deeper into understanding the opportunities and challenges that executives face internally as much as externally and ways to frame the best approach for your brand.

What do you anticipate your panel conversation will entail?

A hopefully rowdy and provocative dialogue about best practices and philosophies on the best placement for organizational responsibility and where they money comes from, who supports and champions the importance of brand storytelling (not just advertising) internally and how it actually happens. Internal vs external? Creative vs content? Media vs publisher? And everything in between.

When talking about support in this context, what’s the vantage point? Will the question come from one or multiple perspectives?

This conversation will only be productive and valuable if there are multiple points of view. Brand, Publisher, Media and Creative AOR, Content. Every brand has different challenges and there is no one size fits all solution. It will often be a hybrid or a test and learn, but the more honest and transparent discussion we can have about advantages, disadvantages, frustrations and wins, the more people will be better equipped to have a topical and thoughtful educated POV when they go back to their own organizations.

What do you anticipate will carry over from the panels into the group discussions?

Think and hope are different things! I hope an honest discussion about what works and doesn’t, has and hasn’t will be the carry over without agenda to sell or defend a particular model. I would love to see a safe environment for people to share their wins and their losses and why things have or haven’t worked for them.

What’s the largest takeaway you hope attendees will walk away with from the ‘Support’ trail?

I hope people will walk away with a more multifaceted POV on what might work for them and a true assessment of where they are in their own journey so as to be able to either create a plan, or make tweaks in their existing plan and structure.

I understand you have a new title; “Chief Content Officer at Carat USA”. Please tell us about the shift from StoryLab and what this new role entails.

With the ever changing consumer landscape, it is more important than ever before to use the power and insights from our data to inform creativity and to make it easier for our clients to understand, communicate, collaborate and create their BrandStory to better find and connect with their customers.

As The Story Lab was moving to more of an entertainment format investment play, my heart lies with working with brands so we agreed that we would move myself, my team and our capabilities into Carat and i would become the first CCO for Carat with an eye to build out what an end to end relevant and personalized brand storytelling (content) experience looks like. From strategy to Partnerships, influencer, original and now DCO, Carat Content will be a core part of the future of Carat and all of its brand clients.

What are you looking forward to getting out of Elevate 2018?

I always love meeting and seeing all the folks who are both committed to, and shepherding the discipline of brand storytelling in all its shapes and forms. I always learn so much from listening to the different perspectives, and in my new role as Chief Content Officer for Carat, I hope to be able to bring some learning and new ways of thinking into our own organization as we build the discipline for the future of people’s attitudes, motivations and behaviors.

About Shannon Pruitt:

As clients and agencies in the advertising and media world seek digital transformation, Shannon believes the key lies in a true shift to a data and insight-driven, audience-led marketing transformation. Through understanding the intersection and impact of brand storytelling through behavioral/contextual distribution, tech and commerce, she leverages her unique background in working with brands, tech platforms, content creators, IP/rights holders, and media owners giving her an expert ability to quickly understand, adapt and architect marketing strategies, solutions, and experiences that create business results.


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