Building Relationships to Bolster Results: Q&A with The Weather Channel's Jason Hermes
Jordan Kelley, Content Director, BrandStorytelling.tv
At the Weather Channel, Jason Hermes has found success having marketers finance the production of partnered content. Brand Storytelling caught up with The Weather Channel's Vice President of Client Partnerships to learn more about what he thinks makes for the most successful brand/media partnerships (here’s a hint… it’s about building relationships with the people carrying the creative load!):
How long have you observed the practice of brand integrations and client partnerships in your years in the ad sales industry? What has changed for the better about that process over time?
I fell into the paid, in-program, branded entertainment line of media sales in 2007, when I was an account executive selling media for Martha Stewart's syndicated daytime talk show, "MARTHA". I was lucky because "MARTHA" was produced in New York and I began to develop friendly relationships with the executive producer and segment producers by hanging around the studio. It started out like, "Let's grab a beer after work type thing". We all began to know and trust each other as people. Once these friendly relationships formed the "sales people" vs " the producers" wall started to come down and we all developed a highly successful paid integration business for "MARTHA". I attribute this to developing the personal relationships with the producers first, gaining their trust as people and the working relationships followed naturally.
In your time at the Weather Channel you’ve facilitated a number of noteworthy partnerships; brands like 1st Alert, Oura Ring, and Kohler have all worked successfully with the Weather Channel. What is the common denominator in securing successful partnerships with all of these brands?
Credibility. All of the brands you've mentioned are paid in-program content partners with The Weather Channel in 2021. None of which I had ever met prior to my initial outreach this year to get them on-board. Obviously, The Weather Channel has our own credibility and brand equity, however, I always like to lead on my initial outreach to potential clients with, "You are the experts, not us." Give them the credibility they deserve in their category and let them know The Weather Channel could not produce the segment without their collaboration, and if it's the right brand, you'll get their attention.
What level of importance do you place on ensuring that marketers get direct access to segment producers?
For me, that's the single MOST important message I deliver to potential paid content partners, and it's true. In the past, I've worked at many media companies that claim they can execute content integrations, but never give a single bit of attention or time directly from the person actually creating the segment, the producer. I've found from real experiences if you want to be successful in the paid integration space, you MUST have access to producers, have a mutually trusted relationship with your producers and, at time of creative collaboration, deliver your producers into the conversations with the marketer or brand manager paying for the segment.