After a stellar 2021, The Newsette is expanding its leadership to include Trixie Ferguson Gray as president and Grace O’Donnell as managing director, partner of the company’s creative agency, Newland.
A large reason the company has seen revenue “go wild,” Daniella Pierson, founder and chief executive officer of The Newsette, told WWD is due to launching an agency arm in 2019. Notably, Amazon was one of Newsette’s agency’s first partners. Now known as Newland, the agency’s capabilities include creative strategy, talent partnerships, paid media, content and programming, multicultural strategy and public relations.
Antidotally, Pierson shared that the foundation of the agency grew out of a conversation with her mentor Diane Von Furstenberg leading up to International Women’s Day, where she shared her vision of supporting female entrepreneurs by getting them placed on the “biggest billboard in the world: Amazon’s homepage.” The agency has since worked on additional campaigns with Amazon including one featuring celebrities like Kristen Bell, highlighting small businesses on Amazon Prime Day.
As previously reported by WWD, since starting The Newsette, Pierson made it her team’s mission to build “the world’s largest female empowerment company and [works] every single day to ensure that diverse and marginalized voices are heard.”
While the agency took on additional large businesses as clients over the last two years, Newland has only just become outward-facing. The reason, Pierson said, was simply not having the bandwidth to take on more projects.
“It was obviously a fantastic problem,” Pierson said. “But now, we have tripled the team and we’re in the process of developing Newland becoming outward-facing because we now have the capacity for some more clients.”
O’Donnell, who will be stepping into the role of managing director of Newland, has been with the company for three years having joined when the company was still a team of under five people and, according to Pierson, is the “perfect person” to take on the challenge.
“We’ve got a team in place of experts, strategists and creatives who truly get it when it comes to building brand love and loyalty in the digital space,” O’Donnell told WWD. “Our big goal this year is scaling this magic — bringing on more talented people to join our team and deepening our expertise.”
Further, she shared the company will be rolling out two proprietary tools this year — one focused on TikTok and one that will support our clients in establishing their role in culture via data — that will further differentiate the agency’s offerings.
Mirroring the Newsette’s newsletter’s mission, something that Pierson said differentiates the agency is amplifying minority and marginalized voices. With Newland, she said, the team loves to celebrate bringing a majority female, majority minority team to the table.
“We work with clients on storytelling and paid social and PR and all of these very core agency capabilities,” Pierson said. “And we are also a multicultural agency. We work with brands on thinking about how to celebrate their relationship with all multicultural audiences and we provide that expertise in-house where we can say, ‘Don’t just show up on Hispanic Heritage Month.’ Ask how to show up for the Latinx community all year-round. And it’s the same with the Black community and the LGBTQ+ community.”
Importantly, O’Donnell also shared her commitment to furthering The Newsette’s mission.
“We share a commitment to diversity and inclusion at every step,” O’Donnell said. “From our hiring practices to our casting recommendations to having the right DE&I experts in the room. This is personally important to each member of our team and is a lens we bring to all client work.” At the same time, The Newsette’s daily newsletter also continues to grow and thrive. With Gray joining the company as the new president, Pierson said they will be able to finally unlock even more potential.
“Danny and the team have done an incredible job building The Newsette brand, growing a passionate audience for the newsletter while driving meaningful business impact for a wide variety of advertising partners,” Gray said. “We’ve proven that we can deliver reach against a large, engaged female audience who are also biased to action directly in her inbox.”
In her new role, Gray told WWD her goals for the company are to “build upon that success by augmenting the highly successful newsletter with new product extensions, including a more robust social media offering and expanded content formats, and the rollout of new newsletter verticals. This will allow us to further serve and scale our audience. In partnership with Grace and her Newland agency team, we will bring the collective power of our media and creative storytelling capabilities to build powerful marketing campaigns to drive engagement and performance for our brand partners.”
Moreover, Gray championed the company’s mission saying, “being able to do this on behalf of young dynamic women who are poised and determined to change the world for the better is a gift. The Newsette’s mission is to empower and arm women with the information, inspiration and connections they need to make the most of every day. That’s the yardstick we use to motivate ourselves and measure everything we do.”
With both the media and agency arms of the company, Pierson said she has a sky is the limit mentality. Though still considering herself the sort of “new kid on the block and the rebel” in both the sense of being a media company and a creative agency, she also recognizes that they are reinventing the standard. Many of the company’s clients are joining after years (even decades) of working with the same agency and bringing “horror stories about dreaded calls with their former partners” with them to find relief with a team who is “willing to go the extra mile.”
“When we get on the calls with our clients, we’re so excited, and we’re just so passionate about the campaigns that we’re doing because most of them have this element where we are able to funnel this ecosystem of championing diverse voices,” Pierson said. “We basically hop out of bed and we can’t wait and I think our clients can feel that. I think overall, the company as a whole will hopefully reinvent what the new normal is for a media company and an agency and hopefully be able to rise to the top.”
As Newsette continues to grow, Pierson said the company is in the process of hiring 20 more people with the goal of gaining 50 new hires in the next six months.
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