The Fishbowl: Brenda Tuohig, Scope3
The Media Leader’s interview series asks the media industry’s top salespeople revealing questions, drawn from our fishbowl. The questions will be drawn at random and contain some tricky posers set by the commercial chiefs themselves.
This week is Brenda Tuohig, chief commercial officer at Scope3.
Brenda Tuohig joined Scope3, the supply chains emissions data specialist, in 2022 as head of strategy and global partnerships, and was promoted to chief commercial officer last month.
She has held leadership and sales positions at The Trade Desk, Oracle, eBay and Accenture.
Describe three qualities that make a brilliant salesperson.
Every great salesperson needs to master the basics of their role, first and foremost. That means a willingness to do what it takes — they need to be driven to hit or exceed their quota and have an incredible network that they know how to use.
Beyond blocking and tackling, I look for two other things: strategic thinking and being a good listener. Being a great seller isn’t just about selling, clients have to be able to see you as more of an advisor and strategic business partner.
That also includes knowing how to hear the needs of clients and being able to come up with creative solutions that not only fit in the bounds of what’s available but can also help clients be successful.
What podcast do you regularly listen to and why?
I like to separate content channels between work and personal/entertainment, so for me, reading and podcasts fall into the entertainment bucket.
I enjoy listening to my good friend’s podcast regularly, but to keep up to date on the latest happenings in the industry or get a fresh point of view on a trending topic, I turn to LinkedIn or the industry WhatsApp groups. Both are valuable tools to learn something new while staying in the know.
What key thing has changed in conversations with clients this year compared to last year?
Scope3 just turned 18 months old in June and with it so did the category of decarbonisation solutions for advertising. Last year was about educating the industry on sustainability, the ad industry’s impact on the planet and why it’s something we need to solve now.
This year, there’s broad awareness of the climate problem in advertising and conversations are more about how we can take action and getting started. Partners have gone from making broad commitments to asking how they can set tangible carbon reduction goals that are tied to numbers they can include in their sustainability reports.
** Peer question ** How is your business driving the change? Do you have any best practices or obstacles you confronted to share?
As the category maker and leader we have been on this mission of educating the industry on the carbon emissions problem in advertising and driving reduction efforts through the solutions we are building. Changing the way the ad industry operates and introducing a new metric, carbon emissions, for advertisers to care about is challenging.
However, our data shows that optimising toward lower carbon media is both good for the planet and campaign performance.
It’s my job to help marketers understand the value of this data and make it easy for them to access carbon measurement and reduction solutions in the platforms and tools that they already use, and that means getting the entire industry on board.
What one thing would you change when dealing with media agencies?
Media agencies are often tasked to prioritise cost efficiency above other metrics and it would be great to give them the data and resources that make them feel empowered to push brands to invest in the most effective ways to advertise instead.
Taking into account metrics like attention or carbon emissions, or more closely considering placement (avoiding sites considered ‘made for advertising’), might limit reach, but we’ve seen that adding these data layers can result in more effective advertising and better outcomes. We have to make it easier for agencies to orient around the right metrics.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
If you put your buyers’ needs first and keep them happy, then it will be good for business.
When did you last change your mind about something?
The climate problem can feel so big that it’s hard to tackle and I felt like there wasn’t anything I could do that would have an impact. And, while emissions in advertising is just one corner of the climate problem that we are solving, we are solving something that matters.
I’ve evolved my thinking from, ‘it’s too big of a problem for me to fix’, to ‘this is what I can do and how I can bring about change with the skills I have.’
**Peer question** If you were to acquire, or consolidate with another media company, which would it be?
The exciting thing about the sustainability space is that the industry is growing quickly and companies are innovating with a greener future in mind.
No one stands out yet, but there will be plenty of companies that could be a fit, and as the category of sustainable tech evolves, I’d look for a business that’s purpose-driven and aligned fully with our mission and values.
** Question from Dominic Williams, chief revenue officer at Mail Metro Media.
What’s been your biggest challenge this year and what are you doing about it?
There’s so much opportunity and momentum in the sustainability space that scaling quickly and in a smart and manageable way is top of mind. Our challenge is doing this while both staying true to our mission to decarbonise media and building the right team culture as our team continues to expand.
** Peer question ** Who was your first media industry idol and what influence have they had on you?
Idol is a strong word and there isn’t one person that comes to mind specifically, but when I think about who has been influential in my career, it’s leaders who have been clear in their vision, who put their people and team first, and who are strong advocates of women in leadership.
** Question from Duncan Chater, managing director at Bloomberg Media.
Read more Fishbowl interviews here and see what media’s top salespeople say about working in the industry and what concerns their clients. To suggest an interviewee, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.