S04 E04: Creating Partnerships that People Actually Talk About with Lars Bengston, Chief Content Officer at Havas Health & You
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Today on the show, we speak with Lars Bankston, Chief Content Officer at Havas Health & You. Lars has built his career partnering with some of the world’s most ambitious brands and creatives, which you’ll learn a bit more about this interview. He joined Havas Health & You this year as their CCO, with the mission to help the global health industry recognize and actualize their ability to create content that builds deeper and more meaningful connections with HCPs and patients. He came from the world of VICE Media, where he ran integrated marketing and commercial publishing for VICE.com. He also worked with us as the ‘partnership architect’ on Some Good News, as well as at Thrive Global with the one and only Arianna Huffington, helping the lives of both people and corporations through engaging content that inspired them to take action in service of their audience. All this to say: Lars is obsessed with good storytelling and its power to change lives for the better. Some of the topics we cover in this episode include how Lars positioned himself for his dream job with no experience or any real inside connections, how creating reciprocal exchanges of value can set up great partnerships, and the concept of integrated marketing, which isn’t what you expect! Lars shares his belief that, in order to become a great leader, you have to become a better person, lead with passion, and take things less seriously. We also touch on the importance of allowing the story to dictate the format, not the other way around, what informed the success of Some Good News’ brand partnerships, and why the healthcare industry is like the last unturned stone of creativity and audience engagement, as well as the importance of hiring people you like, plus a whole lot more, so make sure not to miss this jam-packed conversation with storyteller extraordinaire, Lars Bengston! Key Points From This Episode: An introduction to Lars Bengston, jumping into his career story just as he got out of college.Find out how Lars used a mutual connection on LinkedIn to get himself a job at VICE.Advice for any young adult wrestling with career options: start with what makes you happy.What Lars’ role as creative development coordinator at VICE looked like.How he made the come up to publisher by relentlessly pursuing actualization and meaning.Lars distills great storytelling into a few key points, like allowing the story to dictate the format.Understand that most of your effort should be put into pre-production and finding the story.Lars sums up his six years at VICE in three words: informative, outrageous, and absurd.Hear about his transition to Thrive Global and how he redefined what ‘cool’ meant to him.Brand partnerships 101: the benefits of creating a reciprocal exchange of value.How Spotify has built partnerships that are endemic to what their audience is looking for.The importance of interrogating your underlying purpose when creating brand partnerships.Learn about integrated marketing; the inherent quest to better understand your audience.How ‘integrated entertainment’ informed the success of Some Good News in 2020.Get an overview of Lars’ role at Some Good News, connecting big brands with big ideas.What it meant to Lars to be invited to work on Some Good News at the height COVID-19.The internal compass that guided Lars to turn partnerships into ‘giving moments’ that also earned brands high volumes of press and credibility.Creating reciprocal value before a brand had experienced it as the ‘partnership architect’.Advice for building teams and becoming a better leader; hire people smarter than you.The importance of hiring people you like and growing as a team.Who is making waves right now in Lars’ opinion: the creators of the world!
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