As brands aim to strike the balance between acting as advertisers and publishers, the one rule of thumb is authenticity. That’s the key to producing both content for new digital channels, as well as ads, says Marisa Thalberg, Chief Marketing Officer at Taco Bell, who assumed the CMO post at Taco Bell earlier this year.

“It’s not different than the lens we need to put on ourselves as human beings. What’s the authentic expression of yourself that gets people to want to engage? It’s the same thing for brands — finding the authenticity within the brand’s persona,” she tells Beet.TV. Increasingly, these issues are top of mind for marketers as brands become media owners with their own channels, thanks to the proliferation of YouTube, online video and new ways to push content to consumers that didn’t exist before.

In addition to authenticity, figuring out how to differentiate amidst a sea of content remains a key issue too, she says. Thalberg contends there’s no formula to what makes branded content shine — comedy and pathos can both work, depending on the venue.

“We still believe in TV. Our brand is mass, but I like to tell deeper stories too and engage in fun ways. The challenge is how to do the whole thing. That’s made the job of a marketer harder,” she says.

We interviewed Thalberg last week at the Digitas UpFronts event in Manhattan.

"Skip Ads," Digitas Digital Content NewFronts, 2016, Uncategorized