ORLANDO — Almost 12 months after strategic advisory firm MediaLink was off-loaded by Cannes Lions organizer Ascential to talent agency UTA, CEO Michael Kassan is happy with the firms’ amicable “divorce”.

Kassan’s company joined Ascential in 2017.

In this video interview with Beet.TV at the ANA Masters of Marketing, he says the new focus is allowing an expanded focus on words beginning with “C” and “T”.

Talent and tactics

“We were more like Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin,” Kassan says. “We got ‘consciously uncoupled‘, we didn’t get divorced; we still love each other.

“It was just, I saw a better life for MediaLink in a different environment. What UTA promised me – and delivered in spades and I couldn’t be happier, 10 months in – was the proximity to the creator economy, the proximity of the content creation.”

UTA (United Talent Agency) provides booking for talent across comedy, gaming, esports, music and speaking, representing the likes of Dennis Quaid, 3 Doors Down, Al Franken and Baratunde Thurston.

Through the addition of MediaLink, it now also offers an advisory service aimed at helping brands take advantage of media and entertainment opportunities.

New weapons

“If I were to carry a quiver with me, the arrows that I now have in addition to what I had before is sports and music and gaming and esports and NFT and fine arts,” Kassan says.

For Kassan, it adds up to exploiting a focus on a basket of “‘C’ words”: “Content, commerce, culture, creativity, community curation and, I guess, cash.”

Walking the halls at the ANA event, however, Kassan also notes a number of “Ts” on the tongues of delegates: “Trust, transparency, talent, technology and transformation.”

Consideration first

There is a “P” that is also top of mind in marketing right now – “performance”, and the extent to which marketers are increasingly leaning toward buying ads with the goal of definable, measurable outcomes in mind.

Kassan sympathizes with the aim – but thinks brands shouldn’t rush to get beyond first base every time.

“You don’t get a hit every time you get up to bat,” he says.

“Of course, the win is that that person actually buys a car or that person actually veils themselves of the goods or services that you’re promoting.

“But if you get them in where you are now in the consideration set, I think that’s a metric that people should absolutely flock to.”