CANNES — For some, striving to overcome the odds and achieve success is a climb. For Thai Randolph, it’s a voyage.

Randolph is CEO of Hartbeat, the entertainment production company founded by Kevin Hart. She is adamant that career growth is “more of a river than a ladder.”

In this video interview for Beet.TV whilst at Cannes Lions, Randolph says that, throughout her career, she has embraced the unpredictability of the journey, finding that “unexpected choices led to unexpected opportunities.”

A Journey of Deliberate Choices and Consistent Actions

Drawing from her own professional experiences, Randolph imparts wisdom to those shaping their career paths, stating, “you’re always only a few deliberate choices and consistent actions away from whatever your dream is.”

She encourages individuals to view each career step as an opportunity to gather ‘gems,’ valuable experiences, lessons, and insights that could prove useful in the future.

Hartbeat has carved a niche for itself in the entertainment industry with its eclectic portfolio of productions, from comedies to thought-provoking dramas. They include the “Laugh Out Loud” network.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as an Imperative

Hartbeat aims to create projects that resonate with diverse audiences and reflect a wide range of experiences

At Hartbeat, Randolph emphasizes that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are not just initiatives or priorities, but rather, “an imperative, native to our DNA core, to our culture.”

With a mission to “keep the world laughing together,” she believes that to achieve such a global goal, the organization has to reflect the diversity of the world it serves.

Hartbeat’s workforce boasts a racial diversity rate of 70% and gender diversity rate of over 50%. However, Randolph acknowledges that there’s always room for improvement. She believes that diversity is paramount to innovation and growth, and that equity is crucial for operations. “Inviting everyone to the table,” she says, “is what we’re all about.

The Role of Purpose in a Cluttered Market

In today’s cluttered marketplace where consumers have virtually unlimited choices, Randolph argues that brands must offer more than just a product or service. Consumers are looking for “anchors to ground their decisions”. For brands, this means defining and communicating a clear purpose beyond just their product.

Drawing from Hartbeat’s mission, she says, “we exist to keep the world laughing together.” Laughter, for Hartbeat, is a conduit for togetherness, inclusion, and shared experiences.

Randolph points out the benefits of humor, stating that “humor actually leads to greater empathy.” Furthermore, she cites a statistic that 90% of consumers would like brands to employ humor, yet only 20% do so.

Advice for Brands: Find and Communicate Your North Star

Randolph advises brands to “dig deep into the core” to find their true purpose beyond the functional benefit of their product or service. Once this ‘North Star’ is identified, she suggests that everything else should align with it.

Transparency about the brand’s purpose, she asserts, is appreciated by audiences, whether B2B or B2C.