Behind Hello Sunshine's Success: Building Stories That Resonate

Head of DTC Maureen Polo on the need for human touch in a digital age

Leaders from Glossier, Shopify, Mastercard and more will take the stage at Brandweek to share what strategies set them apart and how they incorporate the most valued emerging trends. Register to join us this September 23–26 in Phoenix, Arizona.

In this episode of The Speed of Culture, host Matt Britton is joined by Maureen Polo, head of direct to consumer at Reese Witherspoon’s media company Hello Sunshine. They discuss how to leverage technology for human-centric storytelling, the growing influence of AI in content creation, and the pivotal role of consumer insights in shaping media strategies.

Hello Sunshine is dedicated to changing the narrative for women by placing them at the heart of every story it tells. This next-generation media company strives to broaden perspectives and empower women by giving them authorship, inspiring agency, and creating platforms that shape culture and the world. Polo explains how the company leverages its unique position to amplify women’s stories and impact the entertainment industry.

Related video

Maureen Polo is a dynamic leader in the digital media and marketing landscape. With a career spanning over two decades, she has distinguished herself in various senior roles, including svp at WarnerMedia and Fullscreen Media. Her extensive experience encompasses driving digital transformation, spearheading innovative consumer engagement strategies, and leading cross-functional teams to achieve significant business growth.

”Hello Sunshine is not a production company. We are a direct-to-consumer company,” she explains. “We’re bringing this massive media to the table with our high-quality production capabilities and our knack for understanding what’s going to really work.”

Listen to Maureen Polo on The Speed of Culture podcast to gain insights into innovative DTC strategies and the impact of digital transformation on media and entertainment.

Key takeaways:

00:01:50-00:03:08 Adapting to the Creator-Based Ecosystem — Polo highlights the transformative shift within the media industry toward a creator-based ecosystem, a trend she closely observed during her decade at Fullscreen. This evolution has seen a movement from traditional media to platforms that prioritize individual creators, offering fresh, personalized content directly to niche audiences. Brands should actively seek opportunities to collaborate with digital creators, utilizing their unique content and perspectives to connect more authentically with targeted audiences.

00:05:09-00:06:38 The Impact of AI on Creative Processes — Discussing the influence of artificial intelligence, Polo shares her mixed feelings about AI’s role in content creation. She discusses its potential to streamline processes and enhance creativity, but also raises concerns about authenticity. Brands should consider adopting AI to optimize their creative processes while maintaining a strong focus on authenticity and human touch.

00:10:04-00:13:09 Leveraging Digital Platforms for Growth — Reflecting on the strategic use of digital platforms, Polo highlights the success of Daisy Jones & The Six on Amazon. She explains how Hello Sunshine used digital content and social media to build a community around the show, significantly amplifying viewer engagement and brand visibility. Brands should leverage digital platforms and social media to maximize their reach and engage with broader audiences effectively.

00:15:07-00:17:09 Engaging a Targeted Audience with Precision and Impact — Hello Sunshine successfully taps into its vast audience of 60 million women by creating content that resonates deeply with their interests and needs. Through strategic storytelling and brand partnerships, the company ensures that its messages not only reach a wide audience but also strike a chord with every viewer, particularly women looking for stories where they see themselves represented. For brands, this emphasizes the importance of knowing and nurturing your audience. By aligning your content and marketing strategies with the specific preferences and values of your target demographic, brands can significantly enhance engagement and loyalty.