Leadership in Focus: Leading in a Digital Society

July 14th, 2016 Vern Oakley


There’s so much noise. How do you cut through? How do you get your big ideas heard and then adopted?

In this edition of Tribe’s Leadership in Focus Video Series, Tribe’s CEO and creative director, Vern Oakley, was interviewed by David Brancaccio of American Public Media’s Marketplace Morning Report about leading in a digital society.

Politicians have known for years that video works best to make a human connection with your audience. For leaders, being on camera is no longer optional; it’s a requirement for our digital age.

→ The Leadership in Focus Video Series covers multiple topics from the interviews. Be sure to view the rest of the series.

Transcript follows:

David Brancaccio: Corporate leaders, political leaders, our leaders. There’s a lot riding on these people’s shoulders these days. What about the notion that they are asked in modern America to be rock stars?

Vern Oakley: You know, we’re in an over-communicated society. I look at my emails and twitter and YouTube and television, and, you know, there’s 500-1,000 channels; what do you listen to? And so, what cuts through all that, I believe, is the human experience and the connection. Politicians really started to learn to use, you know, being on camera, and it’s just part of what they had to do. Corporate leaders, other types of leaders, have not really embraced it as much, but now that we’re living in the digital age, the visual society, it needs to be embraced because that’s a required skill in terms of being a leader.

David Brancaccio: I only went to business school, this isn’t my job, and what you’re saying is, it is your job.

Vern Oakley: It’s part of your job; it’s part of the requirements now. You know, the markets for most of the things that we do are global now, and that one of the skills that you really have to do is be able to present and talk to people authentically on camera so that they know who you are. If I don’t know who you are, why am I going to follow you?

David Brancaccio: You can be successful as a leader, but not necessarily the most outgoing person in the world, and that starts to show up when they get on film if they’re not used to being outgoing, and are somewhat introverted.

Vern Oakley: There’s an assumption that an extrovert’s going to be better on camera, and that’s not always the case. An introvert could be equally as good on camera because the camera just sort of captures who they are. The thing that’s so important to whether they’re an introvert or an extrovert is just capturing their authenticity, you know, capturing who they are, and sort of making sure there’s no mask here that’s, you know, standing between them and their audience.