AMA: Angelica Gustilo
Angelica Gustilo AMA is happening on April 8th 2020 at 10:00 AM PST (1:00 PM EST)
UNICEF has a 70-year history of innovating for children. UNICEF’s believes that new approaches, partnerships, and technologies that support realizing children’s rights are critical to improving their lives. The Office of Innovation is a creative, interactive, and agile team in UNICEF. In a sentence: The Office sits at a unique intersection, where an organization that works on huge global issues meets the startup thinking, the technology, and the partners that turn this energy into scalable solutions. UNICEF’s Office of Innovation specifically looks to form partnerships around frontier technologies (like drones and UAVs, blockchain, 21st century skills, urban technologies, new banking tools, or 3D-Printing) that exist at the intersection of $100 billion business markets and 1 billion person needs – and to identify how they can grow and scale profitably and inclusively.
Angelica holds a bachelor’s degree in Advertising and an Executive Masters of Arts degree from the University of Melbourne. She is passionate about creating opportunities to connect people and experiences, and in drawing upon multidisciplinary approaches to positively impact to people’s lives. Shaping her professional career – is her interest in connectivity, diversity, ideation, storytelling, innovation, social networks, and digitalization.
She has a secret love affair with cooking. She finds it both therapeutic and a way to express her creativity. In a different life – she probably would have been an artist of some sort – as she loves painting, designing, dancing, and singing. She finds inspiration, joy, and thrill in traveling – which she’s confesses (that sometimes), gets out of control.
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Angelica Gustilo – Transcript
AMA with Angelica Gustilo @ UNICEF
April 8th, 2020
I’d like to welcome our next AMA guest – @Angelica Ong, Global Digital Marketing and Communications Strategist & Social Media Manager @ UNICEF
You have one hour to ask her anything!
Hi everyone, thanks for having me here. No worries at all. Glad to join. Hope everyone is well, safe, and healthy I’m going to quickly share a bit about me
Hi I’m Angie I work as a senior communication strategist for UNICEF’s global digital marketing and social media initiatives on Innovation. Prior to joining UNICEF, I worked with numerous tech start-ups, digital marketing, and educational institutions leading their digital marketing campaigns, optimization strategies, content generation, and account client management.Shaping my professional career – is my interests in connectivity, diversity, ideation, storytelling, innovation, social networks, and digitalization.PS. I love cooking. I finds it both therapeutic and a way to express my creativity and find inspiration, joy, and thrill in traveling – which I confess (that sometimes) can get out of control.More about UNICEF – Innovation
UNICEF has a 70-year history of innovating for children. UNICEF’s believe that new approaches, partnerships, and technologies that support realizing children’s rights are critical to improving their lives. The Office of Innovation is a creative, interactive, and agile team in UNICEF.
In a sentence: The Office sits at a unique intersection, where an organization that works on huge global issues meets the startup thinking, the technology, and the partners that turn this energy into scalable solutions. UNICEF’s Office of Innovation specifically looks to form partnerships around frontier technologies (like drones and UAVs, blockchain, 21st century skills, urban technologies, new banking tools, or 3D-Printing) that exist at the intersection of $100 billion business markets and 1 billion person needs – and to identify how they can grow and scale profitably and inclusively.
Thanks for doing this, appreciated! How do you gauge the success of a social campaign?
It depends on several factors. Of course the more general metrics we use like reach, engagement, etc But for us, it is also how we can use social channels to be the first point to any partnership initiative.
How has the pandemic impacted fundraising for your organization?
Definitely we have taken a step back and pivoted to change priorities. We have seen that COVID-19 and health related is the first point of conversion in fundraising.However, are main fundraising have been focused on education. Billions of children have displaced due to school lockdown. as well as supporting health communities we work on the ground as a lot of their capacity has shifted to COVID-19 and we still have the mandate to continue our efforts to help children in other health concerns.
Thank you for being here!! What is the greatest need currently for UNICEF today in regards to technology?
We are prioritizing our work for..
- Meaningful connectivity for all – as we connectivity is so important right now at the time of COVID-19
- Reaching young people and children on misinformation. we have been reaching them both on SMS and social media platforms and working with social channels to help us identity misinformation
Hi Angelica Ong I was the original Facebook rep for the UN back in 2009. Happy to see how far the UN has come on social
Glad to hear. Always growing, always shifting
How have you shifted your advocacy work online? I work on climate change and curious to see how you bring non corona related issue to the front of the stage without coming out as unsensitive? Thanks in advance!
Well we did have to shift efforts to also cover COVID-19 at the moment. But agree with sensitivities which is tricky. We’ve actually taken a bit of a step back on this but does not hinder as well to keep sharing important things.
We have mostly shifted right now to prioritize education and learning out of schools as over billions of children are displaced from education
Thank you for this answer. I guess the best strategy right now is to focus on what is needed with this crisis and not pay too much attention to the next one. Appreciate your answer! How does creative development for Digital work at UNICEF?
I am in a good role that works mostly on innovation content for all of UNICEF so my process could be different compared to all 190 countries we operate in.
We try to break down technology and innovation content through design thinking methodologies. Putting the audience/s at the centre of all our work. A lot of brainstroming with my design, partnerships,and comms teams
Thanks for making time for this! What are the software tools you use in your work? Which of these tools have the largest impact? Which of these tools require the largest investment?Apologies for the triple threat question.
Right now, I am working a lot with Mural and Miro as a lot of brainstorming needs to be done collaboratively. It’s a good place for people to join and build campaign ideas on or wireframe things. So that’s been an added functional tool for me. Talkwalker for analytics I have found really good in getting a place that does visualizations well and a good amount of insights. Did i answer this correctly?
Yes you did! Also, what tools require the largest investment? Also read that you use SMS to communicate. Is that a big cost center?
Yes, but we have incentives from Mobile network operators and usually government buy in is there. For social apps we have partnerships with whatsapp, FB messenger, viber, twitetr
here’s an example: https://www.unicefusa.org/stories/unicefs-u-report-playing-key-role-global-covid-19-response/37142
Hi Angelica! I’ve been working for for-profit companies on product and marketing for 10+ years (online entertainment, B2C apps, etc.). My long-term plan and dream is to switch to working for NGOs and work on communications for causes I believe in, but I don’t have any background in non-profit to build on and jump into senior positions that match my experience. How would you start about switching to this kind of work (as a part of a 1-2 year plan)? Any specific courses you can take? Books to read? Shall I start volunteering my time to gather experience? Any insight is appreciated for a switch like this.
Hi Victor – there is always a need for more product and marketing specialist in the NGO or international organizations. This is actually my first gig in this world – I’ve always worked in for-profit.A few quick advices
- Look at innovation or technology arms of these organizations. Normally, they would prefer a fresh perspective and someone who knows other industries as innovation usually works with private sector and silicon valley a lot.
- Try to find some experiences – to build examples of how you’ve work in the sector. Could be just helping out a campaign, or providing advisory work
What has been your most challenging tasks in your data to day?
I would actually say TIME.
It’s a very valuable phase in digital marketing but time and capacity really hinders us to go deeper, to aggregate data, to identify and map common threads, to generate new insights, and to provide actional recommendations
Hi Angelica Ong it’s good to have you share your time with us.Could you please share the most common career path to joining the UNICEF’s workforce?
Sure. A few ways:
- Enroll on the UN wide job search – which shares all the jobs across the globe (Visa is usually not an issue)
- Could be a volunteership – reach out to C-level on Linkedin on an initiative they are working on and tell them you can help, Normally they may give it to someone and have you join in a small capacity.
- Knowing the right people – UN is really that. It’s a people of people you know, so have some intro catch ups.
- There is this called UN Volunteers – it is not strictly volunteers they just sometimes call it that but some countries are able to provide funding to get you a role, and UN trains you.
Awesome! Been looking forward to this AMA and getting insight from the inside! Question: How does UNICEF source suppliers for digital marketing assets like video? The UN often feels like a blackbox without easy paths in for video agencies. I realize it’s often siloed into each UN agency, but even the procurement processes feel supertedious for boutique agencies like ours. (menschcreative.org — we focus on video in Africa and Asia)Got any insight/tips for tackling this?
Yes. It is a bit of a challenging route. The best is to still go and apply to becoming a vendor – even if it takes longer. We don’t hire beyond our vendor vetted list. Mostly, we have in-house production, a lot of partnerships with media agencies, we use vendors listed if we need to outsource, and sometimes e tend to just do the scrappy way of doing it ourselves.
Thank you! Any tips/best practice to get on those vendor lists?
Not so familiar with each step, but this is a place to start https://www.un.org/Depts/ptd/un-secretariat-registered-vendors
I work for a nonprofit fundraising software startup (Funraise.org)… what tools and needs do you anticipate nonprofits needing in the next wave of digital fundraising? What content and guides are helpful? Thank you!
Always quality content – that is digestible. I would say, you need to also start exploring new ways of storytelling – a lot are geared to visuals – so finding new tools to develop that in.We also need to start thinking of new ways of engaging action. Global citizen now has an app – which is a great way to get connected to users real-time. We also need to find a way to break the traditional equation of fundraising. People want more transparency more involvement and more roles to play – including a community
How does UNICEF’s digital marketing deal with corona? Anything different besides more working from home?
Ofcourse a lot of shift in messaging, priorities and storytelling. We keep our position as protecting the rights and well being of children. And right now, the most relevant is the disruption in learning.
Hi Angelica Ong really nice to meet you! My question is: What is the most challenging part of your job in that specific niche?
Being at that intersection is already challenging. You need to marry that brand as an international organization but also talk to the private sector as at the forefront of innovation. The biggest challenge: How do you share stories of impact in innovation and technology. That is something that doesn’t come overnight. We cannot present multiple case studies of how an innovation solution has completely changed a community or a person in real-time. The workaround – is showing the opportunities it brings or having 1 human story of short-term impact and share the potential to reach xx
What valuable skills and professional experience would be most valuable for someone joining a social media team in the non-profit sector?
A generalist – you always will do more work on verticals than you think.A person who has strong knowledge on social – we are an asset as non-profit sector has only seen more value over the recent years – so they need someone who usually can build the foundation, the strategy. Note: they also value your experience if you have worked for social impact.
Hi Angelica Ong! Super excited to see you here. Currently a 1st year college student. What should I be doing now to stand out from the rest of my schoolmates once we graduate and start looking for jobs?
- Keep meeting more and more people.
- Try to volunteer or build your portfolio even with small projects
- Try some internship opportunities now rather than later
- Focus – if you have an idea where you wanna be at, focus on the pathway to get there.
As marketing and communications we are generalists so our portfolio can be a bit of a mix of everything.People still are compelled to hear a strong aligned narrative and experience – with of course some other things to add to the mix
Curious, are you and or UNICEF pushing any campaigns right now or trying to align w any Covid messaging?
Yes. With an innovation lens we focus on something like this: Bringing credible information to children and young people https://www.unicefusa.org/stories/unicefs-u-report-playing-key-role-global-covid-19-response/37142We also focus on bridging the gap with connectivity through https://gigaconnect.org/ we’re ramping up and starting to engage the first 11 countries on getting connected
Hi Angelica Ong, in terms of your social media presence, how important is story telling via video? Do you have a video team that is tasked to capture media based on your targets?
Very important. for example telling a story about drones in this form: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdvbcv6_TcE
Are there specific strategies you have seen for educational non-profits to create wider outreach on social media
As per topics:
Digital learning and the need to have it now is by far what we’ve heard governments needing help with
- Guidelines on onboarding teachers and students
- vetted educational platforms that can be used to extend learning beyond classrooms
- How can we make homes conducive for learning
As per stategies – finding channels to partner with. Take for example, should we partner with Youtube for the #learnfromhome initiative
Hi Angelica Ong thanks for doing the AMA. How do you measure success on vanity channels, such as social media? Do you have KPIs to hit there?
And secondly, what’s the most surprising thing at UNICEF in terms of marketing that you didn’t expect when you joined or what other people might find surprising. Thanks again for your time.
Sure. analytic tools are the way to go – going to each individual platforms coupled with 3rd parties like talkwalker and Hootsuite and overlayed together can help you assess most of your hypothesis, as per KPI’s we do – mostly general ones like reah engagement traffic as C-Level reporting usually wants a macro snapshot. as per what i didn’t expect. We have close to zero budget
Hey Angelica Ong – Thanks for doing this! Curious if you ever have to work around imbalances between contributions/reputation with partner organizations and how you navigate that gap? For example, I’m sure there’s a reputational advantage to working with UNICEF that your partners benefit from: does that present communications challenges?
In a way partnership always bring challenges.We have a bit of stricter rule on the use of UNICEF branding which is probably challenging to begin with.Usually it depends on what the partner brings to the table – if its an equal iniatitve we become more brand neutral. But if we lead on it, it needs to be abide UNICEF brand guidelines. For smaller contributions – this need to be itemized in your terms of reference / MOU/MOA.
great to think of a tiered approach on partnerships (tiered on funding $ contributed and what they can expect)non monetary – like time, resources what that communication will look like. hope I answered this correctly? or I may have a tangent
Hi Angelica Ong I am very excited to see someone representing NGO’s right now. I wanted to ask you how you approach framing the importance of marketing as a force (and fundraising) multiplier in a world where any funds not spent on field work are commonly viewed (and reported on) as somewhere between suspect and wasteful spending.
I personally thing, NGOs know the value now more than before. It’s really more of capacity and budget issues. But I’ve never had issues if presented a credible rationale to get support on marketing efforts. Your challenge is getting it to reach being a priority. Still is a challenge – but reporting here and constant showcasing of communication to Senior management is a must.
How much of your digital strategy involves battling your competitors in key digital channels? How do you reconcile this when you’re all working towards similar noble goals?
Not much. I don’t think we do a lot of efforts to battle competitors. Our role is more conveners, advocates. We usually collaborate with them – occasionally there may be the case that we have same agendas and missions – but we usually position ourselves to our mandate or our USP.
Working in an NPO, does it follow that all of your digital strategies must be unambiguously white-hat?
Are you meaning.. information densed?
I mean are all digital strategies that may be ethically questionable or raise concern out of question?
hmm well yes, we need to make sure the strategies, materials key messages are vetted,. Some are highly controversial – but we can;t shy away from those. It’s important to craft q&s on this prior to launching the campaign. I am still not certain if i answered this correctly but hoping that adds a bit of value
Okay peeps, I think I’ve answered all these questions. Hoping that I added value to most of these questions. I am in this group so ping whenever although im also running thin re: lots of work right now re: response. But will aim to reply whenever possible. HAHAA 1 min shy.
Thank you. This has been great to hear from all of you. And David for inviting me. Ciao for now, stay safe and healthy.
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