Anaïs first joined NPR in 2019 as a Publicist on the Media Relations team spearheading publicity for NPR Music, How I Built This, Code Switch and NPR Events. In 2021 she joined the Marketing team as a Senior Marketing Manager.
In this role, Anaïs specializes in music, podcasts, events and social media. She is responsible for imagining and executing marketing initiatives that attract, grow and retain diverse audiences for NPR. She specifically spearheads brand strategies and marketing plans for NPR’s events, NPR Music and podcasts. These include the iconic Tiny Desk Concerts, How I Built This with Guy Raz and the annual https://tinydeskcontest.npr.org/2021/top-shelf/Tiny Desk Contest.
She has vast experience in national and local visual branding and social media campaigns. She executed the national media initiative for La Perla’s First ever Ready to Wear collection and assisted in the Digital marketing efforts of DC Mayor Bowser’s creative economy initiative 202Creates. She has led social media and marketing campaigns for National Geographic and Discovery Education in Washington DC, and at Women’s Wear Daily and COMPLEX in New York City.
Anais is a native Washingtonian, proud Afro-Latina with Venezuelan and Haitian roots. Anais consistently employs innovative strategies to engage her target audiences and media outlets. Her accomplishments as a creative and media professional, earned her a coveted spot on Washington Life’s “The Young & The Guest List” in 2018. She graduated from Howard University with a degree in Fashion Merchandising.
I work at NPR as a Senior Marketing Manager, and prior to that I was a publicist so I think I have a very different sense of what marketing is. I see the totality of what marketing is.
Essentially, it’s all about identifying something and seeing how you can make people care about it. How can we evoke emotion from a product, podcast, event, IG Live, etc.? How do we get people to buy into it? It’s about understanding market research and understanding what your audience wants so you can anticipate their needs and what they’ll be looking for next.
A big part of [marketing] is creativity and having a pulse on the culture. Also you need to have a strong sense of emotional intelligence and be able to connect with intergenerational people and cultures, so you can identify the common thread and bring everyone together.
It’s about being innovative, challenging the norm, and collective thinking to shift paradigms. At the end of the day, it’s a lot of creativity in how you can make a mundane product new and sexy. Marketing affects everything.
To paint the whole picture, I’m first-generation Haitian and Venezuelan so I grew up in a very multicultural home - there were essentially three different worlds in one house. Musical influences, fashion sense, customs and traditions are from all three different cultures.
I’ve always been very fascinated with ways to express myself. I was a very shy kid and I found my voice through fashion and art, and also exploring everything from London street style to underground music scenes from around the world.
Fashion was my first love and I saw it as a window into different ways of thinking and a way to connect with people without having to speak. It’s always been a source of inspiration for me.
I went to Howard University in Washington D.C. and studied fashion merchandising. I was on a photoshoot one day in D.C. with a photographer who worked at WomenswearDaily and we hit it off. She loved my style and aesthetic, so she offered me an internship in New York. She helped me connect the dots there.
I started interning with WomenswearDaily as a sophomore and was traveling back and forth from New York to D.C. throughout the majority of my undergrad career. I started doing freelancing for NYFW, so running around helping with any and everything - fashion forecasting, being an assistant stylist for different shoots and really just immersing myself with as many aspects of the fashion industry as I could, so I could have a really great scope of what I could do in the space.
I learned a lot from the people at WomenswearDaily, which was amazing, and I think this is where I got fascinated with this notion of being an image architect. Being someone who is Afro-Latina, I struggled a lot with society’s insistence of placing me into a neat box. I loved how WomenswearDaily allowed me to push the envelope of trends and fashion and be innovative.
After graduation, I took a job with National Geographic in their e-commerce department. Nat Geo is number one in social media and it was great to learn from that team. From there, I got an opportunity to work at Complex, where I was a Social Media Editor.
I jumped around after that. I took a really unconventional path and didn’t stay anywhere for too long. I went from Complex to Discover Education to The Office of Entertainment in D.C. and then I landed at NPR.
At NPR, I started off as a publicist for NPR Music with the events and podcasts team. I worked in that role for two years, and I think what was compelling for me was that NPR is in a really interesting time right now because they are trying to repackage their content to appeal to young and diverse audiences. A lot of people know about Tiny Desk, but they may not know about NPR and the array of content that we have to offer. I was really fascinated about the notion of repackaging our content and putting it in spaces where it hasn't been before to shed light on all the awesome work that we’re doing.
From there I jumped to the marketing team, and now I’m a Senior Marketing Manager!
There’s this quote that I love that says “luck favors the prepared” and I think that’s so true. You have to be prepared and you have to meet the moment. You have to be ready for the job you want tomorrow right now.
I also think a big part of it for me was meditation. I am really big on manifestation and having a clear mentality to really perform at your best. It gives you a clear sense of what it is that you need to be doing. Sometimes people get so caught up in their 9-5 or their business that they don’t really take time to just sit still within their thoughts, which, I think, is how you get the most out of your creativity.
I also think growing up in a first-generation household has a lot to do with it. I understand the sacrifices my parents have made and I want to take everything to the next level because of that.
Lastly, I’d say leading with kindness. I believe in karma and think that what you give out comes back to you. I cherish my network and relationships, so leading with kindness is essential.
People underestimate the value of creativity. It’s something that you can spark in someone, but it’s not necessarily something you can teach via a textbook or class. It’s a muscle that you have to continuously use in order for it to grow. It’s such a powerful asset.
Also, being multicultural and thinking about all of my experiences, all of that is an asset that I pull from in order to reach these audiences that think and act similarly to myself.
I think that oftentimes in marketing, we look at studies and reports to tell us how a certain demographic behaves, and people aren’t that simple. We are multidimensional and we like multiple things and are a melting pot of cultures, so having that understanding is essential.
I really did not take a conventional path, but I think my key takeaway would be to stay curious. Immerse yourself in various things - travel, try to understand different cultures and the world around you. When you look at the demographics of this country, the minority group is quickly becoming the majority, so it’s important that you understand exactly what that means and how it will impact the future.
We’re facing transformational change, which requires flexibility, innovation, and creative approaches to solving problems.
Again. I always recommend that people stay curious. Read and listen to various content that allows you to “stay in the know.” There’s so much free information on the internet, just stay hungry to learn.
Also, really place a high value on your network and relationships. Never take for granted the people around you, because you never know what you can gain from certain relationships and vice versa - you could also be a source of inspiration for someone else.
What insider tips/tricks do you have for people looking to follow your path? What hacks do you have for breaking into the marketing world?
Like I was saying, stay ready to meet the moment. Be proactive rather than reactive; don't wait until something is safe in order to roll it out. Be a pioneer;look at what’s lacking and fill the void.
I came from the fashion industry and there were so many transferable skills. Being an image architect, there's so much that you can then transfer to the marketing and publicity world.
My biggest “hack” is to not be rigid. Just because you have experience in something else doesn't mean you have to follow a certain path, if anything that makes you more of a compelling candidate because you can draw on your various experiences and diversity of thought.
Many people believe that because they majored in a particular field in college or have work experience in a specific industry, then they have to stick to working in those areas for the duration of their career. However, throughout my conversation with Anaïs, it was clear that she was never afraid to embark on a new adventure. She harps on the need for people to stay curious and continue to explore all potential career avenues, whether it feels safe or not.
Even before her professional experiences began, Anaïs found that her passions and interests were built on her experience living in a multi-cultural home. She was fascinated with music and fashion from an early age, and saw them as an outlet to express herself. She continued to explore these interests at Howard University and eventually landed an internship at WomensWearDaily where she was able to immerse herself in all aspects of the industry and learn from some of the greats.
Marketing is all about getting people to care about a product or service, and the only way that you can do that is to understand your audience. While some may look to reports or studies to predict how a demographic behaves, Anaïs said that she is able to use her cultural background to reach these audiences that think and act similarly to her. You may have the inside scoop on your target market because they identify similarly to you - never underestimate that!
Anaïs stated that a big part of marketing is "creativity and having a pulse on the culture" because your job is to make even the most mundane of products seem new and sexy. Creativity is something that you can spark in someone, but it can't necessarily be taught in a classroom. Anais encourage all of us to continue to "work" our creative muscles in order for them to grow. It truly is the best asset!
Marketing is a creative career field. It's critical for you to consume content that sparks your creativity and encourages you to become better in your career. Here's some required reading to provoke that inner creativity and remind yourself that you deserve a seat at the table.