The Art and Science of Marketing, Possibly According to an Actual Superhero
By: Julie Kirchner
If Spandex-clad, masked vigilantes just sprang to mind, you’re not alone. But do modern-day superheroes actually exist?
We contend that they do. Because we’ve met one.
Enter this trailblazer in the marketing arena. She is someone Powerhouse has been privileged to partner with over the last few years, and after witnessing her skills and mindset at work, we put Batman on warning.
“If I could be a superhero, I’d love to be Connector Woman. I love bringing interesting people together to see what magic we can create,” says Rissa Reddan, Marketing Leader for Demand Generation at Equifax. There couldn’t possibly be a more exquisite interpretation for marketing than “bringing interesting people together.”
Reddan recently stepped into her new role as Demand Generation Leader for the U.S. Information Services business at Equifax, which is a one-billion-dollar-plus business. “My goal is to communicate how we help customers solve for growing business challenges,” Reddan says. For the past two years, she served as Senior Vice President of Marketing for the Commercial Business at Equifax, and prior to that, Senior Vice President of Marketing for PayNet until its acquisition by Equifax in 2019.
Reddan says, “I am thrilled to be a part of Equifax’s transformation. At Equifax, our goal is to help small businesses access capital. We know that when the small business economy thrives, so, too, the U.S. economy.”
And she’s right. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, small businesses account for 99.9% of businesses in the United States and provide nearly half of all jobs in its private workforce.
Reddan offers this powerful marketing advice to small business owners: “As an entrepreneur, your story is critical to attracting new customers, access to capital, and media attention. Having an introduction at the ready that speaks to your character is critical.”
She shares that she learned a great deal from Esther Choy and her book Let the Story Do the Work: The Art of Storytelling for Business Success and found the book to be highly actionable. “Something I learned from Esther is that we often spend the majority of our introductions focused on our credentials or our competencies, when what people hunger for is to get a glimpse of our character,” Reddan explains.
So how did this character, Rissa Reddan, modern-day marketing superhero, develop? What is her origin story? A self-described cinemaphile, Rissa says that she loves movies in the park and on a plane, from classic movies to screwball comedies. “When I watched The Royal Tenenbaums for the first time, I felt like I had found my people. For me, the movie is about creativity and quirky characters.” Reddan resonates with that because she says that her upbringing was also filled with creativity and quirky characters. “At my home, growing up, coloring books were not allowed. My artist mother believes in the importance of drawing your own lines and coloring within them—or outside the lines. In other words, she is a big believer in the power of creativity. My father, on the other hand, holds a PhD in inorganic chemistry. He’s a big believer in data-based decision-making,” she says.
According to Reddan, “The field of marketing is often described as one part art and one part science. Marketing is a perfect fit for me as I am also one part art and one part science. Literally.”
Moreover, throughout her career, Reddan has observed a theme of taking on newly imagined roles and blazing new trails. She says, “In interviews, I’ve been asked questions like, ‘How are you with starting from a blank piece of paper?’ As you might imagine, I’m very comfortable starting with a blank piece of paper that is waiting for me to draw the lines.”
Reddan embraces the combination of art and science involved in marketing. She also loves that as a leader she can help people grow in their careers and that they help her grow in return. “I’ve learned so much by coaching others and being coached by them,” she says.
Naturally, Reddan’s creativity—and her love for bringing people together to see what magic they can create—is illustrated in other capacities as well. She is also in a band called the everyAnythings. “I sing and my husband, Mike, plays guitar. We’ve held three virtual concerts during the pandemic. The last one was a fundraiser for the Alpha Omicron Pi Foundation, and I’m proud to report that we raised over $1,200 for arthritis research,” she says.
Marketing exec by day and rock star plus philanthropist by night is definitely a solid foundation for a fantastic dual-identity superhero story.
We asked Reddan to share her favorite inspirational quote with us, and she gave a great one to contemplate:
“I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.” – Brené Brown
Like Reddan, Powerhouse Planning founder and CEO Jessica Bertsch understands the challenges that small businesses face and the courage and creativity required to run them. Her aim is to help leaders overcome traditional barriers to business growth through innovative, strategic service solutions that overthrow traditional overhead and create the vital bandwidth to scale up.
Facing a unique challenge in business this year? You could sign up for a FREE “30 Minutes On Me” meeting—a one-on-one entrepreneurial guidance session with Powerhouse President Jessica Bertsch.