Top 10 TMA Thought Leadership of 2021

January 7, 2022

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Happy New Year! Coming back with a bang, we’ve rounded up our top 10 most-viewed thought leadership blogs published in 2021. Huge thank you to all of our contributors for some amazing reads last year! Check out the list below and catch up on the ones you missed:

10) Should Brands Make Playlists?

We all have that friend that makes the perfect playlist, right? In my group, that’s me. I have always been the one who creates the soundtrack for any event, especially (pre-Covid) when it was time to get ready for a night on the town! So, for me, the importance of a good playlist is always top of mind. And since streaming services like Spotify make it easy to create playlists, this can be an effective marketing tool for brands as well – as long as you do it right. READ MORE

9) Go Beyond Casting to Build Diversity into Brand Creative

Diversity is the hottest word in marketing since “real-time.” But diversity isn’t a trend. It’s a value that must be woven into the fabric of agencies and brands, and therefore the advertising they produce. Raising the stakes, our audiences have become more savvy, more aware, and more critical. They see through the veneer of just casting a Black/African American person or showing an LGBTQ+ couple for the sake of representation. What makes diversity truly impactful is how well you succeed in making the audience feel they are Represented in your work and what you stand for, and that you are Relatable to their situations and environments. READ MORE

8) What Dog Trainers Know About Social Media That You Don’t

Last year, I became a dog owner. If you’ve ever had a pet, you know you learn about life, love, and companionship. What I didn’t expect to learn about is marketing. Like any good Millennial, I took to social media to learn about how to raise and train a dog. Fast forward nine months and almost overnight I became obsessed with this community I found online and a passionate (and profitable) follower: actively participating in live streams, racking up views on monetized YouTube videos and investing hundreds of dollars in recommended products. I realized the dog training industry transformed me into the social media follower we as brand marketers aspire to create and attract. Even more interesting, some of these dog trainers are seemingly more successful than the large brands I work with. READ MORE

8) As Clubhouse Popularity Grows, Where Do You Stand on Sonic Marketing?

There are 1.3 million Google results when you search “Clubhouse App;” however, there are only 7,000 results when you search “Sonic Marketing.” Are you a follower of the latest trend or are you getting ahead with a position on your brand’s Sonic Marketing? Brands cannot afford to overlook this medium. Consumer behavior dictates a need for Sonic Marketing, and it continues to prove its effectiveness if done right. READ MORE


6) Emerging Artists to Watch: Spring 2021

TMA Music has compiled the following recommendations of artists to watch based on data, dialogue with music industry partners, and signals from social media. Our goal is to provide you with a sneak peek of who is on the rise to spark new ideas and celebrate the joy of new music. READ MORE

5) How TMA is Supporting Employee Wellness


The focus on wellness in the workplace has been steadily rising in recent years, but the need for it has skyrocketed since COVID-19 forced many of us out of our offices and into the confines of our homes almost a year ago. At the beginning of the pandemic, this didn’t seem quite so bad – saving time on commuting, staying in pajamas all day, and being able to do laundry any time? Cool. But a year in, we’ve learned that the convenience of working from home comes at a price, and for many of us, the price is our mental health. We’re finding it difficult to unplug from work when our office and our living room are the same place. We’re struggling to feel connected to our coworkers the way we did when we saw them every day. Suddenly, we have a completely new set of needs. READ MORE

4) From Cringe to Cheugy: 3 Things to Know About Marketing to Gen Z

Much to the chagrin of young millennials everywhere, we are no longer the arbiters of what’s cool. As the youngest among us creep toward 30, Gen Z is the new guard, shaping culture and language as they come of age. The latest buzzword? “Cheugy.” Basic. Cringe. Old news. To be cheugy is to be uncool in a very specific way — thinking that your love of The Office “is a personality trait,” captioning your latest Instagram post “did a thing!” or being a #girlboss in a woke feminist world — are top cheugy offenders. Cheugy-ness is wholly attention-seeking and unoriginal, and while it’s largely reserved for adult millennials (think “okay, boomer” for a new generation), it’s also a sign of something deeper. Gen Z aren’t kids anymore, and with their independence comes judgement, opinions, and a view of the world that marketers are dying to understand. Here are a few things for brands and marketers to keep in mind if they want to successfully connect with Gen Z consumers. READ MORE

3) Print is Far From Dead

Whether you work in the marketing industry or not, you’ve likely heard it before: Print. Is. Dead. I must admit I used to share the sentiment. Coming from a broadcast and digital content background, my exposure to print marketing was limited at best. It was obvious that people were swapping newspapers, direct mail, and magazines for blogs, email, and podcasts — even billboards and food menus were being replaced by digital screens! Wasn’t that most of the print industry? Print was dead, right? Or was it? READ MORE

2) How Brands License Music for TikTok


Many brands have embraced TikTok as a marketing platform, especially brands that are targeting Gen Z. Young users have made it a home for creative expression through videos that riff on entertaining and joyful moments, and music is often central to that content – so much that the platform has become a powerful engine of music discovery and rediscovery. Our aim is to help you better understand how to properly secure that music for branded content. There are two primary ways: use TikTok’s royalty-free song catalog or license more well-known songs from their respective rights holders. Here are the most important things to know about each tactic. READ MORE

1) Actors and Actresses to Watch: Spring 2021

In today’s social media and streaming environment, it only takes one big role for up-and-comers to become overnight sensations. For Millennials and Gen Zers, this sudden ascent includes watching their social following quickly grow from a few thousand to millions of people anticipating their next posts. TMA tracks social trends, music, film releases, and buzzy shows to predict which new talent will become big names. Check out some of the new faces currently on our radar. READ MORE

But wait, there’s more.. check out the rest of the fantastic thought leadership content our people created last year (and beyond) here. And there’s plenty more coming your way this year, so stay tuned and follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram for the latest.

Another big thank you to all the incredible TMA subject matter experts and thought leaders (current and departed) who contributed blogs in 2021 – and congrats to those whose pieces made the above most-viewed list!

To all of our readers, thank you for taking time out of your busy day to visit our blog. Hope you enjoyed our content this year, and gained a little inspiration, entertainment, or knowledge along the way.

[header image credit: Elevated Audio]